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Condemn JNU Administration’s Crackdown on Students

Condemn JNU Administration’s Crackdown on Students

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Condemn JNU Administration’s Crackdown on Anoop, Anand, Abhay, Kusum

Appeal to all progressive forces to unite for the fight against draconian laws that curb the democratic space & freedom to choice of food. Expose the Brahmanical ‘egoism’ and superiority complex of DSU.

The New Materialists

Expose the JNU Administration, Judiciary, Media and RSS nexus

We ‘The New Materialists’ condemn the crackdown on students by the JNU Administration which has, in the pretext of the Delhi High Court’s communal verdict, suspended Anoop and issued show cause notice to Anand, Abhay and Kusum. The Delhi High Court and the JNU Administration had swiftly taken action against these students on just for debating on the availability of beef and pork in JNU. The food festival that the students were debating about was banned before the date of the festival could be announced. The media, which is communal and casteist to its core created a communal frenzy. It presented distorted facts regarding the Beef & Pork Issue in JNU. Through our pamphlet we condemn media’s role in sensationalizing the whole issue.

We also condemn the media statements in which it is said that the JNU students are going to slaughter a cow in the campus or that Muslim students are involved in it. It is an utter lie, a rumor, propagated by the media, particularly the media network of RSS. But we have every right to debate, discuss about “Beef and Pork” but unfortunately even that also gets criminalized. The Administration‟s move is an act of terrorizing the students and diverting the attention from the whole issue. This is an age old practice of the ruling class. The State does not dare to act on Elite malls and five star hotels who serve eatables made up of beef and pork too. State cannot decide and impose what one will eat, wear, think etc. The arguments for ‘democratic nation’ get lost when such undemocratic acts and ‘politics of banning’ continues. We have to fight together against such repressive ‘Laws’ which criminalizes one’s food habits.

We appeal to the JNUSU & student community to come, lead the struggle and protest against the crackdown on students by administration, which is a direct attack on our constitutional right to freedom of expression. This political drama is played when the Delhi elections are not far away; the obligation of electoral politics forces the right wing and saffron Brigade to stage protest and issue highly fascist and communal statements to polarize the milieu. Administration with its ally ABVP goes to ban Tapti mess for public meeting, banning PSR for cultural activities, suspending students for ‘discussing’ politics of food, banning forum for dissenting with Indian state. In all the incidents administration seems dancing to the tune of these communal forces.

Questioning the Brahmanical Food Culture is not part of the superstructure

TNMs raised the issue about Beef and Pork to discuss and debate the imposition of Hegemonic (brahmanical) culture and thereby how different food cultures get not only marginalized but criminalized as well (Various Acts to ban Beef in different states of India). The petty bourgeois understanding of DSU makes it to think that celebrating festivals is a cultural issue which comes under superstructure. For us, conducting festival is to attack the base at its heart. No illustration is required as we saw the right wing forces seriousness about the issue. DSU in a way criticizing the festival shows their brahmanical nature.

For us caste is not superstructure, but base. And that is why the festival is an attack on the base. For example when we burn the copy of Manusmriti, it may not be annihilating the caste at that very moment of burning it, but it definitely is a part of the larger fight against brahmanism. Similarly when we are talking about a food festival, we never claimed that we are annihilating caste by doing this. We believe that the beef and pork festival is also a symbolic assertion against the caste system. We should not forget the Mahad incident– where Babasaheb Ambedkar took water from a ‘public pond’. It was not a simple act of drinking water but to challenge the hegemony of caste system.

When we fight against the misrepresentation of the caricature of Dr. Ambedkar in NCERT books, it simply does not become an unimportant fight just because it is at the level of superstructure. DSU in their pamphlet day before yesterday has slandered against TNMs by saying, ‘Their (TNMs) obliviousness to the semi-feudal social reality is borne out when they speak in terms of challenging Brahamanical hegemony and annihilating caste by changing food-habits!’

This explains nothing but DSU’s hypocrisy with regard to their understanding of caste in India. Can they tell us what it means when they demand an investigation on comrade Kishanji’s murder from the same Indian state which has murdered him? Shall we say that DSU believes in overthrowing the Indian state by collaborating with the same State? What can one expect from a small bunch of petty bourgeois Brahmanical elements like DSU, except slandering others?

Reject DSU’s hollow and sectarian understanding of the issue

DSU in their pamphlet (which was full of brahmanical arrogance) day before yesterday has played the age old colonial strategy of divide and rule. They said, the demand for serving beef and pork in the campus has come from two separate sections. The North eastern students, particularly the Naga Study Forum has raised the demand that beef and pork, which are common cuisines of people from the North East should be served in the North East dhaba. DSU believes “this is a democratic and legitimate demand and we stand in full solidarity and support of this demand. However apart from the North-Eastern students, TNMs and certain individuals are advocating for the past few months that beef and pork be served in the campus. The supposed aim of their demand is to attack the institute of caste and communal fascism/’fundamentalism.’

We humbly appeal to DSU to please correct their information. They should know the fact that Naga Studies Forum and TNMs have been together from the very beginning. So there is no question of talking about two separate sections. They can very much confirm this with the Naga Studies Forum. DSU’s slandering act of creating a dichotomy between the two organizations on this issue shows their hollow and sectarian understanding of the issue. We ask, what has DSU done, so far, in regard to Naga Study Forum’s demand of providing Beef and Pork in North East Dhaba?

Reject DSU’s cheap politics of pitting Muslims against North-East

Interestingly DSU has supported (though after lot of deliberations by the North-Eastern students to them) the demand of serving beef and pork at North East Dhaba but has ‘strong ideological political differences with the perspective with which the organizers envisioned the festival.’ TNMs ask DSU to clarify on what grounds they are arguing that we have put beef and pork together with the understanding of ‘secularism’. In none of our pamphlets we have ever claimed that we are talking about beef and pork within the framework of Indian ‘secularism’ and ‘fundamentalism’. It operates in DSU’s imagination and they are feeding their words in our mouth.

First of all the student community must know this fact that DSU was approached many times by TNMs to come and discuss this issue, to which they never paid any attention. Their brahmanical superiority complex did not allow them to discuss with TNMs. For TNMs putting Beef and Pork together is not about ‘Secularism’. For us state is not neutral and it is a Hindu Fascist State. When we put together beef and pork we do not have the image of India that has only Muslims and Hindus.

India consists of many tribes, Dalits and various other religious groups also. THERE ARE CERTAIN SOCIAL GROUPS OF PEOPLE in India, WHO EAT BEEF AND PORK AS PART OF THEIR STAPLE DIET, we respect their food habits & that is why WE DEMAND THAT BEEF AND PORK SHOULD BE PUBLICALLY AVAILABLE. We understand that there is no ban on pork, but still we are fighting for its availability in JNU.

Putting Beef and Pork together is not Minority vs. Majority fundamentalism

The right wing forces are afraid that allowing of pork will lead to beef. When Prof. Kancha Ilaiah (in last first meeting in JNU) put a question towards the Muslim students that ‘do they have any problem if students cook pork in the campus‟, in single voice all of them said “NO”.

Pork has been served in this campus in ‘The North East Festivals’ and ‘International Food Festivals’. So the Muslim friends do not have any problem in pork being cooked in this campus, but the Hindu fundamentalists forces have. In the organizing meeting called by JNUSU, we saw how the attitude of DSU was to not to give much importance to ‘beef and pork’ issue as they are ‘not clear’ on their stand, while they question our stand now. During the meeting it was only DSU, as different from every other organization, which kept saying ‘JNUSU need not take any position on this issue’. Can we ask why?

This issue might be going against their brahmanical stand. Our understanding is that JNUSU must take a position on this, and immediately organize a press conference to condemn the rumours & distorted facts published in the media. The lack of the availability of Beef & Pork, smacks of ‘brahminical public space’ which DSU, perhaps want to maintain it and thus ‘have problems with the festival’. How come serving these items at North East dhaba is ‘secular’ for DSU and a food festival ‘communal’? Is it only a matter of locations? Are they saying that if anyone other than North East students, talk about beef and pork they are necessarily ‘communal’?

We are standing in solidarity with the Osmania University Students’ struggle where the Dalits, Bahujans conducted a beef festival. When they were attacked by the communal forces, where was the DSU? In a way they made fun of the Osmania students’ beef festival too. We are very clear in our stand from the beginning that our ultimate demand is the availability of these items in the mess and the immediate demand is the North East Dhaba.

We know that is a prolonged struggle against the Brahminical hegemony of this campus. If beef and pork would have been available at any dhaba or specifically at North East Dhaba in JNU, there would not be any need to debate and discussion about such ‘festival’. Consequently a committee has been formed in the name of ‘The Committee for Democratic Right to Choice of Food (CDRCF)’ with the progressive forces of this campus. The reason behind our idea of debating this issue is to initiate a debate about how different food items get banned and why.

We request DSU yo please study Dialectical & Historical Materialism well before going to criticize others. TNM is ‘new’ because it is a principled follower of Dialectical materialism and to understand Indian caste hierarchy the materialist understanding of Periyar and Ambekdar’s thoughts are very much required. DSU is also dictating as to who should be our ideologue. If Kancha Ilaiah speaks on the ‘beef and pork issue’ in our public meeting, we ask DSU does it make him our ideologue? It is DSU‟s habit to play these cheap tactics to slander the organization which is fighting for the revolutionary cause.

In many of the DSU’s public meeting Mr. BD Sharma, a Gandhian, used to speak. It would be foolish on our part if we call B.D Sharma as the ideologue of DSU. They consider themselves the champions of ‘revolution’. Let us remind them that revolution is not their copyright. It is not that when they talk of any issue that itself becomes revolutionary and annihilates caste, overthrows state. It is an irony that an organization likes DSU which should have been at the forefront of movements like democratization of food culture, is creating a divide among the students and playing minority versus north-east card. We invite all progressive individuals and organizations to be part of the deliberations on this issue and stand against the brahamanical hegemony.


Please also read other related articles:

Exactly whose sentiments are hurt by beef and pork? Part 2

Unite and Fight for the Democratic Right to Choice of Food

Exactly whose sentiments are hurt by beef and pork?

The Politics of Food Culture: The Holy Cow and The Unholy Swine

Why Beef and Pork Food Festival at JNU?