As third years, are we saying goodbye to our years as undergraduate students in Delhi University or are we saying goodbye to the University as we knew it?
Shubham Kaushik (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s that time of the year when another batch of undergraduate students from the University of Delhi are getting ready to bid their colleges goodbye. Farewell gatherings are being prepared for with as much gusto as various entrance exams. While it’s natural for third year students to worry about their future and be nostalgic about their time in the University, it is also important in the current scenario to worry about the university we’re leaving behind.
Recent events suggest that Delhi University is no longer the space it used to be a few years ago. Whether this change was in the making for a while or was caused by a few specific events is debatable but it has manifested itself in events occurring around us for the past few months. The subtle nationwide suppression of dissent and revolt against the authoritarian regimes in educational spaces reached the University in its most recognisable form with what transpired in Ramjas College a month ago. The University, which was known for the freedom it gave to students to explore their beliefs and critically analyse the dominant rhetoric, turned into a violent space where students and teachers were targeted and assaulted for doing what shouldn’t just be acceptable but also encouraged in a university space – standing up for freedom, demanding their right to dissent and challenging what years of social conditioning made them believe. When safe spaces meant for exploration and exchanges of ideas are ravaged by forces that aim to homogenise them, it doesn’t bode well for the society at large. This world wasn’t meant for the establishment of one system followed by the majority population with the others coerced to follow suit, and past attempts to do so have always resulted in bloodshed and eventual revolutions that did what had to be done anyway – put the system in motion again and allowed conflicting stances to clash and coexist.
As we’re getting ready to say goodbye to our days as undergraduate students in Delhi University, we must make sure we aren’t also saying goodbye to the university space as we knew it. Spare a thought for seminars being disrupted even as other seminars ‘nationalising’ teaching are organised. Spare a thought for the thousands of students who still look towards DU to mould their future and their beliefs, and who will then go on to mould our society. Spare a thought for the future of Delhi University.
Image Credits: The Wire