The JNUSU elections of this year is important not only because it is under a tyrannical regime in the centre we are in, but it is also a time when large forms of resistance movements are getting strengthened across the country. The key speciality of these movements is that it is not from the mainstream parties that these movements arise but from the various groups which demand for social justice and dignity. Starting with the movement for the justice for Rohith Vemula to the recent Dalit uprisings in Una in Gujarat clearly shows the vibrancy of these political initiatives. Once we come into the campus politics, one should see this political shift along with the change in demographic patterns of Dalits, Muslims and the Oppressed communities as a paradigm change happened with the Mandal committee recommendations. At the same time, an analysis of the current political scenario in JNU will give us both an insight into the drawbacks of the current left politics, which is characterized more by unity rather than contradiction with its so called opposite; and on the other side, it will also show the prospectsoffered by the allies of social justice.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the official vanguard of Brahmanism in the campus, is continuing with their heinous propaganda to divert public attention from the social justice politics into mere nationalism discourse. At the same time, the left is also not ready to attend the questions of social justice and they keep on branding any assertions from the marginalised sections as communal or sectarian. In other words, if the marginalized sections organize themselves for the cause of social justice, the Leftists will also start to call them as ‘communal’ and ‘extremists’. One can see behind this reluctance of left, their unwillingness to share their ‘sacred spaces’ with the students from the marginalised community. The mere use of political tokenism cannot justify the prolonged silence of left parties on muslim representation. At the same time, the left parties continue to deny the political agency of muslims, at the same time.
The eventual emergence of an Ambedkarite movement made clear declarations of ‘Barbadi’ (Destruction) of these hegemonic structures and the implementation of Social Justice by encompassing a larger Unity of the Oppressed communities such as Dalits, Muslims, Bahujans, Adivasis and regional-linguistic-sexual minorities. The existing mechanism of Brahmanic collective conscience easily finds its villain and enemy in Muslims- who have been bearing the seal of ‘the Other’ through targeting, framing, arresting, encountering in the name of terrorism, killing and murdering in the name of cow protection, victimizing by harassment and humiliation in every checkpoints in the name of ‘national security’, and spreading islamophobia by using organized and unorganized media. We are also witnessing the attacks on Dalits like killing of dalit youths for inter-caste marriage, rape and naked parade of dalit women, mass burning of dalit villages, killing and attacking Dalits for skinning cow by the hindutva outfits, and institutionalized discrimination towards dalit students. It is in this crucial juncture, that the politics of ‘oppressed unity’ becomes more relevant. The Left comrades are fearful about this unity of Muslims-Dalits-Adivais-and other marginalized sections and oppressed nationalities in this campus, and one should also see their tokenism in the issues of Muslims and minorities.The vast space provided by the Ambedkarite movements in the campus made possible the intriguing visibility of these marginalized movements. The Birsa Phule Ambedkar Students Association (BAPSA) has made its appearances into the power politics of JNU just in the last year after a long term social and cultural involvements. From its inception onwards, BAPSA formulated a clear strategy to incorporate diverse voices of the oppressed subaltern sections of the country to form a larger platform of unity. The Oppressed Unity March on 6th December 2015 by commemorating Babasaheb Ambedkar and the demolition of Babari Masjid, jointly organized by Birsa Phule Ambedkar Students Association (BAPSA), United Dalit Students Forum (UDSF), Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), Youth Forum for Discussions and Welfare Activities (YFDA), Jharkhand Tribal Students Association (JTSA), Pasmanda Students Forum and United OBC Forum made a huge impact on the existing discourses of activism. This huge appraisal created a new wave of activism in the framework of social justice, which challenged the Left appropriation politics – Who were organized a separate march for the same. These voices from the margins made more liable spaces of united activism throughout the year.
The right wing were just exhausted by the revolutionary flames lit up through the martyrdom of Rohith, who was a strong critic of Brahmanical hegemony and its collective conscience. ABVP was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to find a way out of this critical juncture. So they played an ostentatious drama in JNU with warm support of the media and Modi government. It was their deliberate attempt to distract the concerns over atrocities of Brahminic forces on Dalits and Muslims under full protection of governmental mechanism. University of Hyderabad was referred as a den of anti-national elements by them. So, it is not a surprise or accidental coincidence that the students in JNU who conducted programs on Kashmir were branded as anti-national. Their maligned campaign affected the wider public through a paradigm shift in the struggle for social justice. The opportunism of ABVP and its Brahmanical oligarchy has actually led to a united student’s platform against State suppression of academic spaces.
Whenever the questions arise on the contribution of left to the Muslim question in the campus, the only answer will be regarding the accreditation of madrassa certificates in some languages. Though it is a fact that it has been accepted in other universities as well, the present question is regarding the Muslim deprivation points. The students unions which were there in campus for years and years didn’t do anything to protest for the same. What about the minority cell? What about giving extra points to the women from the marginalized sections in the women deprivation points? What about the representation of marginalised sections in the GSCASH bodies? There are much more questions here to ask. In what times of fascism, we would recognize the political self of Muslims and marginalized communities? The current politics in campus is set such as the parties need Muslims either in a position to be a villain or a victim, in which they don’t allow any political agency to Muslims to represent themselves and to fight for dignity and social justice. Also, it can be seen that the parties here won’t see the denial of Muslim deprivation points as a social justice issue, and furthermore Left parties are thinking that they can easily block the socio-cultural and political emergence of Muslims in the campus by putting some names in the election panels.
The campus turns to the peak of campaigning and discussions on political and ideological backup of each parties contesting in the election. Parties/ alliances from Right to Left started legitimizing their image, their commitment towards the betterment of campus, the struggles they have fought and developments they have initiated. The vast majority of students and teachers in the campus still bear sweet memories of their nostalgic past of a euphorian United Left and their hegemonic regimes where the demography of the campus was highly lacking the presence of minority sections, especially before Mandal Commission implementation in higher education. The left organisations attack on the emerging organisations from the marginalised sections can also be read with the changing demography of the JNU campus where students from the minority sections make a significant presence. The JNU campus needs a discourse of social justice, where the existing discourses in the campus deliberately side-line the striking questions of Social Justice and recognition. But what we have seen in our campus premises in these days is an abridged form of ‘Discourses of Fear’, which were planned and executed by the same Brahmanical Sangh regime, such as ‘The Idea of JNU’, which actually subjugate the voices of oppressed for Self-declaration and Social Justice. The ongoing debate about the Left Unity in the times of “monstrous Sangh terror’, itself bears ample genuine questions about their own claims. Through this discourse of fear they seek votes to sustain their own power for their self-promotion and self-preservation. They need Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections as foot soldiers always. We don’t think that this is their genuine intention to do anything against brahminical inscribed social injustice and inequality in the country. This kind of fear politics, pointing out to the ABVP, they have been promoting for a long time whenever they stood for elections. It is high time these left vanguard parties stop their protection and sympathy towards Muslims and Dalits and other marginalised sections by denying their political agency. It is high time to think and ask, how far we can live in this fear discourse.
In this crucial juncture, we request your whole hearted support towards the voices of social justice in our campus. Kindly cast your vote for BAPSA and stand with the struggle for social justice and self-respect.
Habeel MM, President
Afsal Sulaiman, Secretary
Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO), JNU