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When you look at all the colleges that are not affiliated with DUSU, you will notice that most of them turn out to be women’s colleges rather than co-ed institutions. Is this because of what the students want, or what the college administration deems “right”, or what society considers a norm?


Delhi University is defined by some key components that make up the whole “DU college experience”— the campus, the food, and the infamous student union elections. But you would be wrong to assume that this is the case in each and every college of Delhi University. As of 2019, a total of only 52 DU colleges and faculties are affiliated with the Delhi University Student Union, lovingly referred to as DUSU.

 

A large proportion of the colleges not-affiliated with DUSU comprise women’s colleges, leaving barely any women’s colleges to be a part of DUSU. The question arises— does an internal bias really exist amongst the female DU students to not want to be part of the process and the complications of DUSU or is this just a manifestation of a system of historical entrenchment of women, not just in politics but in society as a whole?

The scene that we witness on larger political platforms like in various state assemblies or in the parliament, with men occupying most of the positions of power and women being given only token representation, can be seen trickling down onto the university level as well. Many of the contesting groups have only one female contestant amongst a group largely dominated by male candidates, a clear misrepresentation of the ratio of male to female students in the Delhi University student body.

When DUSU is not included in it (women’s colleges), I think it is taking away a lot of political autonomy…. (when) people opt out of it (DUSU) or when we aren’t kept in the loop, we miss out on a lot of political discussions and a lot of very important decisions that can be taken by us,” says Avantika, a former student from Gargi College.

 

Rather than addressing the concern of college administrations themselves not wanting their colleges to be a part of DUSU, the primary concern would be to address the question of whether female students themselves want to be a part of these elections.

It is not only about if we WANT to be part of the elections or not, but also that women always have and will have more restrictions— in terms of curfews, family concerns, safety issues, etc. Essentially, the way DU politics functions currently makes it very difficult for women to be part of the same, and that gives everyone an excuse and a justification to just not include women in DUSU in general,” says a 1st-year student from Delhi University.

The kind of freedom that male candidates possess and use has always existed in parallel to women candidates. The early curfews mean that most women candidates end up being unable to dedicate the same amount of time campaigning or organising events as a male candidate and the concern for safety, specifically in a city like Delhi, does not add positively to it. 

While entering into politics, women majorly face harassment, (wrongful) comments, and at times sexual torture. They are threatened and majorly, they are emotionally blackmailed,” says Meenakshi Yadav, a 2nd-year journalism student from LSR, who is also serving as the president of SFI LSR.

All these factors have, in a sense, culminated to form a sort of vicious cycle— women cannot give enough time or resources to the elections due to the systematic exclusion of women from public life, which leads to them being at a disadvantage and ultimately, in most scenarios, to them not being elected. This ends with a bare minimum representation of women in the elected panel and when women aren’t occupying decision-making positions, how do we expect women’s issues to come up and be addressed on public platforms?

 

But this is definitely not the only or the complete reason behind the non-participation of women’s colleges in DUSU. Most college administrations would rather not have their college be a part of DUSU, with many of them following on this path since the very beginning while others have pulled out from DUSU in recent years. “Yeh college DU politics ka part nhi hai, yahan padhayi acche se hogi” is a phrase most of the students in these non-DUSU colleges—like St. Stephens, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, or Gargi College—have heard at least once in their life, and this is exactly what the college administration exploits as well. Colleges that are not affiliated with DUSU go so far as this non-affiliation usually gets endorsed by the college administration and further appreciated by prospective students and their parents.

Most of the faculty at these colleges believe that the time during and around the DUSU elections is bubbling with hooliganism and leads to a very disruptive atmosphere in the college. Monika Nandi, associate professor at the Indraprastha College, is against taking part in DUSU elections “because of the use of money and muscle power”. But the teachers also do not hold a unanimous opinion over this. On the other hand, Bhupinder Chaudhary, associate professor at the Maharaja Agrasen College, does not feel that the issue of money and muscle power subsides by restricting the college’s or students’ access to DUSU. “All college students are above 18. If at that age they are allowed to elect the country’s government, why should they not be allowed to elect their union? Moreover, he raises a very valid question, that is, if teachers can have their own union, the Delhi University Teacher Association, then why can’t (shouldn’t) the students?

Most of the colleges don’t want to indulge in the disturbances which come from external sources like colleges, media, students, etc. (during elections). They want to keep a peaceful environment by suppressing the opportunities of students. They fear the revolution and violence that they think they will have to face if the students are involved in Politics, ” continues Meenakshi, in conversation with a DU Beat correspondent.

College administration would rather argue that it is for the “benefit” of the female students that the college would rather not affiliate itself with DUSU, citing the same reasons that society has cited to women for centuries now— “It’s for your own safety” or “Acche ghar ki ladkiyan yeh sab nhi krti”, all platitudes to suppress the voice of women in a world standing on the foundation of patriarchal bullies and misogynistic ideals. 

They tell us to lock up our doors, shut tight our windows, dress right, look down, speak low, hide away; because whatever makes it unsafe for us out there, that is not going to go away. 

 

So yes, women have been told to hide away for decades, and yes, “men will be men” and “we can’t change the society” have been the go-to phrases for centuries of missed opportunities and stolen platforms, but does that mean that in 2022, women belonging to such prestigious institute ons like Delhi university colleges— well-educated and independent-thinking women— should be denied of opportunities as basic as being able to vote? Even though all these colleges might not be a part of DUSU but that does not mean that DUSU does not affect these colleges. None of us exist in a vacuum. Delhi University has always been and will always be highly interdependent, so how does it make sense for the college administration to deny a platform like DUSU to students just because in technicality it is allowed? How does it make sense for us to talk about women’s problems in front of a male-dominated panel, elected by a predominantly male student population, who belong to an electoral college that barely includes any women colleges? How does it make sense to be living in a time when we still need to fight for women’s suffrage?

 

Read also ‘Who Run The World? Aes(that)ic Girls Do!’ 

 

Feature Image Credits: indiatvnews.com

 

Manasvi Kadian

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Student Politics is believed to be a product of the present times. Yet, there are historical pieces of evidence that suggest otherwise. Read ahead to find out more.


When the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) protested against the punishment given in the case of the 2001 Parliament attack, students including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid got arrested. When the Literary Society of the Ramjas College, University of Delhi decided to invite Umar Khalid to speak in a seminar on ‘Cultures of Protest’ in 2017, a fight broke out. What was supposed to be a peculiar argument turned out to be a massive protest, involving everyone from students to renowned political faces. Students have been a part of the political sphere for quite some time now but should students be a part of this political arena? When the involvement of political parties in student politics has increased for their benefit of expanding the core strength of the party, should students step into it? It is believed that Student Politics is a product of the current decade. However, student politics is not just ABVP or NSUI, it has a history that accounts for its greater place in the democracy.

Pre-Independence

There is no starting point but the late 19th century and early 20th century saw the students getting involved in political matters. The swadeshi movement that was led as part of the anti-partition movement saw active participation of school and college students. Because of this situation, the students who were found guilty were stripped of their scholarships, expelled, or fined. What followed this movement was a consciousness to protest against the unjust that was being served. The students like Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki actively participated in politics. As the movements developed with time, people realized that violence could make the Britishers leave the country. The non-cooperation movement too saw a wide participation of students. They boycotted their schools and colleges that were government-affiliated to show their solidarity with the movement.

An indelible name in Indian history is that of Bhagat Singh, a student of National College, Lahore who had his roots running deep into politics. His commitment to ‘inquilab’  (revolution) inspired a wave of students across the country. His political ideologies did differ but the goal remained the same, to sleep in a free country. The students continued to march for freedom. They were fierce and focused. They did not cease until they achieved swaraj. This political involvement of the students gave rise to a certain culture of student politics that this country was about to experience.

Post-Independence

India was deeply engrossed in realizing its new dreams that were to shape the country which was reeling from the state of shambles. The nation was disintegrated on the grounds of various socio-economic factors. Yet, the political breeze was always prevailing. Even during the demand for linguistic states, protests broke out across the country which again saw active participation of the students. Further, the Naxalite movement that started in 1967 saw enormous support from the students. With the onset of the recession, India was about to fall into the grips of an economic crisis. Students saw this as a threat to their future prospects of employment and this directed them to join the Naxalite movement. Political involvement of the students was well active in this period and continued to remain the same in the coming years.

The Navnirman Andolan in 1974 was a movement led by the students in Gujarat against a hike in hostel food fees. Clashes between students and police provoked an indefinite strike across the educational institutions in Gujarat. This led to the resignation of Chimanbhai Patel. Nav Nirman Yuvak Samiti was formed during the movement. They demanded the dissolution of the state assembly and for holding fresh elections. Further, Morarji Desai went on a hunger strike, and then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi had to give in. The day the election results were declared was the same day when the verdict on the latter’s electoral malpractices came. In the same year, the Bihar movement was initiated by the students which were led by Jayaprakash Narayan. The political movement was against the anarchy in the state government. This movement led to the formation of Bihar Chhatra Sangharsh. However, the movement later turned against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (Sampoorna Kranti). As a result of all these, a national emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi.

Emergency saw the suspension of all the democratic practices. This was resisted by all the sections of society, especially students. The government used repressive actions against the involvement of students in politics. This led to brutal consequences like the Rajan Case. P.Rajan was an engineering student who died as a result of torture in police custody during the Emergency in Kerala. Jailing and torturing the students because of their political support is a ‘trend’ of 1975 which found its place even in today’s times.

Present

Student politics has its roots through the pages of Indian history. As the times change, people learn more. The knowledge of a twelve-year-old child would be merely numbers and letters for the same-age child ten years into the future. This enhancement helps in a better understanding of the world and leads to demand for a better place to live. The students’ participation has always been there but has increased with the increase in their capacity to comprehend. Nevertheless, student politics will always be present and never cease to grow for better democratic functioning.

Read Also: ‘Bhakts vs Liberals’: Who Wins in Divisive Politics?

Featured Image Source: Youth Ki Awaaz

Ankita Baidya

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An overview over previously amended UAPA, aimed to counter terrorists, has resulted in terrorised dissidents instead.

Free speech, political dissention, and even mild criticism, might get anyone designated as ‘terrorist’ by the Centre, ever since Home Minister Amit Shah, in a sovereign state, proposed the amended version of an already ‘draconian law’ called, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and it somewhat suits the ‘rishta vohi soch nayi’ narrative with its uncanny resemblance to the Rowlatt Act of 1919 set by the colonisers to criminalise protests.

What is UAPA?

In 1967, UAPA was passed for the first time in the parliament, and it gave the entitlement to the government to designate any ‘organisation’ as ‘unlawful.’ It further defined and criminalised what it seemed as unlawful. However in 2004, Manmohan Singh led Congress further amended it without getting it scrutinised by the special committee. The government was disposed with more power, defined terrorism, and could declare any organisation as ‘terrorist.’ It also empowered the police with enhanced power of interrogation, which was often abused as a harassment tool.

What does the 2019 amendment say?
The recent changes proposed by the Home Minister Amit Shah, which were passed in the Lok Sabha owning to heavy NDA majority and smooth relations in Rajya Sabha, allowed the interference of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to mess with the federal system, and most importantly declare any ‘individual’ as opposed to what was ‘organisation’ as ‘terrorist.’ This too was passed sans the scrutiny of the select committee.

Who are the categorically individual terrorists?

The Home Minister made it very clear that individuals who participate, fund, or engage in raising funds for terrorist activities, shall be treated along the lines of this act.

Most importantly he said, “those are terorists who attempt to plant terrorist literature and terorist theory in the minds of the young, guns do not give rise to terrorism, the root of it is the propaganda that is done to spread it.”

The Problematic Aspects

At no point does the law define what is terrorist literature and theory, for all one may have a copy of The Communist Manifesto and the Centre can use that as evidence.

Also what is the urgent need of the government to go after individuals specifically, when under chapter four of the same act provides for the accused to be prosecuted and punished if found guilty by the courts? Perhaps it’s that ‘if’ they want to win over, by curtailing a person’s right to get bail, or proper redressal. On average 75% cases under UAPA ended in acquittal over three years ending 2016 as per Business Standards’ analysis of NCRB data. It only raises skepticism if the Centre is trying to overstep this trend by removing the redressal system all and for once.

Who all are booked under this so far?
Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Masoor Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. However, individuals with no organisation backing who were arrested post the amendment included Kashmiri photojournalist Masrat Jahan, Kashmiri journalist Gowhar Geelani, peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, student leaders, Meeran Haider, Safoora Zargar and Umar Kahlid.

Conclusion

There’s scope of some appeal in this contentious law which would take minimum 100 days and maximum uncertain days, for the heeding to go through the Home Ministry which itself labelled the accused as terrorist in the first place, and review committee, until then, one is a terrorist until proven otherwise, without grant to bail, or lawyer, and it’s all because the State with enhanced centralised power in a democracy simply believed so without any evidence.

Featured Image Credits: The Quint

Umaima Khanam

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Last night, I was involved in a heated argument with my school friend over the government’s efforts in containing the novel coronavirus in India. It started off as a healthy discussion as to what can be done to better the current situation but soon turned into a politically charged conversation. Now, that’s not us. Back in school, all that we discussed was cricket and WWE. Politics was never on the table. It was never meant to be but now that it is, learning to live with it is the only option left.

This is not the first time I have come across such situations. India has become a breeding ground of controversies since December 2019 when the amended Citizenship Act came into being. Nationwide protests, gruesome violence, student dissent took the centre stage. All this was followed by the worst riots Delhi has experienced in over 36 years. Escaping confrontations becomes difficult when so much happens so fast. I have had people agreeing with my opinions and others, discarding them. There’s always resistance, but when it is your friend opposing your point of view, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Why are we friends with anyone anyway? Largely because of the similarity in our thoughts and views. But when that common link seems doubtful, conflicts arise. You start doubting your friendship and it adversely affects you, mentally, socially, emotionally. All of this is accompanied by the urgent need to prove yourself right and the other, horribly wrong. A discussion that could have been fruitful turns unhealthy and violent. And to be honest, there’s no way to avoid these conflicts. Either you’ll choose friendship over your beliefs or vice-versa. Irrespective of the choice, you’ll be losing something valuable. So is there a middle ground? How do we deal with such conflicts?

Here are two things that, in my opinion, can put things into perspective:

Respecting Opinions

No matter how flawed their narratives may seem, you must learn to respect their opinions. Their choice of political parties/leaders/policies might not go down well with you but we must realise that everyone is entitled to think and process the way they do. That is exactly what we call a democracy, a concept that is not only fading away from India but many other countries as well. Our friends might support controversial judgements and legislations but rather than indulging in unhealthy and heated discourses, backing your arguments with logic and facts and presenting them with compassion is the way forward. And if this doesn’t work, try the next step.

Acceptance

One can always persuade the other into believing that his/her argument makes more sense but in the end, it’s always better to accept that people think and react differently. And those beliefs are a result of many variables, one of which, is privilege. The more privileged you are, more often than not, you’ll side with those in power. Privilege makes a man overlook the otherwise evident truth. In a nutshell, accept the fact that you and your friend differ in your politics and that consequently affects your bonding.

And all of this is not limited to friendships and can be extended to many other relationships as well. They might be your own relatives or family friends or boyfriends/girlfriends. So the next time you discuss politics with your dear one, do so with kindness and logic, the two cornerstones of a fruitful discussion.

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Ayaan Khan is a 1st-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s in Statistics (H) at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. He’s particularly interested in Journalism and Poetry.

Looking at recent election campaigns, and the political climate of the country in general, several things come to light, one of them being the twisting of historical facts.

In his novel 1984, Orwell says, “Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” 

Speaking at the Banaras Hindu University, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Putting together our history, embellishing it and rewriting it is the responsibility of the country, its people and historians.”

Of course, efforts to do this have been underway for a few years now-during its first tenure, the culture ministry under the BJP Government set up a fourteen-member committee to present a report that will help the government rewrite certain aspects of Indian History, to prove that Hindu scriptures are not myths and that today’s Hindus descend directly from India’s first inhabitants from thousands of years ago. 

India, unfortunately, is no stranger to such practices. Read Indian school textbooks, and you’ll see omissions of history from the dark days of Indira Gandhi’s tenure as Prime Minister. In textbooks from Rajasthan, you’ll see a watered-down version of Ambedkar’s fight against the oppressive caste system, where instead of representing him accurately as a vehement opponent of the caste system ingrained into the then prevalent structure of Hinduism, he is portrayed as a “Hindu Social Reformer” akin to the likes of Dayanand Saraswati and K B Hedgewar, the founder of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Nehru said that Mahmud Ghazni was a lover of art (the same Mahmud Ghazni who destroyed idols and temples in India). Gandhi is praised and hailed as a reformer and father of the nation but nowhere do we mention his obsession with the caste system

This cherry-picking of facts is incredibly problematic. It is the job of historians to present facts as they are, good or bad. However, politics is a different game altogether, and when contentions in History come into the political realm, things get ugly. Integrity is a crucial part of historical method, except no compulsion is there on politicians to be morally prudent.

When politicians are allowed to twist facts in order to pursue a particular narrative, they not only change what people think happened in the past. The key to the future lies in revisiting history, thus, history becomes an incredibly powerful tool to influence people’s emotions and actions. 

Coming back to the status quo, that is exactly what the current government is doing. Historian Romila Thapar says “if the Hindus are to have primacy as citizens in a Hindu Rashtra (kingdom), their foundational religion cannot be an imported one.” It aims to revisit history in a manner where it establishes the current Hindu majority as indigenous. That, of course, comes at a cost, which here are the core values that make India what it is. That is precisely why it’s best to ensure that History is left outside of the political realm. It is far too dangerous a tool to be left in the hands of people like politicians, who’re guided by principles that primarily benefit themselves.
Image Credits: India TV

Khush Vardhan Dembla

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Does your bemused self stand at crossroads, indecisive of whether to join in on vocalising dissent amidst the palpable protest culture or not? Read on to find about the battle that ensues.

You might have been a busy bee drenched with assignments, deadlines, society commitments, parties, tinder dates, self quarantines (if you are introvert) and other youth culture activities, but simultaneously there has been a turbulence which led to class suspensions, teachers’ strike, mass harassment, violent riots and police crackdowns which in turn made ‘Inquilab’ strike a crescendo.

What one may find sudden and superious is aftermath of staying passive and not challenging the existent discourse.

“Without deviation from the norm progress is not possible.” The underlying construct of this quote by Frank Zappa is evident in every little rebellious thing we do. To say someone has never protested about anything in life seems far from veracity. There are no shortages of elements which challenge the social, political, economical and cultural cloak which blankets our existence of being. We don’t dwell in Utopia. This leaves us with the current state of affairs which are results of unchallenged perpetuated norms of behavior.

But is it right to put the onus on small fragile shoulders of people who are unfazed with oppressions, are cocooned in comfort, enmeshed in apolitical stances and have sorted priorities?

These are some of the many reasons also labelled as excuses by active participants of protests. Arunima Tripathi, a B.A. (H) Political Science, first year student from Kirori Mal College expressed her dismay over privilege shaming and said,”Keeping my privileges and political leanings aside, I join in on protests because it comes from my conscience and common sense.” 

There are some who wish to be vociferous but silence themselves from the fear of their parents and society. Some fear safety amidst police crackdowns. Priyanshi Sarraf, a first year B.Com. (H) student from Hansraj College said,”I feel guilty about not being able to mobilise for protests because of restrictions from my parents who fear for my safety, but I try to be active on social media and voice my opinions where I feel relatively safer. I do receive flak sometimes but it’s my space after all.”

Online activism emboldens the cause without any doubts. Protesting is not just mere taking to streets but also cultivating a sphere which encourages more voices to follow. Those active ones continuously try to get the attention of maximum people possible to join in on the mission. This helps in keeping the discourse on the table for discussions and engagement rather than losing it in the winds of oblivion.

Political correctness is ideal when going in protests. There are instances where people are not aware of the anatomy of the protests. Brut India’s short video surfaced which showed a woman alleging her husband and kids who forced her to sit in Shah Jamal demonstrations in Aligarh in the wake of protest tide against Citizenship Amendment Act. Such accounts of incidents weakens the stride of the movement. Pro or Anti, if you feel like you have something to say remember it’s your right to do so and if you sit in silence nothing is going to change the frosted dynamic.

To protest or not to protest is a matter for your indecisive conscience but it also is an obligation to the ones to who have the potential to act in times when crisis befalls. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” you have to be wary of which side you pick because that winter of the times sure has come!

Feature image credits: DU Beat 

Umaima Khanam

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It’s been almost 100 years since this revolutionary slogan surfaced in the battle of freedom and over the years the landscape has changed, but the non- redundancy of  tyranny and resistance to it simultaneously, still calls for shouts of Inquilab.

My early encounter with the groundbreaking term happened as a kid when my mother would read from the local urdu daily called, The Inquilab. I asked her what the title meant and she smiled and replied with one word- “Revolution.”

Over the years history taught us with the valor and greatness of our freedom fighters against the rules of colonial British. One such was an episode which happened on 8th April 1929 outside Delhi’s Legislative Assembly where an announcement with regards to the Public Safety Bill and Trade Dispute Bill had to take place. This law enforcement would result in protests being labelled as ‘illegal’ and imprisonment of any individual without any trial (present day Kashmir). To impede such draconian laws an explosion happened outside the assembly and “Inquilab Zindabad!” was clamoured in the air by  legendary Martyrs Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt. This chapter in history marked the highlight of the immortal slogan.

Many fall victim of crediting the origin of the famous slogan to Shaheed Bhagat Singh himself, however it has its roots in Mexico where people resisted against more than thirty years of dictator Porfirio Díaz with “Viva La Revolution!” which is Spanish for “long live revolution!.”  This travelled across oceans and inspired Urdu poet Maulana Hasrat Mohani in 1921 to give the world it’s catchphrase which was given new heights when used by Bhagat Singh and is very dominantly used in today’s time of protest linguistics: ‘Inquilab Zindabad.’

However some self proclaimed nationalists and others sprew skepticism over the use of this phrase by today’s youth which stands in resistance to the party in power. They claim the present protest culture to be flawed and opposed to true nationalistic approaches. Few arguments extend to mark the use of Inquilab as mere instruments of capitalism and accuse commercialisation of Inquilab amidst the protest culture. With commodified Inquilab on t-shirts, wall posters, etc there’s a taint on the visionary and glorious phrase of revolution.

The people who are worried over the selling of Inquilab although ironically (or hypocritically- which it has a limit) also buy the products which are of the umbrella company which sells nationalism quite openly.

Image Caption:  Image Credits: Twitter
Image Caption: Patanjali products endorsing nationalism.                                 Image Credits: Twitter

Big words are so quickly attached to the small scale sellers of the roadside who sell the so called ‘nationalism’ to people and on the contrary big businesses bloom with marketing and manipulation without much hindrances. There also is a possibility that some consumers buy the merchandise to be woke wannabes but nothing can undermine the greater cause that Inquilab has brought in the line of protest culture.

Since its inception about a century ago resistance has flourished from the youth- Inquilab has travelled time, distance, and unfortunately to some extent: Marxism, but undeniably it’s a spirit and motivation to unite and call for in times of change for progress, and in all healthy spirit will echo from the public to counter malign forces of power today, tomorrow and more hundred years of time to come.

INQUILAB ZINDABAD!

Feature Image Credits: Frieze

Umaima Khanam

[email protected]

The English department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women called for a series of General Body Meetings in light of the increasing state of communal violence faced by the city and its people. 

On 2nd March 2020, the English department called for a General Body Meeting at the Peace Centre. The GBM was centered around the issue of increasing state of communal violence faced by the city and its people, and was called in order to decide the extension of help to those affected by the violent environment. Following message was circulated by the English Department Union: “Minutes of Today’s Meeting and Call for GBM. In today’s meeting, we discussed the current political climate and what the department can do to play its part. 2A’s decision to boycott classes indefinitely was discussed, along with similar boycott by the department collectively, as well as collection drives, fundraising efforts, and volunteering at protest sites.

Students suggested the following ideas:

-Freeze attendance in case of classes undertaking boycotts or students unable to attend classes.

-Have one event a week wherein professors can discuss the larger situation creating space for discussion

-Publish a collective narrative of real experiences, use blogs and social media to raise awareness

-Restructure class lectures making classrooms flexible spaces for open ended discussions, if people really want to attend them

-A schedule of extra classes by teachers, or study sessions with seniors, once the boycott is over.

Some students also expressed their reluctance to boycott as they felt it could be a tokenistic gesture. The union has expressed these views to their staff advisors and administration and will be addressing the department about possible ways forward tomorrow at 10:45 in the peace centre before the protest gathering. If you are able to come to college, please attend this GBM. 

English Department Union” 

The action of boycott was first initiated by a section of second year students pursuing English honours. The section decided to go on indefinite boycott of classes in order to join protests and shake the illusion of normalcy on campus. However, differing views did arise. “I feel that it’s a very elitist stance. To go on an indefinite boycott could just hamper the education of the marginalized sections. Some can afford to pay to repeat the semester but can everybody do it? Also, what are we even doing while carrying out a boycott? Do we have a charter of demands? Are we taking any substantial step to improve the situation and actually utilize the time we have because of the boycott? If it’s only about being able to join protests then even a partial boycott on days of protests can fulfill that need. And if it’s only about showing that normalcy does not exist then it can be done while also attending classes. For instance, people could organise protests on campus after classes or wear symbols of dissent like t-shirts or any other such thing that says stuff like no NRC, CAA, NPR.”, said a student from 2A who wished to remain anonymous. On 3rd March 2020 the Union discussed their conversation with staff advisors and possible ways forward with the department. One of the resolutions was conducting online anonymous polls. Two possible outcomes came into perspective. Firstly, total indefinite boycott wherein the “entire department will call for a total boycott irrespective of internals and attendance, in solidarity with students from affected areas”. Secondly, partial boycott in which “the department will call for a boycott of classes post 11am (or suitable time), irrespective of attendance and internals, in days in which protest marches and gatherings are scheduled”. On the same day, the department announced the following: “After repeated GBMs and a vote, the department has reached a tally of 115 votes for a total boycott and 68 votes for a partial boycott. However, after the count was over, 23 students have approached us asking for a revote with a “No boycott” category. Since the option was not expressed by these people or their representatives at the GBMs, and since there is an overwhelming majority for a total boycott, this is the stance that we will be following. Since mid-sem break is right around the corner and questions arise about the situation concerning the same, we will be re-evaluating once college reopens post break.” 

IMG-20200303-WA0040~2

Many students complained about the inability to express their views freely. “I also don’t feel absolutely free to be able to share an opinion that the majority does not support because if someone is speaking of wanting to attend classes, all of them are trying to educate her on how the boycott is important and how they are being insensitive by thinking of classes so they’re trying to just reinforce their opinion all the time when they should try to accommodate everyone’s voices.”, said a second year student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Another GBM was called on 5th March 2020 at 11am, to discuss the matter with the department. The following message was circulated by the Union: “Based on the GBM today, the department will be following a partial boycott stance as a collective, wherein the entire department will only boycott all classes on days of protest marches and youth gatherings. However, individual sections are free to follow a total boycott stance provided the entire class agrees to this motion. This decision comes as a result of groups of students feeling bullied and targeted for picking a stance or for attending classes, as well as the confusion in communication between students and their CRs. Note: 

  1. Classes will take place for those who wish to attend.
  2. For students unable to attend college due to safety concerns, the union will be making attempts to ensure that attendance is granted to you all and extra classes can be arranged as well.
  3. For students or classes who wish to boycott indefinitely, some teachers are willing to take extra classes in order to ensure that you do not miss out on syllabus.
  4. If a section comes to a consensus about total boycott, their CRs must communicate that to their teachers and ensure that no student is attending classes on the days of total boycott. 

Further discussions are awaited after the mid-semester break. The department also has its annual conference- Litmus 2020 scheduled on 20th and 21st March 2020. 

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives 

Image Credits: Department of English, LSR

 

Priyanshi Banerjee

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Winston Churchill once wrote, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Here’s looking at how history was composed by our leaders at the eve of independence and beginning of self-rule, despite their apparent differences.

It is a well known fact that history was composed and looked after by coterie of the Indian National Congress which came to the fore in the leadership fracas in India before 1947, as a consequent result, Indian history has seldom acknowledged the fact that the country is indebted as much to Sardar Vallabhai Patel for its independence and integration as to leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru. The extraordinary leader also known hasn’t been given proper remembrance despite his great sacrifices for Independence, his contributions to issues like Kashmir and Hyderabad, as well as the bureaucratic system and the efforts made by him in unifying the country.
Patel considered himself a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and conceded to him (even on issues he had a differing view on), while Nehru, who was made the first Prime Minister of the nation, was neither a friend nor an enemy. They both worked together as partners, but also were often at loggerheads on several issues arising from the conflict between Nehru’s principles and Patel’s priorities.
Here is a brief account of their significant collaborations and rivalries wrapped around the modern history of the country;

For Post Of Congress President
Vallabhai Patel was the most favored choice to be sworn in as the President of Congress several times. The majority in Congress looked at him as the most deservingt candidate due to his credentials of being a skillful and hardheaded leader. However, he stepped aside for Nehru upon the request of his Guru, Mahatma Gandhi. “I suggested your name for the crown of thorns (President ship of the Congress). Keep it on, though the head be bruised,” wrote Gandhi Ji to Nehru in a letter dated 15th July 1936.
On Socialism
Nehru was increasingly disposed towards the idea that the developmental model of the nation must be steered by the government. However, Patel was of the opinion that industry must be established in the country before nationalization and also had cited the example of England, where socialism arose considerably on the road to industrialization.
On Hyderabad
A day prior to the entrance of Indian forces into Hyderabad (which was a princely state not part of India at that time) to fight against the Nizam’s
paramilitary force, K.M. Munshi, India’s then Agent General In Hyderabad, had recorded that Nehru “flew into rage and upbraided Sardar for his action and attitude towards Hyderabad.” However, plans didn’t change and the Indian forces rolled into Hyderabad.
On Kashmir Issue
Patel had advised Nehru against taking the Kashmir issue to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and even famously called it the “Insecurity Council”. However, his advice was ignored and this move resulted in the UNSC further complicating the issue by asking for withdrawal of forces and
conduct of plebiscite in the region.

Patel and Nehru’s rivalry and the internal strife between the two strands of the Congress led by them had been finally quelled upon the martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi. There were heated arguments between Nehru and Patel and Patel had even written to Gandhi Ji to relieve him of his responsibilities. However, upon Gandhi Ji’s death, Nehru wrote a letter to Patel that now everything had changed and that there was urgent need for them to function closely and co-operatively, which Patel reciprocated. Hence Gandhi, through his death, could reconcile both the leaders of the new and fragile country.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Abhinandan Kaul

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Here is an eye-opening first hand account of the Shaheen Bagh protests from the pen of a participating media-person.

I have seen various media personnel visit and report about the protests at Shaheen Bagh. But as media students, we are often told that the more comfortable a person is with us, the more heartfelt the conversation will be. Thus, I made it a point to be without any media equipment and be a part of the protest. The result of this was eye-opening.

As I reached the locality, the first thing I could notice was the posters of the local MLA Amanatullah Khan all along Jasola puliya (bridge), besides which are huge dumps of garbage. The area suffers heavily from lack of sanitation facilities. The Delhi Police have placed barricades at multiple places around the demonstration. 

Dissent and fulmination form the basis of a vibrant democracy. In neoteric times, a demonstration which has become the flag bearer of these rights are the protesters of Shaheen Bagh. These protests have, for antipathetic and sympathetic reasons, been the hot topic in national politics as well as media for over two months. 

One can’t help but notice several roadside shops selling, in simple words, protest merchandise. These include shirt pins, mufflers, head wraps and t-shirts. The shopkeeper tells me that he, a class 7th student, along with his father can make around Rs. 200 to 300 each. On being asked about his schooling, he gives me a sad shrug. When I ask him about his meals, he tells me that just twenty metres ahead, a ‘Sardar Ji’ and his wife, both advocates have started langar and they feed everyone. “They both get pensions every month as they are lawyers. What a life they have. I wish I could also just do nothing and earn a lot.” The point of doubt in this statement was that advocates do not get any pension, so where was that money coming from? Even after multiple tries, I couldn’t get the answer to this question. The whole area is witnessing the rise of a gig economy which survives on the protests and if the protests stop, this economy will also crash. 

Further down the street is a vendor who is selling kufis. Talking to me, he reiterates his anger towards the establishment, “The government is doing nothing. Modi and Shah along with the RSS are onto us. Sometimes, I feeling like burning the whole parliament down. They are not doing work anyway.” Just beside him is an old lady or as she was being addressed ‘Dadi’. She tells me about her son working in the Delhi Metro as an engineer. She emphasises on the fact that no one can defy ‘Allah ka Farman’ or God’s order, “These people in the government are just humans and they can’t defeat Allah.” On knowing that I was a college student, she gives me her best wishes. 

The place was full of buzz as the arrival of Supreme Court lawyers was due in a short while. Even though the people there are protesting for the same cause, still everyone’s views are different. And without a leader, these views clash. While some wanted to talk to the lawyers, others were steadfast on the fact that the Apex Court itself is a ‘slave’ of the government. 

The stretch which is being used by the protestors for the sit-in is home to many big showrooms. And due to the protests, the business of these shops has crashed. The streets also had the rumour that these showroom owners are bribing the authorities to clear the road and get their businesses running. Annoyed by this rumour an attendee says, “These people won’t understand. If they won’t earn for some time, what bad can happen? But if the protests finish our future generations won’t be able to live, they’d become slaves.” 

As opposed to the common narrative, people here were genuinely scared of the trio – National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). This fear was also a result of mongering as most of the people didn’t know everything about the bill. The hoarding put up in the area, which did try to explain the matter was itself fallacious. This explanation connected the Aryan theory of Friedrich Schlegei and William Jones to the present scenario – where misconception goes on and on based on such assumptions and tries to force a particular interpretation of the trio rather than letting people using their sense.

The protestors themselves know the fact that the moment they unblock the road, nobody will care for their protesting anymore. Apart from this, the organisers also do not allow men to sit in the front, only women are allowed to do so. On being asked why, a bystander tells me that they only have these two factors – the roadblock and the women, as leverage for the protest. If they lose either of them, the protests will fail. 

This has resulted in the popular opinion of the place to shift from ‘saving the constitution’ to ‘saving the kaum’ or community. The protest is being led by the women of Shaheen Bagh but several men around the area do not want to accept this empowering symbol. “Are we wearing bangles that these lawyers will ask the women for their views? These women are just being given too much importance”, said a man when the Supreme Court lawyer asked for the views of women on the matter. After a short while, the so-called ‘volunteers’ barged into the sitting area and blocked the view of many women. When confronted they started pushing and heckling the women. Since these boys were locals and knew almost everyone, not many confronted them and they continued to stand wherever they wanted. 

Just a few days back so-called activist, Gunjan Kapoor tried to film the protests without consent while wearing a burqa and sitting among the protestors. After a while, she was caught by the protesters who reportedly had a hard time ‘saving’ her from the locals before handing her over to Delhi Police. Mentioning this, a dadi trying to give proof of the peaceful nature of the protests to the lawyers, said, “We handed over Gunjan Kapoor to the police. Even though she was a Hindu, we did not harm her.” These lines forced me to rethink about the secular nature of the protests. 

The Shaheen Bagh protests are facing the grave dangers of conflicting views and unclear narratives. If the protestors do not understand and address this, the whole protests will be delegitimised, thus breaking the protestors. 

Image Credits: Aniket Singh Chauhan for DU Beat

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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