Naming of Kerala institute after RSS leader Gowalkar kicks up a row

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Congress have opposed the move of the Centre to name the second campus of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M.S. Golwalkar. 

CPI(M) acting State secretary A. Vijayaraghavan said he saw the bid as a stock move of the Sangh Parivar to deepen communal divisions for political gain. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby said Golwalkar had sowed communal hatred and division in the country. The Central should choose the name of a scientist for the new institute instead.

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan had kicked up the row on Friday by naming the new facility “Shri Guruji Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar National Centre for Complex Disease in Cancer and Viral Infection.” 

Shashi Tharoor, MP, in a Facebook post, asked the Centre whether it should "memorialise a bigoted Hitler-admirer who in a 1966 speech to VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) asserted the supremacy of religion over science?" 

He called Golwalkar an “obscurantist idealogue of no scientific achievement or discernible contribution to public health.” 

Instead, Dr. Tharoor suggested the name of Dr. P. Palpu, 19th century social reformer and renowned bacteriologist, for the new institute. He pointed out that Dr. Palpu was an expert in serum therapy and tropical medicine from Cambridge and Director of the Vaccine Institute and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health. 

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to preserve the name of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for the institute. 

He demanded the second facility also carry the name of Rajiv Gandhi. He pointed out that Rajiv Gandhi was a leader of scientific temperament who encouraged research and innovation. Former KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran also slammed the move. 

BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan, who was campaigning in Kerala, defended the announcement. “He (Golwalkar) is a nationalist. Do not put him in a small circle,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:41:20 PM |

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