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ABVP-led DUSU slams the Left for 5 January JNU violence and anti-CAA protests with hoardings all over North Campus. ABVP and NSUI exchange words regarding no official meetings, securing permission and wasting union budget. 

University’s North Campus has been covered with hoardings put by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP)  led Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) blaming the Left for the January 5 violence inflicted at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). They have also blamed the Left for protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. 

 Akshit Dahiya, President, Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) has accepted that the provocative hoardings have been installed by the ABVP. “They (the Left) are speaking about breaking India and slogans and banners seeking freedom for Kashmir have sprung up at their protests. There are attempts to project students’ protest in a negative way,” said Dahiya. 

The DUSU sits on an unbalanced note as three of the members are affiliated to ABVP while the post of Secretary comes from a rather different ideology; led by the Congress-led- National Students’ Union of India (NSUI). Dahiya added that three hoardings have been put up near Law Faculty after attaining the required permission from authorities. The hoardings have messages such as “CAA ke naam par desh jalana bandh karo” (stop burning the country in the name of CAA) and “Left attacks JNU,” carrying pictures of ABVP members injured in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) January 5 violence and those injured due to anti-CAA protests all over the country. One of the hoardings also shows mob pelting stones.

However, the National Students’ Union of India slammed the rather cheap move by ABVP. Ashish Lamba, Secretary of the DUSU questioned the ABVP’s decision to put up such posters as there was no official DUSU meeting regarding the same. Dahiya countered the claim by stating that DUSU Executive Council which comprised 15 members, including the four DUSU office-bearers who came to the conclusion with the consensus of 10 members.  

The Delhi President of NSUI, Akshay Lakra, criticised the wastage caused by ABVP-led DUSU of the Union’s budget. Accusing the ABVP in indulging in dirty left-right politics in free university spaces, Lakra continues, “Despite being exposed many times by media and JNU students, ABVP still hasn’t accepted its defeat in its own propaganda. The NSUI strongly condemns any sort of hate campaign run by political parties on university campuses. It’s high time that we restore peace and harmony on campuses,” he said. To counter this claim, Akshit Dahiya, DUSU President, denied using the budget for putting up the hoarding rather the Executive Council contributes 200 INR per member. 

January 5, 2020, went down quite unfortunate on JNU as masked men and women barged into the campus with weapons, vandalising and injuring people as the Delhi Police observed in silence. Media debated and conspired to blame the Left for inflicting violence on the left, thus perpetuating the idea of ‘Left Terror’. However, within a few days, Pinky Chaudhary of Hindu Raksha Dal took to video to claim responsibility for the merciless attack on unarmed students. In the video, Chaudhary says, “For several years, JNU has been a bastion of communists and we will not tolerate it. Hindu Raksha Dal, Bhupendra Tomar, Pinky Chaudhury take the responsibility of what has happened in JNU…all of them were our volunteers. Those who cannot do such work for Mother India don’t have the right to live in this country.” The violence instigated on students was deadly as over 30 injured students and professors were admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre on the night of 6th January. 

Featured Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar

Anandi Sen
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Have you ever faced a situation when your opinions don’t resonate with the masses? It gets worse when your kith and kin are loggerheads with your opinions, and personal relationships suffer.

The political scenario has heated up like never before in the country, where we can see everyone having an opinion about the current events in the nation. While protesting is everyone’s legal right, it becomes very difficult to dissent when your own family and friends disregard your political opinions, which might turn personal relationships sour. The current scenario can trap one into their own spiral of silence.

Many students struggle to explain to their parents the reasons behind them protesting. Lashed as ‘immature’ and ‘brainwashed’, many are disregarded for having a certain political opinion which builds up to spoil personal relations.

Anandi Sen, from Kamala Nehru College, DU said, “Several school friends and flings have parted ways solely because of my political opinions. I am no longer in touch with them, both online and offline. However, my family still, sadly, remains that one community which cannot be parted with due to my opinions, this simply results in an eerie silence on the dinner table and awkward gazes at the newspaper headline.”

While it may not be worth losing friends over politics, as politics is unpredictable, but we can try to convince the other party and come to terms with the situation. “The Personal is Political. I can only laugh at people who want to keep politics out of their conversations and relations, remember, their ideology reflects who they are and what they think, their ideology is their thought. Why would you acknowledge anyone who believes in the systematic oppression of a different community?” continues Anandi.

A lot of us are surrounded by families who lack empathy and peers who lack cognisance, and often we find ourselves in situations of administration clampdown over peaceful protests. When a healthy democracy falls to rot, the pillar of dissent stands tall and braves its way through the mayhem of destruction. Dissent puts forward our ideas of patriotism on open roads for us to claim back, braving a ‘mobile addicted’ generation to fight back against malicious lies being peddled on the internet.

What concerns us, more than ever today, is the permeation of dissent in our lifestyle and apolitical spaces. We cannot allow our families to bask in their problematic politics anymore, one that encourages blatant injustices and discrimination against communities. Initiating uncomfortable conversations in our own homes is necessary to combat the years of propaganda that has been fed in our lives.

Countering lies with facts, and calling out the lack of journalistic objectivity by prime time news channels that are owned by corporate and political overloads is important. We need to consciously invest in artists who don’t enable an authoritarian government, and who let the masses bleed in a bid for fame. Do not co-opt another communities’ story, it’s important for the movement to be intersectional in nature, one that allows every community to have a voice that is not snatched in a bid for the populace.

We are also going to learn things that make us question ourselves, our place in the world, and our beliefs. We’ll be confronted with a reality that hurts, which makes us defensive, and even angry. Dissent helps us realise and recognise the facets of our environment that were inherently problematic but went unnoticed. The aim has to be included by the virtue of our dissenting spaces, and not to create an exclusionary dialogue that is at odds with the very idea of a flourishing democracy.

Featured Image Credits: Sriya Rane for DU Beat

Sriya Rane

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Paridhi Puri

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India has had an illustrious history of protests. Be it the pre-independence times or the post. But nearly every time, these protests are accused of being mere activities of political agendas and activities.

Whenever we see something going wrong in the social or political sphere in the nation, we take to the streets. Be it the recent Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) agitations or The Bihar Movementof 1974, the students along with political leaders wanted the nation to change. But both these agitations till some extent had a political flavour within them. The Leftist parties for the latter and Jana Sangh(Later Bhartiya Janata Party) for the post, and it is these political ideologies that have made many of these protests a victim of political rivalries, thereby weakening their credibility. Though politics in protests has helped protests to become effective but this effectiveness always comes with a price.

Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, writers of the book Inventing the Future: Post capitalism and a World without Work, question the power of marches, protests, and other acts of what they call folk politics.

They said, “These methods are more habit than solution. Protest is too fleeting. It ignores the structural nature of problems in a modern world. The folk-political injunction is to reduce complexity down to a human scale.”

This impulse promotes authenticity-mongering, reasoning through individual stories (also a journalistic tic), and a general inability to think systemically about change.

Take the example of the DTC bus burning near Jamia Millia Islamia. Every time the protestors want to raise a valid critical point over the CAA and NRC legislation, they are shut out by the pro-legislation groups on this violent act. Though the protestors claim that they weren’t a part of the act which was later proved to be true but their credibility was compromised using fake news and propaganda.

Violence has always been part of the political process. Politics does not merely encompass the actions of Legislative assemblies, political parties, electoral contests and other formal trappings of a modern Government. Protest activities of one form or another, efforts to dramatize grievances in a fashion that will attract attention, and ultimately the destruction or threatened destruction of life and property appear as expressions of political grievances even in stable consensual societies like India.

In one sense, to speak of violence in the political process to speak of the political process itself; the two are inseparable. The ultima ratio of political action is force. Political activity below threshold of force is normally carried on with the knowledge that an issue maybe escalated into overt violence if a party feels sufficiently aggrieved. So be it Hindutva for the Bhartiya Janata Party, the dynastic politics for the Congress or the worker and trade union politics for the Left parties.

Medha Patkar, an environmental activist, who was a leading figure in Narmada Bachao Andolan, was able to stall the Narmada Dam project. She was successful as her lobbying made the World Bank withdraw its funding from the project. Still the project was completed with the help of public funding and the dam stands tall on the Narmada River. This tells us that protesting is a right of citizens of a democratic nation but protesting responsibly is also a duty.

We protestors have to be rational in our demands or otherwise protests get intermixed with politics. Like the students’ union protested against the change of names of Aligarh Muslim University and Banaras Hindu University into Aligarh University and Banaras University in the 1970s. Just think about the level of communal harmony this simple name change could have done.

If we look at the protests today as an exercise in public awareness, they appear to have had mixed success at best. Their messages are mangled by an unsympathetic media smitten by images of property destruction—assuming that the media even acknowledges a form of contention that has become increasingly repetitive and boring. Therefore we should always protest whenever we want to see change but always be responsible and rock hard on our goals.

As in recent times many student politicians have started protesting, not for student problems but for popularity, which is not only catastrophic now but also in the future.

One of my close friends told me that hearing about JNU students protesting has become so common that now people don’t even care. Though I have my own interpretations but still I can’t help but agree with him on a great extent.

 

Feature Image Credits:The New Yorker

 

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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Students have taken up the dissenting role in society against brutality and unconstitutional laws, but how does it affect ones mental health and what are some measures they can take?

Student led protests all over the country and especially in the capital have rocked the Nation. As more and more students take to the streets and fight for their idea of India, it has become quite easy to see student protesters as one uniform body. However, vilifying by several media outlets have also led to many forgetting that these are simply just students, who are protesting for what they think is right. For many of us, it is all a new and scary, which might affect us in ways we aren’t aware of and hence, we should not forget to take care of our mental health.

Many students had read about State suppression and brutality in their history books, but seeing it happen in real time in the country and the city where one lives can be a lot to comprehend rationally. Aditi Gutgutia, a first year student from LSR, shared “I’ve heard my friends cry over these atrocities. I’m seeing my country, it’s people, fall to a ground where there doesn’t seem to be any coming back from. And I’m scared. I have never been this vocal or even aware about politics, but now I realize how crucial it is to stand up for what you believe is right. “

In such a politically charged atmosphere, everyone has different opinions and constant defending of one’s opinions can also prove tiring. Bhavika, a DU student and founder of The Happy Company, an online platform where people can reach out for psychological help brings this into view with a different perspective. She said “ we received a messages from people of both sides of the argument. As an individual I have my own political views but as a psychological assistant, it’s my duty to detach myself from those views while listen to someone venting out, and this is how we’ve trained our Volunteers.Over the past few weeks, a lot of us have got into heated arguments over the issue, and that effects us and the other person, more than we think.”

Asmita, a member of Antaraal, which provides free psychological aid to all the students who are going through any form of psychological distress, brought into account that the emotions we feel are complex in this matter. “People are feeling a lot of despair because of whats going on, they are feeling afraid because either they or their friends are involved, they are also feeling very angry at the same time and wanting to do something. Its a lot of complex emotions. A lot of the calls that are coming in are from students who were not previously active in politics, and to them its a very new thing and they don’t know how to react, how much can they push, there is a lot of resistance from their families who are not very happy that they are doing this so they have to fight another battle at home.”

She also suggested some ways to keep one’s mental health at a stable place in these times. Firstly, she suggested not to deny emotions and feelings. She suggested not thinking about whether we are under-reacting or over reacting, and to be in touch with our emotions. She also pointed out the importance of taking a break, to refuel, get better and prepare and not feel that it is a lone fight, and try to look at the positive support from so many others. In the end she said that while emotions and rationality are not two separate things and we should embrace our emotions to help ourselves and others, it is also important to get educated and to talk to people who have more knowledge on the issue, because with information and not just an emotional argument, it will be very hard to dismiss us.

Feature Image Credits: The Wire

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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The conflict of the Jews and Arabs goes back many centuries. Jerusalem and Israel is a sacred place for not only Jews, but for Christians and Muslims also. Thus, this piece of land has been the reason for numerous conflicts and wars. These wars are still going on today, the only difference being that now it is not fought with swords, but waged mentally by starving the enemy of even the basic human rights like education.

Around 535 BCE, Abraham was hailed as the first Jew, and the father of Jewish people. It was at this time that Isaac, the Son of Abraham, was promised that he would inherit the land of Canaan, or the land which we today know as, Israel. Cut to the Middle Ages and we see that the crusades and repeated sieges on the holy city of Jerusalem (The most important city of Canaan and Judaism) left many Jews homeless and thus, they were forced to take refuge in other nations all over the world. The Jew community did face great difficulty during this time, but still managed to rise up and establish themselves as a powerful community with wealth and influence all over the world. 

Palestine History via Pinterest
Palestine History via Pinterest

Coming to the 1900s, we see the rise of Zionism, the movement which gained popularity during the time. The movement’s ideology stated that the only way to save the Jewish culture and Jewish people was the creation of a Jewish state in the holy land of Canaan, which then was an Ottoman province known as Palestine. Then the world witnessed two World Wars during which Jews were subjected to racial and even ethnic cleansing. This resulted in extensive inflow of Jews to the Palestine. It also resulted Ottoman Palestine becoming a battleground for the Jews and Arab Palestinians. There were several clashes between the Jews and the Arabs (who by then had started recognising themselves as a distinct ethnic identity, the Palestinians), seeing the tensions between the two communities, the newly formed United Nations came into action. It offered a Two-State Proposal which would divide the British Palestine (which they had captured from the Ottomans in the First World War) into two Nations, the state of Israel for Jews and the state of Palestine for the ethnic Arabs in the year 1947. The proposal was eagerly adopted by Israel, which declared its independence soon after. But the same was not the case for Palestine, as the Arabs thought of the solution as another attempt of Western imperialism. So, thus started a conflict of ideas, principles and most importantly religion, which we today know as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What followed this were two different wars between Israel and its Arab neighbours, in these wars Israel crushed the Arab alliance and pushed well past its 1947 UN designated borders, capturing all the erstwhile Palestine, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan heights and thus, during late 1970s started a mass unspoken and unofficial movement in which a large number of Israelis started shifting to occupied Palestinian territories of West Bank and the Gaza Strip. 

Visualising Palestine.
Visualising Palestine.

This movement, was in addition to politics,  religiously motivated, as the Jews there wanted to established themselves into these areas so that no international force would give these territories to Palestine. Also these territories and areas were religiously very important to Jews. Even though the United Nations, in its 1979 resolution not only condemned this migration, but also declared it illegal. However, the Israeli government did not do anything, instead subsidised these West Bank properties for Israeli citizens, and moreover sent the army for the security of such settlers.

The partition of West Bank as per the Oslo Accords II in 1995. Credits: Vox
The partition of West Bank as per the Oslo Accords II in 1995. Credits: Vox

This resulted in extensive violence and backlash from Palestinians in the face of the First and the Second Intifadas (the Uprising) in 1987 to 1993 and then from 2000 to 2005, respectively. This was followed by a distressing amount of deaths and displacement of the Palestinians, and then a string of peace talks which resulted in practically nothing. 

Even though the Second Intifada resulted in the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (but increasing its activities in West Bank), again it ultimately was a loss for the Palestinians as firstly there was a short civil war between PLO or Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Hamas, which resulted in a split of the unified leadership of Palestine.  Therefore the latter controlled West Bank and the post started controlling the Gaza Strip (Hamas has also been declared an international terrorist organisation by the US and Israel). It was followed by a strict Israeli blockade in Gaza which it justified as Israel claims Hamas to be a terrorist organisation; this gruelling blockade resulted the unemployment rate in Gaza to jump to a startling 40 per cent. 

Thus, today in West Bank we can see a huge void between Israeli and Palestinian neighbourhoods or settlements, on one hand we have highly developed Israeli settlements with scores of world class amenities, but on the other hand we see much worse of Palestinian settlements which lack many basic needs of survival. Apart from that, now Israelis are not just shifting into West Bank settlement for religious purposes, but due to the fact that it has become beneficial for them, as they get government subsidies and world class amenities in these areas. This movement has also been heavily sponsored by not only the Israeli Government but also various NGOs who get funding from the powerful Jewish communities around world.

All of this has resulted in a very pick-you-your-situation as it has become more and more difficult for any sustainable peace proposal to be formed. Due to this increasing number of Jewish population in the West Bank area, the community at the pinnacle of this conflict is the Palestinians’. Ask them how the peace talks work now living in a country wherein they are subjects but not citizens. Israel will never accept them and chances of their own independent state of Palestine are not great. So now they live with an internal question of whether they want their identities as a Palestinian to be saved, or they want a chance to live freely but as Jewish citizens of Israel.

“You can either be a Revolutionary or be a Caged Bird who had a chance to fly but it didn’t.”

– Abraham Lincoln
Feature Image Credits: Scopio

Aniket Singh Chauhan 

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Read our Print Editor’s take on entitled social media activism and its removed and elitist enforcement on ground.

A few weeks ago, the Global Climate Change Strike struck its momentum on the streets of Delhi, and organisations like Fridays for Future started marching to mobilise the population against the silence of Government authorities and policy-makers on environmental degradation plaguing our planet. Social media flooded with posters and invitations to partake in the various marches – at Lodhi Gardens, Faculty of Arts, Jantar Mantar, and any place in Delhi which could make the authorities in power take notice, and twist a little in their comfortable seats (on airplanes for some of them).

What appeared to be an excellent initiative and the righteous action in theory, however, raised unsettling questions when seen with a critical lens on ground. A security guard walked up to us during the march at Jantar Mantar, and he asked one of the protesters with sincerity, “Yeh morcha kisliye kar rahe ho aap logg? (What are you guys marching for?)” The person whom he addressed had been sloganeering a few moments ago, but fumbled to express the basic agenda of the protest. This is not to highlight that she herself was ignorant – which, in our millennial thirst for “wokeness”, may verily be an absurd possibility – but to showcase that she did not know the right words in the tongue of the guard (Hindi) to explain the enormity of the issue.

The slogans, cries, and popular references employed in these strikes are, if not monopolised by the English language, subservient to a mainstream understanding which is accessible to a rare few. The “rare few” does not refer to the number – these marches had plenty of people supporting what is a pressing cause – but the strata of the diverse Indian society this form of a movement caters to is, consciously or unconsciously, significantly English-speaking, upper/ middle class. In today’s time, social media has become the norm of propaganda and publicity, but there is an inevitable class and culture divide which makes it impossible for many to become aware, let alone partake, in the cause of the environmental movement.

There are many like the security guard in our country who do not have access to the Instagram stories of the English-speaking, highly privileged influencers, or even concerned educated youth, but that lack of access does not essentially translate to a lack of concern. The movement in India appears to take this language and culture divide for granted. When aspiring for the quintessential western values and standards of awareness, we often laugh at the typical Indian behaviour by equating it with callousness. Knowing at least a minimal level of the English language has become a prerequisite for being included within the ambit of environmental activism in India. The mainstream media and television channels’ non-existent contribution to a movement that is becoming the most threatening matter of survival to our generation, is questionable. While Indian politicians make statements in absolute disregard of science, facts, and anything logically acceptable to an informed brain, it is an unfortunate reality that informs the realms of knowledge for most Indians.

Mainstream media broadcasts the Prime Minister stating, “Climate has not changed. Our habits have changed,” or education ministers claiming that cows exhale oxygen. Media is no longer a vehicle for bringing in expert panels that dissect the threat of global warming and climate change. While Greta Thunberg is an inspiring figure for the movement, a Western icon cannot define the entirety of our understanding of the movement’s complex practicality in India. This becomes a tool for exclusionary caste politics of the movement, since Adivasis and other marginalised tribal communities have been on the streets, fighting for the cause before it became popular on social media. The movement for environmental conservation is not an individualistic fight, and it cannot be a successful one if we delude ourselves in believing so. As youth, these strikes and marches showcase the strength of collectivism and have the power to bring significant policy changes. However, all movements are rooted in the context of their times, or else they lose any real power of change. It is imperative for us, to keep our jargon aside, keep the banners down, and explain our cause to those who will then join their force with ours.

Anushree Joshi

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Here’s a piece on how each of your actions matter and you at an individual level can bring up the changes for a brighter and better future by your own little deeds.

The Sustainable Development Goals have suddenly gained their required attention and have become the talk of the town.
But the question arises, what are they and how do they concern us? Are they just a matter of concern for international authorities like the United Nations which where behind its inception or can we do our part in executing them?

Understanding SDGs:
The SDGs are a set of 17 goals unanimously adopted by the member nations of the United Nations in order to make the vision come true of a world where the planet is protected and people live a life of peace and happiness in all spheres. These are also known as the ‘Global Goals’ and were created in 2015 with an aim in mind to achieve them all by 2030.

It might sound overambitious and all too daunting to aim to achieve every single one of them but here are some ways in which we can do our bit to achieve them.

SDG 02: No Hunger
Cook some food, go out and offer it to someone in need. Who knows one kind action on your part might just turn into the most wholesome and healthy meal a person gets in their entire day.

SDG 03: Good Health and Well Being
Take out time for yourself.Take a day off, read a book or just eat healthy. It’s the small actions that build strong bridges over the course of time.

SDG 04: Quality Education
If you are reading this article, consider yourself as the fortunate ones who have had access to not only education but internet and other facilities too. Take out an hour everyday or every alternate from your schedule to teach the children of the labourers working around you. One hour might be insignificant to you but it holds the might to bring changes in the life of a child.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
It’s time to bring into action the words we learnt in childhood. ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’ is the need of the hour. Smallest acts such as carrying paper or jute bags are actions which can bring amazing changes not only in one’s actions but the environment too!

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Take the public transport! Having sustainable cities is vital for our survival. Small actions which can lead to reduction in pollution emissions or walking the distance are some of the tiniest changes which maximum positive benefits!

SDG 14: Life below Water

Quit straws and plastic bottles! These are two of the things most popular amongst usage but at the same time equally harmful if not more. Explore new alternatives like paper straws and support people bringing such unique initiatives across.

These are just a few of the many Global Goals ahead of us, ones which call and demand action from each one of us. This article is here, to get you brainstorming on how you can do your bit in achieving the goals for a sustainable tomorrow.

Imagine each one of us taking these steps even if that’s just once a week. What monumental changes we can bring across!

In the words of Ban Ki Moon, “Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.

Get up, get going. The world awaits you!

 

Image Credits: United Nations Development Program

Amrashree Mishra

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Bihar had become a drought-hit area, and then recently got flooded, receiving 10% extra rain than usual. Arguably, was this a man-made calamity more than a natural disaster? Read on to find out the Bihari diaspora’s take on it.

In hard-hit Bihar, a bird’s-eye-view of state capital Patna made the city appear like a huge lake dotted with concrete structures. Posh low-lying areas like Rajendra Nagar and Pataliputra Colony were flooded. Private hospitals, medical stores and other shops were submerged in waist-deep water. In several parts of Patna, waterlogging had thrown normal life out of gear. Although the rains have stopped now, and waterlogging has receded in most parts, a closer look reveals a bigger picture than just a natural calamity. 

Owing to unexpected and torrential rainfall of 200 mm, almost all areas of the capital of Bihar have been flooded, with water entering homes, offices and other buildings, and standing on the roads. The social media was buzzing with netizens sharing videos of the flood affected area and making satire of #HowdyModi event in which the PM said, all is fine in India. 

Flooding in the city appeared to have been caused by a choked, damaged and dysfunctional drainage system, and delayed activation of pumps at the sump houses. The floods were so severe that animal carcasses were seen on several roads.

Dinesh Mishra, a civil engineer and flooding expert, while speaking to a national daily said, “The authorities have the resources, money and workforce to arrive at a solution. However, planning of drainage systems and efficient sump machines are nowhere to be seen. Authorities have pushed the city to the edge of disaster by misusing public money. Also, now, they all come up with the excuse of ‘climate change.’”

The state of Bihar has gloomed with tragedies this year. First the encephalitis outbreak in Muzzafarpur took hundreds of life in June 2019, then drought hit severel parts of the state in early September damaging agriculture, and then the recent floods have disturbed lives of millions of people in the capital city Patna. Floods are not a rare phenomena in Bihar, the Kosi river is infamous for flooding Khagaria and northern parts of Bihar every year, but the scale and intensity of this retreating monsoon’s flood was as big as the disastrous floods of 1987 and 2004 which took 1,400 and 3,272 lives respectively.

It was not only Patna but also towns like Kaimur, Bhagalpur, Araria, Banka, Munger and Muzzafarpur that faced the wrath of this catastrophe. A more haunting statistic suggests that 494 panchayats in 15 districts were submerged in water when the flood was at its peak. The death toll neared 120 in first four days. Lack of a robust political administration seemed to have aggravated the death toll and loss due to floods.

Rahul Kumar, a student of DU hailing from Buxar says, “What I think, is that the flood is a result of mismanagement and government failure. As a Bihari, what I think is in Bihar, government officials love good flood and droughts because they get chance to make money out of it. This is a man made disaster and not only the government, but we are also fully responsible for the same.”   

Suyash Jha, a fresher from the varsity who hails from Bhagalpur says that these floods have now become a routine affair. “The compound of my grandfather’s home at VIP Road, Laheriasarai get water from overflowing drains every year for the  last 10 years now. Despite several requests to the administration to work on the drainage system in the area no real action has been taken.”

Shivam Srivastava, a third-year student was in Delhi when the unstoppable rain started in Patna on 28th September.  He says, “It was really flabbergasting to see the Chief Minister say something like ‘Yeh toh prakritik apada hai, isme hum kuch nahi karsakte,’ (This is a natural calamity, we cannot help it,).”

Feature Image Credits: Rahul Kumar

Sriya Rane 

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Priyanshu

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The Delhi University Students’ Union    (DUSU) remains to be the umbrella students’ union for the University of Delhi (DU). It is an integral part of a DU student’s life, and thus, it’s only fair that the DUSU elections carry a lot of weight and hype. It allows a DU student to exercise their right of universal adult franchise, and elect members they believe would be accountable for them. 

A look at how Gandhi shaped our nation, along with the parts of his character not discussed popularly.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi is popularly remembered as the Father of the Nation. He was one of the leaders at the forefront of the Indian freedom struggle, and has a significant role in the attainment of Indian Independence. These are few of the lines we have been told throughout our lives as children – on the 2nd
October every year, on Independence days, and through our History and Political Science textbooks. This is true for the most part and Gandhi’s return from South Africa did
provide a much-needed boost to the freedom struggle. His work with the downtrodden, and his ideas of non-violence still hold a prominent place in the society today.
However, due to the nature of his death, many of Gandhi’s idiosyncrasies and frailties are ignored when it comes to mainstream dialogue. He is considered to be a man beyond wrongdoing, to be the definition of moral standards, and everything we have been taught all our lives just adds to that line of the narrative. The book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld was banned in his home-state of Gujarat when it came out in 2011.

This is interesting because the book does not break any new ground as such, and still speaks glowingly of Gandhi. Although, it does contain the description of some negative aspects and flaws in the great man’s character.
The banning of this book simply shows how the Indian population cannot withstand any attack in any form on those who they deify as gods.

There are many aspects to Gandhi’s character that should be questioned, because it is through the crevices in popularised and validated ideologies that people find the scope to improve society and, by extrapolation, the world.

One of these aspects showcases that Gandhi was a racist for most of his adult life, especially while working on civil rights in South Africa. His work centered on giving Indians more power and rights, as compared to the local natives who he felt were “inferior”. Gandhi wrote to Adolf Hitler twice in 1939 and 1940,and while it was to call for peace, he did write the following- “…nor do we believe you are the monster described by your opponents”.
Sexually, Gandhi had maintained a vow of celibacy; however, according to Lelyveld’s and Jad Adams’ Gandhi: Naked Ambition, it was said that he maintained close and intimate contact with females, making teenagers, women, and allegedly even his own grandniece sleep naked with him
to test his vow of celibacy. He was incredibly sexist and homophobic, propagating the belief that women should be responsible for the sexual assaults they face. He justified honour killings, labelled women who used
contraceptives as “whores”, and once chopped off the hair of two female followers who were being harassed so that the perpetrators would stop. He also led a campaign to have all traces of homoerotic tradition removed from Hindu temples as part of a “sexual cleansing” initiative.
Gandhi might have been the reason that India is still an ideologically backward, and sexually repressed nation. However, it is no justification for the current narrative propagated by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the extremist right-wing labelling Nathuram Godse, Gandhi’s killer, as a hero. The incident involving Pragya Thakur serves as a recent example to this belief. The rise of Hindutva under the extreme right has led to many such people being given a status that
they do not deserve.
To conclude, here is the statement by a student from the University
of Delhi, who does not wish to be named, “I know Gandhi did a lot of messed up things, but how can anyone even think (that) celebrating his killer is good? He still helped our freedom struggle; the celebration of his death because he worked to help the Muslim minority just shows the rising intolerance in our country.”

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives.

Prabhanu Kumar Das
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