Talk Bhima or Bhim, Walk Manu

bhima bhoi के लिए चित्र परिणाम

( Photo Courtesy : http://www.bhubaneswarbuzz.com)

Bhima Bhoi, saint, poet and social reformer, who lived in later part of the 19 th century and who wielded his pen against the prevailing social injustice, religious bigotry and caste discrimination, would not have imagined in his wildest dreams that in the second decade of the 21 st century there would arrive such new claimants to his legacy who stood against everything for which he stood for. A populariser of Mahima movement or Mahima Dharma which ‘draws elements from Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Vaishnavism and Tantra Yoga,’ the movement Bhima  led was a ‘deeply felt protest against caste system and feudal practices of western and central Orissa.’ and goal of his mission was “Jagata Uddhara” ( liberation of entire world). ((http://roundtableindia.co.in/lit-blogs/?tag=bhima-bhoi))  Continue reading “Talk Bhima or Bhim, Walk Manu”

Are Students at their Work? Prashant Kumar

Guest Post by PRASHANT KUMAR

Students who are protesting across the country are being charged that they are not doing what they are supposed to do. What I understand this charge say is that they are not doing their “duties” or fulfilling their “responsibilities” as a student. I seriously doubt thislimited understanding of being a “student”. To say this, I feel an intellectual burden to explicate what it means to be a student. I will argue that these students are also the one who, contrary to the charge, does their “duties” and carries out their “responsibilities”.

Generally speaking, anyone who tries to learn and reflect upon what he learnt can be considered as a student. However, one becomes a student technically when he does this job within an academic institution. In this sense, studentship is a job to get mature with the help of institutional academic training(s) as well as reflecting back on these. Maturity, as I discern, is nothing but to understand the real meaning of a world, and act according to this apprehension. In this sense, understanding and acting go together. Lack of one will categorically destruct the purpose of a student.

There is one more aspect of this maturity with relation to, what Kant terms, enlightenment. Continue reading “Are Students at their Work? Prashant Kumar”

University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA

We are reproducing a statement issued by JNUTA on 19 February 2017, on the situation in the university and the administration’s attempts to create a crisis where there is none.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association is deeply distressed at the continuing impasse in the University. Pursuant to its appeal on 13 February to the Vice-Chancellor to initiate a dialogue with the students, JNUTA has through the last week requested a meeting with him to discuss the situation on campus, but has not even received the courtesy of a reply. It has also spoken daily to the students worried about their future and that of the university about the concerns that the teachers, staff, and officers have at restoring the smooth functioning of the University administration building. Continue reading “University Administration Trying to Precipitate Crisis: JNUTA”

Do not let a university turn into a ‘shakha’ of a poisoned tree

Have the JNU students and faculty seriously considered taking legal action against the current Vice Chancellor? From every report that I have seen, all his actions in the recently concluded farcical Academic Council (AC) meeting seem to me to be instances of prima facie procedural violation. (Or am I incorrect in assuming this?)

From what I have heard, his conduct includes the deliberate misrepresentation of the minutes, pretending to consensual decisions where there were none, and disruptive and arrogant behavior towards Academic Council members. If this is indeed the case, could there not be strong legal grounds to ask for his removal on the grounds of his willful violation of institutional procedures and ethics? What do people with legal experience think of such a possibility? What do students and faculty think?

If recourse to legal action is not feasible or practical, what else can be done to remedy this situation? What kind of campaign can restore a semblance of sanity to JNU (and to universities, generally) that have been serially assaulted by university administrations acting at the behest of right-wing thugs.

It seems to me, that this man, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar (the current JNU vice-chancellor) is acting like a criminal, and I think he should be treated as such from now on. Co-operating with his decisions, or even tacit acceptance of his manner of functioning, should now be seen as complicity with an agenda to destroy the university. Let us also not forget that this VC continues to protect those who assaulted Najeeb Ahmed before he disappeared from JNU. In the unfortunate possibility of anything untoward having happened to Najeeb Ahmed, this VC should be seen as being responsible. He creates the conditions of impunity that threaten the safety of each and every student. His decision to punish the students who protested yesterday with arbitrary and unjust suspension orders is exactly analogous to the authoritarian conduct of Podile Appa Rao, VC of HCU, that led to the tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula. The manner in which both Jagadesh Kumar and Appa Rao have acted suggests a pattern of the deliberate victimization of students on the basis of their caste identities. This only brings shame and disrepute to the institutions headed by them.

In my considered view, (and please view this only as a suggestion) the time has come for Faculty and Students of JNU to come together (irrespective of their political positions and postures) to demand the unconditional removal of Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar from the vice-chancellorship of JNU and from the university itself. I think that all limits have now been crossed by his conduct. His declarations about what the AC decided should be treated as null and void (also because they are violative of the principles of social justice and democratic education), and the suspension orders against the students who were targeted must be revoked. I hope that the present JNUSU and JNUTA will not fail in their responsibility to conduct a coherent and militant campaign to reverse this situation. If they vacillate, or, are unable to offer a coherent, well worked out strategy, they too will be seen as responsible for the mess that JNU is in today.

I hope that every student (and here I mean ‘common students’ as well as student activists within and outside organizations) and every teacher at JNU is able to rise above the temptation of negativism and needless point-scoring at this juncture. Just as the JNUSU crucially must not see itself as immune to criticism, or fail to act with militant resolve and clarity, and in resonance with the concerns of students, (including of those outside the union) so too, those outside the union could help matters by not falling to the temptation of adopting ‘holier than thou’ postures that impede practical unity. Let there be solidarity in struggle, and the kind of criticality that aids , rather than impedes, solidarity.

This time, this opportunity, this moment of necessity for thoughtful, militant, intelligent unity of all students, teachers and all friends of the idea or a free and open university is too precious to lose at the altar of either posturing or prevarication.

Restore freedom to freedom square! Do not let a university turn into a ‘shakha’ of a poisoned tree! Eject Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar! Reject Podile Appa Rao! Bring back life to our universities !

JNU VC sabotages democratic functioning of Academic Council to push through anti-social justice policies

First, here is the statement issued by 20 faculty members of the Academic Council today, about half the members present at the adjourned 142nd AC Meeting.

PRESS RELEASE BY MEMBERS OF THE JNU ACADEMIC COUNCIL

We, faculty members of the JNU Academic Council, are shocked and dismayed at the manner in which the Vice Chancellor has conducted the 142nd Academic Council meeting of December 23rd (adjourned to December 26th). This was a thinly attended meeting since it was held at short notice in the middle of the winter vacation, despite several requests for rescheduling.

The minutes of the previous (141st) Academic Council meeting that had been circulated contained many errors, misrepresentations, and falsities. Several of these had been pointed out by many members of the Academic Council, including in written representations to the Registrar.

Continue reading “JNU VC sabotages democratic functioning of Academic Council to push through anti-social justice policies”

The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya

Guest Post by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA

A few days back, drawing from Oscar Wilde’s classic, Makarand Paranjape wrote a piece titled The importance of being Narendra Modi. He urged his readers to ensure a second term for Modi saying “If Narendra Modi gets a second term, he will certainly change India in a lasting and significant way.” That he is going to change India, and is doing so already is not that far from truth, but the question is which way is this change taking us. Given the track record of Modi Ji(o) so far, the change is surely going to be for the worse. But this piece is not on Modi Ji(o). This one is on the Makarand Paranjapes of the world. Yes, they are not one. They are in fact a particular breed not new in history, and they have a particular role. Specifically, we would evaluate this role of theirs in the light of a recent piece of his on the gherao of the JNU VC.

Some would say that the piece was on the issue of Najeeb. But no, it wasn’t. Najeeb, a new student pursuing M.Sc in Bio-Tech living in Mahi-Mandavi hostel was publicly assaulted by identified ABVP goons in front of students as well as wardens on the night of 14th October. He was showered with dire consequences of which too there are multiple witnesses including again the hostel wardens. A vicious communal slur-campaign was set in motion by the sanghis writing “Muslims are terrorists” within the hostel premises. Amidst all of this and in the given context Najeeb “disappeared” on 15th October from his hostel. He had called his mother last, who, as it appears, had reached Anand Vihar and was on her way to meet her son in distress. But, by the time she was here, Najeeb went “missing” mysteriously and is yet to be found. After five days of entreating an unresponsive university administration to be proactive in creating conditions for Najee’s safe return, JNU students undertook an all night vigil on the 19th of October.

Continue reading “The Importance of Being Makarand Paranjape: Anirban Bhattacharya”

Bring Back Najeeb Ahmed to JNU: A Call to Resist Terror in Universities

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It is now more than a week since Najeeb Ahmed, an MSc (first year) student of Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi has been reported missing, after an altercation with members of the RSS affiliated ABVP student organization, which reportedly left him injured and severely traumatized.

Continue reading “Bring Back Najeeb Ahmed to JNU: A Call to Resist Terror in Universities”