Tag Archives: Delhi University

Fears and Furies of Online (Mis)education – Lockdown and Beyond: Maya John

Guest post by MAYA JOHN

Under the condition of lockdown while we are confronted with images and accounts of the suffering of the labouring poor, and all around us there appears to be a pervasive social chaos, in our universities students and teachers are supposed to return to an atomized life condition, and essentially pursue academic work as if all is normal. Teachers and students are expected to simply ignore wider public responsibilities and recoil to their private window to online teaching-learning. The diktats of university bureaucracies that have been issued in the midst of tremendous socio-economic crisis reduce teachers to a role akin to those of musicians who continued to entertain on the sinking Titanic. Now, after the formalities of so-called online education have been fulfilled, a specter of online examinations haunts the wider student community.

Disappearance of education in the online mode

The pronouncements of Delhi University (DU) regarding online examinations for its final year students of undergraduate and postgraduate (Masters) courses, have added to the anxieties of large number of students and teachers, who have been grappling with a disrupted semester in the wake of the lockdown, and the stupendous challenges of online teaching-learning. More or less, institutions of higher education across the country are facing this predicament. The grim situation warrants a close scrutiny of the concerns of teachers and students about e-learning and online examinations.

Continue reading Fears and Furies of Online (Mis)education – Lockdown and Beyond: Maya John

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.

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

Delhi University’s Students Union Elections and the Discreet Charm of Exceptionalism: Rina Ramdev

This is a guest post by RINA RAMDEV


Public discourse on Delhi University’s staging of student union elections typically picks the ubiquitary narratives of money, muscle power and its floutings of Lyngdoh guidelines, year after clamorous year. College campuses, arterial roads and their flooding by posters, both in excess of their expenditure limit (Rs 5000 per candidate) and their prescribed nature (printed, as against handmade), as also the prohibited yet brazen processioneering of SUV armies, are experiences annually played out in tedious familiarity. Mainly configured as a contest between the NSUI and the ABVP (even as the AISA has in its recent resurgence, negotiated a space for Left politics beyond the two party dominance), the Presidential wins and panel sweeps are usually congruent with the dips and surges experienced by their parent political party on the national stage. Continue reading Delhi University’s Students Union Elections and the Discreet Charm of Exceptionalism: Rina Ramdev

The Death of a Historian – A Tribute to Biswamoy Pati: Saurabh Mishra

Guest post by SAURABH MISHRA

Historian Biswamoy Pati

These days, when lynch mobs, cow-killings, and aggressive patriotism dominate the headlines, what does the passing away of a mere historian mean? Not much, it seems. Yet, for those who knew Dr Biswamoy Pati, or had the good fortune of being taught by him, this has caused nothing short of a major storm in their lives.

I got to know Dr Pati in the summer of 1996, when he was a young and energetic lecturer in Delhi. I waited eagerly for his lectures (as did everyone else), which were really my first introduction into new ways of thinking about the world.

Continue reading The Death of a Historian – A Tribute to Biswamoy Pati: Saurabh Mishra

Hail the Students’ Struggle for its Victory in the Battle against Corporate Publishers : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative (Delhi Chapter)

On 9 March 2017 three well-established academic corporate publishing houses, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis withdrew their copyright suit filed in the High Court against Delhi University and Rameshwari Photocopy Shop, a shop stationed at the Delhi School of Economics campus in Delhi University licensed by the University to carry out photocopying work. The suit that was filed in August 2012 on the grounds that photocopying material from books published by the above three publishers by university students, particularly in the compilation of coursepacks, constituted copyright infringement and revenue loss to the publishers. Right from the beginning it was clear this case was treated as a test case to instate a licensing regime, much like one that exists in the US and other First World countries.
Being the absolute primary constituency to be impacted by such a case and its possible outcomes, students of Delhi University were amongst the first to take up the battle against some of the most powerful publishing houses in academia. The ‘Campaign to Save D.School Photocopy Shop’ soon became the ‘Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge’ (ASEAK), reflecting the growing politicisation of the student community on the issue of the knowledge commons in order to resist an increasing attempt across the world to create a market out of it where it didn’t as yet exist. This can be seen in the case of Costa Rica as well where there was an attempt to make photocopying illegal, a move that was successfully opposed on a massive scale by students.
The students of Delhi University, organised as ASEAK, opposed the move through a range of mechanisms, mobilising students from class to class, organising public meetings, taking out protest rallies, campaigning against these publishers at the annual World Book Fair held in New Delhi, influencing public opinion through writing in newspapers, and last but not the least, taking up the legal battle in the courts. NSI hails the struggle of the students that brought to the centre of the debate questions of equity and justice within the arena of production and distribution of knowledge resources, challenging the private property regime sought to be implemented in the sphere of knowledge production by these big academic corporate publishing houses. 
For the last few years the primary site of the battle has been in the High Court at New Delhi. The publishers have received repeated blow after blow in this process as well, leading to their final withdrawal of the suit altogether. The win is a big victory and testament to the struggle of the students, backed by a legal team that has been seminal to the victory, along with support from the academic community. The case, that attempted to strike a ‘balance’ between private profits of the publishers and the rights of students to access materials in the pursuit of their education, has dealt a blow to precisely such a misconception that the two ‘interests’ are in fact of equal concern.
Along with students, who assert their right over the materials they access as part of their fundamental right to education, scholars, often the authors of these materials, have equally come out to state that there is no better reward for their work as intellectuals, as to be read by as many students as can get hold of their work, photocopied or otherwise. The emphasis of the corporate publishers in asserting absolute ownership over the works they publish, in a rare instance where the labour of writing a book is provided at no cost to the publishers, borne by universities, students’ fees and taxpayers’ money instead, is shameful and needs to be rejected at all cost.
NSI congratulates the students, lawyers, academics and concerned citizens who persisted in their resistance against the bullying tactics of big academic corporate publishing houses and calls on the academic community to engage with new ways of producing and sharing knowledge so as to create equitable, just and democratic structures of knowledge production.

Hard Ways of Lucidity – Thinking About the Crisis in the University: Prasanta Chakravarty

Guest Post by Prasanta Chakravarty

As I see it, university spaces are being assaulted at least from two sides; though it seems as if the two sides are antagonistic to each other, in practice they come dangerously close to each other. How and why is this happening, and what can be done about it?

Prasanta Chakravarty, immediately after being assaulted on February 22nd. Image from the India Today Website.
Prasanta Chakravarty, immediately after being assaulted on February 22nd. Image from the India Today Website.

Continue reading Hard Ways of Lucidity – Thinking About the Crisis in the University: Prasanta Chakravarty

The Laziest Blog Post Ever Written – Educational reform and Demonetization

Remember the FYUP debacle? Remember (as repeatedly written about on Kafila as elsewhere) that it was the latest in a long series of badly-conceived, mindlessly-borrowed and forcibly-implemented ‘educational reforms’ that practically crippled universities around the country? And remember a certain Rev. Valson Thampu, authoritarian, controversy-soaked Principal of St. Stephens College and eager soldier for the reforms? Well Thampu, now-retired, has thrown his weight against demonetisation these days in a set of articles on The Daily O. Now the thing is, almost everything Thampu finds objectionable about monetary reform, can be said about educational reform.

No, literally, every single thing.

So I simply took his post and replaced some key words, to produce a post about education. I know, I know, it’s not nice to do this, especially when you know, he speaketh the truth on demonetisation and all. But it is too wonderful an opportunity to pass up, to not use Thampu’s own eloquent words to say, yet again, what he has steadfastly refused to listen to in the past. Besides, as I say above, this is the laziest blog post I have ever had to write – that’s always an incentive.

His article in the original can be read here.

POLITICS HIGHER EDUCATION | 5-minute 7-minute read | 22-12-2016 23-12-2006 VALSON THAMPU SUNALINI KUMAR

Continue reading The Laziest Blog Post Ever Written – Educational reform and Demonetization

The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

The recent order by the I&B Ministery to NDTV India to suspend broadcast for 24 hours drew a range of reactions from outrage to bewilderment. The supporters of the ruling party were of course triumphant – Subhash Chandra of Zoo, er sorry Zee News was so excited he wrote a whole article on this. But even outside the partisan responses, many well-meaning self-declared neutral janta declared that national security is not a matter to be trifled with, and that it was right for the government to admonish NDTV. Wait, ADMONISH?! Never mind that the government’s allegation of NDTV having compromised national security simply doesn’t survive a fact-check. Here is how the largest section of (English-speaking, online) popular opinion sees it.

This token punishment was good and important to show that someone is there who is monitoring the media who always thinks behind the mask of freedom of expression that they can do anything in the world. So it is important that the Government of the Day makes its presence felt otherwise there will more chaos and issues like the UPA government where everyone was going around like headless chicken and no one is bothered or cared if a Govt of Man Mohan Singh existed or NO. Even small timers like the Delhi CM AK and his Guru Anna were threatening and taking morcha in Ram leela Maidan every second day and doing expose every third day putting the Govt. of India on the back foot and in defensive mode running for shelter. Now Arvind Kejriwala and his team is running for shelter as every day a Delhi MLA is shown the door of the JAIL and Anna Hazare has been locked in a shell in his hometown watching the sunrise and the sunset. This means business, It is important that Govt of the India should show it exist otherwise human mentality is that then everyone shows that everyone exist and everyone is the BOSS. Cannot allow to happen like this MESS. PM Modi please keep it up and keep the heat on this reckless media, on AK and his gang, on others who are trying to show unnecessary activism and also the Judiciary, keep all the appointments on hold and let them slog day and night. Show who is the BOSS ! Show who is the BOSS !

Yes, Modi ji, show who is the BOSS!


Continue reading The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case :ASEAK

Guest Statement by Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK)

Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case : Corporate Publishers Market ends at the gates of the University

In a rare and incredible order today, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the copyright infringement case filed by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis (Routledge) against Rameshwari Photocopy Shop in Delhi School of Economics and Delhi University. Justice R.S Endlaw in a 94 pages long judgment interpreted educational exception under section 52(1)(i) of the copyright act in broad enough manner to cover the acts of photocopying.

The publishers sought to claim damages to the tune of 60 lakh rupees from the shop citing infringement of copyright which the publishers claimed was happening through photocopying of parts of books published by them. However, the publishers themselves stated that this case, for them, was a test case where they wanted to introduce licensing systems across universities in India. These licensing systems intended to control the extent to which material could be photocopied and also direct a share of profit from these reproductions to the publishers. We, the Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) demanded to be made a defendant in this case as we believed that it is the rights of students to access reading material that was at stake in this case- “Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) filed IA No.3454/2013 for impleadment in the present suit and which was allowed vide order dated 1st March, 2013 and ASEAK impleaded as defendant No.3.” (from the judgment). Continue reading Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case :ASEAK

An Open Letter to Students from DUTA

Dear Students,

I have received letters from some of you, especially final year students, expressing your anxiety about the likely delay in results caused by the evaluation boycott protest of teachers, and appealing to teachers to withdraw this particular form of protest.

Let me assure you that we are equally keen to get back to evaluation and to work overtime to bring out your results at the earliest. In fact, this is not a form of protest we would have embarked on had the situation not been so devastating. You would have seen in the last three years, we observed a one-day strike only once when services of two teachers were terminated, preferring alternative forms of struggle even during the grimmest of battles such as those over theSemesterisation, FYUP, CBCS, debilitating administrative corruption, no permanent appointments, violation of Constitutional provisions of reservation, denial of promotions, a draconian Code of Conduct to suppress dissent and extreme forms of victimization. Continue reading An Open Letter to Students from DUTA

शिक्षक: पेशेवर पहचान का संघर्ष

अपना  कार्यभार  बढ़ाने के खिलाफ शिक्षक आन्दोलन कर रहे हैं . बहुत दिनों के बाद शिक्षकों में इस तरह की एकजुटता और उत्तेजना देखी जा रही है. दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय शिक्षक संघ को पिछले दिनों अक्सर ऐसे सवालों पर भी, जो शिक्षकों के हित से सीधे जुड़े थे, आन्दोलन में संख्या की कमी से निराशा होती रही थी. इस बार शिक्षक पूरी तादाद में सड़क पर हैं. संघ की सभाओं में हाल खचाखच भरे हुए होते हैं. क्षोभजन्य उत्साह से आन्दोलन में नई ऊर्जा दीख रही है.

अपने पेशे के अवमूल्यन से शिक्षक आहत और क्रुद्ध हैं. काम के घंटे बढ़ाने के निर्णय ने अध्यापक के काम की विलक्षणता को ख़त्म कर दिया है, यह अहसास उनमें है. अलावा इसके, एक शिक्षक का काम बढ़ जाने के बाद  यह कहा जा सकेगा कि अब चूँकि एक शिक्षक ही दो का काम करेगा, और पदों की आवश्यकता ही नहीं है.इसका असर उन शोधार्थियों पर पड़ेगा जो अध्यापन के पेशे में आने की तयारी कर रहे हैं. इसीलिए इस बार सड़क पर वे सब दिखलाई पड़ रहे हैं, जिन्हें दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय में  एड्हॉक  कहा जाता है और जिससे  कई जगह बंधुआ मजदूर की तरह बर्ताव किया जाता है.

साधारण जनता को शिक्षक के पेशे की खासियत  के बारे में शायद ही मालूम हो! इसी कारण संभव है, वह यह सोचे कि हफ्ते में सोलह घंटे  पढ़ाने की जिद पर अड़े लोग कामचोर ही तो हैं. लेकिन ऐसी  समझ कुछ तब जाहिर हुई जब दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के पूर्व कुलपति प्रोफेसर दिनेश सिंह ने एक अखबार को कहा कि कार्यभार बढ़ने की शिकायत फिजूल है, शिक्षक चाहें तो रात में शोध का काम कर सकते हैं.उन्होंने अपना उदाहरण दिया कि वे भी रात को ही शोध का काम करते रहे हैं!  Continue reading शिक्षक: पेशेवर पहचान का संघर्ष

हिन्दुत्व की प्रयोगशाला बनता दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय: जीत सिंह सनवाल


केन्द्र में भाजपा के नेतृत्व में सरकार बनने के बाद से राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ का राजकीय शिक्षा नीतियों से लेकर शिक्षण संस्थाओं के क्रियाकलापों में बढ़ता हस्तक्षेप किसी से छुपा नहीं है। शिक्षा नीति में बदलाव लाने व इस बाबत मानव संसाधन विकास मंत्रालय को सुझाव व विश लिस्ट सौंपने में संघ ने काफी तत्परता दिखाई है। कई मीडिया रिपोर्टों के अनुसार संघ ने प्रत्यक्ष व अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से उनके लिए काम करने वाले तमाम लोगों की लिस्ट सरकार को भेजकर शैक्षिक व सांस्कृतिक संगठनों में उनकी नियुक्ति की मांग की। आशा के अनुरूप पिछले दस माह के भाजपा सरकार के कार्यकाल में विभिन्न संगठनों मेें कई सरकारी नियुक्तियां की गयी और संघ विचाराकों को अपेक्षा से अधिक सम्मान देकर ताजपोशी की गयी। नागपुर के एक प्रतिष्ठित संस्थान में डायरेक्टर पद पर नियुक्ति पाने के लिए तो एक व्यक्ति ने अपने संघ से जुड़े होने के प्रमाण प्रस्तुत करते हुए संबंधित मंत्री को नियुक्ति हेतु आवेदन किया। आशा के अनुरूप मंत्रालय ने भी उन्हीं की नियुक्ति की।

शैक्षिक व सांस्कृतिक संगठनों में इस प्रकार के हस्तक्षेप के पीछे संघ की बुनियादी रणनीति है। प्रख्यात मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता राम पुनियानी के अनुसार संघ पहले से ही प्रगतिशील शैक्षिक व सांस्कृतिक विमर्श को बदलकर अपना राजनैतिक आधार मजबूत करने में विश्वास रखता है। दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के प्रो0 अपूर्वानन्द के अनुसार संघ की यह रणनीति शिक्षा के अज्ञानीकरण की ओर जाता है। भा.ज.पा. को पूर्ण बहुमत मिलने व संघ के प्रचारक का प्रधानमंत्री बन जाना, उनकी इस रणनीति को आगे बढ़ाने के लिए मुफ़ीद है। विभिन्न शैक्षणिक व सांस्कृतिक संगठनों में पिछले कुछ महीनों से हो रहे इन बदलावों में दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय का उदाहरण काफी अलग है। संघ दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय में शोध, शिक्षण के साथ-साथ छात्रों के मोबिलाईजेशन के जरिये, अपने विवादास्पद एजेंडे को धार देने का प्रयास कर रहा है। संघ की विचारधारा व उनके कार्यक्रम पहले से ही विवादों में रहे हैं। उनके उग्र हिन्दुत्व व अल्पसंख्यकों से वैमनस्य किसी से छुपा नहीं है। ऐसे में दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय में संघ की बढ़ती औपचारिक व अनौपचारिक सक्रियता, विश्वविद्यालय व बौद्विक जगत के लिए चिंता का विषय है।  Continue reading हिन्दुत्व की प्रयोगशाला बनता दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय: जीत सिंह सनवाल

An Election of Hope Versus Fear

Yes it’s a simplistic dichotomy, but there is really no better way to describe the current Delhi elections. On the one hand, a little ragtag army of Davids behind “Mufflerman”, as his faithful supporters affectionately call him, a person in baggy sweater and sneakers, one you wouldn’t look at twice if you passed him on the road.

Mufflerman Business Standard


On the other hand, a massively funded, aggressively confident Goliath, openly backed by the corporate bodies and full-page ads, riding a  national “Wave” higher than most Tsunamis, topped by the 56-inch chest of “Modiman”, even if recently modestly covered by a 12-lakh rupee vest.

56-inch Modi78c0d4d3-be9e-4afb-b034-1247529df720wallpaper1

On the one hand, a fearful and awed media establishment donating PR for free to the seemingly invincible King of Gujarat, and on the other, an aam aadmi, a volunteer-cadre run campaign and a palpable vibe of trust and openness on the ground. I know I know, some will say it’s all ‘perception management’ and PR, but barring the googly of the 2 crores party donation thrown at the opportune moment, if Mufflerman’s party was any cleaner, it could have given Lalita ji’s Surf a run for its money. Whatever the result on the 10th (and there is reason to be hawk-eyed about the possibility of tampering as Nivedita Menon’s post has urged), how does anybody not get what a miracle this alone is, in a political economy with a black economy of a size that is higher than the GDPs of most smaller countries? Perhaps this is in fact about hope and fear after all, however clichéd that sounds.

Continue reading An Election of Hope Versus Fear

Collective struggle strengthens autonomy: Saroj Giri

Guest post by SAROJ GIRI, continuing the discussion on roll-back of FYUP in Delhi University. 

Earlier posts on this issue are listed and linked to here.

Here is one way to make sense of the core issue at stake in Delhi University today – this piece by Nandini Sundar arguing that the UGC directive amounts to hampering institutional autonomy of DU.

But this is a flawed position in the present context. It conflates the autonomy of DU with the autonomy of the VC. It construes DU’s autonomy in narrow institutional terms, overlooking the larger movement of teachers and students which is also ‘DU’ and which has consistently opposed the FYUP.

Sundar suggests withdrawal of the UGC directive, the setting up of a DU committee to overhaul the programme, and deliberation in the Academic Council, this time taking proper heed of anti-FYUP views. But do we need a fresh round of discussion on the pros and cons of FYUP?

Absolutely not. For there have been tons of deliberations over the FYUP. Just go back to the minutes and records of the many different meetings and Committees, or recall the many demos and dharnas. There is ample evidence of deliberation where the members of the University have given sound reasons why the FYUP is bad.

Indeed, the picture presented that it is the Ministry or the UGC imposing its diktat from above is simply not true. It is not some committee in the UGC or Ministry which on their own have decided to stall the FYUP. For it is force of the movement against FYUP and the many, many voices active since the last few years who have prevailed now – it is this which is reflected in the UGC directive. Continue reading Collective struggle strengthens autonomy: Saroj Giri

Autonomy for what, from whom, and for whom?

It seems the unthinkable has happened – the Vice Chancellor of Delhi University has resigned over the UGC’s pressure to withdraw the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP). I won’t go into the debate on the FYUP, which has been covered extensively on Kafila and elsewhere [1]. See particularly this post by Professors at the University. I am only interested in two issues that arise from the news coverage of the event as it has unfolded through the day.

One, the question of autonomy. Prima facie, as Apoorvanand and Satish Deshpande have argued comprehensively on Kafila, the resignation of a VC over pressure from the UGC seems to be evidence of bureaucratic or ministerial over-reach. Questions have been raised (rightly) over the timing of this pressure, coming as it does on the heels of a political shift of colossal proportions at the national level. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (I find myself in agreement with Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari’s language on this) to figure out that the change in Delhi University has political backing. For one, rollback of the FYUP was on the BJP’s agenda/manifesto – that is as political as it gets! Second, it was this very UGC that had been so coy about commenting on the FYUP for the past one and a half years, a coyness that amounted to tacit support. Only very recently had it moved its mammoth bureaucratic feet on the matter, constituting a committee to look into complaints from students and teachers that had finally reached its mammoth bureaucratic ears. The VC, being well acquainted with elephants, would be able to explain the mammoth temporality of this apex organisation better than any of us, having benefited from it for a goodly amount of time. Even after the constitution of the committee, the VC continued to be lauded by the UGC for his efforts at implementation of former HRD minister Kapil Sibal and his successor Pallam Raju’s efforts at radical educational reform. The committee met at a leisurely pace, no doubt fortified by several hundred samosas and robust air-conditioning in the UGC’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg office in central Delhi, while anti-FYUP protestors enjoyed the blazing sun or freezing cold outdoors, as they had been enjoying for a year and a half.

Continue reading Autonomy for what, from whom, and for whom?

स्वायत्तता की फिक्र किसे है? अपूर्वानंद, सतीश देशपांडे

पिछला एक हफ्ता भारत के शैक्षणिक समुदाय के लिए, खासकर उनके लिए जो किसी न किसी रूप में दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय और विश्वविद्यालय अनुदान आयोग से जुड़े रहे हैं, सामूहिक शर्म का समय रहा है. यह अकल्पनीय स्थिति है कि आयोग एक सार्वजनिक नोटिस जारी करके किसी विश्वविद्यालय के पाठ्यक्रम में दाखिले की प्रक्रिया के बारे में निर्देश जारी करे. आयोग ने दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के स्नातक पाठ्यक्रम में दाखिले के सिलसिले में अभ्यर्थियों को कहा है कि वे विश्वविद्यालय द्वारा विज्ञापित चार वर्षीय स्नातक पाठ्यक्रम में प्रवेश न लें. उसने विश्वविद्यालय प्रशासन को फौरन यह पाठ्यक्रम वापस लेने और 2013 के पहले के पाठ्यक्रम को बहाल करने का आदेश दिया है. उसने विश्वविद्यालय के सभी कॉलेजों को भी सीधे चेतावनी दी है कि उसका आदेश न मानने की सूरत में उन्हें अनुदान बंद किया जा सकता है. किसी विश्वविद्यालय को नज़रअंदाज कर उसकी इकाई से उससे सीधे बात करना अंतरसांस्थानिक व्यवहार के सारे स्वीकृत कायदों का उल्लंघन है. व्यावहारिक रूप से यह दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय का अधिग्रहण है.यह भारत के विश्वविद्यालयीय शिक्षा के इतिहास में असाधारण घटना है और सांस्थानिक स्वायत्ता के संदर्भ में इसके अभिप्राय गंभीर हैं. Continue reading स्वायत्तता की फिक्र किसे है? अपूर्वानंद, सतीश देशपांडे

लोकतंत्र का अंतिम क्षण

कैमरा बार बार जा कर उसी क्षण पर टिकता था.मेरी बेटी ने विचलित होकर कहा, “चैनल बदल दो, अच्छा नहीं लग रहा.” लेकिन चैनल उस थप्पड़ की आवाज़ न सुना पाने की लाचारी की भरपाई उस दृश्य को दुहरा-दुहरा कर कर रहे थे. उन्हें सोलह साल की मेरी नवयुवती बेटी की तड़प क्योंकर सुनाई दे? चैनल बदलते अधीर दर्शक इस दृश्य से वंचित न रह जायें, इस चिंता के मारे उसे हथौड़े की तरह बार-बार बजाया गया.

यह हमला था. लेकिन हिंदी में हमला कहने पर हिंसा का बोध अधिक होता है,सो अखबारों ने ‘केजरी को थप्पड़’,‘पहले माला फिर थप्पड़’, ‘केजरीवाल को फिर थप्पड़’ जैसे शीर्षक लगाए. भाषा का अध्ययन करने वाले जानते हैं कि शब्दों के चयन के पीछे की मंशा उनका अर्थ तय करती है. ‘थप्पड़’ कहने से हिंसा की गंभीरता कम होती है और हिंसा के शिकार की कमजोरी ज़्यादा उजागर होती है. थप्पड़ से किसी की जान नहीं जाती, उसकी निष्कवचता अधिक प्रकट होती है. उसमें किसी योजना की जगह एक प्रकार की स्वतःस्फूर्तता का तत्व होता है. कहा जा सकता है कि थप्पड़ मारने वाले की मंशा सिर्फ नाराजगी का इजहार था.अंग्रेज़ी में भी ‘स्लैप’ शब्द का ही इस्तेमाल किया गया, यह भी लिखा गया, “केजरीवाल स्लैप्ड अगेन”. इसमें हमला करने वाले से ज़्यादा हमले के शिकार की ही गलती नज़र आती है, मानो उसे मार खाने की आदत सी पड़ गई हो. आदतन मार खाने वाला सहानुभूति की जगह हास्य का पात्र बन जाता है. Continue reading लोकतंत्र का अंतिम क्षण

An Ice Age for Indian scholarship

These are lonely times for scholarship in India.Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti( SBAS) has claimed yet another scalp in the form of the withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s book ‘The Hindus:An alternative history’ by its publishers Penguin,India. The author, while ‘angry and disappointed’ by this decision has said that she can understand the plight of her publishers who were fighting a criminal case and not a civil suit. It had serious implications for their physical safety. Fellow scholars and academics are upset and angry that the publishers have caved in.

The question we need to ask ourselves, however is about our own role in this whole affair. There were not too many voices of protest  when the same SBAS forced the Calicut University to remove a poem by an unknown poet from an English language textbook alleging that the poet was a ‘terrorist’. Its editors felt compelled to apologize as they were threatened with a probe into their possible involvement in a conspiracy network to jeopardize national security. Continue reading An Ice Age for Indian scholarship

Skin Deep – Narratives of Racism in Delhi University: Aashima Saberwal Bonojit Hussain Devika Narayan

Aashima Saberwal, Bonojit Hussain and Devika Narayan are activists associated with New Socialist Initiative (NSI). This article was published in the November 2010 issue of CRiTIQUE, an irregular magazine brought out by the New Socialist Initiative (NSI) – Delhi University Chapter. 

Kevin is from Kenya. He studies at the faculty of Law. We ask him whether he likes India (he doesn’t) and about the kinds of challenges he faces. He shrugs and shakes his head “I have don’t face any discrimination” He often repeats this sentence at various points of the discussion. After he tells us about shopkeepers who refuse to sell him milk or before narrating how not a single shop at Patel Chest area was willing to type his assignment. “When you go to buy things from a shop they refuse to sell. If you ask for milk they say ‘no milk’ but you can see the Indians buying milk.” Later he tells us a similar story “My mobile phone was stolen. For one week I was thinking how to get a new one. The shops here don’t sell to Africans.” Kevin doesn’t think much of these experiences and dismisses them as insignificant, the ordinary trials of living in a foreign country. A woman on the road provokes a dog, provoking it to bite him, which it does. At Hans Charitable Trust Hospital they ask him for 10,000 rupees for the anti-rabbis injection. This is a service which is provided free of cost, however the small print reads ‘unless you are black’. Our interviews starkly shows that this particular subtext is present everywhere. We don’t realize that for the most mundane of daily activities (like buying milk) there are conditions that apply. The condition that you are not black.

These interviews give us a glimpse of how these students experience classrooms, hostels, streets, the metro and other public spaces. “What does kala bandar mean?” Boniface asks. They point. They laugh. They don’t like sitting next to you in the metro. What must it feel like to enter a strange foreign country where people across the board categorise you as sub-human? Strangers call you black monkey. “When I go back from college to hostel people on the streets keep laughing and staring. It is humiliating” Boniface says.

Read the rest of this article here.

Welcome the Two-Year Under Undergraduate Programme at Delhi University

Harish Kumar Trivedi’s article on the proposed four-year undergraduate programme at Delhi University, “Is Delhi University Dying?” (TOI May 29th 2013), for all its rhetorical flourishes, makes in fact a single point – the need for change. He is not alone in this belief; who could possibly be against reform? Who would want to stick their necks out in these breathless times and say, “Stop, why so fast?”

Many, many right-thinking people, actually, as the absolute barrage of criticism against the FYUP has shown. From the ordinary undergraduate teacher to academic and executive councils, committees of courses, and internationally renowned scholars, writers and academics. Now, there can be two responses to the range and variety of criticism that has been expressed. One would be to engage with it, based on the reasonable assumption that so many people involved with a profession cannot be entirely wrong. The other response is of the kind Professor Trivedi makes – to make an a priori argument for “change”. I say a priori because in fact there is only one, short paragraph in the article that discusses the possible advantages of the new system. One, that the new system ends the distinction between pass and honours courses. Two, that even if students exit after two years, they will still earn a “university qualification”. Three, it allows college teachers to frame a course in the fourth year.

Continue reading Welcome the Two-Year Under Undergraduate Programme at Delhi University

Rushed Reforms in Delhi University: Akshita Nagpal

Guest post by AKSHITA NAGPAL

It was only in 2012 that we got a subtle whiff of the broth brewing in the minds of the bosses of Delhi University. While this isn’t the first time that authorities have attracted opposition from everyone on the other side of the ideological fence, the repercussions of the present push for hasty implementation of the Four Year Undergraduate Programme(FYUP) might be much more damning. Refuting change is not what the displeased body of teachers and students mean to convey. The opposition is against the hasty implementation and lack of insight sharing on the workings of the new system. Keeping up with the absurd pace of implementation, procedural requisites as pivotal as UGC approval have been done away with! Continue reading Rushed Reforms in Delhi University: Akshita Nagpal