Tag Archives: Rohith Vemula

Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by New Socialist Initiative

New Socialist Initiative Condemns Hindutva Engineered and Inspired Atrocities on Dalits

Hardly a day passes without headline news of some or another atrocity on Dalits. On 24 May, a Dalit man in the Ahmedabad district was beaten and his house attacked by a gang of socalled ‘upper’ caste men after he had attached Sinh to his name on his facebook post.  On 21 May a dalit ragpicker was beaten to death in a Rajkot factory. Atrocities on Dalits are occurring in the midst of a public ideological environment against them. On 26 May news came of a private school in Delhi asking 8th class students to write a note on how reservations help undeserving and unqualified people for their summer vacation homework.  According to National Crime Record Bureau reports for recent years, between 10 to 15 thousand cases of crimes are reported under the Prevention of Atrocities act every year; an average of 35 crimes per day. Many times more crimes actually go unreported. In 2016 Indian courts had over 45 thousand cases under this act. Out of the 4048 cases decided, conviction occurred in 659 cases only. That is, five out of six cases of atrocity against Dalits did not result in any punishment. The number of attacks against one of the weakest and the poorest sections of the society, and the abysmal rate of conviction would put any civilized society to shame, but India chugs along. Continue reading Statement on Atrocities on Dalits : New Socialist Initiative

Against the De-politicization of Mental Health- Harassment is Not a Myth: Simple Rajrah

Guest post by SIMPLE RAJRAH

This article is written in response to the article Activism as a blue whale challenge by Manu Joseph that first appeared in Livemint.

“Our love is constructed. Our beliefs colored. Our originality valid through artificial art. It has become truly difficult to love without getting hurt”

Dalit Scholar Rohith Vemula, who was institutionally murdered.

Often academic interests die a quiet death due to crassly political reasons but they die yet again, due to non-recognition and to their relentless reduction to the apolitical. Much as there must be emphasis on seeking solutions to the troubles that humanity is facing, it cannot be ignored that reducing the ‘root’ cause of everything to the realm of ‘apolitical’ can be academically simplistic and politically dangerous.  And why must there be an obsession with relegating everything to the ‘apolitical’ domain? Why do journalists who continually work within political systems still consider depression to be something external to the sphere of politics? Why must there be academicians who discount historicity and complexity by equating violence with counter violence? And why, similarly, must there be politicians who condemn violence on ‘both sides’? Because, even a simple reading of the political should reveal its association with power, challenge its centralization, and more importantly the show up the invisibilization that generates hegemony.

Continue reading Against the De-politicization of Mental Health- Harassment is Not a Myth: Simple Rajrah

Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto

radhika vemula के लिए चित्र परिणाम

(Photo Courtesy : indiatoday.intoday.in, Photo Illustration by Saurabh Singh)

..The value of a man was reduced to his immediate identity and nearest possibility. To a vote.  To a number. To a thing. Never was a man treated as a mind. As a glorious thing made up of star dust.  In every field, in studies, in streets, in politics, and in dying and living.

..My birth is my fatal accident. I can never recover from my childhood loneliness. The unappreciated child from my past.

(Excerpts from Rohith Vemula’s suicide note)


The middle of this month would witness a different type of Yatra on the streets of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Neither it would be led by high profile leaders – who have the aura of Z plus security with them – nor it would be undertaken in an ultramodern bus – fitted with latest facilities and which could even be used as podium for a public meeting.

It would be taken out on a blue pickup truck renamed Bhim Auto and would be led by a fifty year old woman Radhika Vemula  along with her son Raja demanding justice for her elder son Rohith. During this Yatra Radhika intends to visit one Velivada ( Dalit hamlet) after other in these two states to tell people how castiest forces are hell bent upon denying dalits their due rights and how justice is still being denied to her son who committed suicide because of the machinations of such people. (http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/search/?q=rohith+vemula). She would also communicate to them that not only the ruling dispensation at the centre led by BJP but the state governments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been callous towards the plight of the Dalits and have joined hands to deny justice to her son. Not some time ago the government of Andhra Pradesh had made outrageous statements about Rohith not being dalit and earlier in February had demanded that Radhika ‘prove’ that she is Dalit in 15 days. Continue reading Radhika Vemula on Bhim Auto

Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal




As JNU is still recovering from the aftershocks of last year sangh parivar’s attack on our university post 9th of February we are again facing an unprecedented attack on our university – its democratic space, progressive admission policy, its inclusive character. The latter has been the heart and soul of JNU which the student movement has built over the last four decades. Last year’s attack was an attack on our right to dissent, to curb our democratic spaces and to implement the fascist Hindutva agenda on our universities. This year, in the name of “academic quality” and “excellence”, by reducing the seat intake & closing admission they want to ensure that none is able to access higher education in JNU.

We were members of ABVP previous to the events of Feb 9 last year, and we subsequently resigned because of our differences with this fascist, casteist, Brahmanical and patriarchal organisation. These differences, as we have earlier said, had been long standing ones. But after the orchestrated attack on JNU, we felt a limit had been crossed and we could no longer associate with ABVP. Continue reading Ex-ABVP Activists Reflect on How the ABVP Orchestrated 9th of February in JNU Last Year: Jatin Goraya and Pradeep Narwal

The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

The recent order by the I&B Ministery to NDTV India to suspend broadcast for 24 hours drew a range of reactions from outrage to bewilderment. The supporters of the ruling party were of course triumphant – Subhash Chandra of Zoo, er sorry Zee News was so excited he wrote a whole article on this. But even outside the partisan responses, many well-meaning self-declared neutral janta declared that national security is not a matter to be trifled with, and that it was right for the government to admonish NDTV. Wait, ADMONISH?! Never mind that the government’s allegation of NDTV having compromised national security simply doesn’t survive a fact-check. Here is how the largest section of (English-speaking, online) popular opinion sees it.

This token punishment was good and important to show that someone is there who is monitoring the media who always thinks behind the mask of freedom of expression that they can do anything in the world. So it is important that the Government of the Day makes its presence felt otherwise there will more chaos and issues like the UPA government where everyone was going around like headless chicken and no one is bothered or cared if a Govt of Man Mohan Singh existed or NO. Even small timers like the Delhi CM AK and his Guru Anna were threatening and taking morcha in Ram leela Maidan every second day and doing expose every third day putting the Govt. of India on the back foot and in defensive mode running for shelter. Now Arvind Kejriwala and his team is running for shelter as every day a Delhi MLA is shown the door of the JAIL and Anna Hazare has been locked in a shell in his hometown watching the sunrise and the sunset. This means business, It is important that Govt of the India should show it exist otherwise human mentality is that then everyone shows that everyone exist and everyone is the BOSS. Cannot allow to happen like this MESS. PM Modi please keep it up and keep the heat on this reckless media, on AK and his gang, on others who are trying to show unnecessary activism and also the Judiciary, keep all the appointments on hold and let them slog day and night. Show who is the BOSS ! Show who is the BOSS !

Yes, Modi ji, show who is the BOSS!


Continue reading The Cult of the Angry Pointed Finger, or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Father

Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case :ASEAK

Guest Statement by Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK)

Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case : Corporate Publishers Market ends at the gates of the University

In a rare and incredible order today, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the copyright infringement case filed by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis (Routledge) against Rameshwari Photocopy Shop in Delhi School of Economics and Delhi University. Justice R.S Endlaw in a 94 pages long judgment interpreted educational exception under section 52(1)(i) of the copyright act in broad enough manner to cover the acts of photocopying.

The publishers sought to claim damages to the tune of 60 lakh rupees from the shop citing infringement of copyright which the publishers claimed was happening through photocopying of parts of books published by them. However, the publishers themselves stated that this case, for them, was a test case where they wanted to introduce licensing systems across universities in India. These licensing systems intended to control the extent to which material could be photocopied and also direct a share of profit from these reproductions to the publishers. We, the Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) demanded to be made a defendant in this case as we believed that it is the rights of students to access reading material that was at stake in this case- “Association of Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge (ASEAK) filed IA No.3454/2013 for impleadment in the present suit and which was allowed vide order dated 1st March, 2013 and ASEAK impleaded as defendant No.3.” (from the judgment). Continue reading Victory for Students and Access to Knowledge in DU Copyright Case :ASEAK

Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Guest Post by  New Socialist Initiative

Can the Saffron Establishment ever wash its hands of the growing menace?

(For Hindi version, click the link http://nsi-delhi.blogspot.in/2016/07/blog-post_26.html)

( Courtesy : Cartoonist Satish Acharya, https://www.facebook.com/cartoonistsatishacharya/)

Cow vigilantism which has received tremendous boost since the ascendance of BJP at the centre got its first fitting reply in Gujarat recently. The way in which a self-proclaimed Gau Rakshak Dal – owing allegiance to Shiv Sena – attacked a group of Dalits in Una (11 th July 2016) who were skinning a dead cow, publicly flogged them, led them to the police station charging them with cow slaughter and even circulated a video of the whole incident on social media to spread further terror, has caused tremendous uproar. Continue reading Cow Vigilantism as Terror : New Socialist Initiative

Statement by SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of the University of Hyderabad on the Attack on Velivada

In the early hours 28th May 2016, at around 2 P.M., the authorities at the University of Hyderabad removed the tents erected in North Shopcom around the Velivada and the venue of protest following the death of Rohith Vemula. This happened in the darkness of night, shrouded in secrecy and utterly insensitive towards the turmoil it was bound generate within the student community. Such an act reaffirms the dictatorial stance of the present administration as well as its intolerance to dissent.

The removal of the tent is a clear act of provocation against students since it is well known that they are emotionally attached to the Velivada and consider it as a place of mourning and memorial for Rohith. Especially for the Dalit students, it remains the site of challenge against caste discrimination. Further, bringing down the posters of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar’s quotes that surrounded the tent is a grave insult to the Father of the Constitution of this country and an atrocity in itself. It is indeed ironic that the university administration that overtly pronounces its intent to celebrate Dr. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary for a year has no qualms about removing his posters, or barring his grandson, Prakash Ambedkar, from entering the university. Such actions unmask the true character of the administration; revealing its deeply discriminatory, apathetic and disrespectful attitude towards Dalits and their leaders. Continue reading Statement by SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of the University of Hyderabad on the Attack on Velivada

Statement against the Attack on the ‘Velivada’ in Hyderabad Central University: SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of Hyderabad University

Guest Post by SC/ST Faculty Forum and Concerned Teachers of Hyderabad University

In the early hours 28th May 2016, at around 2 P.M., the authorities at the University of Hyderabad removed the tents erected in North Shopcom around the Velivada and the venue of protest following the death of Rohith Vemula. This happened in the darkness of night, shrouded in secrecy and utterly insensitive towards the turmoil it was bound generate within the student community. Such an act reaffirms the dictatorial stance of the present administration as well as its intolerance to dissent.

The removal of the tent is a clear act of provocation against students since it is well known that they are emotionally attached to the Velivada and consider it as a place of mourning and memorial for Rohith. Especially for the Dalit students, it remains the site of challenge against caste discrimination. Further, bringing down the posters of Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar’s quotes that surrounded the tent is a grave insult to the Father of the Constitution of this country and an atrocity in itself. It is indeed ironic that the university administration that overtly pronounces its intent  to celebrate Dr.Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary for a year has no qualms about removing his posters, or barring his grandson, Prakash Ambedkar, from entering the university. Such actions unmask the true character of the administration; revealing its deeply discriminatory, apathetic and disrespectful attitude towards Dalits and their leaders.

Perhaps the University officials have long forgotten that a University is not to be ruled and subjugated through the military doctrine of “shock and awe” (who can forget George Bush’s now ill famous use of the term during the military invasion of Iraq by the US in 2003!). Instead, patience, maturity and genuine dialogue with the students alone can help us through these difficult times. Unfortunately, the authorities have acted in an extremely unbefitting manner, without the slightest concern for the feelings of their own students. Further, this act of destruction appears doubly mindless and vindictive because the presence of a tent in the Shopcom area does not harm anyone. In fact, through the scorching summer, many people take shelter under it beating the intense heat—be it the students having their food there or other workers who need to be around the Shopcom area. Therefore, we see absolutely no justification for its removal, that too in such a stealthy and unceremonious manner, taking advantage of the the anonymity of the night during vacation. Clearly the authorities are well aware how heartless and unethical such an action is and the serious opposition that it is sure to encounter if carried out during daytime.

The thoughtless desecration of the Velivada compels us to ask a few critical questions. Is it necessary to instigate confrontations in a campus that is already struggling to come to terms with the tragic death of Rohith Vemula, the brutal lathicharge and imposition of false cases against students and faculty and the continuous harassment of students that takes many different forms? Is it not the urgent responsibility of the administration be a little more receptive to the concerns and feelings of the students, keeping in mind the larger interests of the University? It is a cruel irony that while the administration proclaims to the world that it wants “normalcy” to return to the campus, its actions remain blatantly aggressive, anti-student and discriminatory.

More than four months have passed by since that fateful night when a brilliant young man with immense potential and a strong sense of social justice gave up his life, hounded by the administration on the basis of a fictitious charge and non-existent evidence.  We may recall that the cruel and unusual punishment of suspension from hostels and all common spaces was handed out to the five Dalit students during another vacation—the winter of December 2015. Is it  just serendipity? Or, perhaps vacation is time of total impunity, when all natural and moral laws are suspended and humanity is forgotten? While the Rohith and his friends were forced to spend the cold winter nights out in the open, distraught students protesting the removal of the tent spent the day under the unforgiving Hyderabad sun near the main gate of the University on 28th May until they were pushed away by  the security guards.

Prof. Appa Rao Podile resumed office with the knowledge of a hand-picked teaching and non-teaching staff (after abandoning the University in a state of despair following the death of Rohith) on 22nd March, 2016, without so much as giving prior notice to the interim VC, Prof. Periasamy, fully aware how this would affect the protesting students and friends of Rohith. Now, once again, the Velivada has been desecrated when the world was asleep. We quote what a leading jurist Amita Dhanda had said recently with respect to the events at HCU: “A VC must not only be fair but be seen to be fair.” We leave it to our readers to decide whether the VC has ever acted or appeared to act as fair!

Evidently, the loss of Rohith’s life has not meant nor taught anything to the the University of Hyderabad authorities. Those who had closed their eyes to the evidence that screamed out that  Rohith and his friends were “Not Guilty”, have moved on. They now head important committees and speak on behalf of the University to the rest of the world. As ranks are bestowed upon the University, they brim over with pride and claim credit. It is well beyond their comprehension as to why large groups of students and faculty should hang on to a make-shift Velivada—with walls made up of flex-board images of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Jotiba and Savitribai Phule and Kanshi Ram. For them, it is time to “cleanse” and “sanitize” the Shopcom of those disturbing reminders that tell us that “Something is rotten in the state of the University of Hyderabad.”

But the memory of injustice is a powerful tool. The very same structure that has been an eyesore to the administration is our history—poignant, gut-wrenching and yet imbuing our present with direction and the strength to struggle. To recall a stirring line that has emerged through the Rohith Vemula movement: “A spectre is haunting the brahminical academia—the spectre of caste.” We welcome and embrace this history. The Velivada is the place where Rohith spent his final destitute days, anxious that his years of hard work and aspiration to give a better life to his family may come to nought. This is where we come to pay our respects and to remind ourselves that there should be no more Rohiths. Around this very place, a community has gathered—of those who may not have known each other  earlier but who understood how critical it was to work towards a world where “a man is not reduced to his immediate identity”. People thronged to this place from different Universities and from all walks of life to pay homage, and in solidarity. Those who could not come still became part of this imagined community—those from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, the North East, in fact, from every part of this country—threaded together by empathy and experience. Rohith became an icon and a rallying cry because his life struck a chord with the large majority of Dalit  and other minoritized and underprivileged groups in India for whom education is still a humungous struggle. More important, breaking into the bastions of higher education remain acts of transgression and trespassing. Perhaps that is why the august body that passed the fatal judgement on Rohith Vemula did not even bother to maintain a facade of impartiality. Unfortunately for them, the masses of India—the Dalit and the underprivileged, those who are the “wretched of the earth” in the immortal and evocative words of Frantz Fanon, recognized this judgement for what it is, even as it came cloaked in the language of discipline and bureaucracy.

The socially marginalized, struggling parents who dream of a better life for their children instinctively know what happened—they completely and empathetically identify with Radhika Vemula who sent her son to the big University only to lose him forever. Similarly, all those students and teachers who have relentlessly and often silently faced discrimination in the hallowed portals of premier institutions of learning also know. We, the concerned faculty and students at the University of Hyderabad know. We shall not forget. We cannot forget. The administration is bent upon erasing the Velivada. Can they erase our memory? Can they erase the memory of that fateful night of January 17th? Rohith has travelled from the shadows to the stars. We ask Mr. Appa Rao Podile and his believers, “Can you destroy the stars? Because every time, on each dark night, when we look up we will see Rohith Vemula and we will remember what he lived and died for.”

Perhaps the University Administration presumes that a Velivada rightfully and customarily belongs to the margins of the village—far far away from the modern, secular/brahminical, high-ranking spaces of the University. However, through an extraordinary and imaginative act of symbolism, Rohith and his four friends have re-installed the Velivada in the midst of the University, in our hearts and in our consciousness. We need not skirt past it or bemoan the loss of the Shopcom (as the administration has been doing). For us it is a living history of sacrifice and struggle, forcing us to continually work towards a more pluralistic and egalitarian idea of the University.

There is a writing on the wall that that the administration cannot whitewash! The Velivada can no longer be cast out into the margins; it is here to stay. The University must take note and be attentive to this momentous turn of history.

SC/ST Teachers’ Forum and Concerned Teachers, University of Hyderabad



Who will Educate the Educators? Reflections on JNU today: Janaki Nair

Guest Post by JANAKI NAIR

 In an interview to the journal Frontline on February 16, 2016, just 11 days before he took over one of India’s most prestigious universities, Prof Jagadesh Kumar had this to say:

I am a defender of free expression of thought in a democratic set-up and students are free to question me or challenge my views. I believe in constructive criticism, and as long as it is done peacefully and within the boundaries of the law, there is no problem.

Declaring his  two top priorities, of which one was the redressal of  infrastructural shortcomings, he desired

to improve the learning environment by making it more student-centric. Some of the faculty are great researchers, but they do not have much understanding of teaching. What I want to do requires cooperation from faculty members.

These words, which Prof Kumar has thus far not refuted or denied, should be recalled today, more than three months after his takeover, the  most tumultous months the University has ever known.  It is too early to judge the VC on his infrastructure  promise, as some of us continue to make  bone rattling journeys on cycles over  the most rutted roads on the campus.  Continue reading Who will Educate the Educators? Reflections on JNU today: Janaki Nair

रोहित वेमुला हम तुम्हारे दिखाए हुए रास्ते पर चल रहे हैं: अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

अतिथि पोस्ट : अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण


भूख हड़ताल का बारहवां दिन (12th Days) चल रहा है. प्रशासन कितना दवाब में है कुछ भी कहा नही जा सकता है. हाँ, अगल बगल के हालात देख कर, बात-चीत सुन कर इतना तो जरुर समझ में आ रहा है कि कुछ तो “अन्दर” जरुर चल रहा है. अध्यापक संघ हमारे साथ खड़ा है. उन्होंने हमारे समर्थन में एक दिन का भूख हड़ताल भी किया और अब क्रमिक भूख हड़ताल पर है. हमसे हमारे शुभचिंतको द्वारा बार बार आग्रह किया जा रहा है कि हम भूख हड़ताल को छोड़े. हम जब इस भूख हड़ताल पर बैठ रहे थे तो हमारे सामने की स्थिति ने हमे चेता दिया था कि ये करो या मरो की स्थिति है. इसलिए हमने नारा/स्लोगन भी दिया कि ये भूख हड़ताल हमारी मांगो तक या फिर हमारी मौत तक. हमारी मांग बिलकुल स्पष्ट है कि हम अलोकतांत्रिक, जातिवादी उच्चस्तरीय जांच कमिटी को नहीं मानते है. इसलिए इसके आधार पर हम कुछ छात्र-छात्राओ पर जो आरोप व दंड लगाये गए है उनको ख़ारिज किया जाये और प्रशासन बदले की भावना से इन छात्र-छात्राओ पर कार्यवाही करना बंद करे और जे.एन.यू. के एडमिशन पालिसी को लेकर कुछ मांगे है. सजा क्या है? कुछ का विश्वविद्यालय से निष्कासन, कुछ का हॉस्टल-निष्कासन और कुछ लोगों पर भारी जुर्माने की राशि और कुछ लोगों के उपर यह सब कुछ. अब जब हम आन्दोलन में है तो यह साफ़ साफ़ देख पा रहे है कि यही तो हुआ था हैदराबाद के साथियों के साथ. एक एक चीज हू-ब-हू बिलकुल इसी तरह. इसी तरह से हॉस्टल से निकल कर सड़क पर रहने के लिए विवश किया गया था. इसी तरह तो कोशिश की गई थी रोहित और उसके साथियों को देश और दुनिया के सामने एंटी-नेशनल के तमगे से नवाज देने की. नतीजा क्या हुआ सबके सामने है.

इस भूख हड़ताल के दौरान लोग हमसे मिलने आ रहे है. कुछ लोगों ने जुर्माने की राशि को जुटाने का प्रस्ताव दिया, तो कुछ लोगों ने खुद ही जुर्माने की राशि देने का प्रस्ताव दिया. हम उनके प्रति अपना आभार प्रकट करते हैं. लेकिन क्या यह लड़ाई कुछ दंण्ड/जुर्माने के खिलाफ लड़ाई है? नहीं, यह लड़ाई देश बचने की लड़ाई है. बहुत ही सरल शब्दों में कहा जाये तो इस लड़ाई से यह तय होगा कि इस सत्ता/सरकार के रहते इस देश में विरोध की आवाजो/dissents के लिए कोई जगह होगी की नहीं. जे.एन.यू का प्रोग्रेसिव स्टूडेंट मूवमेंट अपने क्रांतिकारी कलेवर के साथ अपनी पहचान लिए खड़ा रहता है. यह क्रांतिकारी स्टूडेंट मूवमेंट यह तय तो करता ही है कि इस कैंपस  को इतना समावेसित/इंक्लूसिव बना कर रखा जाये कि समाज के सबसे निचले तबके के लिए भी यह विश्वविद्यालय का गेट खुला रहे लेकिन साथ ही साथ इस छात्र-आन्दोलन ने अन्दर और बाहर के मुद्दे का भी भेद मिटा दिया और देश के सामने एक वैकल्पिक राजनीति का मॉडल ले करके सामने आया.

बीते दिनों इस स्टूडेंट-मूवमेंट के साथ साथ पूरे जे.एन.यू को निशाने पर लिया गया और इसे एक संस्थान के रूप में देश-विरोधी ठहरा देने का प्रयास हुआ. आखिर देश है क्या? आखिर हम देशभक्ति माने किसे? अभी कुछ दिनों पहले हम देश की विभिन्न जगहों पर कैम्पेन में थे. उन सभाओ व परिचर्चाओ के दौरान भी देशभक्ति चर्चा का एक गर्म विषय रहा. उन सवालों को करने वाले लोग ही कई बार इन सवालो का जवाब दे देते. वो भारत का नक्शा दिखा कर के और भारत की सीमाओं को दिखाते हुए बोलते इन सीमाओं के भीतर जो कुछ भी है देश है. इसका मतलब पेड़-पौधे, रेलगाड़ी, प्लेटफार्म, पहाड़, जंगल, कारखाने, यहाँ के लोग, खनिज-संपदा, नदियाँ, तालाब, इत्यादि सब कुछ देश है. इस दौरान मुझे अपवादिक रूप से भी कोई ऐसा व्यक्ति नहीं मिला जिसने देश की इस परिभाषा से असहमति जताई. देश के लिए प्रतीक बने, संविधान बना, कानून बने और जैसे-जैसे यह देश बदलता जाता है, आगे बढ़ता जाता है, उसी के आधार पर प्रतीक से ले करके कानून तक सब चीज़ों में परिवर्तन होता जाता  है. देश के लिए प्रतीक होते हैं, प्रतीकों का कोई देश नहीं होता है. देश लगातार चलने वाली एक प्रक्रिया का हिस्सा है. देश रोज़ बनता है और हमेशा नये ढंग में हमारे सामने आता रहता है, जिसे इस देश का गरीब, किसान, मजदूर और बाकी मेहनतकश लोग बनाते है. अब लड़ाई इस बात की है कि यह देश किसका है? और इसका मालिक कौन होगा? इस देश की संपत्ति, संसाधनों पर हक किसका होगा? यही गरीब, मजदूर, किसान और मेहनतकश लोग जो रोज़ इस देश को बनाते है, जब अपने हक के लिए खडे होते है तो इस देश की सत्ता/सरकार चंद पूंजीपतियों के साथ क्यूँ खड़ी हो जाती है? और इस देश को बनाने वालों के हक में जब जे.एन.यू. जैसे संस्थान आवाज़ उठाते हैं तो उसे देशद्रोही करार देने की कोशिश क्यों होती है?

जिस समय जे.एन.यू. का मसला ही पूरे देश में चर्चा का विषय बना रहा उस समय जे.एन.यू. प्रशासन व इस देश की सत्ता ने बड़ी चालाकी से अपने मंसूबों को पूरा करने में इस समय का इस्तेमाल किया. यह सर्वविदित है कि  जे.एन.यू. अपनी एडमिशन पालिसी  के कारण ही अपना एक इनक्लूसिव/समावेशिक कैरेक्टर बना पाया है. लगभग 24 साल से चली आ रही इस पालिसी को प्रशासन ने बदल दिया और स्टूडेंट कम्युनिटी को कुछ खबर तक नहीं हुई. दूसरा, ओबीसी के मिनिमम एलिजिबिलिटी कट ऑफ, जिसको चार साल (4 years) के लम्बे संघर्ष के बाद सुप्रीम कोर्ट तक जा करके इस जे.एन.यू. प्रशासन के खिलाफ जीत कर लाया गया था और इसे सिर्फ जे.एन.यू. नही पूरे देश के संस्थानों के लिए अनिवार्य किया गया था, उसको ख़त्म कर दिया गया और किसी को कानो-कान खबर नहीं हुई. इसी तर्ज पर दूसरी तरफ सत्ता में बैठे लोगों ने इस समय का फायदा विजय माल्या को इस देश के बाहर भेजने के लिए इस्तेमाल किया. ये सत्ता/सरकार की बहुत ही पुरानी तरकीब रही है कि अगर देश की कुछ रियल समस्याएँ हैं तो उसकी तरफ से ध्यान भटकाने के लिए कुछ ऐसा करो कि इस देश के लोगों का ध्यान उधर जाए ही ना. इस सरकार के 2 साल बीत जाने के बाद इनके पास ऐसा कुछ भी नहीं है जो इस देश के लोगों के सामने गिना सके कि हमने क्या किया. ये चुनाव पर चुनाव हारते जा रहे हैं. तब इन्होने इस देश के लोगों का ध्यान उनकी विफलता से हटाने के लिए जे.एन.यू. “काण्ड” को गढ़ा. इस साजिश को साफ़ साफ़ समझा जा सकता है कि जब जे.एन.यू. का आन्दोलन चल रहा था उस समय भाजपा अध्यक्ष ने घोषणा की कि वह इस मामले को लेकर के यू.पी. के घर-घर में जाएंगे. यूपी के घर घर ही क्यूँ? क्यूंकि वहाँ चुनाव आने वाले हैं. धूमिल ने सत्ता/सरकार के इसी साजिश की ओर इशारा करते हुए हमे सावधान किया और लिखा कि

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बहस के लिए भूख की जगह भाषा को रख दिया है….

अगर धूमिल की इसी बात को और आगे बढाते हुए कहा जाए तो आज भूख की जगह प्रतीकों/सिम्बल्स/नारों को रखने की कोशिश चल रही है. यानि हमारे जीवन की रियल समस्याओ से ध्यान हटा देने की हर बार की तरह एक कोशिश, एक साजिश .

जे.एन.यू. में जब ये आन्दोलन चल रहा है तब इस आन्दोलन को लेकर तरह तरह की शंकाए/भय, जो कि बहुत  हद तक जायज़ भी है, ज़ाहिर किये जा रहे हैं. हमको यह कहा जा रहा है की इस प्रशासन से हमें कोई उम्मीद नहीं रखनी चाहिए. हम इस बात से पूरी तरह सहमत हैं कि हमें इस प्रशासन से कोई उम्मीद नहीं रखनी चाहिए. तब इस स्थिति में हमें क्या करना चाहिए? हमारे सामने क्या रास्ता है? हमारे ऊपर जो दंडात्मक कार्यवाहियां हुई है, उनको मान लेना चाहिये? हमारा यह साफ़ साफ़ मानना है कि ये दंडात्मक कार्यवाहियां हमारे उपर एक विचारधारात्मक कार्यवाही (ideological punishment) है. भले ही यह कार्यवाही कुछ छात्र-छात्राओं पर की गयी है लेकिन इसका निशाना पूरा जे.एन.यू. ही है. इसका कारण स्पष्ट है कि जे.एन.यू. साम्प्रदायिकता व साम्राज्यवाद विरोधी होने के कारण हमेशा से सत्ता के निशाने पर रहा है. यहाँ पर समाज के हर तबके की आवाज़ के लिए एक जगह है और इतना ही काफी है आरएसएस के लिए कि वह जे.एन.यू. विरोधी हो. जेएनयू के छात्र आन्दोलन की विशेषता है कि यह कैम्पस के मुद्दों को उठाने के साथ साथ देश दुनिया में चल रही प्रत्येक चीज़ पर सजग रहता है, और ज़रूरत पड़ने पर हस्तक्षेप भी करता है और इसी का परिणाम है कि इस सरकार के सत्ता में आने से पहले और बाद में हमेशा से जब भी इन्होने इस देश के लोगों के खिलाफ कदम उठाएं हैं तब-तब इन्हें यहाँ के छात्रों के आन्दोलन/विरोध का सामना करना पडा है.

अब इन सारी चीज़ों को ध्यान में रखकर देखें तो हमें क्या करना चाहिए? नए कुलपति/वाईस-चांसलर साहब की नियुक्ति हुई है, वो अपने संघ के एजेंडे पर बेशर्मी और पूरी इमानदारी के साथ काम कर रहे है. उनको जे.एन.यू. के कैरेक्टर को ख़त्म करना है. ऐसे समय में छात्र-आन्दोलन की ज़िम्मेदारी क्या होगी? क्या हम लोग इस देश के छात्र-आन्दोलन के प्रति जवाबदेह नहीं है जबकि आज एक ऐतिहासिक जवाबदेही हमारे कंधो पर है. जे.एन.यू. के छात्र-आन्दोलन को इस देश में एक सम्मानजनक स्थान हासिल है. कई लोग तो इसे भारतीय छात्र-आन्दोलन का लाइट हाउस तक भी कह देते हैं. यह सही बात है कि हम जब किसी आन्दोलन में होते हैं तो हम यह तय करते है  कि इस आन्दोलन से हमें कम से कम क्या निकाल कर लाना है. लेकिन इस आन्दोलन में क्या कुछ कम-ज्यादा/ मिनिमम-मैक्सिमम जैसा कुछ भी है? यह तो पूरे जे.एन.यू. को बचाने की लड़ाई है. यह देश के लोकतंत्र को बचाने की लड़ाई है. यह आन्दोलन सिर्फ आये हुए संकट को टाल देने के लिए नहीं है, बल्कि आने वाली पीढ़ियों के प्रति जवाबदेही के लिए भी है. अगर इस आन्दोलन को लेकर सोचने का नज़रिया होगा तो यह बिलकुल नहीं होगा कि इस आन्दोलन से कैसे निकला जाए, बल्कि यह होगा कि इस आन्दोलन में कैसे और धंसा जाए और इसे और कैसे धारदार बनाया जाये. अगर “उन्होंने” कुछ तय कर लिया है तो हमें भी कुछ तय करना होगा. हम किसी मुगालते या भावुकता में भूख हड़ताल में नहीं बैठे हैं बल्कि पूरी तरह से सोची समझी गयी राजनीतिक प्रतिबद्धता के साथ हम इस आन्दोलन में गए हैं. हम भी नहीं जानते है कि हमारी लड़ाई का अंजाम क्या होगा. आज हम अपनी लड़ाई को रोहित वेमुला की लड़ाई से अलग करके नहीं देखते हैं. रोहित ने हमें संदेश दिया कि अगर बर्बाद ही होना है तो लड़ते हुए बर्बाद हो. रोहित हम तुम्हारे दिखाए हुए रास्ते पर चल रहे हैं.

अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

(लेखक जे.एन.यू. के सेंटर फॉर द स्टडी ऑफ़ लॉ एंड गवर्नेंस के शोध-छात्र हैं और जे.एन.यू. छात्र संघ के पूर्व उपाध्यक्ष हैं.)

Do Not Rest in Peace, Jisha: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid

(Pictures by Biju Ibrahim)

Dear Jisha, I never knew you, nor did you know me.

You were probably a “usual” student, pursuing your studies, dreaming of a better future for yourself and your country. You were probably someone like Rohith Vemula, who dreamed of stars and skies. I learnt that you were a Law student, but I regret to tell you that the Law of this country fails us miserably.


It is because a Bhanwari Devi does not get justice that Bhagana happens. It’s because no one in Bhagana gets justice that a Delta Meghwal happens. It is because a Delta Meghwal does not get justice that a Jisha happens. And most painfully, I can predict that you may not get justice either.

This is because the Law that you studied is not the law that actually runs this country- this country runs according to a parallel law which is called Manusmriti. It is routinely quoted by judges in their judgments, but perhaps you wouldn’t have studied that in Law school. It is the law of Manusmriti that prescribes limits for women and limits for Dalits.

Continue reading Do Not Rest in Peace, Jisha: Shehla Rashid

Statement of solidarity for HCU from students and faculty of University of Texas at Austin

Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

This is a guest post by SHIPRA NIGAM

That the past few months have been cataclysmic is an understatement. Personal tragedies and political catastrophes have exploded within our most cherished spaces, and brought a churning in them.  What was truly transformative was the experience of both the emergence of broad solidarities against right-wing fascism, and of the reminders of multiple registers and contexts within them. These underline the need for multiple conversations to understand both our common struggles, as well as the contradictions within, and to renew a resolve for introspection through them as we move towards real ‘azaadi’.

There is of course an ongoing debate on this, and here I felt that some binaries being invoked in it are not very convincing, while others brought home stark truths that pose challenges to a patriarchal, majoritarian caste hindu ordering of society, within which we are all located at different levels of hierarchy, complicity, and engagement.

I have been part of both public universities under fire right now, and the present brings home the urgency of the dual task of defending the public university as a space for pushing the boundaries of critical thought, and confronting the very hierarchies and complicities with power that shape it. This is necessary even as processes of democratisation and affirmative action take root in public institutions . So these are some reminiscences from an alumna of both these public universities who has been wrestling with articulations and complexities which lie beyond institutional labels or binaries. Continue reading Responding to the Challenges of Blue and Red – Reminiscences of a JNU-HCU Alumna: Shipra Nigam

Open Letter from SC/ST Faculty Forum of University of Hyderabad to VC Appa Rao About Resignation from Administrative Positions: SC/ST Faculty Forum, UoH

Guest Post by SC/ST Faculty Forum, University of Hyderabad

[ We have recently received a request from The SC/ST Faculty Forum of the University of Hyderabad to publish a correspondence between them and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, Prof. Podile Appa Rao regarding the collective decision of the SC/ST Faculty Forum members to resign from administrative positions in the university. Accordingly, we are publishing below an open letter from the SC/ST Faculty Forum to the Vice Chancellor which is a response to a letter from the VC to the Convener of the SC/ST Faculty Forum, Dr. Sudhakar Babu. This letter is, in turn, a response to the original communication from the SC/ST Faculty Forum containing the collective decision to resign from administrative posts. These letters are being published in solidarity with the SC/ST Facutly Forum and in furtherance of the spirit of transparency, and public awareness, that they seek to uphold vis-a-vis all communication with the current vice chancellor.- Kafila]

Dear Prof.Appa Rao,

Thank you for your mail. We reiterate our collective decision to resign from administrative positions  for the following reasons:

The Forum represents the collective will of the community. Its decision is not reducible to individual members of the community. By asking the forum members to individually give reasons for their resignations, you are downplaying the community’s experience of continuing caste atrocity on the campus. In fact, this mail of yours may be construed as a threat against  individual members of the community and suggestive of demoralising the SC/ST members in a way that infringes upon and restrains their right to complain against you.

The Forum traces its history as a response to the rustication of ten Dalit students on the campus in 2001. Incidentally, you were one of the main perpetrators of caste atrocities on the students at that time. Today, you are not only responsible for the suicide of Rohit Vemula on January 17th but also the police brutalities and arrest of faculties including a Dalit faculty on trumped up charges following the March 22nd unforgivable and unforgettable event.  An atmosphere of caste violence prevails on the campus —of fear, intimidation, social boycott  and the SC/ST community feels extremely insecure by your presence.

We vehemently condemn the expeditious and inappropriate manner in which you have accepted the resignation of the Controller of Examinations and the mischievous way through which you are persuading the other members of the community to hold on to their resignations. This diabolic and unbecoming style of your leadership is at once appalling and extremely damaging to the interests of the SC/ST community on the campus.

Under the circumstances, we demand that you desist from holding individual Dalit faculty responsible for the collective decision of the Forum and thereby attempting to isolate and intimidate them.

Dr.Sudhakar Babu,

Convener, SC/ST Faculty Forum

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM THE VC To Dr. Sudhakar Babu, which is reproduced below.

Dear Dr. Sudhakar Babu,T

he Vice Chancellor office received your email conveying the decision of the SC/ST Teachers Forum that its members are not willing to work in administrative posts in the University.  Since you have conveyed this message on behalf of our colleagues, I would like to request you to convey to all those who have expressed such concern to continue in their respective office.  VC office would like to continue with their services in respective positions.

If any of our faculty colleagues from SC/ST Teachers Forum are unwilling to consider my request for their continuation in administrative office, please advise individual faculty members to tender resignation giving reason(s) which will be considered by the University accordingly.   It may not be appropriate for the administration to act on the request from the convener of a forum about continuation of individual members of the forum in an administrative job.

You may recall that we have all worked together for a long time.  I would like to continue with the same relationship with everybody in the University.

With best wishes,

Prof. Appa Rao Podile FASc, FNASc, FNAAS,

Vice Chancellor

Tata Innovation Fellow (DBT)

University of Hyderabad

Hyderabad – 500 046, Telangana, India

How to be free of Caste – Guest Post by Suhas Borker

Guest Post by Suhas Borker

This year, India has sponsored the observation of the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar at the United Nations for the first time. The Permanent Mission of India to the UN shall commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of the Dalit icon on April 13 at the UN headquarters, a day before his date of birth, with an international seminar on ‘Combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’. A note circulated by the Indian mission says that the “national icon” remains an inspiration for millions of Indians and proponents of equality and social justice across the globe. “Fittingly, although it’s a matter of coincidence, one can see the trace of Babasaheb’s radiant vision in the SDGs adopted by the UN General Assembly to eliminate poverty, hunger and socio-economic inequality by 2030.”

Juxtapose this with a recent report on caste-based discrimination by the United Nations Human Right Council’s Special Rapporteur for minority issues that has stung the Indian government, provoking it to raise questions about the lack of “seriousness of work” in the UN body and the special rapporteur’s mandate. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, would definitely not be pleased. Nor are the Dalit rights activists in India and abroad.

( Read the rest of the piece here : http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/how-to-be-free-of-caste-in-india/article8467518.ece?homepage=true)

Fifty Shades of Grey – Without the Thrills

[This is a response to Shourajenda Nath Mukherjee’s open letter on Kafila by Prof Makarand Paranjape]

Mr. Shourjendra Nath Mukherjee’s “Open Letter” of April 5, 2016 makes only one substantive point, concerning the agency of students, which needs attention. The rest of it, as the Dormouse said to Alice, is “much of a muchness” – confusion, rigmarole, and thumb-twiddling over precious little, which scarcely need be dignified by serious confutation. Continue reading Fifty Shades of Grey – Without the Thrills

Statement of Solidarity for Hyderabad Central University from UK-based academics


We, the undersigned, who are UK-based concerned scholars, express our deep dismay over the police brutality directed at students and faculty members of Hyderabad Central University, starting on March 22, 2016. We are alarmed that students and staff calling for justice at the University have had charges pressed against them, have been disappeared from the campus, and that there are reports of assaults on them in custody. We condemn the police presence on campus, the authorities’ denial of water, electricity, and food to those remaining in student accommodation, and the brutal attack on a PhD scholar for cooking in University premises.

These actions, coming in the aftermath of events culminating in the suicide of a Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, constitute a severe assault on democratic rights of free expression and thought, assembly and association. They go against the very purpose of universities as places for critical thinking, and damage the international reputation of HCU. As scholars who admire the work of many academic colleagues and alumni at HCU, we are concerned that HCU seems to be fast descending into a campus of unrestrained repression of dissenting voices among students and staff. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity for Hyderabad Central University from UK-based academics

Bhagat Singh Then and Now: Harsh Mander

Guest post by HARSH MANDER

Eighty five years ago, on 23 March 1931, Bhagat Singh walked bravely, proudly to the gallows, his two young colleagues Rajguru and Sukhdev by his side. His lustre continues undimmed as an icon for succeeding generations, so that it is easy to forget he was only 23 years old. Subhash Bose spoke then of Bhagat Singh as a ‘symbol of the new awakening among youth’. Nehru saw in him ‘a spark that became a flame in a short time and spread from one end of the country to another dispelling the prevailing darkness everywhere’. His popularity rivalled that of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the decades after his passing, in times of public ferment, despair, confusion and anger, successive generations in India have found their own inheritors of young Bhagat Singh’s mantle, men and women embodying defiant youthful idealism and dissent, young people battling for social and economic equality, for true freedom, sparks that once again set aflame a beleaguered wearied country battling the darkness of the times.

Continue reading Bhagat Singh Then and Now: Harsh Mander

University of Hyderabad Alumni Teachers Protest the Brutal Police Acts on Campus


We are deeply pained to see the heinous attack by the state police and paramilitary force on students who are protesting the activities of Appa Rao Podile, the controversial Vice Chancellor of Hyderabad University. As the alumni of one of India’s premier educational institutions, presently teaching in various universities in India, and abroad, we strongly feel that such high handed actions and state sponsored police violence on students – both young men and women – must be condemned. This is crucial in an age of extensive authoritarian silencing. In this open communication with the higher ups in UoH, we would like to reiterate the fact that your dealing with the students has been miscalculated and has provided no reassurance at all. Blinded by a casteist mindset and a resurgent confidence in the wake of a political regime change, the university has failed miserably to instill much needed assurance in the students whose protests have been intensified since the forced suicide of Rohith Vemula.  To our utter dismay, we realise that the failed university administration has begun to work hand in glove with the police in order to silence students’ demands, which should have merited a careful hearing and meaningful resolution. However, the VC and his entourage in the university feel that such sustained efforts have no value in a democracy. The shameful activities of the Police-raj, and the subsequent choreographies of complacency at the university clearly display an abysmal misreading of subaltern issues and concerns about the every day survival of students from marginalised backgrounds. Continue reading University of Hyderabad Alumni Teachers Protest the Brutal Police Acts on Campus