Dr Firoze Khan, whose appointment as assistant professor in the Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan (SVDV) faculty of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) triggered protests by students, has now applied for teaching posts in the Sanskrit Department of the varsity’s Faculty of Arts in the hope of ending the ongoing impasse.
Khan, a PhD holder in Sanskrit, has also applied for the post of assistant professor in the university’s Faculty of Ayurveda.
Sources close to the Jaipur-based professor said that if selected, he would quit from the SVDV faculty. He is keen to teach in the Faculty of Arts as the students of SVDV have said that they have no problem with Khan, a Muslim, teaching there, they said.
The students of SVDV who opposed the appointment of Khan had said on multiple occasions that they did not find a Muslim fit to teach them about Sanatan Dharma and Karmkaand, as he was not connected with their culture.
Khan had joined the SVDV faculty on November 7, but could not conduct a single class as the students staged a dharna.
Last week, he went on leave and returned to his home in Rajasthan.
The protesting students called off their sit-in protest on Friday following a written assurance from the university administration that it would answer their questions. The students, however, said that they would continue to boycott classes and may even resume their agitation if the BHU administration fails to answer their questions in 10 days.
“Firoze Khan is not much interested in teaching in Ayurveda faculty because it will be like deviating from his field of interest and his area of expertise. Also, the books he would have to teach there are not enough as Sanskrit literature in Ayurveda is not that rich when compared to the other department. However, if he is selected in the Faculty of Arts, he will then resign from the SVDV,” said a source close to Khan.
The department of Samhita and Sanskrit of the Faculty of Ayurveda deals with study of classical texts (Samhitas) of Ayurveda, their scientific exploration and validation.
The Sanskrit Department of the Faculty of Arts, on the other hand, deals with oriental learning, culture, philosophy and thought of both Vedic and classical Sanskrit literature.
“It includes teaching and research of traditional Sanskrit texts, covering various domains like the Vedas, the Indian philosophy, Sanskrit grammar and linguistics, classical Sanskrit and poetics,” said a professor.
According to SVDV faculty website, the syllabus of Sahitya Department of SVDV — where Firoze is currently appointed as an assistant professor — include the study of Kavya Pradhan, Alankar Pradhan and Natya Pradhan.
The recommendation sheet for the post in Ayurveda faculty showed that Firoze has topped among the shortlisted candidates with 86.75 score.
A group of former professors of SVDV faculty and Sanskrit scholars had recently written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking their intervention to cancel Khan’s appointment.