The administration has put out a notice asking students to refrain from sending articles on political themes.
In a recent move by the Ramjas College administration, articles with political themes will not be accepted for the college magazine Anand Parvat but rather, students are encouraged to submit ‘generalised’ writings instead. A further notice was sent clarifying that students may send the article on any topic but, which stated that, “students should however take precautions that the Election Commission of India has issued certain guideline to give views on social media in light of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections”.
The move apparently comes after the February 2017 clashes in Ramjas which erupted after Umar Khalid was called for a seminar organised by the literary society and the department of English. Repeated censorship and systemic silencing in Ramjas has been condemned by the students.
“I don’t understand how can academic space be divorced from the political and read in isolation, that too in a college like Ramjas, whose walls smell of resistance and dissent. I find it very immature and undemocratic on the part of the administration to issue such an arbitrary notice.” said Yash Chaudhary, a third year statistics student.
Dr. Vinita Chandra, an associate professor at the Department of English who was previously a faculty advisor to the student editorial board remarked that this was the first time in Ramjas’ history where the magazine was brought under the staff council, “the money for the college student magazine comes from the students…College magazines, like school magazines, are meant to provide students a platform to express their creativity and their ideas about college life and the world they live in. It is not meant to be an academic journal. An administration that thinks it needs to censor its students and is afraid of allowing them to speak is truly out of touch with young people and needs to look into the reasons for its mindset.” she added.
The drastic move has also brought about resistance from the students. The Students Federation of India (SFI) plans on organising a protest on the 18th of April, 2019 in the college premises against the administration. Resistance follows Ramjas in uproar on social media and posters in college as the administration remains mum on the move.
“Well, the kind of censorship being seen in a space like Ramjas only further reiterates that there isn’t a better time to serve your country by writing politically, and keep fascism at bay” said another student, who would like to remain anonymous.
According to a Hindustan Times report, magazine convenor G. Chilana said that he had received complaints from various departments about the notice. “We are not sidelining any department or subject. We just want students to write more on academic issues rather than about any political event or ideology which has no relevance for the magazine. They should understand this,” Chilana said.
Image Credits: DU Beat archives