News Karnataka
Friday, June 02 2023

Gold medal only for vegetarians, teetotalers at this Pune University

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savitribhai univPune: Only students who are vegetarian and do not consume alcohol will be eligible for gold medals to be given at the Savitribai Phule Pune University.

A circular issued by the university lists 10 conditions to be eligible for the Maharishi Keertankar Shelar Mama Gold Medal, which is sponsored by a donor. Condition number seven on the circular states that a student should be a teetotaler and vegetarian to be eligible.

Other conditions listed on the circular state that the student should believe in Indian culture, tradition and practise all these values in his daily life. The student should also be versatile in activities like dancing, singing, eloquence and theatre.

“Students who practise yoga and pranayama and meditation will be given preference,” reads the circular.

After facing backlash over the move from students as well as on social media, the university defended the move and said that the conditions were put forward by the sponsor of the award and the varsity does not differentiate anyone on the basis of food habits.

The medal is sponsored by the trust and family members of Yog Maharshi Ramchandra Gopal Shelar, alias Shelar Mama. It also claimed that the circular is old and re-issued every year with no change in the content. Arvind Shaligram, registrar of SPPU, said the content in the circular is old as the gold medal was constituted in the name of Shelar Mama in 2006.

“The varsity has nothing to do with the terms and conditions in the circular. All these terms and conditions were drafted and given to varsity by the trust of Yog Maharshi Shelarmama then, who wanted to constitute the gold medal in the name of the Yog Maharshi,” he clarified.

But the defence failed to pacify students, who protested on campus and burned copies of the notification. Later in the evening, the university said it will have discussions with the family members of Shelar Mama over the criterion related to diet.

Reacting to the development, Yuva Sena leader, Aaditya Thackeray wondered if it was a varsity or a restaurant. “This diktat should be withdrawn. Focus on studies instead. Rather than bothering about who eats what, pay attention to how students will get jobs,” Aaditya said.

NCP leader and MP Supriya Sule tweeted, “Shocking disappointing decision by Pune University – so proud of education in our state. What has happened to our universities? Please focus on Education not food (sic).”


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