Tag Archives: student politics

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 !

जी हाँ, हम राजनीति करते हैं : अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

Guest Post by Anant Prakash Narayan

जे.एन.यू. में 9 फरवरी को एक घटना घटी. घटना क्या थी अब उसके बारे में बहुत सी चीजे स्पष्ट हो चुकी है. सरकार का दमन चला जिसके परिणामस्वरुप एक आन्दोलन चला. कहा ये जा रहा है कि आन्दोलन के कारण सरकार बैकफुट पर है. ये आन्दोलन अभी भी चल रहा है. जब ये मुद्दा पुरे देश में गरमाया जा रहा था  उस समय बहुत सारी चीजे डिबेट का हिस्सा बनी जैसे राष्ट्रवाद क्या है? अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता (Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression) को कैसे देखा जाये? आज़ादी की सीमा क्या होगी? क्या टैक्स से पढने वाले स्टूडेंट्स को “इतना बोलना” शोभा देता है? क्या जब सीमा पर जवान मर रहे है तो “ये काम” किया जा सकता है? ये सारे मुद्दे बहुत ही जोर–शोर से सरकार के पक्ष से या फिर इसके उलट लोकतंत्र के पक्ष में बात रखने वालों की तरफ से भी की जा रही थी. लेकिन इसी बीच में एक खतरनाक अवधारणा सरकार के तरफ से बात रखने वाले और जाने अनजाने लोकतंत्र की तरफ से भी बात रखने वाले टी.वी. चैनलो, अखबारों, इंटेलेक्चुअल, राजनीतिज्ञों की तरफ से रखी जा रही थी. वो अवधारणा थी कि राजनीति बहुत बुरी चीज है और छात्र राजनीति तो बदतर. यहाँ तक कि हमारी पैरोकारी करने वाला पक्ष भी यह बार-बार साबित करने का प्रयास कर रहा था कि ये सामान्य से पढने लिखने वाले छात्र है इनका राजनीति से कोई मतलब नही है. ये लोग तो बस कभी कभी कुछ यू हीं करते रहते हैं. क्या अगर हमारे बारे में यह टैग लग जाता कि हम राजनीति करने वाले लोग है तो हमारे पक्ष से बात रखना इतना मुश्किल हो जाता. जबकि यह सर्वविदित है कि जिन कुछ छात्रो के नाम राजद्रोह के तहत लिए जा रहे है वे वामपंथ की सक्रिय राजनीति का हिस्सा है. आने वाले समय में हम आन्दोलन को किस हद तक जीतते है और आगे ले जा करके इसको इस फासिस्ट सरकार के लिए कितना खतरनाक बना पाते है ये अभी तय होना बाकी है लेकिन “मुख्याधारा” की राजनीति करने वाली पार्टियाँ, जिसको प्रोग्रेसिव छात्र-आन्दोलन ने हमेशा उनके जन –विरोधी रवैये के कारण चैलेंज दिया है, एक बार इस मौके को राजनीति, खासतौर से अगर छात्र करे तो, बहुत ही गलत चीज है इसको स्थापित करने में लगी हैं. छात्रों का काम काज सिर्फ पढना-लिखना है और इसके इतर वो अगर कोई और काम करते है तो वो अपनी “सीमा” लांघते है. बड़ी-बड़ी मल्टीनेशनल कंपनियों में छोटे-छोटे उम्र के कमाने वाले लोगों के साथ तुलना करके ये समझाने की कोशिश की गई कि आप जितनी कम उम्र में जितना ज्यादा कमा लेते है आप उतने ही सफल स्टूडेंट है. हम अभी लगभग बीस दिन के एक कैंपेन में थे. इस कैंपेन के तहत देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों खास तौर से उत्तर भारत के गाँवो और छोटे-छोटे कस्बो और कुछ शहरो में मेरा जाना हुआ. जिसमे जे. एन. यू. पर बात होती, भगत सिंह और डॉ. अम्बेडकर के विज़न पर बात होती. जब इन विषयों पर बात होती तो नैचुरली मोदी सरकार के ऊपर बात होती. उन कार्यक्रमों में कुछ ऐसे लोग भी मिलते जिनका कहना होता कि आप लोगों के साथ जो हुआ गलत हुआ लेकिन इस मैटर को लेकर अब आप लोग राजनीति कर रहे है. मोदी के खिलाफ आप लोग जो इतना बोल रहे है उससे अब आप लोग एक्सपोज हो गये है कि आप लोग राजनीति कर रहे है. क्या सच में राजनीति इतनी बुरी चीज है कि उससे स्टूडेंट्स को दूर रहना चाहिए? Continue reading जी हाँ, हम राजनीति करते हैं : अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

Insurgent Ambedkar and a New Moment in Politics

Both the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) events were “ultra-Left movements” also involving a small section of “jihadis”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contended on Sunday.

In the case of JNU, the predominant section of those involved in the agitation was “ultra-Left” barring a small section of “jihadis”, who had their faces masked during a demonstration on the campus on February 9 in which anti-national slogans were raised, Mr. Jaitley said.

The name of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was “unfairly used” in the case of HCU, where protests erupted after the suicide by research scholar Rohith Vemula, he told PTI. (emphasis added. See full report in The Hindu here)


Ambedkar at the barricades, Express photo, courtesy Tashi Tobgyal
Ambedkar at the barricades, Express photo, courtesy Tashi Tobgyal

Ambedkar has become an insurgent figure today, breaking out of all the pre-set molds in which he was sought to be confined all these decades. He is no longer neither a mere Dalit leader, nor is he simply the Constitution-maker and constitutionalist who taught us to have faith in the law – the two comfortable and domesticated roles in which he has been presented to us so far by all interested parties and the powers-that-be. In the face of the new Sanghist/ fascist assault, he has broken his chains to come out on the streets, as universities and colleges across the country begin to reverberate with his spirit of rebellion. Ambedkar, the name and the face, is ubiquitous by his presence in all the struggles that mark this moment. Even as the struggle of the HCU students for justice for Rohith Vemula continues and the news of the first victory – their release on bail – trickles in, the figure of Ambedkar at the barricades gives the lie to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim above: that HCU and JNU movements were ‘ultra-Left movements’ and ‘jihadis’, and that “the name of Dr Ambedkar was ‘unfairly used’ in the case of HCU. How easy it would be, Mr Jaitley, to thus pronounce the dog mad and go about your business, and how embarrassing to have to confront Ambedkar facing your police and lathis, your courts and prisons. Continue reading Insurgent Ambedkar and a New Moment in Politics

Chanting Sacred Election-Ritual Mantras by Regulating Free Speech: ‘A Status Update’ from EFLU, Hyderabad:Kt Hafis

This is a guest post by KT HAFIS

What follows is a ‘status update’ from EFL University, Hyderabad, with special reference to the recent regulation of free speech on social networking sites in the university. It follows the polemical structure of a facebook status update as it tries to bring in a new dimension to the nature and scope of the idea of public and public sphere. At the very outset, let me make this point very clear. We are not fighting for some anarchic and absolutist idea of free speech. We know very well that freedom of expression also means a lot of responsible thinking.

First, some detail about the facts of the matter before we reflect on the philosophical and theoretical problems that they posit in the face of the ‘here and now’ of student politics in Indian universities in general and EFLU in particular.Two students, Kt Hafis (the author) and Thahir Jamal were handed show-cause notices, issued by the Proctor’s office signed by Deputy Proctor Sujata Mukhri, for having expressed our opinion on Facebook regarding the anti-reservation remarks made by Mr. Tariq Sheik, a member of the administration and Deputy Dean of Student welfare, at a students’ general body meeting organized by the Dean of Students welfare to select the electoral committee for the upcoming students’ union election at EFL university. In that meeting,  students sensitive towards the problems of representation raised genuine concerns about the absence of reservation in the central panel (President, Vice-President, General Secretary, Joint Secretary, Cultural Secretary, Sports Secretary) and against the denial of the posts of SC/ST, OBC, women, disabled and foreign representatives in the new constitution of the Students’ Union. These had been approved by the Vice Chancellor of EFLU and in response to a students’ struggle conducted the last year. Continue reading Chanting Sacred Election-Ritual Mantras by Regulating Free Speech: ‘A Status Update’ from EFLU, Hyderabad:Kt Hafis