Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat

STOP HARASSMENT OF DR RAJSHREE RANAWAT, STOP MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST HER AND REVOKE HER SUSPENSION

It is extremely disturbing that Dr. Rajashree Ranawat, Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur, has been suspended by her university for having supposedly “disobeyed” the orders of the university.  The suspension letter does not mention which orders she has not obeyed.

It can therefore be concluded that Dr. Ranawat is being punished for having invited Prof. Nivedita Menon as a speaker in an academic conference which had academics and civil society workers from different disciplinary and ideological backgrounds participating in it. The conference was very successful with students and teachers interacting with outstation scholars in a free atmosphere. After its conclusion, a nasty campaign was launched by some newspapers that Prof Ranawat as organiser had provided a platform to a “controversial” person like Prof. Menon who used the occasion to malign the image of Indian soldiers, questioned the accession of Kashmir to India and insulted the integrity of India by inverting its map. Continue reading “Statement Against the Harassment of Dr Rajshree Ranawat”

Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.

We, the undersigned, condemn the repeated attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon, the most recent of which being the police complaint lodged against her on the 3rd of February, 2017 (as also against Professor Rajshree Ranawat) for allegedly making ‘anti-national’ remarks during a seminar organised by the Department of English, Jai Narain Vyas University. This incident, we believe, is continuous with the spate of attacks that Professor Menon has had to face for taking an astute stand against the RashtriyaSwayamsevakSangh (RSS), its student-wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and the nefarious politics of Hindutva in general. We refuse the rationale of dissent against Hindutva as dissent against the nation, because our idea of the nation is not of the Hindu Rashtra but of secularism, democracy, and social justice. Both as a voice of dissent and a formidable scholar of politics, Professor Nivedita Menon is an inspirational figure. She is a consistent articulation of conscience and an abiding commitment to the ideals that our freedom fighters envisioned for our nation. It is our conviction that patriotism is not only love for the abstract entity of the nation but also for its people, regardless of class, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or any other marker that is used to advantage or disadvantage groups. The ‘patriotism’ that the RSS and its henchmen claim to champion is hateful, divisive, and truly anti-national.

It is our concern as students, therefore, that the ABVP claims to speak for the student community. This petition is a rejection of that assertion, and a statement in solidarity with Professor Nivedita Menon. We hope for and demand the cessation of attacks on Professor Nivedita Menon and the protection of her inalienable freedom and right to oppose the politics of division and communalism. Continue reading “Students In Solidarity With Professor Nivedita Menon and Rajshree Ranawat – A Statement – UPDATED SIGNATORIES.”

On RSS ignorance, the “upside down map” of India, and on being “anti-national”

himal_map_4501Himal Southasian’s ‘right-side-up’ map. In their words: “This map of Southasia may seem upside down to some, but that is because we are programmed to think of north as top of page. This rotation is an attempt by the editors of Himal to reconceptualise ‘regionalism’ in a way that the focus is on the people rather than the nation-states. This requires nothing less than turning our minds downside-up.

Turn your eyes away, gentle reader. You have already become anti-national by viewing this image.

More on this in a minute. First some background.

On the 3rd of February, ABVP called a bandh in Jai Narain Vyas University (JNVU), Jodhpur, forcibly stopping classes and demanding suspension of the organizers of a conference and police action against them, as well as against myself. Police complaints have now been lodged, and perhaps FIRs, we hear.

The charge? The conference, and my lecture in particular, was anti-national. Not one of these ABVP students attended the event, nor is there yet a video recording available to my knowledge, largely because the ABVP also gathered in intimidatingly large numbers outside the shop that had conducted the recording, and the owner shut up the shop and fled. The entire drama and some sensationalist and outright false stories in the local Hindi press, is based entirely on the testimony of one person, NK Chaturvedi, retired professor from the History department at JNVU, who attended just one session, mine.

Continue reading “On RSS ignorance, the “upside down map” of India, and on being “anti-national””

2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid.

Video and Photo Inputs from Naushad MK, Samim Asgor Ali and Amit Kumar

[ This post was written shortly after JNU students gathered in front of Vasant Vihar Police Station to articulate their concern and anger at the lax attitude taken so far by the Delhi Police and other concerned authorities in relation to the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed almost two weeks ago. In this text, (originally uploaded as a note on Facebook and then sent to us to be posted at Kafila) Shehla Rashid, thinks aloud about what has happened so far and looks ahead at the possible way forward for the students of JNU and their supporters to focus on making sure that Najeeb Ahmed, wherever he is, returns safe and sound to the JNU campus. We hope that it will be widely read, and discussed to evolve strategies for the evolving future of the campaign to give justice to Najeeb. Kafila]

Shehla Rashid and Others Being Confronted by Delhi Police at the Vasant Vihar Chakka Jam on Oc. 26, 2016

 

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the students who joined the Chakka Jam at Vasant Vihar police station, where the ACP refused to even accept the paper with our demands and, instead, ordered a lathi-charge on us. Students marched as one and stayed together till the end, despite all differences, for one goal- justice for Najeeb, and his safe return to campus life. I salute this spirit of JNU students. Having said that, I must say that we need to do more. Students need to come out in even greater numbers, as the attack on us is of immense magnitude.

Continue reading “2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid”

The RSS war on thought and ABVP as foot soldiers

Ever since the present Modi government came to power, there appears to have been a clear set of orders issued from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters to its student organization, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), to go on the rampage in university campuses all over India. From getting specific parts of syllabuses changed under threat of violence, disrupting events by other student organizations on campuses, to forcing university administrations to intervene to curb freedom of expression, to filing police complaints against dissenters, they seem to have been acting according to a well rehearsed script, subverting democratic processes on campuses. After its recent electoral defeats in JNU and Hyderabad Central University (HCU), however, the ABVP’s role seems to have acquired an even more virulent feature. The game plan appears to be to provoke violence wherever possible so that rather than any kind of debate, however contentious, on issues such as nationalism, minority rights and caste injustice, what we are increasingly likely to see are violent standoffs between student groups, which have to be controlled by the police. These are often represented in the media as brawls between students, as if there were no ideology or political content involved, just two groups of students “clashing.” But of course, in each case ABVP is involved, and in some kinds of reporting it can even be made to appear that ABVP was somehow the victim.

This is the moment at which teachers need to finally accept that ABVP is not just another student organization. We have tended to take the position in our universities that we must not condemn or directly address ABVP, since we must not directly involve ourselves in student politics. Teachers must talk to administration, be publicly critical of its lapses, take all measures necessary to display and enact our solidarity with students under attack by this regime. While students take their own decisions on modes of struggle and so on, teachers see our role as supportive but with a critical distance.

However, now we may need to start thinking of ways in which we  recognize the organization of the ABVP as a serious threat to Indian democracy. I don’t mean individual students, who would also be in our class-rooms, and with whom it may still be possible to continue a conversation, and whose examinations we will continue to grade with utmost probity. as we have always done.

But the ABVP as an organization has a specific role to play, as storm-troopers in the project of Hindu nationalism, and we cannot afford any longer not to face up to this fact frontally.

Continue reading “The RSS war on thought and ABVP as foot soldiers”

Bring Back Najeeb Ahmed to JNU: A Call to Resist Terror in Universities

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It is now more than a week since Najeeb Ahmed, an MSc (first year) student of Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi has been reported missing, after an altercation with members of the RSS affiliated ABVP student organization, which reportedly left him injured and severely traumatized.

Continue reading “Bring Back Najeeb Ahmed to JNU: A Call to Resist Terror in Universities”

ABVP and Dalit upsurge: Jatin Goraiya

Guest Post by JATIN GORAIYA who recently resigned from the post of Vice President of ABVP JNU unit. 

Read also his interview to The Telegraph here.

Jatin sent this statement to Kafila, which we publish here in full.

The right wing in our country is keen to strengthen the model of Hindutva fascism in India which is jeopardising the secular fabric of this country. This model of Hindutva fascism is based on a narrow, conservative sense of nation which tends to exclude a major population of dalits, adivasis, muslims and women. This imagination necessarily feeds on this idea of exclusion, the propagators of  RSS and Sangh ideology would never be able to sustain their dominance if they render equal status to Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and women in this country. Hierarchy and inequality is the basic minimum to keep them in power. At the same time they are trying to inculcate and justify a particular kind of idea of nation and nationalism in people around the country. The BJP has not been able to do any good as far as the rhetoric of development is concerned, so the alternative strategy is to sway people in the name of nationalism and religion. Ideologically they are aware of their hollowness and bankruptcy, so the idea now is to mobilise people in the name of sentimental and unreasonable matters. For example they provide an ideological backup to the Manusmiriti, where women are seen as objects of seduction and are to remain under the feet of men all their lives no matter how brutal he is. Dalits are supposed to serve the upper castes and should be given inhuman punishments if they don’t comply. Following this kind of  mindset, they tend to keep the caste and gender hierarchies and divisions intact, while paying lip service to social justice.

Continue reading “ABVP and Dalit upsurge: Jatin Goraiya”