‘Intifada’:  Kerala University authority tells student union to change name of its youth festival

Row triggers are students union of an Indian university named the youth festival Intifada
Row triggers are students union of an Indian university named the youth festival Intifada. Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Authorities of an Indian university have asked the student union not to name its annual youth festival ‘Intifada’ as the Arabic word stands for Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

University of Kerala Vice Chancellor Dr Mohanan Kunnummal asked the union to remove the word from all promotional materials including the posters and social media handles.

After the objection raised by the authorities, the festival was renamed as Kerala University Youth Festival.

The university authority objected after members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student’s wing of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, complained about the name of the festival.

The group also petitioned the Governor Arif Mohammed Khan over the issue.

The Governor is also the Chancellor of the University.

The student union in the university is currently controlled by the CPM’s Students Federation of India (SFI).

A logo of the event, which is scheduled to be held from Mar 7 to 11, was unveiled recently.

The Vice Chancellor directed the university’s registrar, the students union and the university’s department of students services to ensure compliance with the directive, and warned that failure in implementing the directive would be viewed seriously, reported The Indian Express.

“The festival is not a place for any protest. The students union had committed a mistake by choosing a word, which has connotations that could affect many among the students and the public. The platform of the youth festival cannot be permitted to be made a stage to propagate any type of ideology. The word ‘Intifada’ has direct links with the Palestine-Israel issue. The same can have implications on the country’s foreign policy as well,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.