A public meeting, “Campuses on a Boil: State Repression and Coming Together of Struggles” was held on 7th April near Arts Faculty, Delhi University. The public meeting was a part of the Save DU campaign and was organised in collaboration with various Left students’ and teachers’ organisations. The speakers who presided over the session included Shehla Rashid, Vice President JNUSU; Arindam Banarjee from Ambedkar University; Hany Babu and Prof. Apoorvanand from Delhi University; R. Gopinath from Jamia Millia, Rohit Azad and Surajit Mazumdar from JNU and Ravi Kumar from South Asian University . Nandita Narain, President of DUTA and FEDCUTA was also one of the speakers.
The meeting highlighted increasing authoritarianism and state repression which is being felt across campuses. It provided a holistic overview of the issue by virtue of the speakers being from various universities and academic backgrounds. Prof. Surajit Mazumdar called the development model of India ‘inherently in-egalitarian’. He pointed out the deliberate attempt of the Government to delink higher education from an egalitarian social transformation. Prof. Rohit Azad from JNU explained how the government is trying to divide people of India in order to keep them from realizing the presence of huge economic inequalities, similar to the 99% highlighted by Occupy Wall Street protest, NY. He also urged the Left to be more inclusive.
Prof. R.Gopinath from Jamia Millia raised concerns about the unavailability of space for student activism in the university. He also talked about how Muslim students face tremendous problems in protesting and participating in the current debates about nationalism. He condemned the stigma attached to muslims which inevitably and unjustly accords them the tag of being ‘anti national’.
Ravi Kumar from South Asian University also talked about the anti-people policies of the Government and the need to deconstruct and challenge the concept of ‘might of the state’. Prof. Hany Babu from Delhi University highlighted the systematic denial of opportunities in terms of employability and promotions to SCs and STs especially in Delhi University. He called the ‘campus boiling’ phenomena, an indicator of the fact that the students and teachers are doing the needful to keep the system of debate, dissent and struggle alive. Other speakers also spoke on the same lines and reiterated time and again the essential need to form alliances against Government’s propaganda of communalisation and saffronisation.
The public meeting was then addressed by Shehla Rashid. She also urged everyone to fight a common struggle against the policies of the government to divide people on the grounds of caste and religion. Speaking about the issue which has erupted in NIT Srinagar, she spoke against the stigma attached to the ‘k’ word. She also spoke against the fact that soldiers are not allowed to make their unions. Shehla also talked about the deifying of women in the ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ discourse while strategically denying women their rights. She questioned if the concept of Bharat Mata includes women like Soni Suri and Irom Sharmila.
Nandita Narain concluded the meeting with her views about various issues such as those about the introduction of FYUP and CBCS . She also requested the students of Delhi University to realise that they are the ones who have to take up the cause of the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed.
The meeting closed with slongans of ‘Jai Bheem, Lal Salam’. A social Justice March is also scheduled to happen on 13th of April.
Featured image credits: Save DU Press Release/Abha Dev Habib