Tag Archives: #Stand with JNU

Sex workers demand Azadi from ‘Goddess’ Durga: Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

Guest Post by Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

Dear Students of JNU,

Salute! Jai Bhim! Laal salam! We will win this war against sedition! March 3rd, International Sex Workers Rights Day, Zindabad!

We write from the sex worker’s rights movement to hail your struggle and to add to the discourse you have sparked. We would like to discuss why using the term sex worker in the alleged pamphlet in JNU on Mahishasura Martydom Day is a concept fraught with the Whore Stigma. The use of the politically correct sex worker instead of the commonly used `prostitute’ does not take away from the fact that it is used to depict an insalubrious deed. The use of this term has only led to more misunderstandings of the term itself.

Sex worker is the term used by the sex worker’s rights movement in order to claim dignity to the work adults do consensually by providing sexual services for money. The sex workers use this term to give dignity to those that exchange sexual services for money but the use here is to supposedly strip the `goddess’ in this instance, of any dignity. The term since then has taken a life of its own. From a politically correct term it is now being used to describe anti-nationals, anti-goddesses even anti- patriarchy! But the thinly veiled contempt for the sex worker is huge in every utterance, from the Hindu Goddess Durga to the `anti-national’ women students in JNU. Continue reading Sex workers demand Azadi from ‘Goddess’ Durga: Veshya Anyay Mutki Parishad, Muskan and Sangram

Bastar to Delhi – Increasing Threat to the Rule of Law and Freedom of Expression

STATEMENT BY CONCERNED CITIZENS

It seems that an undeclared state of emergency is sought to be imposed upon us: a series of seemingly unconnected events across the country, in universities (most recently in Hyderabad and Delhi), factory premises and court halls, our streets and over large parts of the countryside, bear this out. We would like to draw wider attention, in particular, to recent disturbing developments in Jagdalpur, Bastar, that have been somewhat overshadowed by events in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

In Delhi as in Bastar, the state is using its coercive power to stifle dissent and lock up dissenters by labelling them anti-national or, in the case of Bastar, Maoists. In Chhattisgarh, it has long been standard practice to label anybody with an opinion of development contrary to the mainstream view (of development as corporate welfare and environmental destruction) as a Maoist. This is usually a prelude to police action ranging from harassment and intimidation to arrest, torture, and even death. The adivasi inhabitants of Bastar have not enjoyed the rule of law since 2005, when the Salwa Judum, a vigilante paramilitary group, was formed in the name of combating Maoism. Nor does the law offer much protection to ordinary people elsewhere seeking to exercise their constitutional rights as law enforcement agencies and governments trample upon civil liberties in the name of nationalism.

Continue reading Bastar to Delhi – Increasing Threat to the Rule of Law and Freedom of Expression

Consolidated Solidarity Statements in Support of JNU

JNU Solidarity Poster

Kafila posted a set of solidarity statements recently in support of the students, faculty and autonomy of JNU. We are posting another set, received from the following organisations:

  1. First-Decade JNU Graduates and Other Graduates – 548 signatories.
  2. Faculty, Staff and Students at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
  3. California Students and Faculty. California, U.S.
  4. Current Fellows of the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study, JNU, Delhi.
  5. Colorado College, Colorado, U.S.
  6. Faculty at DePaul University, Chicago, U.S.
  7. Faculty, Students and Staff, Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and University of Rhode Island, Providence, U.S.
  8. McGill and Concordia Universities, Canada.
  9. Canadian Academics from Various Universities.

Please click on Read More below for the statements and signatories:

Continue reading Consolidated Solidarity Statements in Support of JNU

Left, Hindutva and Indian nationalism: Pritam Singh

Guest Post by PRITAM SINGH

Triggered by the recent events at JNU, it is inspiring that the Left and genuine liberal voices in India are standing up to the Hindutva fascist onslaught. However, I find it very disappointing that the current Left leadership and some left intellectuals and sympathisers (especially belonging to the CPI and CPM) are succumbing to the pressure of chauvinist Indian nationalism. One would be shirking one’s responsibility if one were not to criticise that misguided and seemingly scared Left for its pitiable practice of for ever chanting mantra of ‘unity and integrity of the country’ in a self-defeating game of competitive Indian nationalism. The Left is beating its breast and going to the town chanting that we are ‘desh bhagats’ in a foolish retaliation against Sanghi’s charges of left being desh dirohi. Tomorrow, the Sanghis will say that you are ‘Ram dirohi’ when you oppose the building of the Ram Mandir. Would you then start saying: we are Ram Bhatkas? Let us not succumb to Sanghi’s brow beating tactics. Let us openly proclaim that India is not one nation but a historically determined territorial space of many nations, nationalities and emerging/potential nations and nationalities. As capitalism expands in India and the regional diversity of India flowers further, new voices of national self-determination would start becoming more articulated.

Continue reading Left, Hindutva and Indian nationalism: Pritam Singh

Does the Indian Constitution Speak for a Nation? Arvind Elangovan

Guest post by ARVIND ELANGOVAN

Like many others, I too have been anguished about the recent developments in JNU. Not only because the institution is my alma mater, but also because there has been a concerted effort now to frame the discourse in terms of nationalism and anti-nationalism. Sadly, in responding to the charge of anti-nationalism, defenders of free speech and other associated values of the integrity of the university are also participating in this discourse and arguing why dissent is not anti-national. While I agree with this latter point of view, I would like to join those voices that argue that the question of nationalism is irrelevant to the functioning of the state. The unity and integrity of India, understood in its territorial sense, is not strengthened by ideas of nationalism nor is it weakened by expressions of antinationalism.

In the context of the current debate about nations, nationalism, and anti-nationalism, an oft-evoked ally is the Indian constitution. Commentators across the board have praised the Indian constitution for either embodying an ‘idea of India,’ one that is noble and worthy, or praised the institutions that are sanctioned by the constitution, such as the Honorable High Courts and the Supreme Court. Strangely, across the ideological divides, it has become a commonplace perception that the nation as embodied in the Indian constitution has been violated, or at the very least not respected. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, it is believed that the Indian constitution expressly provides provisions to persecute individuals or groups for espousing ‘anti-national’ views. The belief among the latter group is that the constitution protects the idea of the nation, however it may be defined. This remarkable unity in such a divisive moment in Indian politics today is both a reason for pause and an invitation to at least cursorily reexamine the text and the history of this important document called the Indian constitution. Continue reading Does the Indian Constitution Speak for a Nation? Arvind Elangovan

Searching for Raja Debi – A Santhal poet tells the tale of Mahishasura

mahishasur-759

Mahishasur being worshipped in Purulia, Bengal 

In Parliament the other day, Minister for Education Smriti Irani emotionally prefaced her reluctant reading of an alleged JNU poster with “May my God forgive me for even reading this out”. I am mildly envious that she has a personalized god to take care of her doubtless more weighty requirements than an ordinary citizen (an anti-national at that) can claim.

Be that as it may, what she read out purported to be from a poster about an event in JNU organized by “SC, ST and minority students”, an event that celebrated Mahishasura:

“Durga Puja is the most controversial racial festival, where a fair-skinned beautiful goddess Durga is depicted brutally killing a dark-skinned native called Mahishasur. Mahishasur, a brave self-respecting leader, tricked into marriage by Aryans. They hired a sex worker called Durga, who enticed Mahishasur into marriage and killed him after nine nights of honeymooning during sleep,”

Now, she does not show us that poster. Does it really use the term “sex worker”? I have seen posters for Mahishasura Diwas on JNU campus and never noticed this phrase. However, if it has indeed been used, we could have a discussion around the gender politics of that term and of that poster. Moreover, reading (in translation) the tale of Mahishasura from Santhal poet Bajar Hembrom will also give us a sense of how and why that phrase could have been used, if it was.

Actually, the only place I have seen the words “sex worker” in conjunction with “Goddess Durga” was in an ABVP poster that accused All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) of describing Goddess Durga as “a sex worker, seducer and prostitute” in their account of Mahishasura Diwas. Just as I have heard the slogan Pakistan Zindabad only in the mouths of Hindutvaadis who accuse us of chanting it.

Continue reading Searching for Raja Debi – A Santhal poet tells the tale of Mahishasura

A Close Look at Certain Words Allegedly Shouted Recently in JNU and Their Impact on Our National Intelligence: Soumyabrata Choudhury

This is a guest post by Soumyabrata Choudhury

Polonius: “What is it you read, my lord?”

Hamlet in New Delhi, 2016: “India, Pakistan, security, sovereignty, nation, anti-national…words, words, words”

According to Sigmund Freud, when we dream, and when we suffer psychotic delusions, we treat words as pictures and things. A word’s meaning, in these conditions, becomes the shape of the word and its appearance is the same as feeling its physical impact, its blow. We cannot grasp anymore that a word refers to an object or idea outside in the world or that it can be used as a metaphor or an indirect analogy and image. We cannot even receive the rhetorical communication of words intended to persuade, exhort, transgress or insult. In each of these communications intended by an addresser we already feel physically, viscerally and as a consequence, mentally under the assault of the words of the addresser as if they are blows.

So in response we don’t persuade, exhort, transgress or insult back but instead, we curse (the upper limit of lucid  discourse in this state), punch, grab the addresser  by the throat, pull a knife or gun if we have any of these articles in our possession – or we cringe, weep, hold our heads in our hands and rock to and fro. Now it is very unlikely that in a real psychotic condition, we are able to invoke a particular law or clause of law in our favor, complain to the police and come up with a fluent image of language as justification for our actions. “We had no choice but to do what we did because the other(s) insulted our Mother India”. In a real psychotic condition, it is more likely we will be the ones to be taken away. Continue reading A Close Look at Certain Words Allegedly Shouted Recently in JNU and Their Impact on Our National Intelligence: Soumyabrata Choudhury

Does the Nation Really Even Want to Know? Shweta Radhakrishnan

This is a guest post by SHWETA RADHAKRISHNAN

I noticed yesterday, a tweet from Anupam Kher where he compared state action over the events of the last few weeks, as a kind of “pest control” – required, of course to keep the house clean. His exact tweet is – “Gharon mein pest control hota hai to cockroach, keede makode ityadi bahar nikalte hain. ghar saaf hota hai. waise hi aajkal desh ka pest control chal raha hai.”

The similarity of this thought to Hitler’s on ethnic cleansing hasn’t gone unnoticed (look at Rajdeep Sardesai’s tweet and this article – http://www.jantakareporter.com/india/anupam-kher-hitler-modi/38514) and I’m sure much more will be written about it in the days to come. Anupam Kher’s inability to develop a logical argument or even notice the illogicality of his own actions has never ceased to surprise me, but the casualness with which he endorses state violence is interesting. But mere tweeting is not sedition. Do I find this tweet distasteful, offensive and also legitimizing state and mob violence? Yes, I do. Am I worried by the sentiment expressed in this tweet? Yes, I am. Am I additionally worried because this is not a man, sitting in an obscure corner somewhere, just airing his views, but a well known personality whose words seem to garner some weird kind of legitimacy because of his status as a Hindi film actor? Yes, I am. Do I think he should be arrested? No. Continue reading Does the Nation Really Even Want to Know? Shweta Radhakrishnan

In the Name of the ‘Nation’: Vidya K. Subramanian and C. J. Kuncheria

This is a guest post by VIDYA K S and C J KUNCHERIA

“Don’t you dare speak over me when I am speaking of Lance Naik Hanumanthapa! We’re proud of him and we’re ashamed of you!,” screamed Arnab Goswami at Umar Khalid, the JNU student at the centre of unfolding events at the university. Hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed nationalists cheered at that instant, and many more did as the clip went viral over social media. The death of the soldier, one of the 869 who have been killed in the last four years by the punishing weather on Siachen, had been conveniently used to invoke a cathartic nationalism. Continue reading In the Name of the ‘Nation’: Vidya K. Subramanian and C. J. Kuncheria

Statement of Solidarity with JNU: University of Exeter (UK)

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India in their ongoing struggle against the anti-democratic incursions of the Indian state. We appeal to the elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to uphold the Indian constitution, cease the repression of democratic protest across university campuses in India, and withdraw the spurious charges of ‘sedition’ against JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with JNU: University of Exeter (UK)

Statement of Solidarity with the JNU Community, from the Students and Faculty at Princeton University

 

We, the undersigned, condemn the undemocratic and unconstitutional actions of the BJP-ABVP-Delhi Police on the JNU campus. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with the JNU Community, from the Students and Faculty at Princeton University

Statement in Support of Students and Faculty at JNU From Faculty and Affiliates of the American Uniersity of Beirut, Lebanon

February 23, 2016

We, the undersigned faculty, students, staff, and affiliates of the American University of Beirut are highly concerned over the recent repression of free speech and undue police and legal interventions at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Continue reading Statement in Support of Students and Faculty at JNU From Faculty and Affiliates of the American Uniersity of Beirut, Lebanon

Statement on Behalf of Facultyand Students of O.P Jindal Global University in Solidarity With JNU

 

We, the undersigned Faculty and Students from the O.P Jindal Global University (JGU) in our individual capacity, condemn the police crackdown in Jawaharlal Nehru University- Delhi(JNU) and the apathy towards JNU demonstrated by State actors through their coercive actions. Continue reading Statement on Behalf of Facultyand Students of O.P Jindal Global University in Solidarity With JNU

Solidarity Statement from The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague

We, the undersigned students, staff and faculty members at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague, support the right of students and teachers everywhere to a learning environment that is critical, engaging and respectful. In light of recent events and the slander campaign against the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), we are disheartened and embarrassed that this is not the vision of the current Government of India, that they would rather create spaces of fear and control, by labelling all those that criticise their policies as anti-national and unpatriotic. Continue reading Solidarity Statement from The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Hague

Statement of Solidarity FromFaculty and Graduate Students at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa Against Police Ation on JNU Campus

 

To: Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar

Vice Chancellor

Jawaharlal Nehru University

New Delhi-110 067, India

Continue reading Statement of Solidarity FromFaculty and Graduate Students at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa Against Police Ation on JNU Campus

Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

 We, students, professors, and practitioners of Communication and Media, condemn the recent attacks by the Indian state on students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. Given the spurious nature of the claims mostly circulated through traditional and social media, we demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and JNU students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan, as well as an engaged effort to return peace and a climate of open debate to the university. We are troubled by the climate of authoritarianism being actively promoted by the Indian government in educational institutions and the concerted effort by the government to silence critical conversations. We are also disturbed by the attack on journalists by lawyers and goons close to the structures of power. Continue reading Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University

The New School in Solidarity with JNU

 

We, the undersigned, students, faculty, alumni, and staff at the New School University, New York, stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in their protests against the militarization of the campus and suppression of dissent by anti-democratic and divisive Hindu nationalist groups allied with the Modi government. Continue reading The New School in Solidarity with JNU

Bangalore Research Network’s Letter of Solidarity with JNU

 

We, the undersigned members of the Bangalore Research Network and a consortium of academics and researchers from Bangalore, declare our solidarity with the students and faculty of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi protesting the illegal police arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition. We unequivocally stand by them in affirming that universities are autonomous spaces for the free expression of a plurality of beliefs and cannot become military spaces of thought control that go against the very grain of a democratic society.  With them, we condemn the blatantly authoritarian attempt by the police and the central government to witch hunt students on the basis of their political beliefs. We also condemn the unethical media trial of JNU students such as Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid. Continue reading Bangalore Research Network’s Letter of Solidarity with JNU

The Limits of Efficient Suasion : Rina Ramdev

This is a guest post by RINA RAMDEV

The Prime Minister’s monogrammed suit and the HRD Minister’s fake degree in the early days of the BJP’s 2014 electoral win were embarrassments dotting the uneasy calm that prevailed over the new digital, development avatar of the nation; even as a sense of the slouching beast waiting to break through the controlled, contained quietism was always there in deferred menace. And thus, when majoritarian sentiment fuelled the ‘Ghar waapsi’ campaign and the ban on cow slaughter found a mainstreaming in minority witch hunting, there was an eerie expectedness to these turns. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s minatory address, carrying the subtext of a communal cleansing in sinister remand, visibilized itself in the horrific lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri. Mostly civil voices of protest raged against this as well as against the organised killings of questioning rationalists like Pansare and Kalburgi. Sections of the thinking polity mobilised signature campaigns, petitions and an entire event like the‘Award waapsi’ drew attention to this vitiated political climate. Continue reading The Limits of Efficient Suasion : Rina Ramdev

Solidarity Statement of Students from Northeast India, TISS, Mumbai 20th February 2016

 

 

We, the undersigned, students and research students from various states of northeastern region of India studying in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai would like to highlight on the unprecedented shrinkage of academic spaces across various universities in India. We condemn the politically motivated interferences of the state in Jawaharlal Nehru University and in Hyderabad Central University (HCU), and other universities. We also condemn the mob justice perpetrated by lawyers against students, journalist, activists etc in the Patiala House Courts, New Delhi, and media trial led by prominent journalists from New Delhi. Continue reading Solidarity Statement of Students from Northeast India, TISS, Mumbai 20th February 2016

An Appeal to the Academic Community of Delhi for February 23 Rohith Vemula March, “Chalo Dilli” by University of Hyderabad Alumni

Dear friends,
We, the alumni of the University of Hyderabad, are writing to the fellow teachers, researchers and students of Delhi to request all to participate in the Chalo Dilli March, “Delhi for Rohith Vemula”, organised for the ideals of social justice and constitutional rights on 23 February 2016 from Ambedkar Bhawan to Jantar Mantar.

Continue reading An Appeal to the Academic Community of Delhi for February 23 Rohith Vemula March, “Chalo Dilli” by University of Hyderabad Alumni