All posts by Nivedita Menon

Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison: Pratiksha Baxi, Navsharan Singh

Excerpts from an article published in The India Forum. Link to whole article given below.

A powerful analysis of the injustice of the prison system in India (in which 70 percent of the incarcerated are under trial), the authors PRATIKSHA BAXI and NAVSHARAN KAUR make an argument for recognizing women, as well as gender and sexual minorities, as ‘custodial’ minorities.   

We argue that all women inmates may be defined “custodial” minorities. As per the 2020 statistics we collated, there are 68 persons incarcerated under the category “others”. No grave threat is posed to society by UTPs belonging to sexual and gender minorities that non-custodial alternatives cannot be found for them, while they wait for investigations and trials to be over. And alternatives to prison system need to be innovated for all convicted women, and gender and sexual minorities. There does not seem to be an attempt to recognise that their right to health and life is made far more precarious in a transphobic prison-medical complex. They must be counted and accounted for…

All women in prisons without distinction of charge, crime or sentence, whether pregnant, lactating, menstruating or menopausal, differently abled or ailing may be thought of as “custodial” minorities. Muslim women face terrible targeting and blame, as do Dalit women who face intolerable discrimination and bear the brunt of misuse of law against them. Similarly, Muslim and Dalit male undertrials are also subjected to sexualised forms of torture in police and judicial custody. And policies that exclude foreigners from interim bail position them as custodial minorities, who face institutionalised racism. However, the law has difficulty in “seeing” these prison inmates, especially undertrials, as custodial minorities.

Continue reading Gendering the Pandemic in the Prison: Pratiksha Baxi, Navsharan Singh

पानी की फ़र्माबरदारी: मुरीद बरघूती /अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

You can see the English translation of the original poem by the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti , after this translation into Hindustani by AYESHA KIDWAI

कितनी कला, बारीक़ सोच, हिचकिचाहट, और क़ुरबानी की रातें,
कम या ज़्यादा कीमत अदा कर,
तुम्हें लगती हैं एक सरल सा
आला अविष्कार करने में?

एक तानाशाह बनाने में तुम्हें सिर्फ
एक बार ही घुटना टेकना है. Continue reading पानी की फ़र्माबरदारी: मुरीद बरघूती /अनुवाद: आयेशा किदवाई

Remembering Ibn-e-Insha, Poet and Satirist: Jamal Kidwai

Guest Post by JAMAL KIDWAI

Ibn-e-Insha (15 June 1927 – 11 January 1978) would have turned 93 today. We celebrate his birthday by curating some of his best poetry, sung by leading vocalists from India and Pakistan.

Born in Jalandhar, Punjab, on 15 June 1927, he was named Sher Mohammad Khan by his parents. Ibn-e-Insha was his pen- name; loosely translated it means Ibn, son of Insha, referring to a famous 18th century classical poet, Inshallah Khan Insha.

Insha also means, simply, writing, or expression.

Continue reading Remembering Ibn-e-Insha, Poet and Satirist: Jamal Kidwai

The gendered myth of the front-line care giver as ‘warrior’: Panchali Ray

Guest post by PANCHALI RAY

Image credit Prashant Nadkar Indian Express. 

The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare some of the most significant and deep-rooted fault lines of society, whether it is attacks on Indians from the North-east part of the country including racial slurs, holding returning migrants responsible for the spread of the virus or even downright Islamophobia leading to a hashtag #CoronaJihad going viral on social media. Sections of the hyper-vocal, privileged Indian middle-class, along with frenzied nationalist media houses let no opportunity pass to demonize its minorities.

However, what came as a surprise was that along with the stigmatization of migrant workers, ethnic minorities and Muslims, health care workers too faced intense hostility worldwide. Already facing a severe lack of resources including no or few Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) making them even more vulnerable to infection, they are now facing the additional hazard of being labelled as agents of the pandemic.

While on the one hand, medical workers are being labelled as ‘warriors’ and ‘super heroes’ with orchestrated events to show gratitude, on the other hand, they are being hunted down, mobbed, and evicted from their homes. India went a step further, and did a grandiose display of felicitating health care workers by having the armed forces fly past fighter jets, shower flower petals aerially and have their military bands perform outside state hospitals.

This article focuses specifically on the gendering of the organization of the health care sector, which reflects wider binaries of masculine/feminine, cure/care, science/affect.

Continue reading The gendered myth of the front-line care giver as ‘warrior’: Panchali Ray

Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

Guest post by JANAKI NAIR

Maj General GD Bakshi (hereafter MGB) feels enough is enough. Having dealt with the Information Warfare and Psychological Operations in the Indian Army, he has now trained his guns on the internal enemy, abandoning the trenches of Jai Jawan for the far messier archaeologists’ hangout. In his battle dress – impeccable suits and ties– he wages war in the cause of snatching back History from historians, particularly Marxist Historians, Oxford and Harvard Historians, Colonial Historians, Tony Joseph, and above all JNU Historians who pose the Greatest Threat to the Continuity of our National Past. (Fortunately, he has not heard of Subaltern Historians, who have dared to polish up arguments instead of his shoes; or of feminist or Dalit historians, who impertinently ask whatever happened to the Vedic dasi).  While waging this war, he also hopes to win some minor battles on behalf of the Indian Taxpayer by shutting down JNU.

Then MGB had a second think: why waste a chance of planting a flag on a beautiful 1000-acre campus just because it was a Marxist redoubt? And what safer flag in these times of COVID than a Webinar in the JNU ether?  So MGB is ready to announce the Paradigm Shift in the study of the Saraswati Civilisation.  (For those who were reared on that disloyal diet of NCERT books, it refers to the Indus Valley Civilisation, or Harappan Culture).  This Paradigm Shift will fortunately not be as fickle as the Sutlej,  which changed its course mid-holocene. In fact, this Paradigm Shift does not rely much on historians or archaeologists,  but more on scientists – geologists, geneticists, accurate carbon dating physicists – who along with MGB, alone are capable of Total Objectivity, and know that only Good Things happened in the Indian past. Continue reading Paradigms Lost, Past Continuous – Saraswati and some other rivers: Janaki Nair

The George Floyd Protests – a view from Philadelphia: Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul

Guest post by ANIA LOOMBA AND SUVIR KAUL

Protest in Philadelphia, June 7, 2020 (Video by Teren Sevea))

In 2002, when we moved to Philadelphia to join the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, a friend invited us for breakfast to his home in West Philadelphia, abutting the university. We learned then that in May 1985, rowhouses in this area, then a largely African American residential neighborhood, were bombed by the police (a military-grade explosive was thrown down from a helicopter). The police action followed a confrontation with a group called Move, whose members combined Black liberation and environmentalist ideals. When flames spread, the then Police Commissioner decided to “let the fire burn.”11 of the 13 people in the Move house were incinerated; 5 were children between the ages of 7 and 13.

Four years earlier, in another well-publicized case that scarred Philadelphia, a Move associate and Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal was incarcerated for the murder of a police officer; he, considered by many to be a political prisoner, remains in jail. In 1963, just when Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream speech,” a Black family who moved into a white working-class neighbourhood faced a mob of 1500 shouting “Two, four, six, eight—we don’t want to integrate!” In 1967, a man called Frank Rizzo became Police Commissioner, and led a brutal attack on school students who demanded that Black history be included in their curriculum. Dozens were injured. In 1972 Rizzo was elected mayor of the city, a post he held for eight years. His tenure was so notorious for brutality against African Americans that the U.S. Justice Department sued the city’s police department, saying that its use of excessive force “shocks the conscience.” In spite of this terrible history, or more probably because of it, his statue loomed for years near the City Hall, a symbol of racist policing and governance in a city which is 44% African-American and one of the most segregated cities in the country.

Until last week.

Continue reading The George Floyd Protests – a view from Philadelphia: Ania Loomba and Suvir Kaul

Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

THIS IS THE FINAL PART OF A THREE PART POST

India has been effectively under an RSS coup d’etat  since May 2019, after the  extremely dubious “sweeping victory” of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. Since then, there has been a concerted and relentless onslaught on democracy from the twin forces of Hindu chaudhrahat and predatory capitalism, an assault accelerated under cover of the lockdown since March 2020.

Part I of this post discussed how the triumphant Hindu supremacist Indian state has been producing Hindu chaudhrahat,  both formally through law, as well as informally (by “stealth”), through the sabotaging of institutions.

Part II discussed the accelerated offensive by state-backed private capital; in all its old forms, of course, including treating human labour as just another resource for it to exploit, like coal or oil; but also in its more recent and dazzling avatar of data capitalism.

The lockdown only made sense if it was used as a breathing space (a sad, unintended pun), to prepare for contact-tracing and infrastructure to deal with the spike in infections that was bound to result upon the lockdown ending. It has instead been used by the current regime as a full blown political emergency. Civil liberties are effectively suspended and large scale arrests of anti-CAA protesters have been carried out. In addition, the mythology of the “Urban Naxal-Jihadi network” has been produced to continue the arrests of  academics, journalists and activists. This deranged script, concocted in RSS HQ, blends the twin projects of Hindu supremacism (“jihadi”) and predatory capital (“urban Maoist”) to effectively turn the lockdown into a lockup for opponents of these projects.

Meanwhile, since the actual pandemic is not the concern of the government, infections and deaths are on the rise, and once the lockdown is lifted we can expect much worse.(There are of course, non-BJP state governments that have done much better, and too much has been written about Kerala as an exemplar for me to add anything here.)

In the midst of the breathless rage and frustration of the moment, the millions of us who still resist both Hindu Rashtra and the depredations of capitalism, are connecting to ideas across the globe that dare to imagine other worlds.

How are we to combine, come together, connect to other stories the virus tells us, find our way to other lanes down which it leads us? How will we find and inhabit  those fissures and chinks in which green things can grow, and solidarities, and compassion and hope. Continue reading Part III – THE VIRUS, THE MUSLIM AND THE MIGRANT: Rewilding, pirate care and solidarity

Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) Stands with Anti-Racist Protests in the USA

As Indians and people of Indian origin in the United States, we stand in solidarity with Black communities and their allies who are protesting this racism, and demanding structural change.

The killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd have highlighted the systemic racism against African-Americans that is a continuation of the long history of the criminalization, dehumanization, and oppression of Black lives in the United States. From the economy to the electoral system, this society has been built on the simultaneous exploitation and marginalization of Black people. The COVID pandemic too shows how their lives continue to be the most vulnerable in our society today.

Continue reading Coalition Against Fascism in India (CAFI) Stands with Anti-Racist Protests in the USA

In solidarity with #Blacklivesmatter – Tamika Mallory, Langston Hughes

Tamika Mallory addresses a protest in Minneapolis May 2020

 

 

Langston Hughes 1902-1967

Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Continue reading In solidarity with #Blacklivesmatter – Tamika Mallory, Langston Hughes

International Feminist Solidarity / Solidaridad Internacional Feminista – con feministas de la India/with Indian feminists Devangana Kalita and/y Natasha Narwal

Please read and sign below /por favor lea y firme abajo

We, the undersigned feminists, community activists and academics from around the world stand in solidarity with Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal who are being held as part of the Narendra Modi government’s brutal clampdown on dissent against the deeply discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). The government is taking advantage of the dispersion caused by the COVID19 crisis.

Nosotras/xs las personas abajo firmantes, como feministas, activistas comunitarias y académicas de distintas partes del mundo, nos solidarizamos con Devangana Kalita y Natasha Narwal, detenidas como parte de la ola de represión contra el movimiento nacional de protesta por la naturaleza profundamente discriminatoria del Acta de Enmienda a la Ciudadanía (CAA en ingles) y del Registro Nacional de Ciudadanos (NRC) impulsados por gobierno Indio de Narendra Modi.

Devangana and Natasha are feminist activists and founding members of the Pinjra Tod -‘Break the cage’ collective (For more info: https://www.facebook.com/pinjratod)
made up of women students fighting for their rights. Devangana studies an MPhil at Centre for Women’s Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Natasha is a doctoral student at the Centre for Historical Studies, at the same university.

Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

We, members of Faculty Feminist Collective JNU, stand in solidarity with all wrongfully arrested students, and in particular with JNU students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal who were arrested on 23rd May 2020 by the Delhi Police. We demand the immediate release of all those wrongfully accused of playing a role in the anti-Muslim pogrom in northeast Delhi in February 2020.

It is clear to us that this spate of arrests during the lockdown is an attempt by the government to punish the voices raised in peaceful protest against the unconstitutional CAA and proposed NPR and NRC, all of which are meant to destroy the very idea of India as a democracy.

While forces close to and constituting the current regime openly called for violence against Muslims in the days leading up to the horrific incidents of February 2020, their role has not been investigated. Instead a large number of arrests (according to media reports, 800 arrests), mostly of Muslims, has been carried out, supposedly for their responsibility for the violence in which the larger number of deaths and injuries have in fact been suffered by Muslims. Many of those arrested are students, including Safoora Zargar, Meeran Haider and Asif Iqbal Tanha of Jamia Milia Islamiya. Earlier, JNU student Sharjeel Imam was arrested for sedition for a speech at an anti- CAA protest, and the draconian UAPA has been slapped on him as well.

Continue reading Statement against the wrongful arrest of students and the use of the pandemic as a political emergency: Faculty Feminist Collective JNU

MIGRANT WORKERS’ RESISTANCE MAP: Migrant Workers Solidarity Network

The Migrant Workers Solidarity Network has documented migrant workers’ resistance across India in an interactive map. Below is a screen-shot of the map.

For the interactive map, visit the MWSN site.

From the MWSN site:

The COVID-19 crisis in India has made the migrant workers visible in public discourse. But the dominant narratives have made them visible as subjects of compassion, as perpetual victims seeking help of others and not as active makers of our society, not as rightful citizens, not as resisting political subjects who can challenge the oppressive conditions surrounding them.

The ‘Migrant Workers’ Resistance Map’ is an attempt to document acts of resistance by migrant workers since the beginning of the lockdown. Within our limited human and technical capacity, we have collated information and designed this map. While we launch the map, we acknowledge that it is far from giving a fully representative picture of the nature and spread of migrant workers protests both geographically and temporally and the possibility of bias in collecting information and understanding what qualifies as ‘resistance’. Let us collaborate.

Add new information of resistance to the map: Fill this form.

Also, for any comments, suggestions, technical or otherwise, send us an email at migrantresistance.mwsn@gmail.com or contact +91 9445419894

Poetry of resistance against the suppression of dissent

On 16th May 2020, the Campaign against Witch-hunt of Anti-CAA Activists inaugurates its Poetry Week.  

Poetry bears witness. It records, it remembers. Resistance, indeed life itself, has long been sustained and nourished by the words of poets.
So, it is with poetry that we celebrate the inspiring movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and with the power of words fight the wrongful arrests and malicious prosecution of anti-CAA activists.
The first session will feature poets Aamir Aziz, Aquila, Neha and Rabiya of the Parcham Collective, Miya’h poet Shalim Hussain & Naveen Chourey
Host and anchor: Tanzil Rahman
FIRST SESSION
On 16th May | Saturday | 8 pm onwards
Register using this link

https://forms.gle/iUwV6FimHsWd6ZLY7

Playing the subaltern – Irrfan Khan as the migrant worker in Mumbai Meri Jaan: Umang Kumar

Guest post by UMANG KUMAR
 

Irrfan Khan reads the iconic poem, “Thakur ka Kuan”, by Dalit writer Om Prakash Valmiki, at the 2014 Jaipur Literary Festival.

While Irrfan Khan essayed a diverse range of roles, his hauntingly powerful cameo appearance in Mumbai Meri Jaan stands out for its intensity in the portrayal of working-class realities, especially those of migrant workers.

Mumbai Meri Jaan, a 2008 film, revolves around the tragedy of the 2006 Mumbai local-train blasts. Khan plays Thomas, a Tamil coffee-vendor who sells coffee from a roadside cart, and speaks minimum, Tamil-accented Hindi. His wife works as a domestic help.

Asif Kapadia, the British filmmaker, who worked with Irrfan on the movie The Warrior, recently shared what he had initially thought about Irrfan: “He looks like someone who’s killed a lot of people, but feels really bad about it.” While that probably had something to do with Khan’s brooding, prominent eyes, it does point to the deep volcano of emotions that Khan seemed to be harboring with perfect equanimity all the time.

Continue reading Playing the subaltern – Irrfan Khan as the migrant worker in Mumbai Meri Jaan: Umang Kumar

Data, New Data, Different kinds of Data, and Covid 19: Bharati Jagannathan

Guest post by BHARATI JAGANNATHAN

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”, quoth Mark Twain. We could add a fourth, pretence of statistics in the absence of it. So, there’s data, more data, and the immensely useful pretend data about COVID-19. And almost all of it liable to totally dissimilar interpretations. In fact, this has been the best lesson, for those who in general find statistics challenging and humbly retreat in the face of data-based proofs in any argument, that the same set of data can serve completely opposite ends. However, I digress.

There was speculation in early March that India had fewer cases of infection owing to 1) exposure to malaria and sometime ingestion of quinine (in medical formulations like hydroxychloroquine), or 2) BCG vaccinations in childhood, or 3) warm weather hindering the spread of COVID-19 like many other influenza viruses. Till we realized that it was the effect of abysmal levels of testing. Continue reading Data, New Data, Different kinds of Data, and Covid 19: Bharati Jagannathan

Exploring Possibilities for Critical Alliances Between Animal Rights and Bahujan Politics: Krishnanunni Hari

Guest post by KRISHNANUNNI HARI

This essay emerged as a response to the following question that was raised during a Q&A session that I had run on social media:

“How does one tackle people who amalgamate veganism with upper caste vegetarianism?”

The immediate answer to this is that veganism avoids all animal products and all forms of animal ab/use, and hence cannot be amalgamated with vegetarianism and its caste baggage.

Such an answer, however, ignores crucial cultural issues that determine how Animal Rights (AR) and veganism are perceived, co-opted or taken forward in Indian society.

Vegetarians, contrary to what Right wing Hindutva will have us believe, comprise less than 40% of the country’s population.  Jains, most Sikhs and Brahmins and some rich urban forward castes make up the vegetarians in India1. Vegetarianism in India is connected to social power and caste hegemony, unlike its counterpart in the West, where it is an ethical lifestyle and a social justice movement.

Continue reading Exploring Possibilities for Critical Alliances Between Animal Rights and Bahujan Politics: Krishnanunni Hari

Medical Termination of Pregnancy during the Covid pandemic – Statement by concerned citizens

Statement by medical doctors, public health workers, researchers and feminists concerned with issues of reproductive health, rights and justice.

In the case of Sama vs Union of India and Ors, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi ruled that the Union of India and Government of NCT Delhi

 …shall work in tandem to make sure that no barriers are faced by pregnant ladies and their family members residing in hot spots during the lockdown.”  (High Court of Delhi, W.P.(C)2983/2020 & CM APP Nos 10345-46/2020, dated 22/04/2020)

While this is a welcome move, we urge that access to safe abortion is specifically recognized and appropriate services extended to women seeking abortion.

 It is completely understandable, and correct, that all non-emergency procedures be suspended at hospitals in these times of Covid-19.  Thus, not only elective plastic surgery procedures, but surgeries such as that for inguinal hernia, or thyroid adenomas, have to be postponed. This is for two reasons: first, to prevent exposure of people to Coronavirus in hospitals and second, to reduce the demand on health systems, overwhelmed in the Coronavirus pandemic.

The situation with Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) is however unique, and cannot be classified as a “non-emergency” procedure worthy of postponement. Continue reading Medical Termination of Pregnancy during the Covid pandemic – Statement by concerned citizens

The Pandemic as pretext – Murdering the university in India: Ayesha Kidwai

Guest post by AYESHA KIDWAI

The recommendations of the UGC panels are circulating on WhatsApp (See Appendix at the end of this article). If these are indeed what is going to be presented at the full UGC meeting, then there is no doubt in my mind that the pandemic is a pretext to get rid of the university altogether, to move it notionally online, to make education the tool for surveillance, and to change the way that all educational institutions function. If the recommendations are accepted, then 25% of the syllabus in any course henceforth will have to be completed online, all universities will have to form virtual classrooms, through an MHRD dedicated portal, develop e-learning syllabi, and change their degrees. What this will mean for academic jobs henceforth is obvious, but what it will entail for the content of education is far worse.

Continue reading The Pandemic as pretext – Murdering the university in India: Ayesha Kidwai

Part II – The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Forced labour and data capitalism

THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A THREE PART POST, THE FIRST PART OF WHICH CAN BE READ HERE.

Forced labour and data capitalism are the low end and high end of Coronacapitalism. Let us examine each of these.

Forced labour

The gut-wrenching picture of migrant workers who managed to reach Bareilly, being sprayed with disinfectant by people protected by hazmat suits themselves, provoked such widespread outrage in India and negative publicity in the foreign media, that the Health Ministry issued a hasty statement that this should not be done.

Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm, the advisory said.

Workers at Bareilly bus terminus being sprayed with chemicals

But this brutality and callousness towards workers and the poor emanates from the very top of this regime – the signal is sent from there, as to who matters and who doesn’t. The difference in treatment is stark and unapologetic.  For example, during the lock-down, on April 18th,  even as thousands of workers walked long distances home because no transport was arranged for them, precisely in order to prevent them from leaving the states in which they were stranded, the Uttar Pradesh government organized 250 buses to bring back students from the state studying in Kota, Rajasthan.  As of April 24th, special flights and hospital beds are being prepared by the government to bring back Indians stranded abroad. Continue reading Part II – The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Forced labour and data capitalism

National Protest Day on April 25th against state attack on student activists: Young India against CAA-NRC-NPR

Young India against CAA-NPR-NRC calls for  National Protest Day on 25th April, 2020.

Stop the attack on Student Activists During Pandemic!

Drop UAPA Charges!

Raise Your Voice!
Physical Distancing- YES!
Solidarity of Student-Youth- YES!

India Is Starving without Food, Ration and Money in Lockdown but the Govt is Busy in Framing Student Activists Falsely!

People of India are suffering massively due to the lockdown without proper plan by the govt. Millions of poor are starving. Workers and students are stranded in different cities without proper food, ration and money.

Doctors are without gear!
Workers are without food!
Health facility is collapsing! Continue reading National Protest Day on April 25th against state attack on student activists: Young India against CAA-NRC-NPR

Letter from JNUSU to Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, MHRD, regarding academic issues

Letter to MHRD from Jawharlal Nehru University Students’ Union

Subject: Regarding issues of evaluation, academic backlog, and scholarships in JNU in view of the lockdown

Respected Sir,

The situation that humanity as a whole is faced with at this current juncture is as you know, unprecedented. Following the forced shut down of schools and educational institutions due to the outbreak of COVID-19, formal academic engagement across the world has ground to a halt. The UNESCO in this regard went on to state in a press release on the 26th of March that over 1.5 billion children and youth in 165 countries were affected by school and university closures[1]. While the situation that citizens in general and students in particular are faced with collectively is certainly unprecedented, one must however take into account its differentiated impacts, and how without a uniform and substantive policy framework in place this could lead to increasing dropouts, furthering of gendered gaps in the educational outcomes, and the further entrenchment of marginalisation of historically deprived sections of the society from spaces of learning.

As you yourself have acknowledged in the past, the Jawaharlal Nehru University is one of the premier institutes of higher education in this country. As such, the University is home to over 8,500 students hailing from all over India and indeed from across the world. It is in this regard that as the duly elected representatives of the student community in JNU, we have found recent news reports regarding the formalisation of academic engagement, classes, and examinations via online means such as e-mail, WhatsApp, etc to be extremely distressing due to a number of reasons which we shall attempt to elaborate on to some degree below. Continue reading Letter from JNUSU to Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal, MHRD, regarding academic issues