Friends, as you all know a student organization of IIT Madras, Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC) has been banned by the administration of IIT Madras for “misuse of the privileges” and for engaging in “controversial activities”. While the administration does not clarify what it means by “misuse of the privileges” and “controversial activities”, apparently the only thing it is very much in clarity is to implement the dictates of the MHRD to the last of commas and full stops with renewed vigor and spirit.
The puppet administration has gone to exceptional length to pander to the dictates of the government in power which wants this country to be homogeneous in every aspect, fashioned in the armature of the Brahminical-Patriarchal-Manuvadi-Chaturvarna. APSC has been trying to create a space for dialogue and discussion. It has been trying to foster scientific temper among the communities in the institution to debate and discuss the so-called “controversial” issues like creating separate dining halls for vegetarian and non-vegetarian residents, the gross under-representation of the Dalits, Tribals and other backward communities in different research projects and positions of the administration, the staggering consequences of the anti-people policies and programmes on the farmers, peasants and masses of the country that have been undertaken by the RSS-BJP led pro-corporate, pro-elite, pro-system Modi- government.
It is the height of irony that a country that decorates itself with the big badges of being the largest democracy in the world cannot even tolerate the discussion and criticism of the actions that the government undertakes. It is the height of farce that a criticism of Modi could entail the ban of a student organization that tries to unravel the riddles in the structures that supports the systematic injustice and perpetuates inequality without any qualms. IIT Madras is not a case in aberration and it’s the heightened manifestation of a legacy that has been going on in this country for hundreds of years.
Recently a Dalit boy in Maharashtra was brutally killed simply because he had a ring tone of B. R. Ambedkar on his phone. In the IIT Madras case, the very name, Ambedkar-Periyar was taken as something “destabilizing the social harmony”. The perpetual discrimination, humiliation and subjugation of Dalits and Tribals in this country are taken as perfectly in keeping with the “social harmony” of the established brahminical structure. When the status quo is questioned, then it amounts to “destabilizing the social harmony”.
If the so-called “social harmony” (read the continuation of status quo, and brahminical narrative that props up the unequal structure) comes at the cost of keeping the marginalized marginalized, suppressing the emerging questioning voices, stifling the dissenting minds and denying the oppressed their legitimate right to raise against the oppressor, then we will not hesitate for a second to keep disturbing that “social harmony” which is nothing but a fig leaf to hide the social ills that have been the results of the structured exploitative system put in place for the benefit of a handful of cheaters at the expense of the large struggling masses.
One of the goals of the present Modi led government is to create puppets and sycophants in the university student community who bow down to the government’s demands and dictates, the kind of yes-men who parrot everything the state wants them to parrot with the words like “questioning” “critiquing” “confronting” completely vanishing from their parlance. While the recent trend shows that the government is gaining ground on its crooked mission, the battle is not completely lost and we should resolve to stand united to fight and preserve/reclaim the democratic, progressive, critiquing spaces within the educational institutions which are in threat. We strongly condemn the ban and stand in solidarity with APSC in their endeavor to question the dominant, hegemonic structure, and to demolish it until the last drop of its dust vanishes into thin air.
~ Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BASPA), JNU