In JNU, the Struggle to Define the University: Kartik Maini

Guest post by KARTIK MAINI

One day, the war will end, and I will return to my poetry

Contemporary India loves its army. For a civilisation that defines itself as intrinsically nonviolent, we do also love our wars.

On 23 July, 2017, Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, and members of Veterans India – a collective of ex-servicemen, gathered to commemorate the Kargil Vijay Diwas. The impulse of the commemoration is two-fold – it is a celebration of the Indian army’s reclamation of Kargil from Pakistani encroachment, as also an occasion to mourn the war’s martyrs who sacrificed their lives in service of the nation. For a university, commemoration should involve a quiet moment of reflection on the enormous human costs of war.

Continue reading “In JNU, the Struggle to Define the University: Kartik Maini”

“No research please, we are college teachers” – On the HRD Ministry’s latest bright idea.

A version of this piece appeared yesterday in The Wire

“I would like to thank Huddersfield University for enabling me to have a sabbatical semester to work on this revised edition and for providing such a supportive environment. Thanks to many of the students on my Women, Power and Society module for their hard work and enthusiasm.”

That is the dedication in a book by British scholar and teacher Valerie Bryson – a text I often use for teaching at a college in Delhi University. Evidently, Bryson found her teaching and research lives complementing each other beautifully, as have thousands of university and college teachers who have had the luck to have what she calls a “supportive” professional and academic environment. What are the elements of this support? A sabbatical semester or year every once in a while, ready research facilities within the college premises or nearby, and an opportunity to formulate teaching courses that ally with your research focus. With these elements in place, both teaching and research benefit dramatically.

Until recently, college teachers in this country had the first two conditions. They were given in their entire careers – say from the age of 26 or 27 when one normally began teaching at a college to the age of 65 – three years of paid study leave to pursue or finish their PhDs (with the usual conditions and caveats including a strict bond that they signed with college promising to return the three years’ pay if the PhD remained incomplete, or if they resigned upon return to the institution) and a further two years of (until recently, paid and now invariably unpaid or “extraordinary”) leave to take a break from teaching and pursue a postdoctoral or visiting fellowship at a research institute.

Continue reading ““No research please, we are college teachers” – On the HRD Ministry’s latest bright idea.”

Have Indian Muslims become the new ‘Make in India’ Punching Bag? Sabiha Farhat

Guest Post by Sabiha Farhat

[ A month ago from yesterday, a teenager called Junaid was lynched and murdered on a train in Haryana. Sabiha Farhat writes in the wake of visiting his house and meeting his family. The news cycles may have moved on to other stories, but we need to keep remembering Junaid, and why he was killed. – Kafila]

Once upon a time there  was a 15 year old boy called Hamid, who went shopping on the day of Eid with his Eidi .  A few days ago there was Junaid who went shopping on the eve of Eid.  Premchand’s Hamid was an orphan and lived with his grandmother in extreme poverty.  Junaid lived surrounded with love of his brothers, a sister, a doting mother, father and friends. Instead of the old, decrepit house of Hamid,  Junaid’s house has two rooms, it is not falling apart but it’s size and unplastered walls, do speak about the economic condition of his family.

As we approached Khandawli, Junaid’s village in Ballabhgarh a fear gripped me.  I did not have the courage to walk upto the house.  Junaid was brutally murdered on 22nd and here I was on 25th.  It was too soon, my mind said.  I should have let Eid pass.  But how could I have prepared Sewai in my house when a mother like myself had lost a young, healthy, happy child to hindutva fanatics?  I am a mother, I was angry and ashamed at home. And here, standing outside Junaid’s door, I was weak and helpless. Useless too.

Continue reading “Have Indian Muslims become the new ‘Make in India’ Punching Bag? Sabiha Farhat”

Promoting Superstition – Everything Official About It !

Image result for superstition

Bhupendra Singh Chudasama, Education minister of Gujarat and his colleague Atmaram Paramar, who handles the Social Justice Ministry, were in the news sometime back- albeit for wrong reasons. A video went viral which showed them participating in a felicitation ceremony of exorcists in Botad. They were also seen watching how a couple of the exorcists were beating themselves with metal chains to live music near the stage.

Perhaps it did not matter to them that the Constitution frowns upon such activities and Article 51A (h) of the Indian constitution clearly says that it shall be a fundamental duty of all citizens “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” Neighbouring state Maharashtra has even enacted a law (The Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013) to rein in all such activities and it criminalises practices related to black magic, human sacrifices, use of magic remedies to cure ailments and other such acts which exploit people’s superstitions. And it was a culmination of a prolonged movement led by activists led by Dr Dabholkar – who even faced martyrdom for his activities. Continue reading “Promoting Superstition – Everything Official About It !”

No Flag Large Enough – Jubilation in India and Collateral Damage in Kashmir

The recent incident of violence that led to the death of a police officer, DSP Ayub Pandith, was condemned by all kinds of people in Kashmir, as well as elsewhere. It prompted introspection, sadness and regret – like any tragedy of this nature should.

Yesterday two unarmed civilians, Tahira Begum, a forty three year old woman and a young man called Shahdab Ahmed Chopan of Brenty Batapora Village in Anantnag district in South Kashmir were killed along with two Kashmiri combatants (Bashir Ahmed Lashkari and another person who may or may not be called Abu Maz) in the course of a joint operation by the 19th Rasthriya Rifles of the Indian Army, CRPF and the Special Operations Group of Jammu & Kashmir police.

Continue reading “No Flag Large Enough – Jubilation in India and Collateral Damage in Kashmir”

प्रधानसेवक का मौन

ऊपर से शांत दिखने वाली भीड़ का हिंसक बन जाना अब हमारे वक्त़ की पहचान बन रहा है. विडंबना यही है कि ऐसी घटनाएं इस क़दर आम हो चली हैं कि किसी को कोई हैरानी नहीं होती.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi participates in the mass yoga demonstration at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan, on the occasion of the 3rd International Day of Yoga - 2017, in Lucknow on June 21, 2017.

15 वर्ष का जुनैद ख़ान, जिसकी चाहत थी कि इस बार ईद पर नया कुर्ता पाजामा, नया जूता पहने और इत्र लगा कर चले, लेकिन सभी इरादे धरे के धरे रहे गए. उसे शायद ही गुमान रहा होगा कि ईद की मार्केटिंग के लिए दिल्ली की उसकी यात्रा ज़िंदगी की आख़िरी यात्रा साबित होगी. दिल्ली बल्लभगढ़ लोकल ट्रेन पर जिस तरह जुनैद तथा उसके भाइयों को भीड़ ने बुरी तरह पीटा और फिर ट्रेन के नीचे फेंक दिया, वह ख़बर सुर्ख़ियां बनी है.

दिल्ली के एम्स अस्पताल में भरती उसका भाई शाकिर बताता है कि किस तरह भीड़ ने पहले उन्हें उनके पहनावे पर छेड़ना शुरू किया, बाद में गाली गलौज करने लगे और उन्हें गोमांस भक्षक कहने लगे और बात बात में उनकी पिटाई करने लगे. विडम्बना है कि समूची ट्रेन खचाखच भरी थी, मगर चार निरपराधों के इस तरह पीटे जाने को लेकर किसी ने कुछ नहीं बोला, अपने कान गोया ऐसे बंद किए कि कुछ हुआ ही न हो.

ट्रेन जब बल्लभगढ़ स्टेशन पर पहुंची तो भीड़ में से किसी ने अपने जेब से चाकू निकाल कर उन्हें घोंप दिया और अगले स्टेशन पर उतर कर चले गए. एक चैनल से बात करते हुए हमले का शिकार रहे मोहसिन ने बताया कि उन्होंने ट्रेन की चेन भी खींची थी, मगर उनकी पुकार सुनी नहीं गई. इतना ही नहीं, रेलवे पुलिस ने भी मामले में दखल देने की उनकी गुजारिश की अनदेखी की.

विडंबना ही है कि उधर बल्लभगढ़ की यह ख़बर सुर्ख़ियां बन रही थी, उसी वक़्त कश्मीर की राजधानी श्रीनगर की मस्जिद के बाहर सादी वर्दी में तैनात पुलिस अधिकारी को आक्रामक भीड़ द्वारा मारा जा रहा था. जुनैद अगर नए कपड़ों के लिए मुंतज़िर था तो अयूब पंडित को अपनी बेटी का इंतज़ार था जो बांगलादेश से पहुंचने वाली थी.

( Read the full article here : http://thewirehindi.com/12095/mob-lynching-and-india/)

The method in madness and the case of Adarsha Vidyalayas in Assam : Delhi Action Committee for Assam

Statement by Delhi Action Committee for Assam 

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(Protest in Guwahati against unconstitutional and discriminatory policy of the Assam govt. in teacher recruitment, organised by KMSS on 19 June 2017 (Photo courtesy: Amar Asom)

In an unconstitutional and discriminatory move, the Education Department of the Assam government has recently come up with a notification that bars candidates who have studied in the vernacular medium from appearing for the Special Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) for Graduate Teachers in the Adarsha Vidyalayas in Assam. The advertisement No. RMSA/Special TET/842/2017/2 dated 7 June 2017, issued by the Secondary Education Department of the state government states: “The candidates must be passed out from English Medium Schools as Adarsha Vidyalayas are CBSE affiliated English Medium School (sic).” To further clarify the matter, the Education Minister of the state, Himanta Biswa Sharma, said in a press conference that those who studied in Assamese or vernacular medium schools do not have the essential ability to teach in English medium schools. Mr. Sharma not only ridiculed and questioned the qualifications of those who studied in the vernacular medium but also invalidated the entire vernacular medium education system of the state. Continue reading “The method in madness and the case of Adarsha Vidyalayas in Assam : Delhi Action Committee for Assam”