Hail the Students’ Struggle for its Victory in the Battle against Corporate Publishers : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative (Delhi Chapter)

On 9 March 2017 three well-established academic corporate publishing houses, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis withdrew their copyright suit filed in the High Court against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Shop, a shop stationed at the Delhi School of Economics campus in Delhi University licensed by the University to carry out photocopying work. The suit that was filed in August 2012 on the grounds that photocopying material from books published by the above three publishers by university students, particularly in the compilation of coursepacks, constituted copyright infringement and revenue loss to the publishers. Right from the beginning it was clear this case was treated as a test case to instate a licensing regime, much like one that exists in the US and other First World countries.
Being the absolute primary constituency to be impacted by such a case and its possible outcomes, students of Delhi University were amongst the first to take up the battle against some of the most powerful publishing houses in academia. The ‘Campaign to Save D.School Photocopy Shop’ soon became the ‘Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge’ (ASEAK), reflecting the growing politicisation of the student community on the issue of the knowledge commons in order to resist an increasing attempt across the world to create a market out of it where it didn’t as yet exist. This can be seen in the case of Costa Rica as well where there was an attempt to make photocopying illegal, a move that was successfully opposed on a massive scale by students.
The students of Delhi University, organised as ASEAK, opposed the move through a range of mechanisms, mobilising students from class to class, organising public meetings, taking out protest rallies, campaigning against these publishers at the annual World Book Fair held in New Delhi, influencing public opinion through writing in newspapers, and last but not the least, taking up the legal battle in the courts. NSI hails the struggle of the students that brought to the centre of the debate questions of equity and justice within the arena of production and distribution of knowledge resources, challenging the private property regime sought to be implemented in the sphere of knowledge production by these big academic corporate publishing houses. 
For the last few years the primary site of the battle has been in the High Court at New Delhi. The publishers have received repeated blow after blow in this process as well, leading to their final withdrawal of the suit altogether. The win is a big victory and testament to the struggle of the students, backed by a legal team that has been seminal to the victory, along with support from the academic community. The case, that attempted to strike a ‘balance’ between private profits of the publishers and the rights of students to access materials in the pursuit of their education, has dealt a blow to precisely such a misconception that the two ‘interests’ are in fact of equal concern.
Along with students, who assert their right over the materials they access as part of their fundamental right to education, scholars, often the authors of these materials, have equally come out to state that there is no better reward for their work as intellectuals, as to be read by as many students as can get hold of their work, photocopied or otherwise. The emphasis of the corporate publishers in asserting absolute ownership over the works they publish, in a rare instance where the labour of writing a book is provided at no cost to the publishers, borne by universities, students’ fees and taxpayers’ money instead, is shameful and needs to be rejected at all cost.
NSI congratulates the students, lawyers, academics and concerned citizens who persisted in their resistance against the bullying tactics of big academic corporate publishing houses and calls on the academic community to engage with new ways of producing and sharing knowledge so as to create equitable, just and democratic structures of knowledge production.
EDUCATION OVER COPYRIGHT! KNOWLEDGE OVER PROFIT!

Deendayal in Government Schools : Neglecting Education, Indoctrinating Exclusion

चित्र परिणाम

(Photo courtesy : livehindustan.com, From left to right – Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyay and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, . Photo taken in Mathura during Goraksha/Cow Protection movement, 1965)

“DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA is to the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to Congress” opined R. Balashankar, former editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s (RSS) organ Organiser and now a member of the BJP’s central committee, on Prasikhshan Maha Abhiyan

(The Indian Express,; September 24, 2016).

Cows inhale, exhale oxygen, says Rajasthan education minister Vasudev Devnani

(http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/cows-inhale-exhale-oxygen-says-rajasthan-education-minister-vasudev-devnani/articleshow/56612529.cms)

Rajaram (name changed) Principal of a school near Jaipur, Rajasthan is a worried man.

An honest teacher all his life, is not able to comprehend the rationale behind the recent order by the state education ministry asking every secondary and senior secondary school to purchase collected works of Deendayal Upadhyay Continue reading “Deendayal in Government Schools : Neglecting Education, Indoctrinating Exclusion”

Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto

radhika vemula के लिए चित्र परिणाम

(Photo Courtesy : indiatoday.intoday.in, Photo Illustration by Saurabh Singh)

..The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote.  To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust.  In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

..My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

(Excerpts from Rohith Vemula’s suicide note)

 

The middle of this month would witness a different type of Yatra on the streets of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Neither it would be led by high profile leaders – who have the aura of Z plus security with them – nor it would be undertaken in an ultramodern bus – fitted with latest facilities and which could even be used as podium for a public meeting.

It would be taken out on a blue pickup truck renamed Bhim Auto and would be led by a fifty year old woman Radhika Vemula  along with her son Raja demanding justice for her elder son Rohith. During this Yatra Radhika intends to visit one Velivada ( Dalit hamlet) after other in these two states to tell people how castiest forces are hell bent upon denying dalits their due rights and how justice is still being denied to her son who committed suicide because of the machinations of such people. (http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/search/?q=rohith+vemula). She would also communicate to them that not only the ruling dispensation at the centre led by BJP but the state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been callous towards the plight of the Dalits and have joined hands to deny justice to her son. Not some time ago the government of Andhra Pradesh had made outrageous statements about Rohith not being dalit and earlier in February had demanded that Radhika ‘prove’ that she is Dalit in 15 days. Continue reading “Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto”

‘नफरत के गुरूजी’

गोलवलकर के महिमामंडन से उठते प्रश्न

pov-bhagwat-in-betul-jail-where-golwalkar-was-imprisoned

संघ के सुप्रीमो जनाब मोहन भागवत की सूबा मध्य प्रदेश की बैतुल की यात्रा पिछले दिनों सूर्खियों में रही, जहां वह हिन्दू सम्मेलन को संबोधित करने पहुंचे थे। सूर्खियों की असली वजह रही बैतुल जेल की उनकी भेंट जहां वह उस बैरक में विशेष तौर पर गए, जहां संघ के सुप्रीमो गोलवलकर कुछ माह तक बन्द रहे।  इस यात्रा की चन्द तस्वीरें भी शाया हुई हैं। इसमें वह दीवार पर टंगी गोलवलकर की तस्वीर का अभिवादन करते दिखे हैं। फोटो यह भी उजागर करता है कि भागवत के अगल बगल जेल के अधिकारी बैठै हैं।

विपक्षी पार्टियों ने – खासकर कांग्रेस ने – इस बात पर भी सवाल उठाया था कि आखिर किस हैसियत से उन्हें जेल के अन्दर जाने दिया गया। उनके मुताबिक यह उस गोलवलकर को महिमामंडित करने का प्रयास  है, जिसे ‘एक प्रतिबंधित संगठन के सदस्य होने के नाते गिरफ्तार किया गया था। यह जेल मैनुअल का उल्लंघन भी है। केवल कैदी के ही परिजन एवं दोस्त ही जेल परिसर में जा सकते हैं और वह भी वहां जाने से पहले जेल प्रबंधन की अनुमति लेने जरूरी है।’

गौरतलब है कि संघ के तत्कालीन सुप्रीमो गोलवलकर की यह पहली तथा अंतिम गिरफतारी आज़ाद हिन्दोस्तां में गांधी हत्या के बाद हुई थी, जब संघ पर पाबन्दी लगायी गयी थी। प्रश्न उठता है कि आखिर गोलवलकर के इस कारावास प्रवास को महिमामंडित करके जनाब भागवत ने क्या संदेश देना चाहा।

( For full text of the article click here :https://hindi.sabrangindia.in/article/nafrat-ke-guruji-subhash-gathade

भक्तों दा जवाब नहीं! गांधीजी का ‘विलोपन’- तीन ‘आसान’ किश्तों में

.जो शख्स तुम से पहले यहाँ तख़्त नशीन था….
उसको भी खुदा होने पे इतना ही यकीन था

– हबीब जालिब

Modi Bhakt

भक्तगणों का – अर्थात वही बिरादरी जो ढ़ाई साल से लगातार सुर्खियों में रहती आयी है –  जवाब नहीं !

अपने आराध्य को इस कदर नवाज़ते रहते हैं गोया आनेवाली पीढ़ियों को लगने लगे कि ऐसा शख्स कभी हुआ न हो। वैसे टेक्नोलोजी की तरक्की ने उनके लिए यह बेहद आसान भी हो गया है कि वह फोटोशॉप के सहारे दिखाए कि कथित 56 इंची सीने के बलबूते वह कुछ भी कर सकते हैं।

मिसाल के तौर पर वह बाढ़ के हवाई सर्वेक्षण के लिए निकलें और धुआंधार बरसते पानी में उनकी आंखों के सामने समूचा शहर नमूदार हो जाए। यह अलग बात है कि उनकी इस कवायद में कई बार उनके इस हीरो की हालत हिन्दुओं के एक पवित्रा कहे जाने वाले एक ग्रंथ में नमूदार होते नारद जैसी हो बना दी जाती है, जिसे इस बात का गुमान ही न हो कि उसने कैसा रूप धारण किया है और उनका यह आराध्य दुनिया भर में अपने आप को मज़ाक का निशाना बना दे।

हम याद कर सकते हैं अमेरिका के तत्कालीन राष्ट्रपति ओबामा की अगवानी का प्रसंग जब दिन में तीन तीन बार ड्रेस बदलने या अपना खुद का नाम अंकित किया दस लाख या करोड़ रूपए का सूट पहनने की उनके आराध्य की कवायद विश्व मीडिया में सूर्खियांे में रही, उसका जबरदस्त मज़ाक उड़ा और इसी दौरान मीडिया ने इस तथ्य को उजागर किया था कि इसके पहले ऐसी आत्ममुग्धता भरी हरकत मिस्त्र के अपदस्थ तानाशाह होसनी मुबारक ने की थी।

( For full text of the article click here :https://sabrangindia.in/article/modi-bhakt-and-mahatma-gandhi-subhash-gathade)

Buying into Demonetisation- the Popular Ideological Receptors of Creeping Fascism: Sanjay Kumar

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

The withdrawal of eighty six percent of currency notes by the Modi government has been an administrative fiasco. It is clear that little economic thought, and only a political urge has gone into the exercise. Informal sector of the economy, which accounts for 80% of the employment and 40% of the national output, has suffered short to medium term damage. All cash dependent transactions, wages, wholesale and retail trade, agricultural purchase and sale, are at a crawl. Workers are not getting wages, factories are closing, mandis are empty. Crores of young and old working people are spending hours in queues at banks and ATMs to withdraw their own money now gone scarce.  Press reports count more than eighty deaths. Parliament of the country is in a limbo, because the prime minister thinks it below his worth to reply to charges by the opposition party MPs. While ordinary people are suffering, the Nero like rulers are trumpeting the arrival of the nirvana of a cash less economy as the answer to India’s economic ills.

Even while Mr Modi’s government is solely responsible for this needless and widespread suffering, it would be naive to expect an automatic popular backlash against it. The politics of the ruling party does not fit into the patronage or identity driven models of its competitors. Its closest template is fascist politics, which  is a very particular kind of authoritarianism. What distinguishes a fascist regime from other modern authoritarian regimes like military dictatorships is the popular support it is able to garner for its policies and depredations. This is achieved by carefully working upon popular anxieties, prejudices, desires and fears, and refashioning them as grounds for aggression against selected minorities, and a belief in an imminent deliverance under the personalised rule of a leader. Continue reading “Buying into Demonetisation- the Popular Ideological Receptors of Creeping Fascism: Sanjay Kumar”

परवेज हुदभॉय क्यों चिन्तित हैं ?

Image result for pervez hoodbhoy quotes

परवेज हुदभॉय (Pervez Hoodbhoy) भारतवासियों के लिए अपरिचित नाम नहीं है!

जानेमाने भौतिकीविद और मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता के अलावा उनकी पहचान एक ऐसे सार्वजनिक बुद्धिजीवी के तौर पर है जिनके अन्दर बुनियादपरस्त ताकतों से लोहा लेने का माददा है। पाकिस्तान में इस्लामीकरण की बढ़ती आंधी में वह ऐसे शख्स के तौर पर नमूदार होते हैं, जो सहिष्णुता, तर्कशीलता, की बात पर जोर देते रहते हैं। नाभिकीय हथियारों से लैस दोनों पड़ोसी मुल्कों में आपस में अमन चैन कायम हो इसके लिए आवाज़ बुलंद करते रहते हैं।

पिछले दिनों ‘डॉन’ अख़बार में लिखे अपने नियमित स्तंभ में उन्होंने पाठयपुस्तकों के माध्यम से प्रचारित किए जा रहे विज्ञान विरोध पर लिखा।( http://www.dawn.com/news/1300118/promoting-anti-science-via-textbooks  ) खैबर पख्तुनख्वा में प्रकाशित जीवविज्ञान की पाठयपुस्तक का जिक्र करते हुए उन्होंने बताया कि किस तरह उसमें चार्ल्स डार्विन के सिद्धांत को सिरेसे खारिज किया गया है। किताब में लिखा गया है कि चार्ल्स डार्विन द्वारा प्रस्तावित इवोल्यूशन अर्थात विकासवाद का सिद्धांत ‘अब तक का सबसे अविश्वसनीय और अतार्किक दावा है।’ किताब इस धारणा को ही खारिज करती है कि संश्लिष्ट जीवन सरल रूपों से निर्मित हुआ। किताब के मुताबिक यह विचार कामनसेन्स/सहजबोध का उल्लंघन करता है और यह उतनाही ‘बकवास’ है जब यह कहा जाता हो कि दो रिक्शा के टकराने से कार विकसित होती है। हुदभॉय के मुताबिक प्रस्तुत किताब अपवाद नहीं है। खैबर पख्तुनवा की एक अन्य किताब बताती है कि ‘‘एक सन्तुलित दिमाग का व्यक्ति पश्चिमी विज्ञान के सिद्धांतों को स्वीकार नहीं कर सकता। /कहने का तात्पर्य सिर्फ पागल लोग स्वीकार सकते हैं ?/ सिंध की भौतिकी की पाठयपुस्तक स्पष्ट लिखती है कि ‘ब्रहमाण्ड तब अचानक अस्तित्व में आया जब एक दैवी आयत/श्लोक का उच्चारण किया गया।’ विज्ञान का यह विरोध निश्चित ही पाठयपुस्तकों तक सीमित नहीं है। वहां विज्ञान और गणित के तमाम अध्यापक अपने पेशे से असहज महसूस करते हैं। Continue reading “परवेज हुदभॉय क्यों चिन्तित हैं ?”