Tag Archives: Jadavpur University

A Case of Harassment of Dalit Student in Jadavpur University: Srijan Dutta

Guest post by SRIJAN DUTTA

The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility.

The line quoted above is from Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula’s ‘last’ letter, discovered after he was found hanging in his hostel room in January 2016. The letter had exposed how caste-based discrimination is used as a medium of oppression against Dalits and other minorities. Casteism serves both as an ideology and as a means for exploitation by the upper castes and upper classes of the Indian society.

Recently, a complaint has been made by a second year Masters student of the Department of Library and Information Science in one of the hotbeds of Bengal student politics, Jadavpur University. Jadavpur Uiversity is also a premier institution of higher learning, with a well deserved reputation.  Raja Manna, a student belonging to the ‘Scheduled Caste’ category, has revealed that he has been facing a lot of harassment and discrimination at the hands of his dissertation guide, Prof. Udayan Bhattacharya, an upper caste Brahmin.

Continue reading A Case of Harassment of Dalit Student in Jadavpur University: Srijan Dutta

Statement of Jadavpur University Alumni Against University Decision to Scrap Entrance Examinations

Following is a statement of Jadavpur University alumni on the current controversy around the scrapping of the entrance examination by the university authorities. 

There is also a Change.org petition that has been put up for those wanting to sign. Over 5075 people have signed the petition at last count.

Thos who who wish to sign in solidarity with Jadavpur University teachers, students and staff can do so here.

We, the alumni of Jadavpur University, unequivocally condemn the decision of the authorities to not conduct entrance examinations for admission to the university’s Bachelor of Arts programme.

Several departments of the Jadavpur Arts Faculty annually conduct their own entrance examinations. For the last forty years, teachers have carefully prepared question papers and rigorously evaluated the answers in order to admit the candidates that they deem fit. The tradition of the entrance examination, in which thousands of students participate every year, has ensured that the Faculty of Arts continues its legacy of academic excellence. No weightage is given to Board examination marks because the Boards’ prescribed methods of arts education and evaluation simply do not match those of tertiary education in the humanities. The entrance examinations test students for their interest in literature, history, philosophy and arts, their ability to think independently about texts, and their commitment to understanding the world around them using the skills of reasoning and speculation, the theoretical and methodological capital furnished by the humanities.

The entrance examination has enabled these departments to gain talented students year after year. Many of us would have never made it to the top-ranked Arts departments in the country had we been judged solely on the basis of our marks in school-leaving examinations. Admissions based on Board exam scores would have never enabled students from varied cultural, class and economic backgrounds to be trained in the humanities by the best minds in the country. The rich and diverse professional accomplishments of Jadavpur University alumni – in art, academia, film, entrepreneurship, publishing, writing, advertising and many other fields – constitute a further testament to the success of these departments in scouting and honing talent. First-person accounts of how the erstwhile admissions process created equality of opportunity and access for students from across a range of social and educational backgrounds have poured in from Jadavpur alumni since yesterday (3/7/2018). (To read personal testimonials and opinion pieces from faculty, alumni, staff and current students regarding the significance of the admission process, visit https://juforadmissiontest.wordpress.com/)

The admission test is a time-tested process which has ensured academic excellence in the Faculty of Arts and brought glory to the university. To tamper with this process is to threaten the very core of the humanities – to attack free thinking, liberty, and equality of opportunity. It directly undermines the dreams and hopes of the 17,000-odd students who have applied to Jadavpur University this year. Among these 17,000, there must be brilliant young minds that couldn’t obtain 90% or more in the Board examinations. Their merit cannot be reliably boxed into multiple-choice questions. There must be, in those 17,000, young people who do not seek conventional careers, or if they do, wish to combine them with independent thinking, exploring and lifelong learning.

To stop the admission test is to kill the dreams of anyone who does not participate in the mad rat race of public examinations. It is an attack on the community of scholars, researchers, teachers, alumni, students, and staff who have carefully built up the university and its reputation over the years. To stop the admission test is to tear into the very fabric of the university – its tradition and its history. We must recall that Jadavpur University was set up as an alternative to the education imparted by the erstwhile rulers of India, the British. It has always been home to those who dare to defy norms.

The larger implications of this administrative decision concern the scope and function of higher education in this country. Do we, as a nation, wish to create a more homogenised and technocratic culture that rewards learning by rote, or do we wish to invest in greater autonomy for centres of excellence? Difference and dissent are what all democracies should aspire to; they are the touchstones of any free and open society, and any administration that encourages these tendencies signals its confidence in itself and hope for the future. What we are seeing here is, accidentally or not, congruent with a larger attempt to fundamentally redefine the idea of higher education, to increase administrative interference in universities large and small, more and less prominent (similar conflicts are playing out in JNU, to cite just one example) and to condemn generations of young people to the backwaters of real learning, thought and creativity.

As concerned alumni, we strongly condemn the decision of the authorities to take away independent admission tests from the Faculty of Arts. We demand an immediate revocation of this order, which irrationally, pointlessly, and appallingly undertakes to disrupt a fair and successful admission process. This disruption will impact the futures of countless students, and reduce the entry-point of tertiary education in the humanities to a lottery.

We stand in solidarity with the protesting teachers, students and staff of Jadavpur University. Continue reading Statement of Jadavpur University Alumni Against University Decision to Scrap Entrance Examinations

A Letter to the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Kolkata: Ahona Panda

Guest Post by AHONA PANDA

[Ek Je Cchilo VC / Once There Was a VC – Thanks to Utsavdan, and to Manik-da of Bishop Lefroy Road]

To

The Vice Chancellor,
Jadavpur University,

and the Education System of West Bengal.

Respected Sir,

I would like to return to this university a gold medal that it awarded me, then a girl of 21, in the year 2009. I’ve never worn that medal since my convocation, and it lies in the box it was awarded in. I was a student of the English department in this university, and went on to study at Oxford and University of Chicago. Continue reading A Letter to the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Kolkata: Ahona Panda

Partha Chatterjee on Partha Chatterjee – An Interview with an Impostor: Partha Chatterjee

Guest Post by PARTHA CHATTERJEE

Continue reading Partha Chatterjee on Partha Chatterjee – An Interview with an Impostor: Partha Chatterjee

From Jadavpur to Everywhere #Hokkolorob – Let There be Clamour

#HOKKOLOROB
#HOKKOLOROB

More then one hundred thousand students and their friends (according to Kolkata Police estimates) defied the rain to walk in protest yesterday against the assault on Jadavpur University by Kolkata Police, backed by an insensitive University Vice Chancellor and a cynical State Government. There were students, ex students, professors, students from Presidency University, and many other colleges in Kolkata and the neighborhood, there were many ordinary citizens, some who had never been university students, and many who had stopped being university students a long time ago.

Continue reading From Jadavpur to Everywhere #Hokkolorob – Let There be Clamour

Notes from Jadavpur: Ahona Panda

Guest Post by Ahona Panda

About eight years ago, while lounging about doing nothing much in the campus of Jadavpur University where I was a student of the English department, I came across some callously etched graffiti:

Jodi prem na dile praane
Tobe Jadavpure pathanor ki mane?
(If you haven’t given this life some love–
What is the point of sending one to Jadavpur?)

Eight years on I cannot imagine the luxury of lounging about doing nothing much. One moves on in life after graduating from Jadavpur University. Meanwhile, in home and the world, the complete freedom (some will persist in calling this anarchy) of the JU campus has made it a legend somewhat like Dirty Harry: either worship and put it in on a pedestal, or condemn it thoroughly. The reputation of JU since the infamous 1970s has been as a hub of constantly bubbling anarchism, where Naxalites are hatching their next program of action, where ignorant armies like SFI and other anti-SFI groups clash by night.

Continue reading Notes from Jadavpur: Ahona Panda

Happy to Disturb – RJ Sayan and The Jadavpur Police Station, Kolkata

The disgusting police violence and simple thuggery unleashed by the Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University at the behest of his masters in the Trinamool Congress Party and the West Bengal Government has resulted in a counter-offensive that features rage mixed with humour, mirth, music and creativity. Nothing can be more lethal for the zombies in power than the laughter and music of the young.

Here is a brilliant radio clip – produced by RJ Sayan (Meter Down, 104 FM, Kolkata).

Thanks to Debjani Dutta for the translations and the English subtitles in the video.