After drawing fierce criticism from students and on social media for banning Holi celebrations on campus, the Banaras Hindu University has revoked the order. On Saturday, March 4, the Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi issued an order stating that in view of the response received on social media and other media platforms, the University has withdrawn its previous order banning the celebration of the Hindu festival on campus.
The order issued by the university’s chief proctor Professor Abhimanyu Singh urged students to celebrate the festival of colours with due dignity in a cordial atmosphere.
Not just the BHU administration revoked the ban on the Holi celebration, but they also proudly shared images of the festival celebrated on campus. The official Twitter handle of the Banaras Hindu University shared a compilation of photographs from the university campus showing students celebrating the festival of colour.
Glimpses of students immersed in the colours of joy and exuberance as they play #Holi!#CampusLife #BHU #HoliInBHU #Holi2023 #BHUCampus #BanarasHinduUniversity #HappyHoli @VCofficeBHU @registrarbhu pic.twitter.com/xoKK3V2Ofb
— BHU Official (@bhupro) March 4, 2023
Banaras Hindu University prohibited students from celebrating Holi inside the campus
On 28th February 2023, the Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi issued an order prohibiting students from celebrating Holi inside the campus. The university administration said that action will be taken against those who defy this order.
In a circular issued on 28th February 2023, the university’s chief proctor Professor Abhimanyu Singh said, “All the teachers, staff and students of Kashi Hindu University campus are informed that playing Holi, making noise, playing music in public places on the campus is completely prohibited. In this regard, all directors, faculty heads, and administrative patrons are requested to take administrative action against those who do so. Make the students aware of this fact and ensure necessary action in such a situation.”
The festival of colours is a major Hindu festival and the decision by the university administration triggered massive outrage among the students and on social media. People also pointed out that the same Banaras Hindu University had organised an Iftat party year.
On Thursday, 3rd March 2023, students, however, defied the ban and celebrated Holi on campus and in individual hostels. According to reports, the students celebrated the festival by playing music on DJ systems, throwing colours, tearing clothes, and pushing each other in water and mud. Film songs, folk songs and Bhojpuri songs were played at high volume. Students of the Faculty of Visual Arts celebrated Holi in a pool filled with water, while at Madhuban, male students tore shirts and kurtas of each other. Amid the fun, they also protested against the admin, and the celebrations were more intense due to the ban order.
BHU organised Iftar party, students had alleged that it was an attempt at Islamisation of the University
It is notable that on 26th April 2022, BHU Vice-Chancellor Professor Sudhir Jain organized an Iftar party on the campus, triggering protests from students. In the Muslim month of Ramzan, an Iftar party was organized on the campus of Women’s College, where the Vice-Chancellor and several professors had participated, and fasting professors joined the students to open their fast.
Following the party, the students of the Banaras Hindu University held protests outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Professor Sudhir Jain. Alleging that it was an attempt at Islamisation of the University, they demanded an apology from the VC as they held banners and raised slogans in protest.
However, the university defended the decision, saying that this happens every year.