As some of you might be aware, our friend and colleague, Dr. Saraswati Kerketta (Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Rabindra Bharati University), has recently been a victim of caste-based attack in the university. We write this statement to unequivocally condemn the attack.
We, the concerned faculty members/research scholars across institutions in India and abroad, are deeply disturbed by this incident of caste-based attack on Dr. Kerketta. Dr. Kerketta is a young faculty member from a Scheduled Tribe background, and the sole faculty member appointed in a substantive position in her department, thereby taking on the tremendous task of running the department on her young shoulders. This brazen instance of caste-based harassment meted out to her by a group of students who claim to be affiliated to a political party has hurt and disturbed us immensely as citizens of India. The nature of attack meted out to her – for instance she has been followed by the students up till home after the incident – also showcases the gendered nature of her vulnerability. The incident has been followed by mass resignation on the part of other faculty members from various positions in the university, thereby showing indirect proof of the same.
Continue reading Statement of Academics on Rabindra Bharati University Incident of Harassment
Submission by Concerned Teachers and Academics before the Roopanwal Judicial Commission at Hyderabad
(The Roopanwal Commission came to Hyderabad on 23-25th February to enquire into the facts and circumstances leading to the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula. The mandate of the Commission was to review the functioning of existing grievance redressal mechanisms in the university. Concerned with the absence of in-house redressal mechanisms for marginalized students, a joint submission was made by 88 concerned teachers drawn from the state and central universities in Hyderabad. The Submission sought for a rigorous implementation of the 2012 UGC Regulation as well as the setting up a Special Commission to review the major punishments passed by Universities in the case of marginalized students.)
The suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad Central University has brought to the fore the issue of caste discrimination in higher educational institutions. We believe that the suicide is only the tip of the iceberg of many problems that students from Dalit and other marginalized groups are experiencing. University administrations have generally attributed these deaths to personal psychology instead of initiating broad systemic and attitudinal reforms to prevent such suicides.
In 2012, in the wake of series of suicides by marginalized students in higher educational institutions, the University Grants Commission formulated two Regulations to ensure social equity and set in place grievance redressal mechanisms. In 2013, Andhra Pradesh High Court took suomoto notice of the student suicides in Andhra Pradesh in PIL No 106/2013 and issued several directives to the Universities to prevent the recurrence of suicides. However, neither the UGC Regulations of 2012 nor the Court directives have been implemented by the Universities. Continue reading Submission Before Inquiry Commission by Concerned Teachers and Scientists, Univ of Hyderabad
These situations haven’t changed much. My identity is still a threat to me. It may effect my promotions, appraisals, friendships and relationships. I live every moment of my life in this fear. I feel that there will be many like me who will be leading such dual lives… we deceive ourselves, trying to hide our identities.
No, that’s not another post about 377 on Kafila. It’s about something else, on a fantastic new blog that you should immediately add to your feedreader.