Kritika Sharma and Rahul Sampal

New Delhi: The Maharashtra Institute of Technology World Peace University (MIT-WPU) has announced a donation of Rs 21 crore for the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

The private university was established by the MIT Group of Institutes, which runs several other education institutions in the state. MIT Pune became MIT-WPU in 2017 under the Government of Maharashtra Act.

According to the university’s statement, the amount of Rs 21 crore was contributed with support from the MIT-WPU (Pune), MIT Art, Design & Technology University (Loni Kalbhor), Avantika University (Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh), India International Multiversity (Pune) as well as 75,000 students and 5,000 teachers and other staff from MAEER’S MIT Group of Institutions.

An official note from MIT-WPU read: “For the sacred work of constructing the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is the spiritual capital of India, MAEER’S MIT World Peace University, Pune will contribute Rs 21 crores.”

Swami Govind Dev Giri, treasurer of Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust that is overseeing the temple construction, told ThePrint that MIT-WPU is the only education institution to have announced a donation so far.

“MIT has only announced to make the donation so far, they have not donated the money yet. Apart from them, no other education institution has come forward to donate money. Going forward, we will make an appeal to the society, including students and organisations to donate to us,” he said.

Founder and president of MIT-WPU, Dr Vishwanath D. Karad, in his statement said the money was being donated to carry out work in the name of 13th century saint Dnyaneshwar and 17th century saint Tukaram Maharaj, both from Maharashtra.

According to Dr Karad’s bio, he is a believer in Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy and is following his pursuit of “promoting value-based education”. A university statement claims that the institute aligns itself with Swami Vivekananda’s message that in the 21st century, India will rise as a Vishwaguru and guide the world towards happiness, satisfaction and peace.

The university has names like eminent scientists Raghunath Mashelkar and Vijay Bhatkar on its advisory board.

Calls for more donations

Meanwhile, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has been appealing to people to donate towards the construction of the temple.

The foundation stone for the temple was laid last week, marking the start of the construction. The temple is expected to cost “several hundred” crores of rupees though no official estimates have been made public yet. The trust currently has just over Rs 15 crore in its corpus.

The VHP has started a campaign through its Facebook page, urging people to make donations.

Dr Surendra Jain, central joint general secretary of VHP, told ThePrint, “We have already appealed to the various sections of society to donate for the construction of Ram Temple. We cannot keep making separate appeals to education institutions and others. We have not appealed to any education institution for donation so far.”

A senior source from Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh said that it has also not made any appeals for donation and that any such appeal will be made only by the temple trust.

This story first appeared on August 10, 2020 in ‘The Printhere.