The Struggle to Save the JNU Act – The Student Standing Counsel’s response to UGC 2016: Pratiksha Baxi

Guest post by PRATIKSHA BAXI

The growing global mistrust and derision of the intellect and all that is the intellectual, is a political trd that displaces reason, method, contemplation, experiment, reflexivity and critique as valued traits in education. This politics colonises the University Grants Commission (UGC) in specific ways. Unlike 2008-9 when the UGC was mindful of the autonomy of the University, the UGC now is made to mandate every University to follow its anti-intellectual policies and surrender academic autonomy. The UGC has been used to put in place a repressive apparatus that is emptying out Universities of reflexivity, critique and contemplation on which are built standards of excellence. With the 2016 UGC Regulation on minimum standards for MPhil and PhD (in effect since 5 July 2016),[1] the audit culture of the UGC, has now been hijacked to empty out universities of research scholars, literally. Continue reading “The Struggle to Save the JNU Act – The Student Standing Counsel’s response to UGC 2016: Pratiksha Baxi”

Feminists Condemn Opposition To Women’s Reservation In Nagaland Municipal Councils

We, the undersigned women’s organisations and concerned individuals take serious note of the fierce opposition to women’s reservation of 33% seats in Nagaland Municipal Councils by male dominated tribal bodies in Nagaland in the name of protecting their tradition and customary practices that bar women from participating in decision-making bodies. We strongly condemn this anti-woman position of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) that has been formed supposedly to “protect” Naga tribal practices. While NTAC quotes Article 371(A) of the Constitution to assert that they are empowered to make their own laws, they choose to ignore Constitutional principle of equality before law, thus denying the Naga women their electoral rights.

Time and again women’s movements in India have confronted issues of community identity vs the rights of women. In almost every instance, communities and their leaders have chosen to sacrifice the rights of women to safeguard patriarchal practices in the name of tradition and custom. In the present imbroglio NTAC has used threats and violence to prevent women from filing their nominations, or even to withdraw their papers. Through all this, the State government has remained silent spectator and tried to wash its hands off on the issue of women’s representation in local bodies by cancelling the elections to local bodies under pressure from these tribal bodies by merely citing law and order concerns. In the process, the State has become complicit in protecting patriarchal traditions to the detriment of principles of gender equality. What is not being asserted is that Urban Local Bodies are not traditional Naga institutions recognised by Article 371(A) of the Constitution but rather, Constitutional bodies under Part IX of the Constitution over which the traditional Naga bodies have no mandate. Continue reading “Feminists Condemn Opposition To Women’s Reservation In Nagaland Municipal Councils”

JNU VC misleads media on research vacancies: Ayesha Kidwai

Guest post by AYESHA KIDWAI
The JNU VC has fed this information to the Times of India. The title of the table below, published in the Times of India, should be Get the Numbers WRONG, as barring two rows, all the numbers are incorrect. And the interpretation that our VC gives to these numbers is even WRONGER!

First of all, JNU has no exclusively M.Phil. intake at all. Continue reading “JNU VC misleads media on research vacancies: Ayesha Kidwai”

Meanwhile, in India, Islamophobia proceeds apace

DARSHANA MITRA in The Wire

While many in India have recoiled at the manner in which the Trump administration has made religious discrimination a key ingredient of its refugee and  immigration policy, we should also turn to look at similar legislative provisions being proposed in our own country.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 is a short, three-page document that seeks to amend Section 2(b) of the Citizenship Act. The Citizenship Act deals with the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship. Section 2(b) of the Citizenship Act defines the term “illegal immigrant”. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill proposes to amend the definition of this term by adding this proviso:

“Provided that persons belonging to minority communities, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who have been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act.”.

This effectively means that persons from minority religious communities from our neighbouring Muslim majority countries shall not be considered as illegal migrants and subjected to prosecution. Further, the Bill also proposes an amendment to the Third Schedule of the Act, which would allow minority communities, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to qualify for naturalisation as a citizen of India if they are resident in India or in service to the Government of India for an aggregate period of not less than six years, as opposed to eleven years for everyone else.

Read the full article here.

In Solidarity with People Affected by the ‘Muslim Ban’: Call for an Academic Boycott of International Conferences held in the US

If you would like to endorse this statement, as I have, please go to the link given below. As of 4 February 2017, 13.00 GMT the letter has 6000+ signatures.

On 27 January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order putting in place a 90-day ban that denies US entry to citizens from seven Muslim majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. So far, the ban includes dual nationals, current visa, and green card holders, and is affecting those born in these countries while not holding citizenship of them. The Order also suspends the admittance of all refugees to the US for a period of 120 days and terminates indefinitely all refugee admissions from Syria. There are indications that the Order could be extended to include other Muslim majority countries.

The Order has affected people with residence rights in the US, as well as those with rights of entry and stay. Some of those affected are fleeing violence and persecution, and have been waiting for years for resettlement in the US as refugees. Others are effectively trapped in the US, having cancelled planned travel for fear that they will be barred from returning. The order institutionalises racism, and fosters an environment in which people racialised as Muslim are vulnerable to ongoing and intensifying acts of violence and hatred.

Among those affected by the Order are academics and students who are unable to participate in conferences and the free communication of ideas. We the undersigned take action in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s Executive Order by pledging not to attend international conferences in the US while the ban persists. We question the intellectual integrity of these spaces and the dialogues they are designed to encourage while Muslim colleagues are explicitly excluded from them.

Continue reading “In Solidarity with People Affected by the ‘Muslim Ban’: Call for an Academic Boycott of International Conferences held in the US”

On RSS ignorance, the “upside down map” of India, and on being “anti-national”

himal_map_4501Himal Southasian’s ‘right-side-up’ map. In their words: “This map of Southasia may seem upside down to some, but that is because we are programmed to think of north as top of page. This rotation is an attempt by the editors of Himal to reconceptualise ‘regionalism’ in a way that the focus is on the people rather than the nation-states. This requires nothing less than turning our minds downside-up.

Turn your eyes away, gentle reader. You have already become anti-national by viewing this image.

More on this in a minute. First some background.

On the 3rd of February, ABVP called a bandh in Jai Narain Vyas University (JNVU), Jodhpur, forcibly stopping classes and demanding suspension of the organizers of a conference and police action against them, as well as against myself. Police complaints have now been lodged, and perhaps FIRs, we hear.

The charge? The conference, and my lecture in particular, was anti-national. Not one of these ABVP students attended the event, nor is there yet a video recording available to my knowledge, largely because the ABVP also gathered in intimidatingly large numbers outside the shop that had conducted the recording, and the owner shut up the shop and fled. The entire drama and some sensationalist and outright false stories in the local Hindi press, is based entirely on the testimony of one person, NK Chaturvedi, retired professor from the History department at JNVU, who attended just one session, mine.

Continue reading “On RSS ignorance, the “upside down map” of India, and on being “anti-national””