“Karenge politics, karenge pyar” – New slogan and new politics: Baidik Bhattacharya

Guest post by BAIDIK BHATTACHARYA

[While the media worked overtime to present the developments in Ramjas College and Delhi University as a clash between two student organizations and two political formations, Baidik Bhattacharya here reflects on the new kinds of politics, rooted in the everyday and in love, that found expression in the University.- AN]

On 28 February, 2017, thousands of students and teachers of Delhi University and other academic institutions of the NCR region marched across the North Campus, protesting against the recent acts of vandalism and violence at Ramjas College. As the march progressed through the winding roads, touching various colleges and departments of the university, feisty students raised several slogans to oppose the perpetrators of such violence, the student organization of the RSS—the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP. Some of these slogans were well-known, some predictable, but some were really creative. I want to briefly discuss one such creative slogan, and its implications: “Karenge politics karenge pyar, ABVP hoshiyar.” Chanted primarily by groups of women and queer activists, this innovative rendering of one’s rights across the university campuses captured some of the pressing issues that have surfaced in the last couple of years in student politics.

Continue reading ““Karenge politics, karenge pyar” – New slogan and new politics: Baidik Bhattacharya”

असहमतियाँ इस दौर में – प्रसंग जोधपुर विश्वविद्यालय : हिमांशु पंड्या

Guest post by HIMANSHU PANDYA

1-2 फरवरी को अंग्रेज़ी विभाग द्वारा आयोजित संगोष्ठी में प्रो. निवेदिता मेनन के व्याख्यान के बाद जयनारायण व्यास विश्वविद्यालय सुर्ख़ियों में है. विश्वविद्यालय में घट रहे विवाद को देखकर लग रहा है कि एक साल पहले की सारी कहानी ज्यों की त्यों दोहराई जा रही है. एक साल पहले उदयपुर में सुखाडिया विश्वविद्यालय में हुए व्याख्यान के बाद भी यही सब हुआ था. अफवाहें, तथ्यों का गलत सलत प्रस्तुतीकरण, मनगढ़ंत आरोप और तत्काल सजा. फ़र्क यह है कि इस बार हमले की तीव्रता और फैसले की हड़बड़ी ज्यादा है.

सबसे पहले उन बिन्दुओं पर चर्चा कर लें, जो आरोप की शक्ल में जोर जोर से दोहराए जा रहे हैं.

प्रो. मेनन के व्याख्यान पर मुख्य आरोप यह है कि उन्होंने देश का नक्शा ‘उल्टा’ दिखाकर राष्ट्र का अपमान किया. जिस बात को इतना बड़ा हौव्वा बनाकर पेश किया जा रहा है, वह एक सामान्य सा अकादमिक अभ्यास है, जो दुनिया भर में मान्य है. दुनिया गोल है और नक़्शे में उत्तर-दक्षिण-पूर्व-पश्चिम सिर्फ हमारी संकल्पनाएँ हैं. उत्तर आधुनिक विचारकों द्वारा पूर्व पश्चिम के द्वैत को बरसों पहले खारिज किया जा चुका है. उत्तर औपनिवेशिक इतिहास लेखन की एक सम्पूर्ण धारा है जो यूरोकेंद्रित इतिहास दृष्टि को खारिज करके नई सोच के साथ इतिहास को देखने की कोशिश करती आयी है. (और इस धारा में गैर मार्क्सवादी ही नहीं, दक्षिणपंथी रुझान वाले इतिहासकार भी शामिल हैं) इसी क्रम में नक्शों के यूरोकेंद्रित होने को चिह्नित करते हुए न मालूम कितने प्रयोग हुए हैं. आप एक लेख से इसकी झलक पा सकते हैं. (1) और तो और, आप चाहें तो उल्टा नक्शा अमेज़न पर जाकर खरीद भी सकते हैं. (2) सिर्फ उल्टा ही नहीं, ग्रीनविच रेखा की केन्द्रीय स्थिति (यानी यूरोप की केन्द्रीय स्थिति) को बदलकर या ध्रुवों के परिप्रेक्ष्य से दुनिया को देखकर या और भी अनेक तरीकों से भूगोलवेत्ता नक़्शे को बनाते और प्रदर्शित करते रहे हैं. उदाहरण के लिए यूनाइटेड नेशंस का लोगो जिस पद्धति का अनुसरण करता है वह सरल भाषा में ‘पोलर मैप’ कहा जा सकता है.

यू एन का लोगो

यू एन का लोगो

वैसे आपका नक्शा जैसा भी हो, जो चाहे उसे आयताकार फैला दे पर दुनिया गोल ही है और भारत के विश्वविद्यालय, मध्ययुगीन चर्च नहीं हैं.

सबसे मजेदार बात यह है कि जो विवादित चित्र प्रो. मेनन ने अपने व्याख्यान के दौरान दिखाया, वह NCERT की कक्षा 12 की किताब में एक दशक से है, अभी भी है और उसे देश भर के लाखों शिक्षक और विद्यार्थी रोज देखते हैं. और तो और एक साल पहले तक यही किताब हमारे अपने राजस्थान पाठ्य पुस्तक मंडल की किताब भी थी और इस तरह हमारे राज्य में भी लाखों शिक्षक-विद्यार्थी इस नक़्शे को देखते आये हैं. अंग्रेज़ी-हिन्दी दोनों पुस्तकों का पेज नं 150 देख लीजिये. अंग्रेज़ी वाला हमारे दोस्त ने उपलब्ध करवा दिया है. Continue reading “असहमतियाँ इस दौर में – प्रसंग जोधपुर विश्वविद्यालय : हिमांशु पंड्या”

Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat

STOP HARASSMENT OF DR RAJSHREE RANAWAT, STOP MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST HER AND REVOKE HER SUSPENSION

It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashree Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur, has been suspended by her university for having supposedly “disobeyed” the orders of the university.  The suspension letter does not mention which orders she has not obeyed.

It can therefore be concluded that Dr. Ranawat is being punished for having invited Prof. Nivedita Menon as a speaker in an academic conference which had academics and civil society workers from different disciplinary and ideological backgrounds participating in it. The conference was very successful with students and teachers interacting with outstation scholars in a free atmosphere. After its conclusion, a nasty campaign was launched by some newspapers that Prof Ranawat as organiser had provided a platform to a “controversial” person like Prof. Menon who used the occasion to malign the image of Indian soldiers, questioned the accession of Kashmir to India and insulted the integrity of India by inverting its map. Continue reading “Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat”

University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA

We are reproducing a statement issued by JNUTA on 19 February 2017, on the situation in the university and the administration’s attempts to create a crisis where there is none.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association is deeply distressed at the continuing impasse in the University. Pursuant to its appeal on 13 February to the Vice-Chancellor to initiate a dialogue with the students, JNUTA has through the last week requested a meeting with him to discuss the situation on campus, but has not even received the courtesy of a reply. It has also spoken daily to the students worried about their future and that of the university about the concerns that the teachers, staff, and officers have at restoring the smooth functioning of the University administration building. Continue reading “University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA”

After a Nuit Debout (night standing up), We Wake Up with a Political Strike: Charles Reeve

Guest post by CHARLES REEVE

[Note from Livia Bocadacce: During 2016, social movements in France and in India have been huge and tough. In both countries, youth, workers, students, oppressed people fought against governments who disregarded their desires of freedom and decent life, and have faced violent repression. But in France, we don’t hear about Indian struggles such as Una Dalits’ movement or Hyderabad and JNU students’ protests. In India, the very strong French movement of last spring, called “Nuits Debout”, has aroused very poor coverage. Because we believe we have to learn from the crossed experiences of fighting, because we refuse a globalization only based on trade and forced migrations, because we hope a globalization that could encourage the circulation of critical thinking and collectiveaction repertoire, we proposed this article on the Nuits debout to Kafila. Hoping it will generate debates and further interests. ]

Nuit Debout, image courtesy gaucherevolutionnaire.fr
Nuit Debout, image courtesy gaucherevolutionnaire.fr

After a Nuit debout (night standing up), we wake up with a political strike (1)

Living in a moment is always pleasanter than writing about it— it’s always risky to draw conclusions about situations still evolving or to speculate about what they will become. Going on for now over three months [when this post was written – AN], Nuit debout is a new kind of spontaneous, social movement along the lines of « Occupy » and Spain’s « M15 » movement. It has taken on an unanticipated size and importance, all the while developing characteristic features of French society. I won’t go back over its development or its collective spirit. The two texts already published in the May and June issues of the Brooklyn Rail, the first by Anouk Colombani and the second by Ferdinand Cazalis et Emilien Bernard (CQFD, n°143, mai 2016) have provided sufficient detail and clarity to let us grasp the essence and dynamism of these mobilizations.

Continue reading “After a Nuit Debout (night standing up), We Wake Up with a Political Strike: Charles Reeve”

The Indian Newspaper Industry – Response to Times of India Editorial: JAC for Implementation of Majithia Wage Board

The following is a response by M J Pandey on behalf of the JOINT ACTION COMMITTEE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF MAJITHIA WAGE BOARD, to a Times of India editorial calling for “reasonable tax and labour policies”.

With reference to the unsigned editorial ‘Indian Newspaper industry: Red Ink splashed across the bottom line’ (Times of India, Jan 19, 2017), a case is being made out for concessions to the newspaper industry on the grounds that it is in the doldrums and is beleaguered by various burdens, including that of wage board wages, GST, DAVP, etc.

Without mentioning the recent illegal closure of six editions of The Hindustan Times as the obvious peg for this, the editorial seeks a range of concessions – from a part-discontinuance of the wage board for newspaper employees, to subsidies on advertising and tax.

Clearly, what the newspaper industry has lost in judicial review, it is now seeking to stealthily recoup through administrative fiat.

Under the fig leaf of “freedom of speech”, the editorial makes a number of indefensible propositions. However, we will confine ourselves to the empiricial terrain of the Wage Boards and wish to make the following points:

That a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam had on Feb 7, 2014 (ABP Pvt Ltd and Anr vs Union of India and Ors), upheld ‘the constitutional validity of the Act and the Amendment Act, 1974’ (referring to the Working Journalists Act, 1955) and rejected the contention of improper constitution of the Wage Boards, irregularity in the procedure adopted by the Majithia Wage Board and that Majithia Wage Boards had overlooked the relevant aspects and considered extraneous factors while drafting the recommendations.

Continue reading “The Indian Newspaper Industry – Response to Times of India Editorial: JAC for Implementation of Majithia Wage Board”

EFLU Defamation Case Against Students – Statement by Concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals

Statement by Concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals Following the Court Sentence on the EFLU Defamation Case

We the undersigned wish to express our grave concern over the fact that five senior students of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), who were raising the issue of discrimination against SC and ST students in the EFLU’s Department of German, have on 13/12/2016 been charged with defamation of a professor and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.  Their protests concerned Sreeramulu M, a ST student enrolled in the BA programme of EFLU’s German Department. Sreermulu had not been allowed to continue in the programme ostensibly for his failure to maintain grades.  The others who have been sentenced are office bearers of associations representing such marginalized students; they were speaking at a Press Meet held on 24/12/2012 after Sreeramulu, who had been trying for several months to be allowed to continue his course and avail remedial classes, went on fast.  The defamation case was filed in March 2013.  Two SC/ST atrocities complaints filed by Sreeramulu M and again by another student, Ranjan Kumar, in January 2013 are pending with the Police and are yet to be investigated.

The countrywide discussion raised through the struggles following Rohith Vemula’s death in January 2016 drew public attention to the extent of caste discrimination in our universities.  SC, ST, OBC and minority students figure disproportionately in the statistics for failure, drop out, expulsion, rustication and even suicide. Educational institutions and those who run them (teachers and administrators) have been forced to acknowledge that they are implicated in this terrible attrition of young citizens and know they must initiate reforms. Yet, far too little is being done to discuss this evidence, rethink rules, temper teachers’ attitudes, reform syllabi or challenge ideas of merit that discriminate against the marginalized.  A teacher’s job is to help the actual students in the classroom to learn; not to uphold abstract standards of merit.  From the courts, the underprivileged expect humane recognition of the inequities of their predicament and wise support for their cause. But what they have received is a demoralizing and intimidating signal. Continue reading “EFLU Defamation Case Against Students – Statement by Concerned Academics and Public Intellectuals”