Academia aur ye Article, Paani Mai Gaya, Chapak!

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In between writing about politics or my own personal journey at DU, I ended up with a chaotic rant for the final piece at DU Beat (DUB) to reach my last deadline. Please bear with me one last time.

I remember my first day at KMC, arriving an hour late for a two-hour calculus lecture, followed by a brief chat with my new classmates and the news of a ceiling falling on a professor. Days passed, ceilings kept falling, and I eventually found my folks, and college found a contractor, and college became fun and safe. From working in societies, interning, and holding positions of responsibility to parties and trips, and, eventually, adopting a pet with my friends, I had my dream college life. DUB was certainly the highlight of my college time.

I will never be less grateful for this place. It offered a space for my thoughts, a thought for my thoughts, obviously memories, and friends. It gave me a new identity, where people knew me by my work and not my work because of me.

While the breeze of nostalgia kept on hitting me as I was figuring out this piece, I took my phone and flicked through my DUB highlights. Gender and queer rights, saffronization, casteism, new and old laws—my writing covered a lot of angles and dimensions, but what I noticed about my own writing today is my inclination to write about college or academic spaces that are crumbling while we take shade under them for our futures.

Three years down the line, I have no hesitation in stating that DU has undergone significant changes. I am leaving this place with a heavy heart and hope not to return. DU is no longer the space it used to be. It was never ideal or close to being perfect; problems persisted even then. But today it has a completely different goal: eliminating its foundations as a public central university. Whether it’s academics, diversity, policies, or how societies function, everything is falling under the grip of constant surveillance.

It is not just DU; educational spaces and education as a whole in India are fast altering to meet the political requirements of those in power. It is being used to steer young minds in a certain political and ideological direction. From book revisions to the implementation of new education policies, everything is being modified not to improve educational quality but to strengthen ideological grip. History is being rewritten to safeguard the future of present politics.

While some of you may find all of this too much, or you may believe I am exaggerating, however, this idea in itself is proof. Your professors suddenly disappearing from college, the grip of college administration on societies, societies like North East cells struggling to stand due to a lack of students, crackdowns on academicians, fee hikes, the dominance of specific student groups that makes you think twice before organizing an event, and many other examples demonstrate that educational spaces are under scrutiny, and a lack of conversation and understanding is the reason for the silence surrounding these issues.

I would have included quotations or data, but I wanted this piece to be a record of my personal experiences (or rants?). As someone who wants to be a professor and continue in academia, the concept and aspiration are no longer the same. My constant detachment from my own subject and the state of educational spaces are constantly asking me to build a new dream. While I navigate my way through all this, planning to pick up my subjects again during my masters, and trying to reshape my dream instead of eradicating it, I hope that more people will start talking about it.

In lieu of breaking the custom of not including a picture in my print piece (as I always go over the word limit), I’m going to end my rant here to avoid succumbing to my academic crisis. I’m not sure whether this piece makes sense in the farewell issue, but I wanted to talk about academia in my last piece at DUB as a copyeditor.

Ending my post with the hope that DUB would continue to be bold and talk about politics freely. All my love.

Read Also: Farewell: Mourning our Lost Memories and Experiences

Featured Image Credits: Dhruv Bhati for DU Beat

Dhruv Bhati

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Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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