Kerala: What is Seditious About This?
The Kerala governor, Arif Mohammad Khan, has asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to remove Finance Minister K N Balagopal, on the grounds that he made a speech that was “seditious”. We publish excerpts of the speech as reported in The Hindu (dated October 27). It shows the absurdity of the governor’s charge. Below we publish excerpts of the speech of K N Balagopal at a students’ meeting in University of Kerala, on October 19, 2022.
“KERALA has benefited a lot by the democratisation of education. My experience as a student is mostly from Kerala University. I got the opportunity to function as senate member of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Aligarh Muslim University when I was a member of Rajya Sabha. Also, as a student activist, I have visited almost all major universities of the country.
“I specifically remember one incident. I was elected as the national president of Students’ Federation of India at its national conference held in Midnapore. Soon after the conference, I had to go to Banaras Hindu University as five students were killed in an incident of firing. The situation was tense. You know who fired at the students? The security guards of the Vice-Chancellor. Vice-Chancellor in Banaras Hindu University, which is in Uttar Pradesh, had 50 to 60 security guards. The situation was similar in many other universities there.”
“So, it will be difficult for those who come from such places to understand the universities in Kerala. Universities in Kerala are democratically functioning establishments that discuss academic matters by including people from all areas. These universities have helped for massive changes in Kerala society. Efforts must take place to imbibe the democracy of these people’s establishments and to strengthen education, academic structure and the involvement of people in education of Kerala, which is a State developed than any other regions of the country with several gains to its credit. For this, we have to strengthen our senates and academic councils. People of the country are also looking at this very seriously.”