The Vice Chancellor of JNU has lost all moral authority: A dossier of misdeeds

Student poster displaying a clear understanding of Foucault and surveillance. Compulsory attendance is really not needed at JNU!

Let us begin with a basic fact. The diktat on compulsory attendance in JNU is only a symptom of the larger, continuing crisis created by the utterly dictatorial style of functioning of this Vice Chancellor.

Professor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar has, since his taking over in January 2016:

  • openly flouted every statute and regulation of the university
  • shut down admissions almost entirely for the 2017 academic year
  • violated the law of the land, that is, constitutional provision for reservations
  • failed to implement JNU’s Deprivation Point system that attempts to bring about representation for students from a diversity of class, regional and caste backgrounds
  • shut down the country’s oldest functioning Committee on Sexual Harassment (GSCASH)
  • brazenly cooked up and manipulated Minutes of meeting after meeting of the Academic Council and
  • treated faculty and students of JNU as his enemies to be defeated by the naked use of authoritarian power.

Continue reading “The Vice Chancellor of JNU has lost all moral authority: A dossier of misdeeds”

A Theatre Olympics that Isn’t: Arundhati Ghosh

Guest post by ARUNDHATI GHOSH

Image courtesy Deccan Herald

I have been working for the past 16 years with a small organisation called India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) that attempts to support arts and culture projects across the country. In these years I have been fortunate enough to travel across the country to big cities and small ones, towns and villages where arts practitioners and scholars work intensely, passionately, with almost no economic resources or social acknowledgements. The percentage of our total national budget outlay to the arts and culture is negligible as is the amount that finally gets spent on it. The state of our national arts and culture institutions is abysmal and much has been written by eminent experts critiquing the vision, mandates, policies and mechanisms of funding or the lack of any of these prerequisites to support the sector with an imagination that attempts to build a robust, vibrant ecology for the arts.

Continue reading “A Theatre Olympics that Isn’t: Arundhati Ghosh”

The Festering Sore of the Caste-Wall at Vadayambady: T T Sreekumar

T T Sreekumar, an important commentator on contemporary politics in Kerala — a public intellectual who now qualifies to be an irritant in the eyes of the Kerala police, now that he has openly declared his allegiance to the dalit people fighting injustice and Vadayambady and inaugurated a protest-event there — writes about the issue and its historical origins:

When I visited Vadayambady the other day to express my solidarity with the cause of the agitation, what I witnessed there was an atmosphere of utmost fear and police terror. A big task force of police was stationed at the location. The team that included the special branch officers, had created a situation of terror at the peaceful site. Activists mentioned that a particular police officer continuously hurled abuses, including caste abuses, at the protesters that included Dalit women and children. When the protest began to draw national attention, the ruling dispensation of CPIM that had hitherto remained unconcerned has started to take up some damage control measures. However, when they finally arrived at the site of the agitation almost after a year since the agitation began, the CPIM leaders allegedly refused to address the caste question involved. Dalit activists, including women activists, surrounded them and raised several objections to this attitude pointing to their sheer hypocrisy and lack of integrity.

Read more at:

https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/02/fighting-peripheralization-dalit-movement-hindu-caste-wall-kerala/

 

Defend Constitutional Values, Save Hinduism from Hindtuva: For Civil Servants and Armed Forces Veterans

On 30 January 2018, retired civil servants and veterans of the armed forces jointly organised a conclave on ‘Hinduism and Hindutva’ at the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi. The conclave attended by over hundred participants, emphasized the need to rescue both Hinduism and the Indian Constitution from the clutches of the political project that calls itself Hindutva, and which has nothing to do with religion as such. The participants at the conclave sought to make a plea for saving Hinduism without making any concessions to the monstrosity of caste oppression, which in the spirit of many earlier reformers, they rejected.

This conclave followed an earlier one on ‘A Fractured Polity: The
Relevance of Gandhi Today’ organised on 10 October 2017, which had been
addressed by Justice A P Shah, Mrinal Pande and Ramachandra Guha. The
speeches are available on YouTube (Justice A.P. Shah, Mrinal Pande,
Ramachandra Guha). These civil servants and veterans have also raised severe
concerns about the present situation in a series of open letters over the last few
months: on vigilantism and hyper-nationalism; the suspicious death of Justice
Loya; and violence and discrimination against minorities in India. (See: Retired
Civil Servants open letter – 10 June 2017, Armed Forces Veterans open letter –
30 July 2017, Retired Civil Servants Letter 02 December 2017 – Enquiry into
Judge Loya’s death, Armed Forces Veterans letter to Supreme Court & Bombay
High Court on Judge Loya’s death, Retired Civil Servants open letter – 28 January
2018).
Continue reading “Defend Constitutional Values, Save Hinduism from Hindtuva: For Civil Servants and Armed Forces Veterans”

कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह

Guest post by VAIBHAV SINGH

kasganj-uttar-pradesh-violence, image courtesy ndtv

पूरे हिंदी क्षेत्र में और विशेषकर उत्तरप्रदेश में ऐसे बडे, छोटे और मंझोले किस्म के नेताओं की बड़ी फौज पैदा हो गई है जिसकी नेतागिरी केवल सांप्रदायिक नारे लगाने और समाज में सांप्रदायिकता फैलाने पर टिकी है। सार्वजनिक जीवन पर इन संकीर्ण सोच वाले हिंदुत्व नेताओं की निरंतर मजबूत होती पकड़ ने सांप्रदायिक हिंसा को ‘न्यू नार्मल’ के रूप में मान्यता दिला दी है। हिंदू धर्म को कलंकित करने में इस नए जमाने के हिंदुत्व की क्या भूमिका है, यह अब किसी से छिपा नहीं है। एक समय था जब समाज पर समाजवादी और गांधीवादी विचारों के प्रभाव के कारण सांप्रदायिकता का सामना करना अपेक्षाकृत कम मुश्किल काम था। पर इन विचारधाराओं का प्रभाव कम हो जाने से सांप्रदायिक नेताओं-समूहों का तेजी से विस्तार हो रहा है। एबीवीपी, विहिप, हिंदू युवावाहिनी और बजरंग दल जैसे संगठन सामाजिक-राजनीतिक जीवन के पूरे परिदृश्य पर हावी हो चुके हैं।अक्सर साधारण परिवारों के युवक इन संगठनों की चपेट में इसलिए आ जाते हैं क्योंकि सांप्रदायिक संगठन समाज सेवा के मुखौटे के भीतर रहकर अपना काम करते हैं। वे दिखावे के तौर पर ब्लड डोनेशन या स्वच्छता मिशन या फिर शहीदों के सम्मान जैसी गतिविधियां करते हैं पर उनका असल मकसद समाज में सांप्रदायिकता का विचारधारा का विस्तार करना होता है। मुस्लिमों में भी सांप्रदायिकता है, पर वे उस प्रकार से संगठित सांप्रदायिकता को व्यक्त नहीं कर रहे हैं। Continue reading “कासगंज हिंसा- तिरंगे को हड़प जाएगा भगवा? वैभव सिंह”

A Revolution Called Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ – the Republic on Trial

देख ज़िन्दां के परे, रंग-ए-चमन, जोश-ए-बहार

रक्स करना है तो पॉंव की ज़ंजीर न देख – मजरूह सुल्तानपुरी

Look –  beyond the the prison walls, the brilliance of flowers, the vitality of spring

If you must dance, ignore the chains that bind your feet – Majrooh Sultanpuri

Today, the scared Republic that has imprisoned its young idealistic fighter son, Chandrashekhar, is on trial. The Republic, scared of its own offspring, stands in the dock. This Republic Day, we must all answer how it came to pass that a gang of adventurers and marauders simply took it over, submitted it to their command, while all the elderly, wise men and women, watched. Today, when the Republic bondage we must seek answers from all those who watched helplessly – or self-righteously – as marauders took it over.

It is official now. A radiogram from the Deputy Secretary, Home, Govt of Uttar Pradesh to the Superintendent, Saharanpur District Jail, dated 23 January 2018, confirms the slapping of charges under the National Security Act, on Bhim Army founder, Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’. Pradeep Narwal, Coordinator, Committee for the Defence of Bhim Army, who met Chandrashekhar in jail yesterday, underlined how the Karni Sena activists attacking school buses and vandalizing schools were being allowed the freedom to do so while Chandrashekhar, responsible for setting up and running of schools (see the video below), is being held in jail for months and has now been slapped with charges under NSA. “Karni Sena are apparently deshbhakts and Shekher bhai and Bhim Army are ‘terrorists’ in the perverted logic of this government,” he said.

 

In conversations with friends and sympathizers who have been meeting him over the past months, including Pradeep Narwal, Chandrashekhar ‘Ravan’ has been expressing a fear that many of us have also had, independently, for some time now: that the government wants to actually get rid of him – just as judge Loya was, it now transpires. Continue reading “A Revolution Called Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’ – the Republic on Trial”

From Nangeli to Rima Kallingal: Who are fit to claim Nangeli’s Legacy?

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The recent reference to how the distribution of food in Malayali homes is often skewed against women by the actor Rima Kallingal in a recent talk has sparked off yet another round of attacks against feminists in Kerala. It is interesting to see how this seems to have brought together men of all political stripes and colours (may I say, from pro- and anti-Hadiya camps!). The attacks range from mild smirking to outright abuse, but are equally revealing of the fear of women’s feminist self-assertion. So even those men who supported Hadiya’s decision to choose her faith and community find it hard to swallow when women start laying bare the injustices of the ubiquitous patriarchal family, fearing that there may be an implicit choice in this criticism, to move away from the patriarchal family, and indeed, craft other non-patriarchal forms of intimate connection and commitment. After all, whatever be the community, the patriarchal family is acknowledged by patriarchal authorities everywhere as the foundation Continue reading “From Nangeli to Rima Kallingal: Who are fit to claim Nangeli’s Legacy?”