After uproar, Pune varsity removes vegetarian condition for gold medallist

Pune, Nov 11 (IANS): Following an uproar, the Savitribai Phule Pune University on Saturday junked a 10-year-old circular stipulating that a gold medalist must be "a vegetarian, free of any vices", said a top varsity official.

"We have withdrawn the 10-year-old circular after objections were raised from various quarters. Now we shall write to the Shelar family (which had endowed the medal) to drop this particular stipulation," Registrar Arvind Shaligram told IANS.

He added that in case the family doesn't agree to the request, then the university would be compelled to initiate the process to cancel the gold medal instituted out of the Shelar Family's endowment.

"We have many other gold medals that can be given to the students and none of them have such a condition," said Shaligram.

The 2006 circular was issued for an endowment of Rs 120,000, received from the Shelar family for instituting two gold medals to be awarded to the varsity's two top students in the science faculty.

Among the criteria imposed were the winners must be "vegetarians, and free of any kind of vices", which recently came to the fore and was highlighted in local media and political circles.

The gold medals were: "Yoga Maharishi Rashtriya Kirtankar Ramchandra Gopal Shelar alias Shelar Mama" gold medal for excellence in Science, and another after his wife, titled, "Tyagmurti Smt. Saraswati Ramchandra Shelar Gold Medal", again for the science faculty.

The other conditions included the winners to possess "traditional thinking, follow Indian culture in his/her daily life, should practice meditation, Yoga and Pranayanam, should have bagged maximum awards in different Indian and western sports/games".

The winners must have "excelled in singing, dancing, drama and oratory, must have participated in AIDS awareness programmes, environment protection and anti-pollution drives, donated blood, must be in the top two ranks in SSC, HSC and graduation levels", are some of the other criteria.

To a query on how the past winners were verified to be genuinely "vegetarians and free of vices", Shaligram said it may have been done through the application process and at the interview stage, but declined to comment on how authentic was the outcome.

Several local organisations, individuals and the Aam Aadmi Party had opposed the circular as being "discriminatory" and threatened to launch an agitation against the university.

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Comment on this article

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Bengaluru/Katapadi

    Sun, Nov 12 2017

    Really meaningless and nonsense clause which is good removed to clear of the ambiguity

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohammed, Kundapur/Qatar

    Sat, Nov 11 2017

    china and america is vegetarian country, as per bhakts logic, because they only get highest medals in any sports, but in india some people are eating non-veg outside only, some are eating on special occasions only, some are eating only egg, so how they can get gold medal ??

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Swamy, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 11 2017

    Any university should abide by the rules and regulations stipulated by the constitution and ministry of education. Now, having said that are these gold medalists eventually land in the US, UK, Australia, Canada where thier counter parts and culture of that country will be different. So is it ok to mix and adapt to new culture. In the end we all copy and implement western ideas, culture, technology, defence, education and life style. So, who is superior intellectually in spite of being non veg?????....

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Langoolacharya., Belman/Wash DC.

    Sat, Nov 11 2017

    Jossey Sir,

    Are you eligible for this 'Gold Medal' Sir???...


    DisAgree [3] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Swamy, Mangalore

    Sat, Nov 11 2017

    Depends on the purity of the gold of this university's gold medal?????

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

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