Chennai: Retired Major General G.D. Bakshi’s speech on “Rise of the Indian Army and National Security” at the IIT-Madras on Thursday in which he tore into Pakistan and its army has stoked a controversy with a section of students terming it as “hate mongering” and “provocative”.
The retired army veteran, who is known for his fiery and aggressive stand against Pakistan for its “anti-India activities”, spoke in detail about how the neighbouring country and its army has been “back stabbing” the Indian establishment every now and then on false promises of containing terror emanating from its soil.
He also reportedly spoke about ‘tit-for-tat’ to teach a lesson to the Pakistan establishment. A day after Independence Day lecture organised by Extra Mural Lectures (EML) was delivered, an M.Tech student of the prestigious institute wrote to the director registering “strong protest” against Bakshi’s speech alleging that it was infusing “hatred and enmity towards people of neighbouring countries.”
“The level of hatred in his speech was going out of proportions when he said, and I quote, “In our generation, we split Pakistan into two. Your generation should split it into four. Only then we can live in peace. The underlying implication behind his constant call to “give tit-for-tat” was for calling out students to take up violent aggressiveness as their strategy,” the student Abhinav Surya said.
As Major General Bakshi stood by his speech saying there was nothing wrong in what he said about Pakistan and its continuous anti-India activities, IIT-Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi tried to wash his hands off the controversy saying the administration was not involved in organising the lecture and left it to the EML core to deal with the issue.
“The students’ group had organised this lecture and they decide who they want to invite. If we try to interfere then they would say we are censoring and controlling. They inform me only when they invite constitutional functionaries because I have to receive them. Otherwise, IIT Madras administration is not involved in these lectures,” Mr Ramamurthi told DC He also said he has requestioned the EML to look into the complaint to see if any legal boundaries were crossed with regard to incitement to violence.
“No public speaker, E ML or otherwise, can cross these. It’s up to the E ML core to decide what is the width of the spectrum of views the students want to hear, contest, debate,” he said in his email reply to the students.
The student claimed that Maj Gen Bakshi mocked and insulted the freedom movement and credited only the Indian National Army with securing independence.
A student member of the EML said, “It is just an allegation made by one student and there are other views about the lecture as well.” “We will soon upload the video or the transcription of the lecture. We just organise lectures, contact the speaker and take care of the logistics. There’s nothing beyond it,” he said.