Category Archives: Education

History as Storytelling

Home Minister Amit Shah, while inaugurating a two-day seminar at Banaras Hindu University, emphasised that Indian historians should “rewrite history from an Indian perspective”.

Home Minister Amit Shah

There is one thing unique about the present dispensation holding reins of power at the Centre. What one witnesses that the cabinet ministers—who go by the principle of collective responsibility—follow the dictum in letter and spirit. Thus, it is not considered unusual when a minister holding X portfolio shares their opinion about an urgent issue before Y ministry and vice versa. This process has been so normalised that when recently Home Minister Amit Shah, who according to his followers is the new ‘Iron Man’ of India—thanks to the abrogation of Article 370—shared his views on need for ‘rewriting history’, no eyebrows were raised.

No commentator even asked why the home minister—a graduate in bio-chemistry who has also worked as a stockbroker and in co-operative banks [Sheela Bhatt, “What Amit Shah’s fall really means”, July 28, 2010]—was found the most apt person to inaugurate a two-day seminar on a subject of history at Banaras Hindu University where he shared his pearls of wisdom. His emphasis was that Indian historians should “rewrite history from an Indian perspective”. The focus of the seminar was on Skandagupta Vikramaditya, the fifth-century AD emperor.

(Read the complete article here – https://www.newsclick.in/History-Storytelling)

Education on Education – Reclamation, and Other Mediations: Sasheej Hegde

Guest Post by SASHEEJ HEGDE

A thought is a tremendous form of excitement. [Alfred N. Whitehead]

We are concerned with the imagination, and the vaguely functionalist remarks we noticed before are not the sketch of an explanation, but an aid to the imagination, to make a different practice a more familiar idea to us, and hence to make us more conscious of the practice we have.  Seen in this light, … [t]he imagined alternatives are not alternatives to us; they are alternatives for us, markers of how far we might go and still remain, within our world – a world leaving which would not mean that we saw something different, but just that we ceased to see. [Bernard Williams]

This is an extended essay working off two official documents, and public ones at that: one, the voluminous draft of the National Education Policy 2019 (henceforth Draft NEP) authored by the K. Kasturirangan-led Committee appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, (MHRD) Government of India and, second, the brief report on ‘Promoting and Improving the Quality of Research in Indian Universities/Colleges’ headed by P. Balaram under the auspices of the University Grants Commission (UGC) [accordingly, UGC-Balaram report].  My interest is as much with the former as with the latter; and, although they can be commented upon independent of each other, it is the combined resonance of these two policy suggestions that I am interested to examine (especially as they bear on the higher education [HE] space in India).

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‘ईश्वर नहीं है’ कहने का अधिकार

Image result for periyar
Periyar : Image – Courtesy velivada.com

क्या अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का अधिकार महज आस्थावानों के लिए ही लागू होता है ?

कभी कभी साधारण से प्रश्न का उत्तर पाने के लिए भी अदालती हस्तक्षेप की जरूरत पड़ती है।

मद्रास उच्च न्यायालय की – न्यायमूर्ति एस मनिकुमार और सुब्रहमण्यम प्रसाद की – द्विसदस्यीय डिवीजन बेंच को पिछले दिनो ंयह दोहराना पड़ा कि अभिव्यक्ति का अधिकार – जो भारत के संविधान के तहत मिले बुनियादी अधिकारों में शुमार है – सार्वभौमिक है और इसे समयविशेष के बहुमत के आंकड़ों के आधार पर तय नहीं किया जा सकता।

मालूम हो कि किन्ही दैवानायागम ने न्यायालय में यह जनहितयाचिका दाखिल की थी और कहा था कि तमिलनाडु के त्रिची में पेरियार की मूर्ति पर जो नास्तिकता के उद्वरण दिए गए हैं, वह ‘सार्विक ईश्वर’ को माननेवालों के लिए आपत्तिजनक हैं और उन्हें हटा दिया जाए। याद रहे रामस्वामी नायक / 17 सितम्बर 1879-24 दिसम्बर 1973/ जिन्हें ‘पेरियार’ नाम से जाना जाता है, वह आत्मसम्मान आन्दोलन के अग्रणी थे, द्रविड कझगम के संस्थापक पेरियार एक जुझारू किस्म के समाज सुधारक भी थे। याचिकाकर्ता ने मूर्ति पर लिखे उद्धरण के बारे में ‘‘कोई ईश्वर नहीं है, ईश्वर नहीं है और वाकई ईश्वर नहीं है..’ के पेरियार द्वारा कहे जाने पर भी सवाल खड़े किए थे। Continue reading ‘ईश्वर नहीं है’ कहने का अधिकार

Statement by Teachers and Academics in Support of Dr. Hany Babu

The following is a statement issues by teachers and academics in support of Dr Hany Babu, whose residence was raided early morning non 10 September by Pune Police

We, teachers and members of the academic community from across universities, are shocked to know of the illegal raid at the residence of Dr. Hany Babu, Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Delhi on the morning of 10 September 2019. While the horrifying overreach of a search conducted without a warrant has become routine harassment for dissenting citizens, the attempt made by the Pune Police to forcefully detain Babu’s family for six hours and deprive them of any communication with lawyers or friends amounts to extreme duress. Finally, forcing Babu to change passwords and forfeit access to his email account and other personal online media clearly makes way for a possible planting of evidence, to concoct a case against an assumed ‘suspect’

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Who Needs Romila Thapar’s CV?

Thapar questioned imperialist versions of Indian history, which the Hindutva Brigade still goes by.

Romila Thapar

..an historian who is indefatigable in the pursuit of knowledge and prolific in its publication, and who is above all a devoted partisan of the truth. … The early history of the country has been illuminated by Professor Thapar, whom I now present, more than by almost any other scholar. An historian of that period who seriously wishes to refute accepted fictions and dispel the general darkness will need several high qualities. (From a citation presented by Oxford University to Romila Thapar while conferring on her an honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2002.)

It was 1960, when Romila Thapar, a young historian at the time, wrote a 400 plus-page monograph on Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas. According to Oxford University Press, which published it in 2017, it tried to “trace virtually the entire span of Indian history.” The monograph is considered a classic today.

Thapar’s scholarly journey continues unabated at the age of 88. She is among the world’s foremost intellectuals, known for path-breaking work on Indian ancient history, as this interview acknowledges. Undoubtedly, her work has informed and inspired at least three generations of history students.

It hardly needs mention that Thapar has prestigious prizes to her credit for the scores of books and academic papers she has published. Twice, she declined the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award granted by the government.

Now Thapar is in the news because of a strange query from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration, where she has held teaching and administrative positions for roughly three decades.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/Romila-Thapar-CV-JNU-Historian-Hindutva-Brigade-Indian-History)

 

83 Delhi University English Teachers’ Statement against Politically Motivated Attacks on Syllabus

The following is the full text of the statement issued by 83 English teachers of Delhi University against the attack on the syllabus:

We, the teachers of English across Delhi University are shocked and appalled at the unacademic, politically motivated attack on our syllabus. This is a democratically drafted syllabus, which involved faculty participation from around 40 colleges; over 2 years, and more than 3000 working hours have been spent on it. It is a matter of sorrow and deep academic concern that the syllabus is now being maligned, and is sought to be scuttled, by certain political groups at the University.

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