Scholar stands by his lecture at O.P. Jindal University, regrets its misinterpretation

In his letter to Professor Achin Vanaik, the registrar of the O.P. Jindal University had said the former’s remarks were ‘unnecessary and objectionable’ 

Updated - November 20, 2023 12:05 pm IST

Published - November 20, 2023 02:39 am IST - New Delhi

After the Haryana-based O.P. Jindal University asked critically acclaimed writer and former Delhi University Professor Achin Vanaik to “express regret” over his remarks in a closed lecture titled ‘The History and Politics of the Palestinian Present’, Prof. Vanaik told The Hindu that he had informed the university he stood by what he had said in the lecture, and regretted its misinterpretation and the confusion that had arisen as a result. 

After Prof. Vanaik’s lecture on November 1, the Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon, in a letter addressed to the founding vice-chancellor of O.P. Jindal University, Prof. C. Raj Kumar, was critical of the lecture. “I cannot understand why an event delegitimizing the State of Israel was hosted at the University,” Mr. Gilon’s letter stated. 

On November 13, Dabiru Sridhar Patnaik, registrar, O.P. Jindal University, wrote in a letter to Prof. Vanaik that latter’s remarks that “Hindutva is anti-Muslim” were unnecessary and objectionable. 

“When you prioritise one particular community, this is in contrast with another conception of nationalism, which in India is that of composite nationalism,” Prof. Vanaik said. 

Prof. Vanaik said that there had been a large turnout at the lecture; many had recorded and posted parts of it online. “The idea that I am pro-terrorism is absolute nonsense. My words were absolutely taken out of context,” he said. “I would want to clarify here that I do consider Hamas’s action as a terrorist action and criticise it,” he added. 

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