A caste-based society will overcome legal codes that make equality the norm unless people actively bring change.
Will we ever know the category-wise distribution of vice chancellors of the forty central universities located across the country? Thanks to the rules governing these universities, and those of the University Grants Commission, there is no such record.
This form of “castelessness” at the top is coupled with marginal representation of teachers from socially and physically marginalised sections. Be it the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes the Other Backward Classes or persons with disabilities, they are hardly ever appointed to teaching posts in central universities. A marker of the invisibilisation of these social groups is the fact that up to 96.65% of the posts of professor meant for candidates from these categories were unfilled on 1 January 2020.
This was discovered by a Delhi University teacher, who sought the information from the UGC under the Right to Information Act. More than 82% posts of professors meant for Scheduled Caste candidates, 93.98% posts meant for Scheduled Tribes and 96.65% posts meant for OBCs still remain vacant. The situation for associate professors is equally dismal, though there are fewer vacant posts of assistant professors for OBCs.
Any news can go viral these days but this explosive disclosure, which raises questions about recruitment procedures and their inherent biases was barely noticed. An explanation is that such news has lost its novelty. Perhaps everybody is aware of the metamorphosis of central universities into a new kind of Agraharam or abode of elite castes.
( Read the full article here)
How discrimination is integrated into the daily lives of the Indian diaspora still needs to be understood.
What happens to caste when Indians migrate to Western countries? Do their feelings of being born superior or inferior, their belief in the purity-pollution ethic, just melt away? The “model minority” has tried to avoid a conversation on this issue but it returns to haunt them time and again. Now the American state of California is at the centre of yet another caste controversy.
The last serious discussion around Indian-Americans and caste took place in 2015, when the California State Board of Education initiated a regular ten-year public review of the school curriculum framework. The conservative Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and the South Asian Histories for All Coalition (an interfaith, multi-racial, inter-caste coalition) clashed over HAF’s proposed interventions, which essentially sought to erase caste from the syllabus. The Coalition took the position that evidence and record of the injustices of caste and religious intolerance in South Asian must not be erased.
( Read the full article here)
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.