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Subaltern Response to the Brahminic Trap: EFL- U Election Context

Subaltern Response to the Brahminic Trap: EFL- U Election Context

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(The Struggle Committee for the Abolition of Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations in English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, puts forward its response to the postponement of elections in the university. Kotesh Devulapally has composed it)

We condemn both the postponement along with the entire election process right from the constitution of the EC to the announcement of the Elections for its unconstitutional, anti-people and anarchic nature. On the whole, this is all a high drama of the administration in complicity with some over-enthusiastic student puppets who wasted the most valuable academic time of the students on the campus by inviting the elections (that have  been announced with date of results scheduled just 5 days before the start of semester end exams), in the most hasty manner without even following the minimum formal proceedings of the institutional democracy nor the constitutional norms in their attempt to legitimize their illegal and undemocratic actions with the intention of shutting down completely every possible voice raised against them.

But the joint struggle of TSA, TVV and BSF who work with the spirit of Indian constitution and social democratic principles proved it otherwise, by unveiling their masks. Some so-called progressive student organizations in EFLU, who paid little attention to the question of violation of rights (constitutional rights, democratic rights and social justice) involved in the elections and whose manifesto was based on the fascist Lyngdoh recommendations, and which represent the joint interests of the foreign investors and the local Indian Brahminical social order in the modern educational institutions and consequently in the larger society, have now started expressing their utter ‘disappointment’, ‘outrage’ and condemnation on postponement alone without condemning the atrocious Lyngdoh, as if some huge disaster has fallen on EFLU or they missed some bumper lucky draw with the administration’s decision of the election postponement. 

The history of the political alliances in EFLU, for quite some time, gives a clue to the positions of different organizations participating in this historic moment of elections. There had been a strong alliance among TSA, TVV, BSF, DABMSA, and PDSU for a long time in their common and collective struggle against Hindutva and allied forces. While DSF, allying with SAMVAD, kept silent in all the anti-Hindutva struggles. But the equations have undergone a dramatic change with the announcement of the elections on campus after a long gap, leading to the emergence of a new composite group which formed as a tactical, strategic opportunistic alliance between the two ideologically contradictory groups (DABMSA, SIO and PDSU who broke their long standing ideological unity with TSA, BSF and TVV, and allied with DSF and SAMVAD).

So, the women’s reservation issue was initially the joint demand of both DSF and SAMVAD and later extended in their alliance with DABMSA, SIO and PDSU. But, later DSF changed its stand as their alliance could not sustain itself for long due to the division of opinion on the reservation of president seat (out of the two women seats they achieved in their united struggle) for SC/ST/OBC women which DSF opposed. There have not been much ideological differences between DSF, which came out of the composite group alliance and SAMVAD, which continues to ally tactically with them exclusively on the question of women’s reservation. 

At this juncture our brothers DABMA and SIO played a crucial role in mobilizing the majority support, particularly in compelling the so-called progressive liberals, in spite of their unwillingness, for their proposal of reserving the president’s seat for SC/ ST/OBC women. We congratulate DABMSA for doing so. DSF does not want the presidential seat to be reserved for SC/ST/OBC women as they have no candidate to contest while the composite group have a candidate ready and so the president’s seat would be assured to them. This is the only contradiction between them and it has nothing to do with ideology.

Ideologically DSF and SAMVAD have been one and the same as there has been a long lasting alliance between them in all the university politics, particularly regarding sexual harassment matters and at the same time in maintaining shifting strategic alliance with us-TSA, TVV, BSF, PDSU and DABMSA. We had to taste several bitter experiences, being implicated and demonized in their construction of us as part of their divide and rule policy, the prime characteristic of upper caste Brahminism on which the upper caste continue to sustain their social, cultural and political hegemony over the masses.

All the steps taken against us were very systematic and under the clear secret directions of their cultural custodians in the administration and teachers in order to crush the encompassing danger to their hegemony caused due to our united struggles. In spite of taking all the necessary precautions, Brahmanism once again proved its cunning nature and successfully trapped our brothers and created a huge cleavage in Dalit unity. This time by using the women’s reservation issue, the most democratic and sensitive subject, that the SAMVAD and DSF duo used to trap our brother organizations (DABMSA and SIO) to make an alliance with them in order to implement their upper caste agenda. The cunning nature of Brahmanism in India is that it suddenly comes up with the most democratic issue as a counter to our every movement, which seems to have an emancipatory potential and polarizes the consolidated masses. Anna Hazare ‘anti-corruption movement’ in this regard is the finest example of how corruption can be successfully carried out by diverting the masses from their struggles against the same cause. The present women’s reservation movement in EFL-U student elections resembles Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in India and the response of DSF to the women’s reservation issue can be compared to Baba Ramdev’s response to Anna Hazare.

In the entire process TSA, TVV and BSF had been observers of all these developments and successfully disrupted their agenda while at the same time working rigorously towards the abolition of the deadly Lyngdoh. Some students have submitted a letter undersigned as “Concerned participants of the EFLU” on 2nd November, 2012 to the VC demanding her “to reinstate reservation of two seats for women in the EFLU students’ council elections.” These concerned students are no other than the ones who are expressing their utter disappointment at the postponement. They went to the extent of criticizing us for not being the part of their so-called “revolutionary” demand for the increase of two seats for women with an assurance of Presidential seat for SC/ST/OBC women.

Why reinstate the two women’s seats alone? And why not the entire Statutory Body in opposition to Lyngdoh recommendations? Once the Statutory Body is reinstated the two women seats will automatically come. This clearly shows that they are in favour of Lyngdoh and in opposition to the organisations which are demanding the abolition of Lyngdoh. The seats they achieved will never be considered as revolutionary but fall in the same tokenistic attitude that they disclaimed to be part of. Their ‘revolutionary’ achievement not only satisfied the composite group as that made them the only ‘progressive revolutionaries’ of the university, but also the administration which was readily waiting to grant the reservation demand to show its generosity as that does not disturb their power structures in any way.

But that happiness did not last for long with the EC’s decision of postponement of the Elections. The same people who appreciated the generosity of the EC started criticizing its autocratic nature and later putting the blame on each other. Everyone is completely occupied with their tactics and strategies to grab the power and no one is really bothered about the way these decisions have been made leading to the utter procedural lapses in which EC monopolically changed its decisions several times and on several issues- like the extension of the election schedule twice, increasing seats and granting reservation, and so on and finally postponement- and created so much disorder. In this process the VC has intervened in every stage of the changing of decisions by the EC and EC has acted just according to the directions of VC.

The postponement of the elections, undersigned by the Registrar, is one among several procedural lapses, as every decision of the election process has to be in the discretionary powers of the chairman of the EC, even the VC does not have such powers. Observing all the anarchic approaches of the EC, the TSA joint committee recorded every illegality in regular consultation and advice of a senior Supreme Court advocate. The administration also suspected the possible legal complications and postponed the elections indefinitely showing silly reasons, leaving the students blaming each other as the cause for postponement. In fact, the administration’s decision of postponement is the result of its failure in implementation of fascist rule in our university and the victory of the EFLU students who challenged the administration from implementing Lyngdoh.

Of course, it is just a tactical measure of the administration which may be waiting for favorable conditions to re-implement its rules and we have to be alert all the time to oppose the implementation of Lyngdoh. But, what makes all these so-called progressive organizations be deafeningly silent to our demands and objections raised against the EC, on the question of unconstitutional intervention of Lyngdoh and the dangers posed to the autonomy of the university as a result of it, in the meeting that EC convened on 30th October. In fact the EC lost its face when it was struggling to grope for answers to the questions that TSA raised and finally left the hall without any meaningful answers. Not even a single organization, except the trio (TSA, TVV and BSF), expressed their opposition to Lyngdoh. They did not even utter the word Lyngdoh. Why?

The simple answer is that they are happy with Lyngdoh, provided some token concessions are given to them, even at the cost of losing the entire democratic spaces of the student community. We are wondering at people who do not bother about this most dangerous intervention which suppresses every freedom of the students including the freedom of speech (according to Lyngdoh, circulation of printed materials are also not permitted, for instance) but are ‘utterly disappointed’ at the mere postponement of elections and ironically talk about ‘democracy’, ‘equality’, ‘inclusion’ etc. Why this ‘outrage’ and irritation? What right do they have to talk about democracy and so on? Is this irritation merely for a post postponement? Or do they fear that TSA put would shatter their caste citadels?

We think that their disappointment would be for second reason. Their drama at last being disrupted successfully by the trio (TSA, TVV & BSF) in their collective untiring struggle against the cunning and tactical intervention of Lyngdoh in the university. Lyngdoh recommendations clearly direct the students to shut their mouths and asses and listen to the unquestionable authority (Administration). And the elected body’s role, if you critically analyze, would be merely to assist the admin in their decisions in policy making. The eligibility criteria clearly shuts the doors upon the rural, regional medium educated SC, ST, OBC, Minority and women students and rolls out a red carpet for the upper caste, urban educated middle class elite, while accommodating and controlling a few second generation urban English educated SC, ST, OBC and minorities as the representatives of the broad mass of oppressed population, keeping the helm of political discretionary powers in their control.

The success of the women’s reservation demand in this regard provides just such an accommodation to our Dalit brothers and sisters and nothing more. And so we consider this achievement is not at all a revolutionary one, but a trap to implement Lyngdoh in all the universities and then getting legitimacy to it. Our demand is not that. We work towards the realization of the true spirit of our constitution -‘liberty’ , ‘fraternity’, ‘equality’ of justice and of opportunities -while securing the sovereignty of the university. And Lyngdoh is an assault against such an attempt. The Lyngdoh Committee is an extension and continuation of the Birla-Ambani report, which clearly charted out the scheme to open the doors for foreign universities and privatization of education in India. These committees have come up at a time when OBC reservations in the universities started getting implemented yielding to pressures of the mass movements and the social fabric of the country was undergoing some change, though very slow and tortuous. The intervention of Lyngdoh is to arrest such transformation so that the hierarchical social order can be restored.

Hence, we TSA, TVV, and BSF appeal to all the student organizations and individuals who believe in social justice to come forward and join us in our united struggle against the Lyngdoh Committee that prevents the autonomy of the university and imposes anti-people policies for the welfare of the ruling classes. We also appeal to them not to fall prey to the cunning Brahmanical trap.

Our Demands

1. Cancel the entire process of Student Council elections 2012-13 along with the present Election Commission and abolish Lyngdoh committee recommendations.

2. Revoke the earlier Statutory Body with necessary changes in consultation with student community.

3. Constitute new EC according to the Statutory Body without the intervention of Lingdo recommendations with following composition.

a. EC should comprise 6 members, a student as a chairman, two student representatives, one senior teacher and one senior administrator, in the supervision of the Dean Student Welfare.

4. Fresh notification has to be issued following the social justice in accordance with the population ratio of caste, women and disability in the following way: 50% reservation for women and 50% for general which includes women as well. Also following the roaster of SC, ST, OBC and Minority and PHC/VHC in both women as well as in general category.

Struggle Committee for the Abolition of Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations

(Telangana Students’ Association, Telangana Vidyarthi Vedhika, & Bahujan Student Front)