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An alleged attack on a token journalist happens, and it finds potential to divert the enumerable actual attacks on other journalists which have never been highlighted with half the importance into silence.

Not that people already couldn’t care less about journalists getting killed or harrased, all the attention of such matters has been credited to one person who would appear in all major searches, if one inputs, ‘attack on journalists’ as keywords.

Given the state of the fourth pillar of democracy in our country, whose performance is reflected in it’s awesome rankings, there’s no denying the fact that journalism has faced a heavy blow. India ranks 142nd out of 180 countries on Freedom of Press Index as of 2020 and it keeps getting worse every successive year. The Committee to Protect Journalism (CPJ), reported that our nation ranks 14th among states where journalists are murdered and killers go free. A study titled, “Getting Away With Murder,” revealed that 21 journalists were killed between 2014-19, and not a single conviction has taken place since 2014 against the targeted attacks on journalists for thier investigative works. Looks like the convicts have a licence to kill, but who gives them this license?

The study mentioned earlier reported that the list of perpetrators who attack journalists is inclusive of government agencies, security forces, political parties, local mafia, etc. A very basic inference from such a study is suggestive of the malign intention of the people in power who wish to dastardly silence the ones who dare to speak. Therefore to swift them into silence is the most viable and lucrative alternative.

Image Credits: Instagram/Ravish Kumar
Image Credits: Instagram/Ravish Kumar

Interestingly, silencing can be done in a legal way as well. Kashmiri photojournalist Masrat Zahra whose works have been published by Al Jazeera, Washington Post, The Caravan, etc was recently booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which is an anti terror law resembling the Rowlatt Act of 1919. The pictures clicked by the Zahra were deemed to glorify “anti-national” sentiments and dent the image of law enforcing bodies, (the same bodies who are accused of terrorising journalists). Another journalist Gowhar Geelani, who has been heavily vocal about assault on journalism and state of Kashmir was also booked under the same act and there’s an FIR filed against The Hindu’s Srinagar correspondent-Peerzada Ashiq as well. However, Kapil Gujjar and Komal Pandey who have actually managed to terrorise people are living freely. Dalals who masquerade as journalists and spread fake news, instigate communalism, and spread Islamophobia everyday have no trials against them. Looks like there’s a pattern which is adhered to while earmarking as to who gets to be labelled as “anti-national’ and faces contempt of court.

If physical harassment is not enough, defamation cases are filed, spyware attacks are aimed, and mental harassment is dispensed through threat calls and trolling. Journalists are paying a very heavy price for doing their jobs and a growing intolerance towards independent media has landed a lot in hospitals, prisons, courts, and obituaries. From Gauri Lankesh to Shujaat Bukhari to Navin Nishchal to Sandeep Sharma, and to all other journalists who have lost their lives while reporting, current media should remember them, and hang their heads in shame every time they buckle under and tandem to the Power- which is the sole reason for a peevish state of journalism today.

Feature Image Credits: NYC Street Art

Umaima Khanam

[email protected]

History continues to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi as a figure of Indian resilience and struggle. Throughout the world, Indian history is seen as if synonymous to his name, and yet, in the shadows of that glory remain hidden the people who shaped the legacy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Every year on 2nd October, the world remembers Gandhi, the man who fought the British and did it so artfully that they had no resort except to accept the man with a frail frame and a frightfully forceful firmness to not fail. Yet, it was not just Gandhi who was behind the framing of his Gandhian fame. It was the collective efforts of many behind the curtain, his many supporters and mentors whose benefaction made Gandhi into theman who was able to bring the British Raj to its knees.

The man who perhaps influenced Gandhi’s life the most was Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Gokhale was a great reformist and nationalist leader who influenced economic and developmental thinking. He was an influential and respected member of the Indian National Congress. He wrote recommendation letters for Gandhi to several lawyers in Bombay, in order to secure a juniorship in the latter’s name. He proposed the Natal Indentured Labour Bill to help Gandhi gain a legal framework and to assist him in his struggle in South Africa. In Gandhi’s own words, “If Gokhale had not played this stellar role, the South African problem would never have resolved.” It was he who convinced Gandhi to return to India from South Africa to serve his people, and to spend a year visiting every part of the country – every city, district and village, so that he may get to know the people he had come to serve. He sought a promise from Gandhi to not utter a word on Indian issues for one year till his discovery of India was complete. Gandhi wrote in his book, Satyagraha in South Africa, “Every word of Gokhale glowed with his tender feeling, truthfulness and patriotism. Gokhale prepared me for India.”

Though Gandhi’s views on women’s rights were closer to Puritan-Victorian expectations of women, the women who accompanied him shaped his ideologies, and helped propagate them. Perhaps the most relevant woman encircling the glory of the Mahatma was his wife, Kasturbai “Kasturba” Mohandas Gandhi. She helped her husband in South Africa by establishing the Phoenix Settlement. She participated actively in protests and civil movements, and spent most of her time serving in ashrams. Despite being of ill health, she joined many of Gandhi’s protests, and was jailed on several occasions, with the most famous one being her imprisonment at Aga Khan Palace. She later died at a detention camp.

Another important woman beside Gandhi was Sushila Nayyar, an Indian physician, veteran Gandhian, and a politician. Sister to Gandhi’s personal secretary, she played a leading role in several programmes for public health, medical education, and social and rural reconstruction in India. She was Gandhi’s physician, a part of his trusted inner circle, and she worked for the empowerment of women, while also advocating for family planning.

One more man behind Gandhi’s success was J.C. Kumarappa, the pioneer of rural economic development theories, who has been credited with developing economic theories based on Gandhism. When Kumarappa started working with Gandhi, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya complimented Gandhi for the wonderful training he had given to Kumarappa. In response to the compliments, Gandhi had said, “I haven’t trained him, he came to me readymade.”

These people were some of the many spokes of the Mahatma’s wheel that spun a revolutionary movement. If Gandhi was the light of the candle, these people were his wax. However, history casts them in the shadows. The wheel would never have turned to drive a successful cause, in the absence of its spokes.

 

Feature Image Credits: Time Magazine

Shreya Juyal

[email protected]

In response to Pride celebrations, a reactionary movement has sprung up to “reclaim” space for the black and white of heterosexuality amid rainbow hues.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Queer+ (LGBTQ+) community has
only recently garnered widespread
acceptance with the advent of increased
representation, favourable leaps in
legislative matters, and a heightening
of social awareness, which were
achieved after arduous struggles by the
marginalised community. The concept
of Pride in queer context implies the
promotion of self-affirmation, equality,
and dignity within individuals with a non-
binary sexual identity, a remembrance of
the bigotry (still) faced by the community,
and a celebration of the strides made.
Pride events like parades, festivals,
marches, and formation of queer
collective aim to normalise homosexuality
in the face of the tyrannising
heteronormative binary. Pride is also
quite a revolutionary concept that has
emboldened a community to embrace
their identity, which, earlier they had
to veil with a monochromatic shroud.
The conspicuous and colourful nature of
these celebrations reflects the collective
coming-out of the long-closeted
community into the mainstream.
Most Pride events happen annually
during June, which has been instated
as “Pride Month” to commemorate the
New York Stonewall Inn Riots of 1969 –
the first robust act of resistance against
a repressive administration. This year
witnessed the 50th anniversary of this
pivotal moment of the gay liberation
movement. Queer representation hit
the peak of main(lame)-stream with the
release of Taylor Swift’s kind of excessive,
kind of stereotypical, yet allegedly well-
intended “gay” music video, You Need to
Calm Down.
In India, on 6th September, the first anniversary of the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexual intercourse, was celebrated with great fervour across the University of Delhi (DU) in various institutions. Kamala Nehru College, in collaboration with Nazariya, a queer, feminist resource group, organised a Pride event in their college. Lady Shri Ram College observed a hearty affair as well, with a queer-themed open mic, and a Pride party, followed by a Pride march organised by the college’s Women’s Development Cell. Throughout the North and the South Campus, a galore of Pride celebrations with a multitude of Pride flags, representing the multitudinous sexuality spectrum were fluttering through, strewn across streets, sewn into outfits, and painted on faces.
However, the ostensible nature of these celebrations, going in full-swing irked the likes of a few. A reactionary movement to reclaim the allegedly tarnished pride of heterosexuals, given the increased homosexual social movement, sprang up. Boston, and Massachusetts observed a Straight Pride Parade on 31st August. The organisers, who hold ties with the extreme-right movement in America, justified the event by accusing the identity politics of the left and calling for greater representation for straight people.

An elementary school in Mumbai, which goes by the name of Sanskriti School, joined in on the fad and insisted upon a Straight Pride Parade. An Instagram handle was made to perpetuate the novel idea but it can no longer be found on Instagram, reportedly owing to the negative feedback it received from the community on Instagram.
The Straight Pride Movement is not an idea in its nascence, and can be traced back to the 1980s, but something is to be said about its fledgling popularity. Even though both the aforementioned efforts were dwarfed by counter-protesters, they still gained traction and were valid enough for a few to latch on to it. This reveals the fragility of a small group of heterosexuals who feel insecure and attacked by the growing acceptance of a long-ostracised community.
Pride is a resistive, cultural movement with a lot of history, gravitas, and significance for the LGBTQ+ community, which is being undermined by such reactionary, shallow ventures. It is rightly said, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

Prisha Saxena
[email protected]

Apart from being well known for the intellectual environment and shaping students into future leaders, IP College for Women, St. Stephens, Ramjas and Hindu College have a lot more in common than one might imagine. The colleges have played key roles in the freedom struggle and the independence movement of India and its high time we realise and remember our histories and pasts all the more.

As a part of the four-piece series covering each college and bringing out their insights and contributions in the shaping of the Independent India, the first article is about the role of IP College- the first women’s college of the University and how it had shaped India’s past.

The University of Delhi has countless laurels to itself be it right from national and international contributions in various fields, to its impressions in the student as well as the national level politics. With Independence Day upcoming, here is the first part of the four-part series on how four colleges of the University played key roles in the freedom struggle and the Independence movement of the nation.

IP College for Women is the first women’s college of Delhi as well as the University of Delhi. “I see IP college as a movement. I still see IP college as a movement in the sense of activism”, quotes the Principal of Indraprastha College for Women in the interview to Sahapedia about IP as an institution which has stood the test of times and holds onto its legacy as it celebrates its centenary decade. The college has its own Museum and Archives Centre which serves to tell the students as well as the people around of the college’s glorious past.

An insider view of the Museum and Archives Centre of IP College for Women
An insider view of the Museum and Archives Centre of IP College for Women

One simply cannot overlook the college’s contribution in the freedom struggle. The college played pivotal role in bringing women into the mainstream culture of protest against the British.

Amidst the stigma and stereotypes which had restrained women’s movements in general, Dr. Annie Besant, who is famous for her contributions in women’s rights and education was one of the leading people behind establishing the institution. The girls of IP taking the lead during the Quit India movement was truly a model for the country to behold.

But standing up against the British was not an easy task. With the students participating in the Quit India Movement, hoisting and saluting the national flag amongst other actions of defiance against the British, the wheat rations to the college were stopped and the teachers penalised.

The sound of IP’s actions in Independence struggle had even forced the British to imprison one of college’s student at the Lahore Jail (now in present day Pakistan) who had participated in the national movement.

Central Jail Lahore where one of the students of IP College was imprisoned
Central Jail Lahore where one of the students of IP College was imprisoned

But none of the efforts on the part of the British faltered the courage in the hearts of the brave, young women who later on even joined with the students of St. Stephens, Hindu and Ramjas to protest at various places against the government’s decisions.

Even after the Partition, IP College spearheaded in various spheres, including running the college in evening shift so as to accommodate the huge number of women from Punjab states so that they could complete their education, even if it meant that the degrees would be affiliated to the Punjab University or collecting donations for the soldiers during the India- China war of 1962.

Till this date, the college has been a host people who have played key role in moulding India into the land our forefathers dreamt of, right from first President of India Shri Rajendra Prasad, Independent India’s first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Smt. Indira Gandhi to the Late Former President Shri. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad takes the Guard of Honour on College Day, 1948
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad takes the Guard of Honour on College Day, 1948

The college continues to thrive and bloom, as it inches towards its hundred glorious years.

Stay tuned to read up the next article another college of DU which played a key role in India’s struggle for Independence.

Feature Image Credits: Sahapedia

Amrashree Mishra

[email protected]

As someone who has dreamt of living an independent life to get one step closer to his ambitions, shifting near the campus was a big deal for me. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibilities, I began succumbing to the responsibilities. The problem of plenty is real, and here’s why.  

Suppose you are living a life of comfort, following a flamboyant and careless lifestyle, eating anything recklessly, sleeping at odd hours and then one fine day you suddenly feel a prickling pain in your chest. The pain doesn’t go away, it persists, for a day or two and is mildly affecting your consciousness. You wake on the third day and the pain comes back again. You go and see a doctor and it’s your liver! It has been deteriorating for a while now. The physician hints at your sedentary lifestyle and absurd eating habits for the situation. You regret, you repent, you cannot accept the fact that you have succumbed into a chronic disease at such a young age. Though it can get worse with time, the relieving part is that only if it’s not controlled or managed well. Your liver will get back on track if you undo the effects with a disciplined and healthy lifestyle. Now, out of scarcity of option you willingly or unwillingly have to follow a better lifestyle.

If you are wondering why the medical situation of a careless youngster is being discussed here, then let me tell you, this careless youngster is me and probably you or a friend of yours. Let me clear the ambiguity first. I have used this analogy to illustrate the “problem of plenty”. A situation 11th-hour lovers must be familiar with.

Now, allow me to associate this problem with my decision to shift near the campus in order to concentrate on my college and academics. The most relevant argument a student gives to their parents or guardians (or at least I did) while persuading them to allow relocation to a flat or PG near the campus is that it will save the time lost in commuting daily from home to college and back. The other argument is generally the availability of a student-friendly environment in a flat or PG near the college. Subsequently, one also thinks about having a typical bachelor’s experience. In hindsight, a student comes with hope and determination to lead an independent life for the next few years.

And then comes the problem of plenty. The problem of plenty roots within the luxury of abundance. The abundance of resources, time and affinity. Just like “you” took your abdomen for granted and got marred by a deadly disease, I got marred by the assurance of resources and time.

Once I left the comfort of domestication and set foot out in the real world, I saw a lot of opportunities, experiences to seek, and things to try. A distorted sleeping cycle, untimely eating habits, eating whatever I got at hand, etc. became common practices. Exploiting the freedom I had was the foremost task my mind was alluded to do once I got out of home. Now, I could dare to miss classes on a regular basis and still sleep in peace, unlike my home where my parents would have ranted out their frustration had I missed classes so frequently. And academics – you remember the 11th-hour lovers I mentioned initially? I became that student inadvertently.

But then, the grass is always greener on the other side. When I see it from another perspective, I realise the vast amount of experience I am extracting at such a young age. I am maturing as a person, learning to tackle emotional and mental upheavals, discovering the value of every teardrop I shed. I am making friends who I am sure will become family to me if I hold on to them.  And if with great responsibility comes with great power, this independence, this abundance is nothing but power to me!

 

Image Credits: Adventure In Adventure Out

 

Priyanshu

[email protected]

We attempt to unearth the history of criminalisation and censorship of women’s bodies.

A bra is one of the many things that societies have imposed upon girls by tricking them into believing they need
it. Reach puberty and a girl’s nipple is perceived to be the most censored object in the universe. Regardless of how blazing the summers are, it’s imperative for the members of the “fairer sex” to cage their breasts. A 15-year study done by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports science expert from the University of Besançon, refutes the widely held notion that bras help retain the healthy structure of breasts; another study done by the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine, Brazil found that wearing a bra for several hours is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This isn’t a rant against bras (they have their own perks), but against the notion that has made them a sartorial compulsion owing to societal dikkats.

British Brought Blouses

A look at old Indian sculptures or paintings will tell how bras weren’t a part of the Indian culture, our art often
depicts women as topless. Evidence from history suggests that the visibility of the breasts was not equivalent to its
sexualised showcase. But this cannot be used as extended evidence for our progressive nature in the past.

Bandana Tewari, Editor-at-Large of Vogue India, writes, “I think the idea of nudity being sinful came with the Abrahamic religion. Not just in India, but if you look at pre-Abrahamic cultures anywhere in the world, like the Mayan civilization and the Egyptian civilization, bras didn’t exist because the breasts were not seen as objects of titillation. That’s a relatively new phenomenon.”
Brahmins Imposed Nudity

In the book Indian Fashion: Tradition, Innovation, Style, Arti Sandhu wrote that Jnanadanandini Tagore, a social
reformer who invented distinct styles of draping saris, was denied entry to clubs because she covered her breasts
with her saris alone. These facts show how the concept of covering up isn’t as inherently “Indian” as our desi aunties
would like us to believe.

In Southern India, during as early as the 19th century, women from lower castes weren’t allowed to cover their breasts, and to do so they had to pay Mula Karam or breast tax.
In the book Native Life in Travancore, writer Samuel Mateer mentions over a hundred taxes that were levied on the
lower caste population; breast tax was one of them. It was because of Nangeli, an Ezhava woman, whose sacrifice
removed this unjust practice. The folklore around her says that Nangeli covered her blossom and refused to endow the breast tax. When an officer came to her doorstep and demanded the tax, she cut her breasts and gave those to him. She died the same day from her injury, but her act sparked protests that soon led to the removal of Mula Karam.

Today when urban women (most of them upper caste), post topless photos online with populist hashtags like
#FreetheNipple, inspired by a campaign that originated in America, we often conveniently forget how an entire section of women were forcefully kept bare-breasted. The blouse, choli, angadis, or kanchuks weren’t for them. So with this history, one can’t help but feel a sense of irony as urban women of the upper castes denounce their upper garments. Embracing toplessness, thus, suggests an appropriation of DBA women’s lived experiences, and may even be viewed as a negation of their history of oppression.
Reclaiming our Anatomy from Hypocrisy
According to Lina Esco, Director of Free the Nipple, the topfreedom “highlights the general convention of allowing
men to appear topless in public while considering it sexual or indecent for women to do the same and asserts that
this difference is the unjust treatment of women. The campaign argues that it should be legally and culturally
acceptable for women to bare their nipples in public.”
Women’s bodies are sexualised all around us. Censorship regulators are fine with airing hate speeches, gruesome murders, and films that objectify women, but the moment a nipple from the female body comes into frame, screens go black. The feminists aren’t demanding billboards of topless girls to be plastered everywhere, but they are seeking to absolve the taboo attached to female nipples. This taboo further translates to girls being conscious and ashamed of their bodies, and promotes needless censorship.
Adam Lavine’s bare-chested performance at the Super Bowl halftime this February brought back the memory of the Super Bowl halftime of 2004. Named as the infamous “Nipplegate”, it referred to the performance where Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake due to a wardrobe malfunction. Following the incident, Janet was heavily shamed for a nip-slip that wasn’t her fault. Jackson’s singles and music videos were banned by Viacom, MTV, and Infinity Broadcasting. This was a major backseat for her career. Even after giving lengthy explanations and apologies, she continued to be boycotted. At the same time Justin Timberlake went on to have his career and could afford to even joke about the incident. If this isn’t unfairness, then a rational mind wouldn’t know what is.

The feminist battle cries of “burn the bras” might seem very first-worldish and unrelatable in a county like India,
but the effect of these fights will be seen years from now when things like breastfeeding in public, or enjoying the
rain without fearing a translucent t-shirt are normalised.

Feature Image Credits: Katie Vijos

Niharika Dabral
[email protected]

The tradition of flying a kite every year on 15th August not only honours the sacrifice of our ancestors but also celebrates the freedom that they fought for. This year, DU Beat brings to you a complete guide to flying a kite on Independence Day.

The tradition of kite flying, now viewed as a symbol of freedom and celebration of independence, started as a medium of protest against the British Raj ninety years ago. In 1927, the British government appointed a Commission under Sir John Simon to report on the working of the Indian constitution. Indian revolutionaries opposed this idea and kites, with the slogan of “Go back Simon”, were flown across the country as a mark of protest against the Commission.

Though the meaning of flying a kite has evolved over time, the conviction with which these beautiful hues cover the sky each year remains the same. DU Beat offers you a few hacks for kite flying:

Pick the Right Kite

Pick the right shape and style for your kite. Use a kite with a bold colour so that it is easy to spot in the sky. Red kites are easy to see and spot, especially when they crash. In terms of shape, the most common ones include diamond, delta, box, and dragon. Each shape will fly differently so give them all a try before you settle for one.

Fly in the Right Weather

The best winds for flying are between 5-25 MPH. Moderate winds will be perfect to fly a kite. Anything lighter would not be able to carry a kite. Strong winds make it very difficult to properly manoeuvre a kite. Never fly a kite during a thunderstorm.

Pick a Great Spot to Fly

A large and windy area free of trees and electric wires would be perfect. Do not fly a kite near power lines, telephone wires or high-rise apartment buildings.

Practice

To fly a kite, stand with your back to the wind, hold the kite in both your hands and toss it lightly until the wind catches it. Slowly unravel the string to let it climb. You will eventually get the hang of it, just remember to practice.

Where and what to buy?

Kite flying is very popular in Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj, Hudson Lines, Kingsway Camp, Kamla Nagar, Tilak Nagar, and other West Delhi areas. In such areas, you can get great varieties and deals on kites. Remember to only buy kites with cotton threads. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has issued a request not to use manjha for flying kites, because it is coated with crushed and powdered glass, which is dangerous not only for birds but also pedestrians and two-wheelers.

Where to Fly?

With people coming together from across Delhi, there are a few spots that are a delight to fly kites at. India Gate, Connaught Place, Nehru Park, and Lodhi Garden are the perfect places for kite-fliers and kite-lovers to be at on Independence Day.

 

Every time, a kite soars higher than the clouds or a child cries, “Kai Po Che”, there is freedom in the air and honour to the struggle made to acquire it.

 

Feature Image Credits:  Above Android

Muskan Sethi

[email protected]

 

In addition to the many prejudices, errs, and the copacetic oversimplifications of the modern man, is the idea that Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy are dystopian concepts which do not have, or never had, the requisite thrust to manifest in the modern circumstances, where it is widely acknowledged that the communication and information technology have made the present world a better place. In simple assumptions and beliefs, Nazism or fascism are rudimentary concepts, unpractical, theoretically unrealistic, and utterly irrational.

In the article, Umberto Eco on Donald Trump: 14 ways of looking at a fascist, released 10 days after the death of Umberto Eco, one of the profound thinkers of the 20th century, the author Lorraine Berry suggested that the Nazis represented the ultimate instance of the rational state and Hitler had a complete philosophy as a dictator. The article further went on to establish the fascistic instincts of Donald Trump, not missing, however, that Donald Trump was actually too dumb to be compared to Adolf Hitler.

So what point am I driving to when I establish the practicality of another Nazi regime, or when I further tell you that according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, there were only 19 countries that had a full democracy in 2016? What trend the world is actually following when extremism and alt-right politics is increasingly taking the global center stage. Everything is pointing to a picture of the world politics which is far removed from the ideals of a democratic society, inching towards a dictatorial world. We may find solace in denial, but the realities are thrown at our faces every other day. But as it is always with realities, they are scrambled pieces, waiting to be put together in a wholesome picture.

In his famous pamphlet, Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism, Lawrence Britt gives a list of 14 features of a dictatorship. Here are 14 signs of a fascist regime:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe which is manifested in racial, ethnic, or religious minorities.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorised.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion, and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government. Or else the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology are common among government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business and government relationship between the power elite.

10. Labour Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labour is the only real threat to a fascist government, labour unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police is given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright be stolen by the government.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. The assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers, and manipulation of the media, these tricks are blatantly practiced. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

To quote Eco from Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt to conclude, “Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plain clothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism* can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world.”

*Ur-Fascism was his umbrella term for Nazism and similar regimes.

 

Feature Image Credits: The Federalist Papers

Nikhil Kumar
[email protected]

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 ([email protected])

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

Our country has been independent of foreign rule for 67 years now. We’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in an India whose laws and policies are made by its own people. We’re even more fortunate to be a part of a small section in India that can read and write. And while we’re counting your blessings, maybe we should also consider ourselves lucky to be part of a miniscule population of young people in India who are able to manage a decent University level education. Now that we are thinking along these lines, lets think about what it’s like to be part of the ‘best’ University in India. Think about what we really know about the University of Delhi. How ‘free’ is this University we go to? How ‘free’ are we?

Are we free enough to choose not to study a particular language to match up to a certain standard of ‘Indian-ness’? Are we free enough to walk up to our Vice Chancellor, tell him we don’t agree with him? Or even our Principal? Are we free to decide what papers are ‘foundational’ to our Undergraduate education? Are we consulted every time there is a fee hike? How many protests have made a difference? How many of us actually care enough to participate in the Student’s Union elections – possibly our first experience of active democracy?

What is freedom to this University if something as essential as a new syllabus is made without consulting a body of teachers who have been teaching the subject for half their lives? What does technology mean to students who don’t even have enough chairs and tables in their classrooms? We’ve celebrated Independence Day in most colleges of the University, we’ve garlanded statues, remembered martyrs, but we’re not even slightly aware of what this freedom is meant for.  We – the future of this country; we – the torchbearers of the best university in the country; we, belonging to a University famous for producing the greatest contemporary thinkers this country has seen.

Freedom obviously comes at great cost. Its funny how being from a privileged, educated and well read India, many of us still haven’t been able to experience what it really means to be free. Many of us may never know.  The very establishment of Delhi University in 1922 took place as an attempt to free young minds of the country. 67 years after achieving formal freedom, it’s only upsetting this Grand University is being colonized by its own officials. From the Four Year Undergraduate Programme to the DUSU Elections, from hunger strikes to petitions and memorandums – teachers, students and administrative staff have no reason to celebrate freedom, no reason to feel free in a space ‘’where the mind is meant to be without fear, and the head is supposed to be held high.’’