United Dalit Students’ Forum (UDSF)
Jawaharlal Nehru University
University and Debate
“A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of truth. It stands for onward march of the human race towards ever higher objectives. If the Universities discharge their duties adequately, then it is well with Nation and the people” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru.
A university is not a tool for the repressive state apparatuses. The university is not a site for Fascist camps. It is a site of ideals, where ideas are contested, debated and discussed. Knowledge is not a gift of nature. It has to go through an examination and universities critically examine the knowledge processes. It is not a monopoly of a single act. It provides space for every democratic activity. The peculiar virtue of a university is to exhibit the democratic attitude in its character that each appearing activity as a voice has to be debated.
Universities have to reflect on the rise of the right wing and also on the failure of the left wing. Universities should give spaces to the people who want to carve out new history. A university is a place where ideas are not bought until it gets convinced. If the university doesn’t permit debate and discussion, then who will? A university is not a site for displaying and exercising muscle power. All those who think that they have muscle power should go and participate in the Olympics and prove their athletic and masculine skills.
UDSF strongly condemns the ABVP’s disruption of the public meeting called by AIBSF. Whose culture is it to disrupt a public meeting? It is the culture and practice of the fascist to disrupt public meetings. It is also the culture of the fascist to walk out of the interviews when asked about communal riots.
Every organization is allowed to conduct public meetings and carry out protests and rallies. When ABVP organizes a public meeting, Ambedkarites do not disrupt it; rather they are there to question the hegemonic brahmanic order. The Ambedkarite line of thought promotes freedom of expression. Right wing forces approach history from the fallacy of presentism and offer a heavily biased account of it. In the process of steamrolling history and historical narratives to fit the dogma of majoritarianism, many smaller narratives get occluded. UDSF condemns the attempts of those on the right to coerce smaller, alternate voices of history into oblivion.
The logic of violence and fighting
The unsound and irrational will fight. They will be in no mood to think. They are the ones who justify the fascist killings across the globe. They will be the first to adopt Adolf Hitler’s genocide and the concept of Us Vs the Other. The unsound and the irrational will not discuss or debate. To reason, for them, is to show their masculine power. The illogical rationale of fighting is the philosophy of the Fascist. They will be the first to corner the minorities and indulge in violence, beat up people from outside and pass racial and gender insensitive comments. Then they come up with the argument that the majority rules. Violence is the resort of those who fear dissent, who seek to hegemonise and monopolise public discourse and silence alternative politics. Those who resort to violence are always eager to police the boundaries of education and literature, thus showing a mania of persecution by those who disagree with them, by those who refuse to succumb to the cult of majoritarianism.
The recent debate in JNU: Durga Vs Mahishasur
The JNU administration has permitted the celebration of Durga Puja in the premises of JNU. But the same JNU administration did not show its clear support to the AIBSF public talk on Mahishasur martyrdom. If JNU administration has permitted the celebration of Durga Puja, then it should also permit the celebration of Mahishasur martyrdom. Can a myth be substantiated by another myth? A myth is not the answer to the existing myth. Reason/Rationality is the answer to myth and mythical thinking. The law of the land does not permit the promotion or propagation of religion in the university and educational institutions. A myth cannot be a substitute for another myth. Myths and counter myths feed into each other but they cannot be an effective answer to each other, except for propagating hatred and its counter responses.
ABVP goons disrupt Mahishasur festival in JNU
Religion is a private affair. Religion, when it becomes a public affair, will try to dominate the public discourse. On the other hand, if public spaces in a once agnostic university campus can be occupied by idols of Durga and religious festivals, then alternative icons should also be given a space. Otherwise, the campus will reek of religious bias and hypocrisy. However, UDSF strongly condemns the promotion of religious affairs in the educational institutions. UDSF believes that religion should not occupy the premises of the university. A University is a public enterprise. All those who took religion from the private domain into the public domain are responsible for the chaos happening across the world.
Shudras and Religion
It is the philosophy of Manu and Brahminism which created the Shudras. The self-declared superior castes have created Shudras to exercise and perpetuate their hegemony. Inequality is the soul and philosophy of Hinduism. If equality is the concept of Hindus, then why does the Varna system exist in Hinduism? Why are the Hindu forces not calling for the annihilation of caste? Does the brahmanic literature have any valid explanation to give which can offer an account for the origin of the Shudras?
The Bahujans, who are known for their revolutionary spirit, are aware of the fact that it is only religion which has made them Shudras in the Hindu social order. In Hinduism where does the concept of oppression originate from? It originates in the words of Manu and his Manu Smriti. Hinduism is the progenitor of the caste system. UDSF strongly condemns the JNU Dalit Forum for stating that Durga can be taken as a source of inspiration for Dalits. This is an attempt by the JNU Dalit Forum and its right-wing originators to liquidate the authenticity and the historicity of the Dalit struggle for liberation and emancipation. In its attempt to co-opt the Dalit movement by reinstating it into the hegemony of a monolithic Hinduism, it maligns and invalidates the anti-Brahmanical struggles of Babasahab Ambedkar.
Cartoon by Unnamati Syama Sundar.