New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has urged universities and colleges all over Maharashtra to encourage students to participate in celebrations commemorating the birth centenary year of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Dattaji Didolkar.
In a letter dated November 21, the statutory body said, “Late Dattaji Didolkar is an inspiration to thousands of students and youths of India. He was the founder of many social and other organisations. This year is his birth centenary year. In this regard, it is informed that from August 7, 2023 to August 7, 2024, various programmes have been planned to celebrate the birth centenary year of Shraddheya Dattaji Didolkar. The higher education institutions in the state of Maharashtra are requested to encourage the youth and students to participate in the programmes.”
The UGC’s directive to educational institutions came after Union minister Nitin Gadkari wrote to Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan stating that various programmes would be organised to remember Didolkar who was also a founding member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP). Gadkari said that a souvenir booklet was also going to be published, the Indian Express reported.
The youth wing of Shiv Sena (UBT) has objected to the UGC letter and urged its withdrawal.
Former Mumbai University senate member from Yuva Sena, Pradeep Sawant, said, “We are not against celebrating a birth centenary. But it should be done by the political party and RSS with their own funds. It should not be imposed on colleges and universities. The programme is going to be held in Nagpur. Then why are letters issued to all higher education institutions in Maharashtra?”
Amit Dhomse, head of ABVP Konkan region, said, “Dattaji Didolkar has made great contributions in social and education fields. He was at the forefront of the struggle for the construction of the Vivekananda Memorial. Celebrating the birth centenary year of such social activists has been our culture. Yuva Sena should study the educational and social contribution of Didolkar without bringing politics into anything.”