Tag Archives: Jashn-e-Azadi

Screening Jashn-e-Azadi at Presidency University, Kolkata: Waled Aadnan

Guest post by Waled Aadnan

It can be said that 86/1 College Street, Calcutta, has seen a microcosm of the history of modern India unfold within its walls. Since 1874 when the already fifty-nine year old Presidency College shifted to its current address, future Presidents and Prime Ministers of  India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; Nobel Laureates, freedom fighters, an Academy Award winner, Bharat Ratnas; the leadership of the Naxalite movement of the 60s and 70s; and eminent judges, writers, journalists, scientists and actors, have spent their student days at 86/1.

Two years ago, soon after I joined the institution, the Left Front government upgraded Presidency College to the status of a state University in a last-gasp bid to hold on to the votes of the bhadralok intellectuals. 2012 dawned with no Student Union elections having been held the previous year, and it is in this backdrop that the following events unfold.

Salman Rushdie’s well-publicised ostracism from the Jaipur Literature Festival was met not with outrage in Presi’s canteen addas, but with the absence of even a poster put up in protest. News filtered in of a seminar in Symbiosis University being “threatened.” But little awareness existed among students who were more inclined to read tabloid-like, unputdownable newspapers than their relatively austere counterparts, including The Hindu which broke the story.

Continue reading Screening Jashn-e-Azadi at Presidency University, Kolkata: Waled Aadnan

The Place of Dissent in the Campus: Akshath Jitendranath

This is a guest post by AKSHATH JITENDRANATH, student at Symbiosis International University, Pune, where a screening of ‘Jahsn-e-Azadi’ by Sanjay Kak was cancelled under pressure from right-wing groups and the Pune Police.

The university campus is where nascent opinion moulds itself into ideological shape. Care must be taken to surround the student with ideologies of different shades. This is a prerequisite for any educational ideology that aspires to be holistic. Pursuant to this end the Symbiosis International University is guided by an ideology that reads, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, meaning the whole world is one family. This is a high ideal to be guided by.

However, the events that transpired over the last few days have left this vision a little blinded. Following threats received from the Akhila Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad  (ABVP henceforth), the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce have postponed indefinitely, ‘Voices of Kashmir’, a national symposium on Kashmir which was to be held with the support of the University Grants Commission. The ABVP’s major bone of contention was the screening of well known film maker Sanjay Kak’s film, Jashn-e-Azadi (This Is How We Celebrate Freedom). The ABVP claim that the film and the film maker represent an ideology that is anti-India. Further, they threatened violence if the film were to be screened. The administration of the Symbiosis International University, instead of being guided by their ideological vision, gave in to the ABVP threats. Continue reading The Place of Dissent in the Campus: Akshath Jitendranath

To the Students and Faculty of Symbiosis University on the Censors in their Midst

Dear Students, Dear Teachers, Dear Friends at Symbiosis University, Pune

You are faced with an extraordinary situation. A symposium on Kashmir that was to be held in your institution with the support of the University Grants Commission, has been cancelled, postponed (see update at the end of the post) following complaints by activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (the student wing of the extreme right-wing militia that goes by the name of the RSS) against the proposed screening of a documentary film ‘Jashn-e-Azadi‘ (‘This is How We Celebrate Freedom’) by the well known filmmaker Sanjay Kak. These complaints, which could more accurately be called threats, have unfortunately received the tacit endorsement of senior police figures in Pune and seem to have met with the approval of your principal. (Thanks to The Hindu – see links above –  for the two balanced reports on this issue.) While the seminar may or may not be held (it stands ‘postponed’ as of now) the administration of Symbiosis have succumbed to the insistence of the right wing groups that Jashn-e-Azadi’s screening remain cancelled. Continue reading To the Students and Faculty of Symbiosis University on the Censors in their Midst