At a time when Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been booked under sedition, eminent historian Romila Thapar said on Wednesday that sedition was a colonial-era law meant to clamp down on people and should be reconsidered in a free nation.
The veteran scholar, who taught ancient history at JNU for decades, also said universities should sort out matters and that student outfits should refrain from impressing their political parties by playing up issues.
“We have inherited a vast number of colonial laws that were meant for a different society. Today, we are not a colony. These laws need to be reconsidered now,” Professor Thapar told students at Ramjas College here while delivering a lecture on secularism.
She expressed concern over the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaque at Dadri near Delhi, saying, “People in authority kept saying it was an accident. One does not expect this as a citizen.”
She underlined that secularism and nationalism were “inseparable,” while asserting that secularism did not mean religion had no place in society.
“Secularism does not deny religion’s presence. It separates institutions that have religious control and those which should not have it,” she said.