Pune Uni Cancels ‘Gold Medal Only For Veg Students’ Order Post Row

Pune University had earlier said that only vegetarians and teetotallers are worthy of gold medals.

3 min read
Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) initially said gold medals would only be given to vegetarian and teetotaler students.

Following uproar, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) on 11 November junked a circular which stated that only vegetarian and teetotaller students will be considered for gold medals - given by a yoga trust at the university’s annual convocation.

"We have withdrawn the 10-year-old circular after objections were raised from various quarters.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 sponsored the two gold medals) 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 two gold medals instituted out of the Shelar Family's endowment.

A Decade-Old Circular

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

The gold medal award was constituted in the name of Yog Maharshi Ramchandra Gopal Shelar, alias Shelar Mama, for non-science streams postgraduate students.

According to the seventh point in the circular, the varsity cited one of the criteria that the student should be "vegetarian and teetotaller".

Besides that, the circular added that the student should believe in Indian culture, tradition and practise all these values in his daily life and should be versatile in activities like dance, singing, eloquence and theatre. "Student who practises yoga and pranayama and meditation will be given preference," reads the notice.

The news created a stir across Pune among students and citizens alike.

Unless you are a vegetarian or teetotaller, you will not be eligible for a gold medal, says Pune University.
Unless you are a vegetarian or teetotaller, you will not be eligible for a gold medal, says Pune University.
(Photo Courtesy:

Shaligram told news agency PTI that the content in the circular is old as the gold medal was constituted in the name of Shelar Mama in 2006. "Since the gold medal is given every year, the circular is re-issued every year and the content of the circular remains same and only the date changes,” he said.

As far as setting up the terms and conditions in the circular, the varsity has nothing to do with this as the terms and conditions in the circular were not drafted by the university. 
SPPU resgistrar 

Politicians Lash Circular

In a series of tweets, Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray wondered if it was a varsity or a restaurant. "This diktat should be withdrawn. Focus on studies instead. Rather than bothering about who eats what, pay attention to how students will get jobs," Aaditya wrote.

"I agree that the criterion should specify that a student should not have any vices. But 'only vegetarian' criterion is incomprehensible. Are you running a university or have you opened a restaurant? Give a gold medal to those who issued this diktat and dismiss them" he tweeted.

Supriya Sule, MP and daughter of Sharad Pawar, tweeted saying that she was shocked by this new rule implemented by an institution as reputed as Pune University.

(With inputs from PTI)

(This story has been updated to reflect the university’s move to cancel the order after it sparked a controversy)

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