[On Mothers’ Day, 8th May 2106, which was also the 11th Day of the Indefinite Hunger Strike by JNU students in protest against the vindictive measures taken against them by the university authorities, a group that has named itself ‘Mothers Stand With JNU’ joined the protest in solidarity. This is the ‘manifesto’ that they released on the occasion.]
The JNU students have decided not to bow down. They have decided not to become just another brick in the wall. The JNU authorities have punished them with rustication, hostel eviction and steep fines for ‘raising objectionable slogans’, ‘taking part in unauthorised procession’ and ‘addressing the crowd’. Unable to frame charges, but desperate to act, RSS run VC has clearly started an ideological war on the students. And that is why, JNU students are saying we shall not accept your farman.
It is not difficult for them to collect the amount of money to be paid as fine. Workers, teachers, citizens have offered to collect money so that their studentship continues. Our comrades who faced media trial, lynch mob psyche came out from Tihar with stronger resolve to continue the struggle for justice and equality. They promised the nation that voice of the unheard will continue to be echoed through their slogans. One year of rustication and hostel eviction is nothing compared to what they have already faced. JNU students have not strated the idefinite hunger strike only to get punishments revoked. This struggle is to let the rulers know that their orders shall be resisted till the end.
Several of us have been JNU students. Several of us who have been trained to think that central universities are not for us, actually made it to JNU, came to the national capital and experienced that another world is possible. Families in the lowest income groups sent their children to JNU. We women who for the first time were treated as equal human being by fellow students and teachers, became part of the struggle for liberty of workers, women, dalits and the marginalised. We denied to be reduced to our immediate identities here in JNU, we became much larger. Other comrades have fought tough battles in other universities and in several parts of the country. We met on the streets for Kashmir, for Manorama Devi, For Khairlanji, for Narmada Valley, for FTII/HCU/DU/ Jamia. And today when ManuSmrti Irani’s ministry wants to teach the JNU students a lesson for daring to raise voice against oppression, let us all again flood the streets to defend the idea of JNU.
Since 27th May, JNU students have started their indefinite hunger strike. In this scorching heat, none of are comrades in hunger strike are doing fine bodily. But they are high in spirit and resolve. The VC has sent them letter expressing his concern that the hunger strike is unlawful and it will have implication on their career.
Their hunger strike will reach its 10th Day on the 7th of May. JNU alumni students have called for relay hunger strike in solidarity with JNU students on the 7th May from 10am in the morning. This is an appeal to all old friends, class mates, hostel friends and comrades to join the relay hunger strike on the 7th. Also in the evening the JNUSU has called for a Human Chain from Ganga Dhaba at 5pm. Let us hold hands and fight back. Fight back for all students in the counry. Fight back so that every one can reach universities. Fight back so that the possibility of a better world is kept alive. Come friends, let us hold hands with JNU comrades on the 10th Day of their Indefinite hunger strike.
Sucheta De was a student in JNU from 2005 – 2014. She was president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) in 2012. She is the current president of the All India Students Association.
Guest Post by Aswathi Nair and Umar Khalid (With Photographs and Videos by K. Fayaz Ahmed, Azhar Amim, Samim Asgor Ali, Reyazul Haque and Agnitra Ghosh)
Exactly nine years back, in 2007, ten students were rusticated (again) in the month of May for their “crime” of agitating along with workers to ensure the legally mandatory minimum wages for the workers here in JNU. It was the peak of summer, the time of holidays, and the administration (like this time, like every time) thought that they could break the unity of the workers and students with crackdown timed to coincide with what was thought to be the ‘weakest’ time for mobilization on campus. The administration’s plans did not bear fruit then, they will not work now either.
Spring has given way to the beginning of a turbulent summer. April, is a cruel month. Temperatures have risen, and so has the level of rage in university campuses. The JNU University Authorities (and their masters – in the Ministry of Human Resources Development, the Prime Minister’s Office and the RSS Citadels in Mahal, Nagpur and Jhandewalan, Delhi) thought that they could break the resolve of the students by enacting a series of harsh measures against them just before exams begin and the university term ends in summer vacations.
This is a time, they must have thought, when students will be busy with preparations, and the rising heat will discourage the kind of mass mobilizations that the campus has seen since February. Students in JNU resolved a few hours ago to prove them wrong, and decided to fight back . A massive gathering stood its ground at the Administrative Block, aptly re-christened, ‘Freedom Square’.
They have decided that a batch of students will sit on indefinite hunger strike – a ‘fast unto death’ – until the JNU authorities roll back the draconian measures listed in the HLEC Report.
There’s no looking back now. Whatever happens from now on wards, will be seen as a consequence of the cruel, evil mindset of the current regime, which truly treats the lives of the young as dispensable ballast. Its time to prove them wrong. This is a call that goes out to all students and teachers, and sensible individuals, not just in JNU, not just in Universities and Colleges all across India and all the territories administered by the Indian republic, but to everyone reading this post anywhere in the world, to stand by the courageous students of JNU. It is our responsibility to see that the JNU Authorities see reason and back down. If anything untoward happens to any student, the university authorities, and the regime backing them, will be clearly culpable.
Here is Umar Khalid, speaking just before commencing his Hunger Strike
Here is Chintu, former Gen. Sec. JNUSU, speaking at the Mashaal Juloos, (Torchlight Procession) just before beginning the Hunger Strike.
Listen to Kanhaiya Kumar, President of the JNUSU – restating the reasons for the continuation of the movement.
Thanks to the ‘We are JNU Media Group’ and the AISA Youtube Channel, for the videos.
[ The prurient fantasies contained in the ‘JNU Dossier’, produced by some right wing faculty members of JNU in or around October 2015, have been ‘outed’ by an excellent report by Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta in Wire.org. This comes exactly at the time when the JNU administration has shown its fangs by delivering a low blow by way of the measures outlined in the report of the ‘High Level Enquiry Committee’ appointed by the Vice Chancellor. An impartial examination of the HLEC document and the ‘Dossier’ in will reveal some startlingly resonant patterns. Clearly, the ‘Dossier’, which had been dismissed by the former Vice-Chanceller, Prof. Sopory, has been reincarnated at the express orders of the Nagpuri masters of the present dispensation. We are sharing below an excellent response to the ‘Dossier’ by Ayesha Kidwai, one of the professors – ‘named’ in the dossier. This is taken from Ayesha Kidwai’s status update on her Facebook Page.
Sanghi smut is in season again! For the authors of the Dirty Dossier, JNU nights are forever scented with musk, with couples draped on every bush, suitably fortified by free alcohol, thoughts of secession, and cash payments supplied by the Awesome Foursome. At its peak, the party can practically involve the whole university, because as per Shri Gyan Dev Ahuja’s estimates, the number of students frolicking this will be 7000 (3000 condom users X 2, plus 500 injectable walas X 2). (Assuming of course that the few hundred left over have gone to fieldwork, have exams, or are abstemious and/or abstinent in nature.)
Laugh as we may (and must) at these feverish imaginings, it’s also important to understand that the very notion of a free university challenges not only misogyny, but also the social apartheid produced by caste and exclusionary religion.