Published: 06th September 2019
DUSU elections 2019: NSUI and left parties spar over whether Mangal Pandey was a drug addict - or not
The pamphlet from 2018 has started doing rounds in 2019 too, a little before the DUSU elections. The elections will be held on September 12
The members of the left-leaning student organisation in the University of Delhi were surprised to see a certain pamphlet doing the rounds in the campus, a few days before the DU Students' Union polls. Allegedly distributed by the Congress affiliated NSUI, the year-old pamphlet makes a series of allegations against the left organisations - ending with one about a certain Indian soldier called Mangal Pandey, about whom Aamir Khan even made a movie.
"They promote casteism. They compare everything with caste and backwardness," reads the pamphlet. This is just one of the allegations. It also says that these organisations alter syllabi and curriculums and spread the leftist ideology through books. The example that they have cited here suggests that Mangal Pandey was alive in 1957, 10 years post Independence. "He was a hero of the '1957' revolution. But they termed him a drug addict[sic]," it says.
The left activists are also called Urban Naxals, they are said to be backed by separatists and are accused of promoting violence. Recently, the NSUI manifesto created a lot of hue and cry for accusing the ABVP of spending Rs 22 Lakh from DUSU fund on tea and for offering movie tickets.
The left organisations, on the other hand, called all the allegations baseless. "I do not understand NSUI's politics. Sometimes, they try to act like revolutionaries by blackening Savarkar's bust. But then, mostly, they try to act like the ABVP," says Varkey Parakkal, an SFI Delhi State Committee member. "Also, we never called Mangal Pandey a drug addict anywhere. I do not know where any of this is coming from," he says.
However, the NSUI has staunchly said that the pamphlet wasn't their creation.
The other side of Mangal Pandey?
Is there any truth to the claim? The base of the argument that calls Mangal Pandey a drug addict can be attributed to a University of Hawaii at Mānoa thesis submitted by Richard Forster. The paper is titled 'Mangal Pandey: A drug-crazed fanatic or canny revolutionary?' A web portal called velivada says, "Mangal Pandey was a drug addict, had no sense of revolt or freedom for India, acted more to preserve caste purity and religion."