Category Archives: Education

Axing Scholarships, Denying Opportunities

When Government itself Does Not Have Any Qualms in rationalising Drona Mindset

( Photo Courtesy : Feminism in India)

[H]istory has come to a stage when the moral man, the complete man, is more and more giving way, almost without knowing it, to make room for the . . .commercial man, the man of limited purpose. This process, aided by the wonderful progress in science, is assuming gigantic proportion and power, causing the upset of man’s moral balance, obscuring his human side under the shadow of soul-less organization.

—Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism, 1917

( Quoted in ‘Not for Profit – Why Democracy Needs Humanities, Martha Nussbaum, Princeton University Press, 2010)

A single story is sometimes enough to tell how an institution functions and how it needs to be overhauled.

Aruna’s long struggle to get overseas scholarship is one such story.

Son of landless agricultural labourers from Orissa, this bright student, belonging to a socially oppressed community, had applied to get a overseas scholarship via the National Overseas Scholarship – which awards scholarships to students from SC, ST, Denotified tribes etc – and even had lost two years in bureaucratic wrangling despite the fact that he had already got admission into Essex University.

Thanks to the timely intervention of a group of Ambedkarite thinkers from Nagpur, who filed a petition in the Delhi Highcourt on his behalf , which ultimately ruled in the student’s favour.

It would be cliche to say that Aruna’s struggle is an exception.

Story of Vishal Kharat is qualitatively no different who is still trying to get a scholarship for the last two years and has discovered to his dismay that the scholarship portal itself does not work properly.

Instances galore how this ambitious scheme which was launched in the wee hours of India’s independence when Nehru was the Prime Minister and a great scholar and freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a Cabinet Minister for education, has been left to go slowly into oblivion.

The latest decision by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment, to not to fund scholarships for marginalised students keen to study India’s history, culture abroad, is just another indication of how it is being implemented.

We can recall that it was the year 2012 when UPA government led by Congress was in the saddle this scheme was extended to Humanities as well and every year 100 students from the socially deprived, oppressed communities started receiving it but with the change of power at the centre things started changing drastically

Like many of its earlier decisions, this decision to axe scholarship to study humanities abroad was taken without consulting the stakeholders involved in the process or without even giving a hint of how the government wants to proceed in this unique empowerment initiative. The fact that the final date to apply for this scheme is to expire on 31 st March and when there was hardly anytime left to young scholars who are keen to study abroad, to search for alternate path to fulfill their dreams.

The rationale being provided by the powers that be appears unconvincing.  

It talks of utilising rich availability of repositories, records as well as books available in Indian institutions and various experts on this subject of India’s culture, civilisation etc and divert the resources thus saved to study other subjects like Science, technology.

It is rather difficult to believe this claim but even if for the sake of discussion we concede, can it be said with certainty that the existing faculty and these institutions would be sensitive to the issue or the concerns of emerging talents from the oppressed, exploited sections of our society, and would be accommodating as well! Fact is that even Higher Educational Institutions are not free from exclusions, discrimination  on the basis of caste, gender, community and despite constitutional provisions for affirmative action existing since decades, the character of the academia in most of these institutions is very much exclusive mainly dominated by the so called upper castes.

Cases of discrimination faced by students from such Institutions keep piling up leading even to many unfortunate incidents – rightly called as ‘institutional murders’ of many such talents.

The stories of suicides of  the likes of of RohithVemula, ( HCU, Hyderabad) ; Payal Tadvi ( Medical College, Mumbai,) or Fathima Latheef ( IIT Madras) and many of their ilk cannot be seen as exceptions.

A related point is the status of academic freedom in India.

With the ascendance of right-wing politics world over the very idea of academic freedom has come under attack globally – including India

Thanks to the majoritarian turn in the Indian politics where religious minorities are being further marginalised and invisibilised – the ambience which exists here within the academia itself is a pale shadow of its earlier situation. It is becoming increasingly difficult nay impossible to have a critical, open minded discussion on themes, topics which are found not palatable to the ruling dispensation which is a prerequisite for any healthy educational institution.

We have before us cancellation of international seminars on innocuous themes even like Scientific Temper or teachers being hauled to courts after taking up discussions about ‘Kashmir within the class ‘ or for engaging in open ended discussion about nationalism inside class or students-teachers being charged with sedition for protesting about highhandedness of the government.

Secondly, with the rightwing holding reins of power with a brutal majority, has also led to radical changes in the content of humanity studies playing mythology over facts e.g. there are allegations how the draft history syllabus pushed by the UGC presents a theory of the origin of caste system which relates to the advent of the ‘Muslim rule’ here.

Can we ever accept that these bright students opting for scholarships abroad who have themselves experienced caste, community or class based deprivation, discrimination in their younger days, would be ever ready to easily gulp down such trash as intellectual discourse.

Definitely not.

This decision to axe funds to socially oppressed sections to study humanity abroad very much gels with the overt concerns of the people in power which are evident in the New Education Policy 2020 which envisions restoring the the role of India as a ‘Vishwa Guru’ and interestingly remains silent on caste and other discriminations and even does not talk about reservations. It clubs SC / ST, OBC and minority communities as an acronym SEDGs – Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups.

What needs to be underlined that this step by the Ministry has raised concerns among the members of the international academic community, and scholars of India spread all over the world as well  and in an open letter addressed to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment they have demanded that the government withdraws this immediate changes in the policy.

It emphasises how ‘[t]he argument that one need not go abroad to study India is intellectually flawed and will only serve to isolate Indian scholarship from the rest of the world.’ and these amendments attest to a lack of understanding of how interdisciplinary research is conducted today, where natural sciences, law, history, sociology and the humanities work together beyond national boundaries.

Another important point which it make that how it will further negatively impact women recipients of this scholarship who are already ‘disproportionately under-represented in scientific and technological disciplines and tend to more easily find opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities’

Last but not the least it also displays the great hiatus between the outwardly, strong image of the ruling dispensation and how paranoid, insecure it is about deeper fault lines of the Indian society.

Perhaps it worries that with increasing interest of the academia of the west in what is happening to the largest democracy in the world, and the study of caste and its attendant asymmetries receiving special attention by them, and also dalit activists, scholars there pursuing it at various levels there, these exclusivist hierarchies have rapidly attracted attention. Not some time ago the California State University system added caste to its non-discrimination policy, prohibiting caste-based discrimination or bias across its 23 campuses.

The ruling dispensation knows very well that the more students from dalit, adivasi and other deprived sections of society go out to study abroad, it will have to be ready to face many such embarassing moments because whereas it itself is keen to invisibilise caste once for all, and even clubbed all these sections – the SC / ST, OBC and minority communities as an acronym SEDGs – Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups; the reality as it exists would continue to haunt it.

Why feminists must oppose the hijab ban in Karnataka colleges

Image courtesy Times of India

Images of educational institutions barring their gates to women in hijab are dense with implied violence. Used as we have become to the extreme physical violence on display during the period of this regime, both by state authorities and  by street mobs launched by Hindutva outfits,  in these images is captured in one frozen instant, the ideological violence of Hindu Rashtra.  Here is the marked and stigmatized  Muslim female body, exiled from the resources of the nation, kept out by iron gates, to be admitted only on the terms set by Hindutva.

But let us note that this is not “only ideological” violence, the power of which we have witnessed in plenty since 2014.  We know what terror “mere” words can threaten  – “love jihad”,  “gau hatya”,  “kapdon se pehchane jayenge” –  the last, the murderously weighted words of the Prime Minister himself, that those who protest the CAA can be identified by their clothes.

So ideological violence yes, but implicit physical violence too, held only  temporarily in abeyance –  what if the women decided to climb the gates and insisted on attending class? Or sat quietly on dharna outside? What kind of violence by private security and police would not be unleashed? Just before the pandemic,  did we not witness the brutality of police attacks on peaceful student protests against fee hikes in Delhi?

As more and more colleges in Karnataka deny women wearing hijab entry into colleges, and therefore their right to education, the RSS/BJP government of Karnataka backed such moves, invoking the Karnataka Education Act of 1983, Section 133 (2) of which states that students will have to wear a uniform dress chosen by the college authorities.  Continue reading Why feminists must oppose the hijab ban in Karnataka colleges

Doctored History : From Ancient Times till Today – Prof Irfan Habib

The 14 th Lecture in the Democracy Dialogues Series  organised by New Socialist Initiative was delivered by Prof Irfan Habib, Famous Historian, Public Intellectual and Marxist Thinker, on Sunday  30 th January 2022 at 6 PM (IST).
Prof Habib spoke on ‘Doctored History : From Ancient Times till Today’


About the Speaker :

Prof Irfan Habib ( Professor of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, Retd) is a well-known historian and author of the The Agrarian System of Mughal India ( 1963), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire ( 1982), Essays in Indian History : Towards a Marxist Perception ( 1985) , The Economic History of Medieval India : A Survey ( 2001) ,  Medieval India : The Study of a Civilisation ( 2008), a multivolume study titled ‘People’s History of India’ etc and has edited many books

The lecture was live on facebook.com/newsocialistinitiative.nsi.

Please write to us at democracydialogues@gmail.com if you are interested in getting updates about coming lectures.

– New Socialist Initiative

p.s. Here is a playlist of  lectures in the series :

 : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtXBfoS5KZ78UFI_aYzROjUss8ZzhUKxy.

Drona Mindset Plays Havoc with Deserving Students

Modern-day Eklavyas are depriving students of their dues across the country. No government can compensate for robbing students from underprivileged backgrounds of their future.

Drona Mindset Plays Havoc with Deserving Students

In the 19th century, Chatra district in Jharkhand hosted the legendary Raja Rammohan Roy for a while. A memorial to Subedar Nadir Ali Khan and Jay Mangal Panday, martyred during the 1857 war of independence, is also here. Now, this district is in the news again, but for the wrong reasons.

A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the state Assembly has detailed the embezzlement of around Rs. 85 crore, meant to fund the scholarship of students belonging to the backward classes. The siphoning went on from 2013-18, says the CAG report for 2018-19.

The modus operandi of the scammers was simple. The money was not transferred to the accounts of beneficiaries, as the state department for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes, Minority and Backward Class Welfare says. Instead, it went into the bank accounts of other individuals.

The explanation offered by the concerned people was straightforward. They told the CAG that documents related to the transfer of Rs. 70 crore got destroyed in a fire. A significant portion of the Rs. 85 crore is yet to get recovered. The department never bothered to reconcile its accounts even after the fire incident.

( Read the full text here )

When public good faces a faith hurdle

Moderation and acceptance are parts of a continuous struggle to ensure that democracy does not get subsumed by majoritarianism.

When Public Good Faces a Faith Hurdle

‘The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous,

and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.’ –Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.

The idea of public good faced a faith hurdle in Kerala recently. The issue was the widening of National Highway 66 on a stretch in Umayanalloor village, Thazhuthala, and adjacent towns of the Kollam district. A batch of petitions challenged the highway because two temples and mosques were in its alignment. It was a tricky situation, and a hasty decision may well have had consequences.

Without wavering on constitutional principles, the Kerala High Court handled the case skilfully. A single-judge bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan rejected petitions that opposed the land acquisition and asked citizens to rise above difficulties for better highways for all citizens. It emphasised that courts could not intervene in acquisition proceedings unless there is patent illegality or malafide action.

( Read the full text here)

Concerned Historians Respond to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education On History Textbooks

[We are publishing below the full response of Concerned Historians to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, regarding certain proposed changes.]

RESPONSE OF CONCERNED HISTORIANS On the

CALL FOR REVISIONS IN SCHOOL HISTORY BOOKS IN INDIA

To be shared with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education pertaining to school history books.

Date: 15th July 2021

We have recently learnt of representations being collected by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports with respect to:

a. Removing references to un-historical facts and distortions about our national heroes from the text books.

b. Ensuring equal or proportionate references to all periods of Indian history.

c. Highlighting the role of great historic women heroes, including Gargi, Maitreyi, or rulers like Rani of Jhansi, Rani Channamma, Chand Bibi, Zhalkari Bai etc. in school history books in India.

We place before the Committee certain observations and points of caution.

Textbook revisions: certain cautionary notes

It appears from the notification of the Parliamentary Standing Committee’s proceedings inviting responses that a consensus presumably exists on the presence of “distortions” in existing history school textbooks such as of the NCERT. On this point itself, we wish to draw the attention of the Hon’ble members to the fact that while scholarship grows and propels the corresponding need for periodic revision of textbooks; the use of the word “distortion”, as in this context, appears to be an unsubstantiated allegation that creates roadblocks for the initiation of a serious scholarly exercise. Opinions are being sought regarding “unhistorical facts and distortions about our national heroes” in the existing history textbooks without substantiation, which is unfortunate and also objectionable. 

Continue reading Concerned Historians Respond to Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education On History Textbooks

क्या इस तरह भारत में कोरोना कभी ख़त्म होगा? राजेन्द्र चौधरी

Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY

पंद्रह दिन एक व्यस्क मरीज़ के साथ कोरोना वार्ड में गुज़ार के जब मैं अपने शहर पहुंचा तो पाया कि मेरे सैक्टर को ही कन्टेन्मन्ट ज़ोन बना रखा था. कन्टेन्मन्ट ज़ोन यानी ऐसा इलाका जिस में आने-जाने के रास्ते बंद किये हुए थे ताकि कोरोना पीड़ित इस सैक्टर में आवाजाही न हो सके. यह दावा कि मैंने 15 दिन कोरोना वार्ड में अपने मरीज़ के साथ गुज़ारे उन लोगों को अविश्वसनीय लग सकता है जो बड़े शहर के बड़े हस्पताल में दाखिल अपने कोरोना पीड़ित मरीज़ से संपर्क करने को तरसते रहे हैं. परन्तु यह सच है. मैंने भी सपने में भी यह नहीं सोचा था कि कोरोना मरीज़ की देखभाल के लिए मुझे उस के साथ हस्पताल में रहना पड़ सकता है.  सरकार की कोरोना नीति की बहुत सारी आलोचना मैंने पढ़ी-सुनी और की थी पर मुझे इस का अहसास नहीं था कि बाकी मरीजों की तरह हस्पताल में दाखिल अपने कोरोना मरीज़ की देखभाल भी खुद करनी होती है. सच में भारत धुर विसंगतियों का देश है. एक ओर हमारी सरकार पूरे इलाके को ‘कन्टेनमेंट ज़ोन’ (नज़रबंद इलाका) घोषित कर सकती है ताकि वहां से कोरोना पीड़ित दूसरी जगह जा कर संक्रमण को फैला न सकें और दूसरी ओर हस्पताल में कोरोना पीड़ित मरीज़ की देखभाल के लिए किसी परिजन को उस के साथ रहना पड़ता है. चौबीस घंटे तो कोई एक व्यक्ति मरीज़ की देखभाल कर नहीं सकता था. इस लिए हम दो लोग अपने परिजन की देखभाल के लिए उस के साथ शिफ्टों में रहते थे जिस के चलते हमारा कोरोना वार्ड से घर आना जाना लगा रहता था. इस से न केवल हम परिचारकों के संक्रमित होने का ख़तरा था अपितु नियमित तौर पर घर आने जाने के कारण हम और लोगों को भी संक्रमित कर सकते थे.

Continue reading क्या इस तरह भारत में कोरोना कभी ख़त्म होगा? राजेन्द्र चौधरी

The Call of ’21 (একুশের ডাক) – A Novel Campaign and a Nucleus of the New

We publish a document ‘Demands of the People’ adopted by a novel campaign Ekusher Dak in West Bengal that has the potential to emerge as the nucleus of a new Left formation in the state. The draft document in Bangla is appended at the end of this post. Tomorrow, 30 June, Ekusher Dak or the Call of 21 will be organizing a programme, recalling the great Santhal Hool or the revolt of 30 June 1855.

Continue reading The Call of ’21 (একুশের ডাক) – A Novel Campaign and a Nucleus of the New

Who Feels the Pain of the Injured?

India’s most prominent sports and entertainment figures have to traverse a long distance to achieve true greatness.

Who feels the Pain of the Injured?

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Freepik

The racial bias in the American education system came under the scanner recently from an unexpected quarter. The occasion was a series of events to mark the 100th anniversary of an organised massacre of Blacks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. Mobs of violent white supremacists had destroyed the prosperous black Greenwood neighbourhood in a well-planned and predetermined manner, many aided and abetted by city officials, who provided arsonists with weapons. Actor-filmmaker Tom Hanks, regarded as an American cultural icon, underlined the conspiracy of silence in the school curriculum around this tragic race massacre in which 300 Black people died, and 10,000 became destitute or homeless.

In his essay, “You Should Learn the Truth about Tulsa Race Massacre”, published this month in the New York Times, Hanks unpacks the systematic cover-up of the massacre and other instances of racial bias and discrimination that the school education system papers over. He writes that white teachers and school administrators prioritise white feelings over Black experiences, which helps them omit “volatile” topics and preserve the status quo. Hanks has not limited his focus to the racial bias in the American education system but admits the role of Bollywood in shaping “what is history and what is forgotten”.

Have the icons of entertainment in India ever taken a leaf out of Hank’s book and searched their soul about the exclusions, discriminations and humiliations rampant in Indian society and their “industry”? For example, forty-two people, most of them Dalit women and children, were killed in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu in 1969 by local landlords. The Kilvenmani massacre took place more than a half-century ago. On its fiftieth anniversary, a series of remembrance events were held across the country, not unlike the events that marked the Tulsa race violence. The Thanjavur killings are said to be the first massacre of their kind in independent India. No perpetrator of this attack ever got punished. The court held that since the alleged attackers belonged to the upper strata of society, it was difficult to believe that they had walked into the village…(Read the full text here))

क्या हो बच्चे का धर्म ?

“Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion, and sect, and you spend the rest of your life defending something you did not even choose.”

: Quote, unnamed

1.

आप कह सकते हैं कि पहली दफा मैं इस पहेली से तब रूबरू हुआ था या कह सकते हैं कि अधिक गंभीरता से सोचने लगा जब बंबई की इस ख़बर ने ध्यान खींचा था.

किस्सा थोड़ा पुराना लग सकता है अलबत्ता आज भी मौजूं.

मराठी परिवार में जनमी एक युवती और गुजराती परिवार में पले युवक ने- जिन्होंने अन्तरधर्मीय विवाह किया है और बम्बई में बसे थे- दरअसल यह तय किया कि वह अपनी नवजन्मी सन्तान के साथ किसी धर्म को चस्पां नहीं करेंगे. उनका मानना था कि बड़े होकर उनकी सन्तान जो चाहे वह फैसला कर ले, आस्तिकता का वरण कर ले, अज्ञेयवादी बन जाए या धर्म को मानने से इनकार कर दे, लेकिन उसकी अबोध उम्र में उस पर ऐसे किसी निर्णय को लादना गैरवाजिब होगा.

निश्चित ही अपने इस फैसले पर अमल करने में उनके सामने काफी बाधाएं आयीं. सन्तान का जन्म प्रमाणपत्र तैयार करने में अलग-अलग दफ्तरों के चक्कर काटने पड़े, एक अफसर ने तो युवती से पूछ लिया कि क्या तुम्हें अपने धर्म पर गर्व नहीं है ?  युवती ने तपाक से जवाब दिया कि भले ही वह धर्म को मानने वाले परिवार में जन्मी हो, लेकिन किसी भी रीति रिवाज को नहीं मानती और अहम बात यह है कि क्या एक जनतांत्रिक धर्मनिरपेक्ष देश में मां बाप यह फैसला नहीं ले सकते कि वह अपनी संतान को किसी धर्म से नत्थी नहीं करेंगे.

( Read the full text here)

Freedom in the university and outside it: Atul Sood

Guest post by ATUL SOOD

Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman spoke online at a recent Distinguished Public Lecture at the Ashoka University (March 12, 2021), hosted by Arvind Subramaniam, Director, Ashoka Centre for Economic Policy. He spoke on “Is Labor-Intensive Exporting Still a Feasible Development Strategy?”

Kugman said that in this globalized world, for India to get into the market space vacated by the Chinese manufacturers, particularly for labour-intensive goods, it will have to be ready to do two things: First, make policy choices that are realistic and not ‘precocious’ and second, be ready to accept that rights and freedoms of labour, in particular will be sacrificed.  The wise counsel of Krugman was that India will have to be prepared to negotiate the space between rights/freedoms and share in the world market of course, up to the point where “labour is not getting killed”. Continue reading Freedom in the university and outside it: Atul Sood

Exclusion Arithmetics in Higher Education -JNU as the NEP 2020 Pilot: Ayesha Kidwai

This guest post is by AYESHA KIDWAI

When on January 26, 2016, Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar, a professor of electrical engineering from IIT Delhi, assumed office as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, no one really  knew who he was. Although subsequent news coverage have unearthed a short-lived and rather unsavoury notoriety in the early 2000s, his administrative experience appeared to be scant, never even having served as a head of a department in any of the institutions he has served in), so news coverage of his appointment could make mention of only his prowess in the martial arts and his aspirations to nation-building in the university (which, as was eventually revealed, boiled down largely to a somewhat macabre fascination with large military hardware).

The five years of Kumar as Vice-Chancellor of JNU have done much to lift him from the obscurity he once enjoyed, but most of his new-found fame has been singularly unflattering. Met with a sustained opposition from the JNU Students Union and the JNU Teachers Association, Kumar has far from established himself as a capable, transparent, and non-partisan administrator committed to the highest standards of academic excellence. However, the poor press that has consistently dogged him throughout his tenure appears to have done nothing to weaken the extraordinary governmental support that he enjoys. So resolute is this backing, that it not only has it been able to claim the scalp of a senior bureaucrat in the MHRD back in 2019, it has now secured Jagadesh Kumar an unusual continuation in office until “his successor is appointed”, following the indefinite postponement of a meeting for the selection of his successor on January 7, 2020. Continue reading Exclusion Arithmetics in Higher Education -JNU as the NEP 2020 Pilot: Ayesha Kidwai

हमको डिक्टेटर मांगता!

(अक्सर लोग बातचीत में यह कहते पाये जाते हैं कि इस देश में सैनिक शासन लागू कर देना चाहिए. ऐसा कहते समय वे यह भूल जाते हैं कि उनके पड़ोसी देशों में यह सब होता रहा है और इसने उन देशों का जहाँ पीछे किया है वहीं लोगों के जीवन को भी संकट में जब-तब डाल दिया है. जिस देश ने अपने इतिहास का सबसे महान और बड़ा संघर्ष अहिंसा, लोकतंत्र और धर्मनिरपेक्षता जैसे विराट मानवीय मूल्यों से जीता हो. वहां हिटलर की बढ़ती लोकप्रियता चिंतित करती है.

क्यों हम हिटलर को पसंद करने लग गयें हैं, क्यों हम किसी तानाशाह की प्रतीक्षा कर रहें हैं ? जबकि यह भारत और मानवजाति के लिए किसी विभीषिका से कम नहीं होगा.

प्रस्तुत आलेख इसी परिघटना की पड़ताल करता है .)

( मुंबई के एक रेस्तरां का दृश्य, फोटो आभार REUTERS)

 

“History teaches, but it has no pupils.”

Antonio Gramsci, (१)

क भारतीय प्रकाशक को इस मसले पर वर्ष 2018 में आलोचना का शिकार होना पड़ा जब बच्चों के लिए तैयार की गयी एक किताब जिसका फोकस विश्व के नेताओं पर था ‘जिन्होंने अपने मुल्क और अपनी जनता की बेहतरी के लिए जिंदगी दी’ उसमें हिटलर को भी उसने शामिल किया.

जानकार लोग बता सकते हैं कि ऐसी घटनाएँ- कम-से-कम यहां अपवाद नहीं हैं. अपनी मौत के लगभग 75 साल बाद हिटलर भारत में बार-बार ‘नमूदार’ होता रहता है.

एक स्पैनिश फिल्म निर्माता अल्फ्रेडो डे ब्रागान्जा- जो एक स्वतंत्र फिल्म निर्माता रहे हैं- और जिन्होंने कुछ साल पहले भारत में रह कर काम किया था, उन्होंने भारत में हिटलर की अलग किस्म की ‘मौजूदगी’ को लेकर एक फोटो निबंध तैयार किया था जिसमें बहुत कम लिखित सामग्री थी. वह हिटलर की उपस्थिति को लेकर इस कदर विचलित थे कि अपने इस निबंध की शुरूआत में उन्होंने पूछ ही डाला:

‘भारत हिटलर-प्रेम के गिरफ्त में है. हालांकि आबादी का बड़ा हिस्सा यह नहीं जानता कि आखिर ऐसा क्यों हैं, वे अपने निजी एवं पेशागत चिन्ताओं से परे सोचना भी नहीं चाहते कि क्यों भारत हिटलर से प्रेम करता है? क्या किसी लॉबी का हित इसके पीछे है.’ (2)

आज भारत में आलम यह है कि  यहूदी विरोधी हिटलर की चर्चित रचना ‘माईन काम्फ’ (मेरा संघर्ष) को आप किसी किताब की दुकान में ‘डायरी ऑफ़ एन फ्रांक- जो उस यहूदी लड़की की आत्मकथा है जो खुद हिटलर की यहूदी विरोध की नीतियों का शिकार हुई थी, के बगल में देख सकते हैं.

हिटलर ने भारतीयों के बारे में काफी अपमानजनक टिप्पणियां की थीं और उसने भारत की आज़ादी के संग्राम का कतई समर्थन नहीं किया था. ‘डिअर हिटलर’ इस फिल्म पर- जिसमें यह दावा किया गया था कि ‘हिटलर भारत का दोस्त रहा है’ अपनी प्रतिक्रिया देते हुए एक लेखक ने हिटलर के चित्रांकन पर आश्चर्य प्रकट करते हुए तथा निराशा जताते हुए लिखा था :

“हिटलर ने कभी भी भारतीय स्वशासन की हिमायत नहीं की. उसने ब्रिटिश राजनेताओं को सलाह दी कि गांधी और आज़ादी के आन्दोलन के सैकड़ों नेताओं को वह गोली से उड़ा दे. बार-बार उसने ब्रिटिश साम्राज्यवाद के प्रति अपना समर्थन दोहराया. वह यही सोचता था कि वह (ब्रिटिश शासन) उतना सख्त नहीं रहा है. ‘अगर हम भारत पर कब्जा जमा लेते हैं’ उसने कभी धमकाया था, तब भारतीय लोग ‘अंग्रेजी शासन के अच्छे दिनों को याद करते फिरेंगे.’ (3)

( Read the full article here : https://samalochan.blogspot.com/2021/02/blog-post_3.html)

JNUTA REPORT ON THE UNIVERSITY 2016-2021 PART III – On Academic Programmes

This is the third part of a series of reports on Jawaharlal Nehru University (2016-2021) by the JNU Teachers’ Association.

Part I – Delhi High Court Orders .

Part II – Security on JNU Campus

On Academic Programmes

The directive issued by the Ministry of Education on the evening of 22 January announcing an extension for Prof. Jagadesh Kumar as Vice Chancellor till the time that the new incumbent is appointed, serves as yet another reminder of how consistently over the last five years, despite several representations backed by relevant Court Orders, the powers that be at the Centre have chosen to shut their eyes to the misdemeanours committed by the man heading JNU. The University Statutes and Act do not allow a second term for any Vice Chancellor and define the term of the Vice-Chancellor as five years only. The MHRD order does not award him a second term, and merely continues him in office until his successor is appointed. Yet, the Vice Chancellor on the 27th of January, called an emergency meeting of the Executive Council, at one hour’s notice and ‘reappointed’ all three Rectors, despite the fact that the tenure of the Rectors was not over. The JNUTA finds this disregard for the University Statutes shocking, as the VC cannot claim any knowledge that the new VC will not be appointed before the Rectors’ terms will be over. It strongly objects to the scant regard that the incumbent VC has for the Statutes of University he heads. Continue reading JNUTA REPORT ON THE UNIVERSITY 2016-2021 PART III – On Academic Programmes

JNUTA Report on the university 2016-2021 Part II – Security on JNU Campus

This is the second part of a series of reports on Jawaharlal Nehru University (2016-2021) by the JNU Teachers’ Association.

Part I – Delhi High Court Orders can be found here.

Growing Concerns over Security on JNU Campus

This statement, the second in the series brought out by JNUTA, focuses on the unprecedented deterioration of security issues on campus over the last five years. The word ‘unprecedented is consciously used because never have residents which includes faculty, students and non-teaching staff of the university felt so vulnerable and unsafe inside their 1000 acre campus. For a residential university like JNU, security on campus is a very important concern. However, as in other matters, in this area too, the responses of the university administration has been lax and has failed miserably in ensuring that residents feel secure and less vulnerable on campus.

Enumerated below are some of the serious events that have taken place on campus over the last five years, that have put a big question mark on the Vice Chancellor’s capabilities to effectively manage and deliver on this issue. Continue reading JNUTA Report on the university 2016-2021 Part II – Security on JNU Campus

JNUTA Report on the university 2016-2021 Part I – Delhi High Court orders

This is the first part of a series of reports on Jawaharlal Nehru University (2016-2021) by the JNU Teachers’ Association.

On 26th January 2021, the five-year tenure of Prof. Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar as Vice Chancellor of JNU will formally come to an end. While there are press reports that confirm that the Search Committee constituted for identifying a replacement has yet to begin its work, which indicates the probability of Prof. Jagadesh Kumar getting an extension till the new incumbent finally takes over; his inevitable departure from JNU is significant.

Over the next few days, JNUTA would like to share with you relevant documentation that shows as to how a public university of the stature of JNU was single handedly destroyed over the last five years by none other than the Vice Chancellor who administered JNU as if it was his personal fiefdom, showing scant regard for the Statutes and Ordinances that had governed  University practices in the past.

In the first part of this series, starting today we would like to reproduce important observations made by the Honourable Delhi High Court on various cases concerning matters of the university. Over the five-year period 2016-21, there have been nearly over 150 cases that have been filed by the JNU community against the current Vice Chancellor and his administration. This high increase in legal cases, represents the tip of the iceberg. Deep within lies the rot which stems from the inability of the Vice Chancellor to engage in dialogue and resolve matters through correct interpretation of UGC guidelines as well as statutes and ordinances of the university, a lacuna in his personality that stems from inordinate conceit in his own abilities or some other ulterior motives. Continue reading JNUTA Report on the university 2016-2021 Part I – Delhi High Court orders

Invention of Merit and the ‘Millstone of Caste’: Mohan Rao

Guest post by MOHAN RAO

“And yet there must be deliverance for we are all otherwise convicted at birth.”

I want to thank Srivats and Anveshi for inviting to be part of a discussion about the book, Caste as Merit, by Ajantha Subramaniam.* I am not a scholar on these issues and I must confess this scares me sometimes, for I wonder if we can discuss these issues at all? Some friends actually advised me not to take part in this discussion, because I was, ineluctably,  going to be labelled as Brahmin, talking about a book written by a Brahmin in the US! In my own estimation though, I remain a nastika, a non-believer, out of Brahminical bounds.

I would like to begin by showing a lithograph – and a story.

Continue reading Invention of Merit and the ‘Millstone of Caste’: Mohan Rao

From the Electron to the Higgs- The Long Twentieth Century of Particle Physics – :Dr Ravi Sinha

Guest Post by Dr Ravi Sinha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9th lecture (in Hindi) in the Umang Library popular science series will happen this Sunday, December 13, at 5 PM IST. The series is aimed at creating awareness about science in the Hindi belt of India.

Abstract : From the Electron to the Higgs: The Long Twentieth Century of Particle Physics

In 1897 J J Thomson discovered the electron with a Cathode Ray Tube that could fit on a small table in his Cavendish Laboratory. In 2012 the Higgs particle was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider which is the largest scientific instrument ever built (it is a particle accelerator that sits in a tunnel 27 kilometres in circumference and required billions of dollars to build). If the 1897 discovery inaugurated particle physics, the 2012 one was the culmination of the chain of stunning discoveries of new particles spread across these 115 years. In this lecture we will tell the story of the major landmarks of this long century of particle physics which include discoveries of the proton, of anti-particles and of quarks. This is the epic story of the eternal quest of humankind for the most fundamental laws of Nature and the most fundamental constituents of matter. Like all the lectures in this series this lecture too will be accessible to high school students and to curious lay persons. Continue reading From the Electron to the Higgs- The Long Twentieth Century of Particle Physics – :Dr Ravi Sinha

राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति 2020 – पिछले तजुर्बों से बेख़बर एक दस्तावेज़ : राजेन्द्र चौधरी

Guest post by RAJINDER CHAUDHARY

राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति 2020 के दो मुख्य भाग हैं, स्कूली शिक्षा और उच्च शिक्षा. हम इन दोनों क्षेत्रों का मूल्यांकन करेंगे. किसी भी नीति की तरह इस शिक्षा नीति में भी कुछ स्वागत योग्य कदम हैं, कुछ कमियाँ हैं, कुछ बातें छूट गई हैं और कुछ खतरनाक पहलू हैं. हम तीनों पक्षों को चिन्हित करने का प्रयास करेंगे. दुर्भाग्य से इस नीति के दो अलग अलग अंग्रेजी प्रारूप सरकारी वेब साइटों पर उपलब्ध हैं. एक 60 पृष्ठों का और एक 66 पृष्ठों का है. दोनों की अंतर्वस्तु में भी महत्वपूर्ण अंतर है पर इन प्रारूपों में तिथि नहीं दी गई, इस लिए यह तय करना संभव नहीं है कि कौन सा नया है और कौन सा पुराना है. इस विमर्श हेतू हमने 66 पन्नों वाले दस्तावेज़ का प्रयोग किया है. 

काफी समय से एकविषयक कालेज जैसे बीएड कालेज, इंजीनियरिंग कालेज या बिना विज्ञान संकाय या केवल विज्ञान संकाय के +2 स्कूल तो चल ही रहे थे पर हाल ही में एक विषयक विश्वविद्यालयों का चलन बढ़ा है. जैसे स्वास्थ्य, खेल, संस्कृत, बागवानी विश्विविद्यालय इत्यादि. ऐसे एकविषयक संस्थानों में छात्रों को समग्र विकास का मौका नहीं मिलता. उनका दृष्टिकोण बहुत सीमित हो जाता है. इस लिए बहुविषयक शिक्षा संस्थान विषयों एवं छात्रों दोनों के समग्र विकास के लिये आवश्यक हैं. इस कमी को नयी शिक्षा नीति में रेखांकित किया है और दूर करने का निर्णय लिया गया है. यह स्वागत योग्य कदम है. स्कूल को छात्रों तक सीमित न रख कर एक ‘सामाजिक चेतना केंद्र’ के तौर पर विकसित करना, कम्पार्टमेंट परीक्षा के साथ स्कूली छात्रों को अंक सुधार हेतु मौका देना, सार्वजानिक एवं स्कूल पुस्तकालयों का विस्तार एवं इन के लिए आवश्यक कर्मचारियों की व्यवस्था, मातृभाषा में शिक्षा को बढ़ावा देने का संकल्प, छात्रों को अपनी रूचि के अनुसार ज़्यादा विविध विषयों में से चुनाव चुनाव का मौका, जैसे कदम स्वागत योग्य हैं. 

Continue reading राष्ट्रीय शिक्षा नीति 2020 – पिछले तजुर्बों से बेख़बर एक दस्तावेज़ : राजेन्द्र चौधरी

NEP 2020 – elitist and corporatized education under Hindu Rashtra

This study of the National Education Policy 2020, apart from my own  analysis, draws on extensive commentary on the final document and its earlier drafts, by education policy experts and teachers, including my own union,  JNU Teachers’ Association, which undertook a detailed critique of the Draft NEP 2019.  This needs to be said because neither educationists nor academics were consulted in the process of making the initial policy, nor were states, despite the fact that education is a concurrent subject. We begin therefore with the procedure of finalizing the NEP 2020.

Faulty procedures of formulating and finalizing the policy

No consultative process

All previous education policies have undergone massive consultation processes, as Niraja Gopal Jayal outlines, but not this one. At the press conference announcing the policy, Gopal Jayal points out, it was claimed that an “unprecedented collaborative, inclusive, and highly participatory consultation process” was conducted, but it is clear from the single slide that was shown, that states were not consulted at all.

Continue reading NEP 2020 – elitist and corporatized education under Hindu Rashtra

Statement of Solidarity for Dr. Maroona Murmu from the Faculty of Presidency University

We are publishing below the following statement in support of and solidarity with Dr Maroona Murmu, signed by more than eighty faculty members of Presidency University, was issued yesterday.  

We, the undersigned teachers of Presidency University, Kolkata, are shocked to know about the recent attacks on Dr. Maroona Murmu, Associate Professor of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

Dr. Murmu is an accomplished scholar, an activist, and an intellectual. She is an important voice of our time insofar as she regularly writes and speaks about the rights and plights of the Adivasi community. She is a unique personality to have graced the academia with her rare ability to combine scholarship with activism.

We are aware that the academic space in West Bengal, as elsewhere in the country, is, even today, predominantly Brahminical. Students and teachers hailing from SC, ST, and OBC communities regularly face discrimination due to their caste and tribal backgrounds. The suicides of Chuni Kotal, Rohith Vemula, and Payal Tadvi amply demonstrate the fatal consequences of such discrimination. As various instances from academic institutions from across the country suggest, not only students but teachers from such communities also face victimization regularly. We are also aware that only a tiny percentage of such instances of discrimination make it to the news.

Continue reading Statement of Solidarity for Dr. Maroona Murmu from the Faculty of Presidency University