Homosociality involves non-romantic, non-sexual connections between individuals of the same sex, such as friendships, often used to understand male dominance. It affects beliefs, actions, and cultural standards, shaping ideas of masculinity and continuing patterns of misogyny, urging a more profound societal investigation.

Homosociality involves same-sex relationships that are not romantic or sexual in nature, such as friendship, mentoring, and others. The concept is primarily used by researchers to explain how men maintain their dominance in society. In addition to distinguishing it from homosexuality, the term is used to allude to a type of male bonding that is frequently accompanied by fear or hatred of homosexuality. Feminists frequently use this term to highlight aspects of male solidarity.

The concept can be set quite easily and can be analysed in our day-to-day lives, where the comfort of a social companion is implicitly developed through the impacts that our society leaves. These male homosocial groups take care of the desired homosocial interactions and impact the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of the men associated with the community. The groups that they form develop a wider understanding of the mass opinions on the issues that are considered appropriate or inappropriate, desirable or undesirable, for conversations among men, and what interests them is ambiguous within the group itself. Apart from talking about feelings and gossip about personal lives, these relationships are also places for them to discuss topics like sports, women, business, politics, and drinking.

The factors like gestures, facial expressions, and physical location of each group member also vary to a wider extent, and that results in indulgence with the subject matters that include the objectification of women, the emotional detachment they feel, and the competition and hierarchy among the group members themselves.

Since a young age, boys have shown interest in associating with children of the same age. This childhood play paves the platform over which they define masculinity for themselves. The sexual segregation that starts widening post-9 to severe levels in some developing and underdeveloped parts of the world turns into hegemonic social standards of rigidity that are imposed upon them.

The cultural impact, for example, where they are expected to not develop emotional relationships with anyone and the basics of the driving hegemonic masculinity never sustains the emotional interdependence and sympathetic outlook but upon the pressurised concretization of masculine standards. The norms practiced in these settings are nevertheless unrecognised but are the root of the practicing institutions that govern the world.

This passage is written with a motif to bring this existing field of matters to light, along with a motif to bring these studies to light to understand society and behaviours as social beings with a new lens infused with modern standards of reason.

If we need to tackle misogyny, then a better understanding could only be developed in the spaces where unrecognised grooming takes place, which needs to be cleaned out to its root so that even in personal conversations, the standards are not defined over the sacrificed self of the fairer sex.

Read Also: Sex Amma on Emotional (Un)availability

Featured Image Credits: Adam Smith Institute

Divya Malhotra 

[email protected]

“People are not used to generative technology. It’s not like it evolved gradually; it was like ‘boom’, and all of a sudden it’s here. So you don’t have the level of skepticism that you would need.” – Cynthia Rudin, AI computer scientist. 

With the use of Generative-AI, the world of true lies has just gotten murkier. India finds itself at the crossroads of a technological dilemma, with the resurgence of concerns surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) regulation. Triggered by a police complaint filed by Indian actress Rashmika Mandanna, over a viral deepfake video and with multiple actors getting tangled in the AI trickery, India’s problems with the escalating and targeted threats posed by the deepfake technology have resurfaced. 

What are deep fakes?

Deepfakes, the deceptive offspring of AI, have evolved unimaginably beyond the mere novelties of the digital age. They are digitally manipulated videos that alter someone’s appearance, blurring the lines between reality and fiction, often with harmful intent. It is a mere tool for deception. Unlike Photoshop, deepfakes leverage machine learning to create manipulative content. These sophisticated manipulations, capable of creating convincing videos and images, raise pressing questions about privacy, consent, and the ominous risk of misuse. You might claim ignorance, but the chances are slimmer than a pixel when it comes to avoiding these digital shape-shifters.

The dual face of deepfakes 

India ranks sixth in vulnerability to deepfakes, as per this year’s State of Deepfakes report (Source: India Today). Yet, despite the looming threats, deepfakes have etched their place in the creative realm, contributing to heartwarming moments like Shah Rukh Khan’s personalized Cadbury’s ad campaign and the completion of Fast and Furious 7 after the untimely demise of legendary actor Paul Walker. Museums and galleries embrace deepfakes to resurrect historical figures, and the technology even serves noble purposes such as anonymizing journalists in oppressive regimes. However, the precarious balance between positive and malicious applications remains ambiguous, stirring profound legal, ethical, and social concerns, notably in the absence of widespread regulations. A case in point is the October 2023, incident where a deepfake video of Elon Musk propagated false cryptocurrency claims, leading to financial losses for many. Furthermore, the escalating use of deepfakes in online gendered violence, particularly in the form of revenge pornography, is a growing worry. Ultimately, despite its occasional positive contributions, the technology tilts the scale towards harm, eroding our fundamental grasp of reality. 

A threat to India’s democratic election process

Owing to generative technology, election campaigning has moved beyond just extravagant posters to include AI-generated fake videos. With the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India in 2024- anticipated to be the largest yet- the potential impact of deceptive deepfakes on the democratic process and their ability to sway voter sentiments cannot be ignored. Political parties could be both creators and victims of the spreading misinformation. A humorous deepfake about a public figure could swiftly transform from a joke to a harmful manipulation. For instance, a set of AI images went viral on Twitter depicting former president Donald Trump being arrested before his indictment, gathering nearly 5 million views within a couple days. India encountered its inaugural challenge of AI intervention in the 2020 Delhi Assembly polls, when users discovered videos featuring then-state BJP chief, Manoj Tiwari, criticizing CM Arvind Kejriwal’s policies in various languages. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed that these videos were AI-generated. The absence of deepfake concerns during India’s 2019 general elections has transformed due to the surge in smartphone users exceeding 650 million and the growing accessibility of affordable high-speed internet in 2023. This scenario heightens the perils of misinformation, posing a serious threat to India’s young electoral base. So it won’t be incorrect to say that such content can now easily influence the elections by manipulating public opinion and eroding trust in political figures – one WhatsApp forward at a time. 

In a report by Outlook India, S.Y. Quraishi, the former Chief Election Commissioner of India, addressed a significant challenge confronting the Election Commission of India (ECI). He underscored the swift propagation of misinformation facilitated by deepfakes and advised the country’s election watchdog to maintain autonomy separate from the endeavors of the Information Technology (IT) ministry.

Some of the deepfakes can come from the ruling parties as well. So, although an alliance between the ECI and the IT Ministry sounds good on paper, there’s always a possibility of collusion, or people in power keeping their eyes closed. So, it’s the ECI’s credibility at stake.

– S.Y. Quraishi, former CEC India (as quoted by Outlook India)

AI: a double-edged sword?

The paradox of AI being crucial in addressing deepfake challenges becomes evident as AI-powered detection systems are currently under development. After all, in a world where your own eyes are on the verge of a trust crisis, who better to put your faith in than a machine? Because nothing says reliability like circuits and algorithms, right? The central problem lies in the fact that deepfakes are convincing enough to fool humans. As technology relentlessly reveals our daily inefficiencies, researchers worldwide are on a quest to create AI tools that can outsmart the AI responsible for cooking up these deceptive deepfakes. It’s like fighting fire with artificial fire, but in a tech-savvy way. AI algorithms can detect and flag deep false content by analyzing indicators such as a person’s heartbeat, enabling authorities to promptly intervene. However, given the potential for inaccuracies, particularly in flagging genuine content, it is important to develop robust algorithms capable of discerning between authentic and counterfeit material. The significant challenge, favoring wrongdoers, stems from the insufficient availability of vast datasets essential for training machine-learning models. So while the good guys find themselves craving an abundance of deepfakes for training purposes, the troublemakers only require a perfectly timed video at the right moment. Ironically, the very tools employed to enhance detectors today might just end up schooling the next batch of mischievous deepfakes. So, as much as individual awareness is crucial, the grand finale of this cat-and-mouse spectacle will likely hinge on the big tech players stepping up to the plate. 

India’s actionable plan

From surfacing in 2017 on Reddit to being ranked as the most serious AI crime threats, laws around deepfakes are still not solid. Yet, even though Indian laws do not explicitly mention deepfake technology or directly confront its complexities, the existence of certain legal provisions under The Indian Penal Code, The Information Technology Act, 2000, and The Copyright Act, 1957, addresses its misuse and holds the responsible accountable. Notably, India’s IT rules from 2021 mandate that intermediary platforms remove content produced through deepfake technology within 36 hours of reporting. Some experts argue that while government oversight can mitigate misuse and ethical concerns, excessive regulation may impede technological progress. This underscores the importance of investing in algorithms for deepfake detection, emphasizing proactive measures over reactive approaches.

Hence, a strategic partnership between the Indian government and stakeholders in the tech industry becomes crucial in establishing a robust defense against this emerging threat. Following a meeting with leading social media platforms and AI companies on November 23, Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, announced that the government will devise a “clear, actionable plan” within the next 10 days to counter the proliferation of deepfakes, referring to it as a “new threat to democracy.” The forthcoming strategic plan is anticipated to focus on four key pillars: deepfake and misinformation detection, prevention of their dissemination, reinforcement of reporting mechanisms, and heightened public awareness. Whether brought in through a new law or amendments to existing ones, these regulations are expected to undergo a public consultation, according to Vaishnaw.

The professors who were involved in the meeting clearly made the point that it is no longer a difficult task to detect deepfakes. All platforms agreed that it is possible to do (the detection) within the privacy framework we have all over the world.

– Union IT Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw

Strongly advocating for a proactive stance from social media platforms in tackling deepfake content, Vaishnaw underscored that the ‘Safe Harbour’ provision, previously protecting these platforms, could be reconsidered if they don’t take sufficient measures against deepfakes. During the meeting, social media companies acknowledged the importance of labeling and watermarking for identifying and eliminating harmful deepfake visuals. With the upcoming December meeting, there is optimism for the implementation of more stringent rules to address the growing threat India faces from this deceptive phenomenon.

Read Also: Deocoding Deceptive-Deepfake 

Featured Image Credits: Mint

Manvi Goel

[email protected]

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has introduced stringent rules in its revised CPO manual, prohibiting demonstrations near the academic and administrative complexes. Students flouting these regulations will face penalties ranging from hefty fines to expulsion.

 On 24 November, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Executive Council approved a 15-page Chief Proctor Office (CPO) manual containing the “discipline and proper conduct rules”. The manual stated that JNU students will now be fined Rs. 20,000 if they participate in a hunger strike, dharna or any other form of protest within 100 meters of any academic and administrative complex. Any act to incite intolerance towards a religion, caste or community or the printing, circulation or pasting of posters carrying derogatory religious, communal, casteist or “anti-national remarks” may also attract a penalty of Rs.10,000. This development follows an incident the University witnessed in October, where an “anti-national” slogan was scribbled on the University’s School of Languages building wall and the administration had later announced to set up a committee to investigate the repeated nature of such incidents in campus. Earlier, protests within 100 meters of the administrative blocks, which house the offices of the Vice-Chancellor, the registrar, and proctors among others, were prohibited as per a High Court order.

The manual has listed 28 types of misconduct including blockades, gambling, unauthorized occupation of hostel rooms, use of abusive and derogatory language and committing forgery. If a student is found involved in a hunger strike, dharna, ‘group bargaining’ and any other form of protest or is found blocking the entrance or exit of any of the complexes, they will be either imposed a fine of Rs.20,000 , evicted from the hostel for 2 months or be rusticated and declared out of bounds for up to 2 months. All forms of coercion such as gheraos and sit-ins have also come on the banned list. Arranging events such as freshers’ welcome parties, farewells, or DJ events on the campus without obtaining prior permission may also attract a fine of Rs. 6,000. If a student is found guilty of being engaged in any of the prohibited activities and is given a punishment, they will not be eligible to register for the semester and won’t receive a “no-dues” certificate until the imposed fine is paid in full. In addition to posting the punishment on the official website, the administration will also send a copy of it to the student’s parents or guardian. If the student does not show up for the proctorial enquiry, the committee will assume that the complaint was filed with a malafide intention, and the student might be required to complete community service at JNU. A complainant may also be rusticated from the University for making any false allegations against any student. Additionally, the University will no longer permit cross-examination between the complainant and the defendant, which was an important rule of proctorial enquiry earlier. A student who has received 5 or more punishments during the duration of their study shall be expelled from the University, the manual noted.

The foreword to the manual by Chief Proctor N. Janardhana Raju emphasized the strong need to reassess the current disciplinary regulations of the Office of the Chief Proctor as there were “no substantially approved rules and regulations on proper conduct and discipline of students by the Executive Council of JNU in vogue”.  According to the manual, in the event that a dispute arises about the interpretation of any of these guidelines, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit or the appropriate authorities will have the last say. They will also have the power to waive, change or uphold the punishment if deemed fit. The university administration asserts that the new rules are important for maintaining academic and administrative order and preventing any disruptions. They argue that the designated protest areas within the campus are sufficient for expressing student concerns.

Responding to the uproar against the new regulations, VC Pandit, reportedly told the Indian Express that these rules have been fine-tuned on the directions of the Delhi High Court. (Source: CNBC-TV18)

This is not old not new. Passed unanimously by the EC last month as the manual had to be made legally sound. The fines are on indiscipline of drinking, drugs and misbehavior in hostels and towards women. The proctor’s office since 1969 has been taking action, imposing fines and rustications.

– JNU VC reportedly told the PTI.

 During her discussion with the Hindustan Times, she highlighted that the University has not banned protests on campus as freedom of speech is a Constitutional right, emphasizing that fines and rustications existed even during her student years at JNU. The recent move to make it public was undertaken to ensure transparency, aligning with their democratic functioning.

I have never imposed a fine on any student just because he or she participated in a protest on campus. The students even protested at my house over some water issue at a hostel. But I did not impose a fine on anyone for it. I have forgiven fines imposed by the latest regime on many students between 2016 and 2022 and closed their cases considering their futures.

– she told the Hindustan Times.

 Talking about how the recent approval by the Executive Council (EC) was aimed at ensuring the manual’s legal validity, she clarified that fines are imposed for issues related to indiscipline and that no slabs have been raised.

The manual was passed by the Executive Council of the University, which also has representatives from the faculty. The administration circulated the manual among all EC members on November 1, and it was unanimously passed by the Council during a meeting on November 24. Nobody raised objections over anything because there was nothing new in it, and no slabs were raised. We only put it in a legal language and got it passed legally. Till today (December 13), no single letter has been received by the administration or VC office from students or staff asking to withdraw the manual.

– JNU VC told the media.

 On December 12, a day after the University faced flak over its newly released stringent measures, an official clarified that protests have not been banned and are allowed at designated areas.

 We have not changed anything. These rules were already there in place. We have just introduced a few other regulations to ensure no disruption is caused to the academic process. Students still have the democratic right to protest at designated places.

– an official from the University told PTI.

 Reacting to the revised manual, the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) termed it an attempt by the administration to “stifle dissent” on the campus and alleged that the Proctor’s Office is being used to carry out “political vendetta against student activists and representatives raising important student community issues”. Demanding its immediate withdrawal, the JNUSU added that the manual lacked clarity on several crucial aspects, leaving room for misinterpretation and arbitrary implementation.

The stringent measures outlined in the manual are aimed at stifling the vibrant campus culture that has defined JNU for decades. Such excessive regulations are intended to discourage open discussions, dissent, and intellectual exploration, which are fundamental to the spirit of our university. Such ambiguous rules can lead to unfair and discriminatory practices, jeopardizing the rights of students

– JNUSU in a statement.

 Student bodies at the University have also condemned the move saying that it snatches away the democratic rights of students to register dissent.

Who will decide what is harming someone’s moral sentiment and what is not? How can my peaceful protest,‌‌ which is against fee hikes or injustice, be considered moral turpitude? Additionally many students in JNU are below the poverty line – so how do they expect these students to pay such high fines?

– said a student at JNU as reported by CNBC-TV18

Nine months ago, in February 2023, the University had issued a notification stating that the students can be imposed with a penalty of Rs. 20,000 for holding dharnas and face admission cancellation or a fine upto Rs. 30,000 for resorting to violence in the University. However, following its criticism, the notification was reportedly withdrawn within a week.


Read Also: https://dubeat.com/2019/12/14/mhrd-issues-a-statement-on-jnu-protests-offers-mediation-between-stakeholders/


Featured Image Credits: Deccan Chronicle


Manvi Goel

[email protected]

The Bharat Literature Festival 2023, organized by Kirori Mal College in the most extravagant way possible, celebrated traditional Indian literature through engaging dialogues, debates, and readings. Eminent writers, scholars, lyricists, and government officials were part of the diverse lineup. While well-received, some criticised the event’s politicisation. 

The Bharat Literature Festival, organised by Kirori Mal College on November 28th and 29th, 2023, is a  LitFest that focuses on celebrating the diverse body of traditional Indian literature and facilitating engaging dialogues, literary debates, and celebratory readings. Over the course of the festival, scholars, writers, lyricists, poets, and renowned personalities from all walks of life were engaged in discourse about varying topics such as art, literature, culture, history, politics, and social issues. It went beyond its title as a literary event by housing art exhibitions, facilitating pertinent political discourse, and particularly attracting visiting students to the pursuit of the civil services with VisionIAS  as its Knowledge Partner.

Eminent public figures such as the Hon. Governor of Telangana, the commercially successful lyricist Prasoon Joshi, and Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Bhupendra Yadav, were invited too, amongst many, many more. It is indisputable that the line-up of scholars, experts, and esteemed speakers ranging from Indian cinema to Cabinet Ministers served as the major attraction for the fest. Students from across the University of Delhi flocked to the event to witness some of their favourite personalities share their insights on the central theme alongside issues that specifically pertained to the speaker’s field. Students were able to firsthand engage and interact with journalists, scriptwriters, historians, filmmakers, and lyricists. As the guests and speakers individually have their own publicity from the media, press, and fanbases, these speakers were able to cause an influx of visitors to the event too.

Other than providing a platform for these public figures, the fest even conducted a variety of competitions for students that included slam poetry, stand-up comedy, a photography contest, and a talent hunt—all of which were met with a sizable number of responses and registrations. The food stalls, youth activities, and musical evening incentivised even those who aren’t necessarily interested in literary discourse to participate in the fest.

I really liked the event, especially the different speakers that were called. A session that stood out for me was- “Cinema: The Reflection of Society.” Amit Rai, Chandraprakash Dwivedi, and Priyanka Shakti Thakur talked about how modern films disregard ethics to show what sells the most. It was quite an insightful talk.’

-A third-year student from Kirori Mal College who had attended both days of the event. 

Something that caught everyone’s attention was BLF’s attempt to encompass the diverse cultures of India. Speakers ranging from author Yadvinder Singh Sandhu from Punjab to Telangana’s governor, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, blessed the event with their powerful words. Even the numerous stalls had books of various Indian languages, showing the level of richness the event tried to achieve

I enjoyed the talk by Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi Ji. I got a good perspective on the tussle between modernity and culture, how the two often don’t go along well.

– An attendee in reference to the session- “Sanskriti Aur Chunotiya – TV – Cinema – OTT.

However, this mega event was heavily criticised by student groups and had a lot of negative responses too. People raised questions about the politicisation involved and criticised it. Many students stayed anonymous or avoided sharing opinions because of the potential risks involved due to the involvement of college administration in the event.

I have attended literature festivals before, and this is not what a literature festival looks like. This was clearly right-wing propaganda.

-A critic of the event 

Few felt that the event was more of an attempt to push right-wing ideologies than focus on literature. They claim that the speakers called and the topics they talked about were clear signs of the political intentions of the events. 

Numerous criticisms about the festival surfaced online, with concerns focusing on the event’s agenda. Critics pointed out that the topics discussed, such as “Pranam Main Hindu Hun” and “Sanghe Shakti: Bharat @2047,” raised controversy due to their alignment with Hindutva ideologies. Some online discussions also highlighted the problematic stance of certain invited speakers who openly support the regime and have advocated for the genocide of Muslims in the past.

In addition to the ideological alignment, student groups disclosed, under anonymity, the kind of pressure the administration placed on members of various college societies about volunteerism and promotion. Students from many departments also brought attention to the abrupt disruption in their classes..  

Additionally, there were complaints about the lack of linguistic diversity, as most discussion titles were in Hindi, neglecting representation from North-East and South Indian literature. Critics argued that the event’s themes and titles seemed to align closely with the policies and marketing strategies of the ruling regime, further fueling online dissatisfaction. 

Featured Image Credits: @bharatliteraturefestival Instagram

Shireen Peter 

@[email protected]

Shatadru Sen

@[email protected]

Considering the low-attendance challenges, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College decides to undertake necessary actions for nearly 1,397 students out of the total 3,600.

In a notice dated December 8, 2023, released by Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, the institution decided not to issue examination admit cards to students with attendance less than 40% in the semester. The decision made aligns with the earlier notices issued to the students urging them to meet the attendance requirements as per Delhi University norms. 

The notice clearly stated that students with attendance ranging from 40% to 66.66% will receive examination admit cards upon submitting an undertaking for covering up the deficit attendance and ensuring the combined average attendance of the two semesters to become at least 66.67% while declining the issuance of admit cards to the students whose attendance falls below 40% in any semester. 

As per The Times of India (TOI) reports, Arun Kumar Attree, principal of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, said,

“The college is now grappling with the emergence of a ‘college of correspondence’, where many students attend courses merely as a formality”.  

The students have been given the final chance up to December 12 to rectify any attendance discrepancies and provide any other document or information in support of their claim to meet the minimum attendance criteria. 

 Expressing concern about the attitude of students towards attending classes and contrasting it with the dedication of the teachers, Attree added,

“Some students were genuinely absent due to extracurricular activities such as sports, but there are some pursuing courses outside or focusing on their family business instead of attending classes. Enough is enough. We can’t keep going on like this. Our college has to get rid of this reputation of its students not caring about attendance.”

Demanding a shift towards merit-based education, he also highlighted the need for reserving educational opportunities for deserving students while mentioning instances where students who secured admission through CUET treated the college like a mere examination centre, coming to college only for exams. 

Read Also: DU’s Plagiarised Strategic Plan Withdrawn

Featured Image Source- Livemint

Dhairya Chhabra

[email protected]

Delhi University’s strategic plan set ambitious goals for the next 25 years, but the document was found to be plagiarised from several reputed international universities, leading to a halt in the discussions.

On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, the Academic Council (AC) met for its 1017th emergent meeting to discuss the Delhi University Strategic Plan 2022–47, which aimed to enter the ranks of the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings by 2047 by introducing various initiatives. However, a day prior to the commencement of the meeting, teachers from the Democratic Teacher’s Front (DTF) alleged that the document was ‘plagiarised’ from various international universities’ strategic plans, including Ohio State University, the University of Sheffield, Piedmont Technical College, Kenya’s Friends College Kaimosi, Meghalaya’s University of Science and Technology, and also IGNOU. The teachers had also alleged that the plan would lead to the commercialization and privatisation of public institutions, accompanied by fee hikes.

Amid these allegations, the Academic Council meeting discussed all concerns, and the Strategic Plan has been sent back for revision. DU’s official statement disclosed the meeting decisions,

“The members presented their views and suggestions, describing the strategic plan as important for the future. After listening to the suggestions, the Vice Chancellor asked the strategic plan committee to seriously consider them again,” the statement reads. The Vice Chancellor has also said that editors and linguistics will be consulted in the drafting committee to address the linguistic nuances.

Members of the Academic Council criticised the lack of effort while formulating the document. Some members have also defended the proven plagiarism callouts.

It is extremely unfortunate that a plagiarised document has become the foundation of DU’s Strategic Plan 2022–47. Plagiarism in any form is totally unacceptable, and the fact that it is being promoted by the top authorities of DU by tabling it for discussion is absolutely shocking. -said Mithuraaj Dhusiya, an elected AC member.

The strategic plan devised several initiatives that would foster global recognition for DU, including cross-university collaborations, academia-industry collaborations, developing research centres, and modernising facilities. In a 20-page letter to the Vice Chancellor, the DTF criticised the lack of thought for local context and the subsequent speculative privatisation of the central university and wrote,

The strategic plans of other institutions whose realities are completely different from ours have been presented as ours. We know that most of these institutions have been forced to depend on the market for funding, and our uncritical acceptance of the same underscores the design to conform to the demands of global edu-business.

Vikas Gupta highlighted another concern: “The draft does not mention terms like reservation and secularism at all. The term ‘Dalit’ figures only once, and that too in connection with indigenous knowledge. Besides this, the term ‘caste’ has been used only once, while this continues to be the most important social phenomenon of our personal and public lives to reckon with.”

Read also: DU Students may avail 40% of their Courses Online through Swayam Portal

Featured image source: Hindustan Times

Sarah Nautiyal

[email protected]

Under the guise of the Bharat Literature Festival (BLF), there is a discernible attempt to spread Hindutva ideology in academics and on campus. With declining academic freedom, BLF appears to be a facet of the regime’s wider effort to systematically alter academic discourse and the college environment.

On November 28th and 29th, 2023, Kirori Mal College (KMC) hosted the Bharat Literature Festival (BLF), which drew severe criticism from college students. BLF, which “intends to connect the learnings of the complicated past with the hope & aspirations of a fascinating future,” organised its Litfest in partnership with KMC. Various renowned authors and journalists were invited for the discussions. However, the event drew more criticism as its itinerary was released, which included discussions regarding RSS and Hindutva. “Pranam Main Hindu Hun: Exploring Inner Hindutva in Popular Culture”, “Sanghe Shakti: Bharat @2047”, “Indian Continent in the Era of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”, etc. were among the topics discussed. Not only the topics, but several of the invited speakers openly support the regime and have called for the genocide of Muslims in the past. 

When viewed in the context of the government’s increasing influence on academic structures, courses, academic discourses, and crackdown on academicians critical of the government, such discussions and events in a central university college with the college as co-organisers highlight how BLF is not just a litfest but a part of a broader movement seeking to assert and disseminate Hindutva principles within the realms of academics.

The Academic Freedom Index (AFI) report, published by the Global Public Policy Institute, placed India in the bottom 30% of 179 countries in 2022, with a score of 0.38 out of 1. Down to Earth extracted the Academic Freedom Score of India and found out that, “The country’s freedom index score was high in the past, ranging from 0.60-0.70 between 1950 and 2012, except from 1974-1978, data showed.” The AFI report reads, “Around 2013, all aspects of academic freedom began to decline strongly, reinforced with Narendra Modi’s election as Prime Minister in 2014.”

TW// Mention of suicide

The suicide of Rohit Vermula, the arrest of Umar Khalid, Natasha Narwal, and many other students under UAPA for participating in anti-CAA protests, the increasing crackdown on Kashmiri students, and the recent controversy over a research paper by an Ashoka University professor titled ‘Democratic Backsliding in the World’s Largest Democracy’, which alleged voter suppression to favour Modi in the 2019 election, all highlight the country’s deteriorating academic freedom. 

All of this, when reviewed in the context of NEP and CUET implementation, points to a more concerning scenario. With the adoption of CUET, student population diversity has decreased, with the majority of students being affluent ‘apolitical’ CBSE students from the North Belt. This apolitical student group fails to understand and acknowledge the hidden politics behind these events, and they fall into the trap that gradually shapes their way of thinking in the direction the regime wants. 

On the condition of anonymity, a third-year KMC student stated, “A lot of my friends and classmates were there, posting stories about BLF.” They are the same folks that will go and discuss casteism, patriarchy, and Islamophobia in their events and discussions. This set of students only wants to talk about these topics in order to feel good about themselves and fall into the category of ‘Progressive Liberal DU Student,’ while failing to understand the real-life ramifications and implementations of the same.”  

In a message circulated in Whatsapp groups, the principal wrote, “During the event, I expect you to (i) Be very disciplined and well behaved, (ii) Be appropriately well dressed according to the theme of the festival…Please note that there is no change in the teaching schedule of the college.” In contrast, students reported disruptions and class cancellations as a result of classrooms being converted into visitor rest areas. A volunteer from the BFL organising committee spoke about the threats posed by the conveners of their college societies. A person said, “We had pressure from the administration, who threatened us. The context for that is hard to explain, but we are being heavily monitored.” 

Another thing to notice here is the indirect imposition of Hindi throughout the event. The majority of the discussion titles were in Hindi, and there was no representation of North-East and South Indian literature at the event. Not just the language, but even the titles, were linked to the regime’s policies and marketing strategies. “Mann ki Baat: Confluence of Policy and Communication in New India” and “Namami Gange” are a few examples.

While all of these are sufficient to understand that the BLF is more than simply a litfest, it also serves as a means of spreading Hindutva ideology and BJP politics. Events like these, as well as the government’s growing control over academics, limit academic freedom, further eroding it. The AFI report explains, “Pressure on institutional autonomy and campus integrity combined with constraints on academics’ freedom of expression is what distinguished India from other countries’ scores on the index. The attacks on academic freedom under Modi’s Hindu nationalist government were also possible due to the absence of a legal framework to protect academic freedom.” The report’s authors further called on higher education policymakers, university leaders, and research funders to promote academic freedom in their own academic institutions as well as abroad.” But until then, the only ways to tackle religious politics and prevent them from impacting colleges and universities are through critical study of such events, self-education, and civil disobedience.

Read Also: The Fear of Being Identified

Featured Image Credits: KMC Instagram Page(@kmcollegedelhi)

DU Beat


After the introduction of the five-year integrated Law programme, a wide-scale demand seems to bring potential for Law courses at the university.

Over 1700 applications have been received by the University of Delhi since the induction of the 5-year integrated programme for Law. There is much competition after it was revealed by the university that only a total of 120 seats are being offered for the first batch.

The classes for the two courses that are being offered, BA LLB and BBA LLB, are set to begin on November 10. The classes shall be held temporarily at the Faculty of law in North Campus as of now; later, the specific permanent location shall be decided.

The determination of admissions shall be through CLAT scores, and the university strives to complete the admission process soon. It is noted that the Bar Council of India approved the five-year integrated programme on July 26th, this year, after the university was planning to introduce the course.

Hindustan Times reported:

There were over 1,700 applications for 120 seats, proving that there is a demand among students. Admissions, which are based on CLAT scores, will be completed soon. We aim to begin classes by November 10,

said Prakash Singh, director of DU’s South Campus.

Earlier this year, in August, a student filed a petition in Delhi High Court for the university to consider Common University Entrance Test (CUET) scores instead of CLAT scores for admission in the course. In September, the High Court granted permission to the University to conduct admissions on the basis of CLAT scores. The registration for the same began on September 27 and ended on October 12.

We have not done away with the three-year law course since it is a sought-after course. The new course is an add-on, keeping in mind the growing demand among students.

said Professor Anju Vali Tikoo, dean of the Faculty of Law.

Some of the faculty professors have questioned the fee structure of the programmes, which is Rs. 1,90,000 per year and might not be affordable to many.

“Naturally, the courses will be slightly more expensive than regular courses, as it has all the facilities being provided by other law colleges, such as international exposure, placements, and moot court competitions, among others,”

said Professor Tikoo.

Students whose parental income is Rs. 4 lakh or less per annum shall be eligible for a 90% waiver in tution fee, and those with a parental income of more than Rs. 4 lakh and less than Rs. 8 lakh shall be eligible for a 50% waiver.

Image Credits: The Sunday Guardian

Read Also: Delhi HC Slams DU for Arbitrary Admission Denial 

Aanya Mehta

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The Supreme Court of India recently released a handbook that deals with countering harmful language used in court that fosters stereotypes against women.

The language spoken and accepted in court may not directly influence the outcome of a plea, but it serves as a significant indicator of the values upheld and endorsed by a country. Taking a step towards countering inappropriate and harmful language used against women and gender minorities, the Supreme Court recently issued a 30-page handbook detailing alternative and preferred phrases to be used in legal matters. 

(…) the language a judge uses reflects not only their interpretation of the law but their perception of society as well.” -Chief Justice Chandrachud

The handbook tries to eliminate some disdainful language that promotes stereotypes. Some of the identified phrases include ‘career woman’, ‘obedient wife’ and ‘chaste woman’. Another stereotype that the handbook aims to do away with is the idea that women are inherently overly emotional and thus incapacitated to make decisions. It also acknowledges that assumptions made about women’s characters depending on their sexual history and clothing preferences tamper with the judicial assessment of sexual violence cases as they diminish the importance of consent in sexual relationships.

The handbook also wishes to implement the use of more dignified language towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Moving forward, ‘sex assigned at birth’ is stated to be the preferred phrase in place of ‘biological sex’.  

When announcing the publication of this handbook in court, CJI D.Y. Chandrachud said that he hoped this would mark a milestone in the journey towards a more equitable society.

Implementation of measures like this one, especially by a nation’s highest authorities, is crucial for driving a fundamental transformation in how women and gender minorities are perceived within a country. Such initiatives not only signal a commitment to gender equality but also play a major role in determining societal norms in the long run. 

By challenging these long-existing biases, the Supreme Court of India has contributed to a broader cultural shift that recognizes and respects the dignity and rights of women. Hopefully, there is potential in this handbook to inspire change not only within the legal system but also in society as a whole. 

Read also: Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes – SC 

Featured image credits: Boom Live

Arshiya Pathania

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This report deals with the Muzzafarnagar episode of communal hate mongering, the underlying concerns that it raises for our society in general and the reaction of Student bodies like AISA and SFI that followed suit.

On  24th August ,  a media clip took the political climate of the country by storm as it brought  into picture the visceral steeping of hate mongering in an educational setup in Muzzafarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. 

The video that stirred the controversy featured two adults — one who still remains to be identified and the other being Tripti Tyagi along with a 7 year old Muslim boy who has been at the receiving end of physical and verbal abuse amongst his classmates, his identity remains undisclosed due to privacy  concerns. The video showed her instigating physical harm to a Muslim student by ordaining fellow students to slap him. To further accentuate the issue the teacher has also been recorded openly inciting a derogatory religious commentary .  

The incident was reported from Neha Public School , in Khubbapur District under Mansurpur Police Station jurisdiction , it was uploaded on social media by the cousin of the 7 year old Muslim boy who has been at the receiving end of the violation .

The video spurred immediate reaction pouring in from the spectrum of political enthusiasts . Calls were made for immediate action to be taken against Tripti Tyagi for inciting violence and discrimination against Muslims in the context of increasing religious intolerance in the country . The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) issued its statement and called out the ‘sangh priwar’ for this national disgrace, urging the Supreme Court to take immediate action against this and called for a week long nationwide campaign from 28th August to 5th September against the hate politics . All India Students’ Association (AISA) urged people to raise their voices for justice and humanity through the protest they organized on 26th August at 6 pm from Gupta Chowk to Arts Faculty for the immediate arrest of Tripti Tyagi . AISA DU Vice President Aditya addressed the gathering by saying  “Tripta Tyagi is a symptom of the hatred that BJP has spread across the country. They have created a community of criminals and they take pride in it . We the students of the country will fight this battle against communalism head on and bear the torch for secularism.”

Various political parties have laid out their strong worded statements for the same with heated arguments pouring on the social media site X .  While the essence of the incident might have felt a little muddled in the political blame game of the ruling and the opposition class , open solicitations were made regarding the discrimination the 7 year old student had faced and the need for suo moto action . In his statement , Circle Officer Ravishankar has assured that the police was actively following up on the incident and actions regarding the same would be issued soon on 25th August , 2023.

Basic Shiksha Adhikari, Shubham Shukla also assured that the person and the institution would both be brought under question following the incident . The Bal Kalyan Samiti initiated counseling for the associated children and parents. While a number of political representatives assembled in Muzzafarpur to give their statements and support poured out from pan India, Tripti Tyagi took to social media via a video message where she is seen asking for forgiveness with folded hands.  She asserts that the boy refused to do his homework and her being physically unfit she asked a fellow student to slap him as his parents had themselves requested to be strict with the child. The child’s father upon being interviewed has ascertained that there has been no religious angle but just harassment of his child by physically violating him . 

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson, Priyank Kangnoo said instructions have been issued to take action on this matter. While there is an ongoing investigatio , a second investigation has also been launched after the victim’s family agreed to file complaint following initial hesitation .

The way the issue blew up connotates the various underlying notions of how religious paranoia seeps into a society that boasts of its diversity.  The very fact that learning institutions  meant to foster harmony could instead promote hate mongering in young vulnerable minds is both disturbing and concerning, but to have a populace that suffers from it simply based on their religious identity is nothing but pitiful for any nation. 

Another evident problem that this issue brought into picture is the spread of misinformation and the way it is milked by interested parties in their favour. The viral social media clip had people giving out death threats and hate comments in X threads even before all the facets of the issue were made public . While political parties jostled over the blame game , the voice of the actual victim seemed somewhat subdued .


Read also: https://dubeat.com/2020/02/25/du-gathers-to-protest-against-communal-violence-in-north-east-delhi/


Image credits :  AISA 


Priya Shandilya

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