Protecting Dr Subramanian Swamy's right to free speech, is critical to a honest intellectual discourse at Harvard.
- President, Harvard University
Dr. Drew Faust
- Dean, Harvard University
Dr. Mike Smith
The World Hindu Council of America [ VHPA - http://www.vhp-america.org ] expresses its deep disappointment at the regressive step by Harvard University, in choosing to drop Dr. Subramanian Swamy's courses this summer; apparently under pressure from a few faculty members, ideologically opposed to Dr. Swamy.
In the year 2011, it was heartening to see Harvard University, uphold its finest tradition of intellectual rigor and freedom of expression, (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/8/6/harvard-swamy-summer-school), when they refused to capitulate to calls for the dismissal of Dr. Swamy, for publicly castigating Islamic extremism.
But the recent flip-flop by the University, and its decision to remove Dr. Swamy from its faculty, causes concern on the following account -
1) It does not appear, that the University approached Dr. Swamy for his response to the allegations levelled against him. Is such a gesture, too much to expect that from a premier institution standing for freedom of speech?
2) In the Crimson article, fellow faculty members charge Dr Swamy of 'racism' and justify his dismissal. The article (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/12/7/faculty-final-meeting/) mentions, “Swamy’s position [on disenfranchisement] is like saying Jewish Americans and African Americans should not be allowed to vote unless they acknowledge the supremacy of white Anglo Saxon Protestants,” said History Professor Sugata Bose.
Albeit, Dr. Swamy wrote in his article (http://www.dnaindia.com/ analysis/analysis_how-to-wipe- out-islamic-terror_1566203-all):
“India, ie, Bharat, ie, Hindustan, is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives)”.
Based on the content of the article, how is Dr. Swamy’s call to uphold the supremacy of the Indian Constitution, over the Quran or any other Pan-Islamic super-identity, comparable to racism or amount to racial discrimination?
If anything, Dr Swamy’s article highlights the historical fact, that both Hindu and Muslim ethnicities of the Indian subcontinent, have a common Hindu ancestry (and Hindu religion is a set of Universal philosophies, with no connotation to any individual "race"). His op-ed in DNA actually does not advocate anything extra-judicial, that has not been discussed before, in the political discourse of India. If anything, his op-ed echoes the frustration of the average Indian, who is subjected to relentless attacks by Islamic terrorists, and who is treated as a second-class citizen in Kashmir, under the provisions of Article 370, that Dr Swamy is critical of.
Thus, the opinion expressed by Diana Eck, Sugata Bose, among others, only offers one particular perspective in favor of the Islamists, on this issue.
We the undersigned, join the World Hindu Council (VHPA) in registering that, this latest decision by Harvard University is only going to strengthen the extremists and their apologists, especially in the Indian sub-continent. More importantly, Dr. Swamy has the right to freedom of speech, on political issues. We hope that the University will re-evaluate its decision and re-instate Dr. Swamy in keeping with its time honored tradition of intellectual probity.
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