An appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University to stop the victimization of Prof. Nivedita Menon!

An appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University to stop the victimization of Professor Nivedita Menon of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School of International Studies.

We the undersigned are deeply concerned by the persistent hounding of Nivedita Menon, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of International Studies. She has just been removed as chairperson of her Centre, three months prior to the official end of her term. Most surprisingly, this has been done without informing her of any reason for this decision or even giving her the opportunity to explain her position, as is the convention. This shameful victimization of Professor Menon appears to have been triggered by her dissent on the procedural lapses in the constitution of selection committees to appoint new faculty, something she was morally and duty bound to do so. In contravention of JNU’s statutes and to influence the selection process, the Vice Chancellor has been adding committee members from outside the list of academic experts provided by the various Schools and Centres. This is what Professor Menon objected to. Her sudden removal as Chair of her Centre is an attack on the intellectual and moral freedom to dissent on ideas, procedures, and values.

The University Administration has also constituted a committee to look into the “alleged” role played by Professor Menon in instigating students at an Academic Council meeting held in December 2016. These charges are blatantly false and the only reason she is being persistently hounded is to warn other teachers of what could happen to them if they do not comply. The administration has decided to let the constant threat of disciplinary action become their chosen mode to silence the teaching community and prevent them from asking questions about the gross violation of norms and procedures being followed by the University.

Instead of recognizing Professor Menon for her academic scholarship, her international reputation and her commitment to pedagogy, the JNU Administration has let loose a pattern of vindictiveness to create a poisonous and terrifying environment where our basic rights are being systematically taken away. The repeated and aggressive assault on Professor Menon’s right to speak, question and have opinions is now taking a sinister turn. In light of all the incidents this country has witnessed in the recent past, we have to collectively demand that the University must immediately cease the constant targeting of Professor Menon who has been one of the most committed, popular and dedicated teachers on campus.

We appeal to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Authorities to withdraw the specious charges against Professor Menon and stop this cycle of repeated attacks on her democratic rights. Professor Menon should be reinstated immediately as chairperson of her Centre and allowed to perform her duties until the end of her term in December. We also appeal to the University to withdraw the baseless enquiry set up against her.

Please sign here:


Memorandum to the Hon’ble President of India, May 11

Shri Pranab Mukherjee

Hon’ble President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
Raisina Hill,
New Delhi 110001


We the undersigned are deeply distressed by the openly vindictive, unlawful and unjust attempts by the administration of JNU, Delhi, to suppress dissenting perspectives by university students.

The Vice Chancellor, based on the report of a High Level Enquiry Committee appointed by him has imposed on several students grave punishments, not only of high fines, but also rustication of varying periods and a bar on entry into the university.

These punishments suffer from three kinds of defects.

Firstly, the High Level Enquiry Committee as well as the Vice Chancellor did not follow elementary processes of natural justice before imposing these serious penalties on the students that can damage their careers permanently. They did not share the materials with the students on the basis of which adverse inferences were drawn against the students, nor did they hear many of the students or give them a fair opportunity to contest the so-called evidence.

The second fatal flaw in the High Level Enquiry Committee report is that a major part of the evidence is video recordings that an enquiry by the Delhi Government established were mischievously doctored to create adverse public sentiments against the students, and also result in both criminal and administrative action against them.

The third is that the punishments are entirely disproportionate to the alleged offences. In the best universities in all the world’s democracies, students are not punished for allegedly organising programmes or raising slogans or demands that are deemed unacceptable to nationalist opinion.

The students have been fasting for more than 10 days in the height of the summer heat to protest peacefully and democratically against their punishments. The health of the students is declining alarmingly, but this has not moved the JNU administration which should be the custodians of the students’ well-being to heed the demands of the students.

We therefore urge you in your capacity as the head of the Indian nation as well as Visitor of the University to kindly intercede with utmost urgency to annul the HLEC report and the unlawful and unjust punishments awarded by the JNU administration.

With regards

Yours sincerely

On behalf of:


Jan Swasthya Abhiyan’s Statement of Solidarity with JNU Students

We, the undersigned, representing individuals and networks concerned with public health in this country, wish to express our solidarity with the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and to underscore their demands for fair treatment by their varsity.

Why should health activists support students on a hunger strike in protest against their treatment in a university? Because the principles on which this fast has been instituted – of democracy, academic freedom, the right to dissent and to fair treatment – are dear to us and we feel, must be defended by all.

The treatment meted out against leaders of the Students Union, the student body, and the Teacher’s Association at JNU is both disproportionate and reactionary, and makes light of a growing crisis across universities in the country and beyond.

Students and young people across our country feel unsupported, and worse, targeted by the very institutions that exist for their development. This is driving a number of them- as those in JNU and other institutions – to depriving their bodies in protest through hunger strikes. In some, more dire cases, circumstances are compelling our young people to self-destruction. Suicide is the leading cause of death among India’s youth, an absolutely tragic sign of defiance against the injustices of society today.

As people concerned about the health of this nation and our people, we find this to be both alarming and avertable.  Students – in JNU and nation-wide– should be cherished and nourished, their views and concerns heard, debated, and negotiated – not quashed, neglected, or punished.

Indeed, the very foundation of scientific research and discovery – in health and beyond – is premised on the principles of open debate, intellectual freedom, and academic exchange. If we are to secure the health and well-being of our nation, we cannot allow this to be vitiated.

As people from the health field, we know the value of solidarity, of working across constituencies in the service of social justice, democracy and freedom, as we all stand to gain from their preservation and promotion. We therefore stand in solidarity with JNU students and call upon:

JNU authorities to heed students demands and hereafter, to constructively and transparently engage with students and teachers.

the Ministry of Human Resource Development to focus on the development of higher education, instead of its current preoccupation with sifting students into piles of nationalists and anti-nationalists.

the Indian Media to exercise its rights and responsibilities and ensure fair, balanced, and accurate reportage of the goings on in JNU and other academic institutions, and to end its unwarranted blackout of these and other critical struggles of democracy in our country.

Sanghita Sen, Department of Film Studies, University of St. Andrews, UK: An open letter to Comrades of JNU and other Universities of India

Dear Comrades

My words fail to express my agony over this stupid silence of an elected government of an independent country acting like a colonial authority. Their indifference to the students’ health and wellbeing in JNU reminds me of 1981 Irish Hunger Strike and the attitude of the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, an ideological kin of Narendra Modi and ManuSmriti Irani [sans religious Fundamentalism]. They are cruel and callous devoid of human empathy – I don’t want to give them the honour of being called monstrous because that will alienate them from their human form and expected human standards of behaviour in a society. Know that human form doesn’t ensure humane behaviour. Only human beings are capable of such moral and ethical corruption.

Margaret Thatcher remained unperturbed when people were dying in Belfast. An elected MP to the British Parliament Bobby Sands died on 5th May 1981 on the 66th day of his hunger strike. 9 more of his comrades also died. Though their self-immolation radicalised Irish politics, all those valuable lives were lost owing to the perverse standard of human behaviour and lack of empathy of Thatcher who is singularly responsible for miseries of millions of British, Scottish, Irish working class people. Modi and his associates are a new avatar of utterly ruthless politicians like her and some of her more celebrated predecessors who killed people for their sport before and during WWII

It doesn’t matter to likes of Modi and Manu Smriti Irani if all the protestors die. It does not matter to your ABVP classmates in JNU if all of you die. They will look at it as an opportunity to gain complete control over the space that you are fighting to protect. Why do you think they will bother for your failing health? Did they bother when Rohith was forced to his tragic end? Did they pay attention when Rohith and his comrades were on hunger strike? Did they pay attention when Delta was raped and killed? It is not in their system to pay attention to deteriorating human conditions. Had it been the case, there wouldn’t have been 1984 Riot in Delhi massacring the Sikhs, Gujarat riot in 2002 while Modi was the CM of the state [the commission reports show how administration actively engaged in executing the pogrom], or Muzaffarnagar riot in 2013 just before the last parliamentary elections.

Do not die comrades, for they care not for lives. Lives are VOTES for these power mongers. Since you don’t vote for them, why would they care whether are you dead or alive. In fact they would rather have you dead than alive.

Stay alive so that the poison tree of religious fundamentalism and Hindutva fascism could be uprooted from India. You are our only hope. Please don’t give up like this.

In Solidarity with your fight.
Jai Bheem, Laal Selaam
Sanghita Sen
Department of Film Studies
University of St. Andrews, UK

Ten Emeritus Professors write to the JNU VC

May 9, 2016.

Dear Vice-Chancellor,

As Emeritus Professors of the JNU we are disturbed by the turn of events at the JNU. The University has always been a space where we allowed free discussion of issues raised by students and faculty. In the course of such discussion whether in seminars or at other informal gatherings, speakers from both within the University and from outside were invited to participate.

The current administration has clamped down on free discussion by imposing severe punishments of fines and rustication on those who organised a meeting on 9th February 2016. This despite the fact that they were arrested and sent to jail. Now an order has been issued prohibiting the entry of outsiders to the University premises.

We are writing to protest against both these measures. We request that the University administration reconsider both these decisions neither of which is required, and act according to the accepted norms of the JNU.

Yours Sincerely,

Romila Thapar (School of Social Sciences)

Namwar Singh (School of Languages)

Amit Bhaduri (School of Social Sciences)

Sheila Bhalla (School of Social Sciences)

Anil Bhatti (School of Languages)

Utsa Patnaik (School of Social sciences)

Deepak Nayyar (School of Social Sciences)

S.D. Muni (School of International Studies)

Zoya Hasan (School of Social Sciences)

Prabhat Patnaik (School of Social Sciences)

Mukul Mangalik: Asking questions, chanting slogans, walking to the left where the heart resides

[This statement of support by Mukul Mangalik, who was at JNU in its early days and now teaches History at Ramjas College University of Delhi, was read out at Freedom Square on May 7, 2016 at the meeting called by JNU alumni in solidarity with the struggle of JNU students and teachers.]

Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet’, wrote Neruda. ‘I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world’. Neruda would never know, but for most of us who’ve come out of JNU, he could very easily have been speaking for us and for our university. This after all has been the university which, as any university should, taught so many of us to take risks and ‘Dare to know’, to become women and men of intellect like Diderot or Voltaire, carrying banners inscribed with mottoes of impudent and hazardous intent, ‘Everything must be examined, everything must be shaken up, without exception and without circumspection’. JNU after all, is the place that taught many of us to take flight on the wings of love, to sing with Majaz as the joys and stabs of pain and longing made the impossible seem possible, ‘Bakshi hain humko ishq ne woh jurratein Majaz, darte nahin siyasat-e-ahle jahaan se hum’, while also teaching us with Faiz, ‘gham aur bhi hain zamaane mein mohabbat ke siwa’.

Continue reading Mukul Mangalik: Asking questions, chanting slogans, walking to the left where the heart resides

Open letter to JNU VC from Professor Harjeet Singh Gill, Emeritus Professor, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU

hsgill1 hsgill2

AIFUCTO Press Release | May 7, 2016

Here is a statement of solidarity from the All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations.

AIFUCTO press release jnu strike

DUTA Stands with JNUSU and JNUTA


Memorandum given by Parliamentarians to the President of India | May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016

Hon’ble President of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi

Dear Rashtrapath ji,

We, the undersigned members of Parliament, have come to you seeking your urgent intervention, as the Visitor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), to resolve the current crisis that has gripped the university and to restore normalcy.

JNU is considered among the best universities in India which has an unblemished global ranking and standing. The current crisis over the disciplinary action by the Vice Chancellor on the basis of a report submitted by the High Level Enquiry Committee (HLEC) threatens to engulf the university in a crisis of unprecedented proportions.

You have already been apprised of these developments. Hence these details are not being repeated by us. We however wish to bring to you the following facts:

The stringent punitive action against some students including the elected President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union appear to be based on sections of the HLEC report that have been released by the university. These conclusions are based on so-called evidence that is currently under dispute in judicial proceedings. Hence the matter is sub-judice. It is unprecedented that the Vice Chancellor should take such strong action on the basis of so-called evidence which is a sub judice matter.
This so-called evidence have been contradicted by the Delhi government mandated magisterial enquiry. This enquiry points the fact that the grounds on which students have been punished are tenuous at best possibly false. This enquiry has established that the so-called visual evidence electronically recorded has been doctored. Despite this, the university has proceeded on such unprecedented punishment of certain students.
These developments have pushed the JNU students and the academic community into strong responses culminating in the indefinite hunger strike by JNUSU President and some other students. Today is the ninth day of this hunger strike. This continuing hunger strike has led to life threatening health conditions for the students. The President of the Students Union, Kanhaiya Kumar had to be hospitalized at the AIIMS in a precarious condition.
The fact that an overwhelming majority of teachers are backing the students in their demand for fairness is unprecedented and points to the error of the university administration and the Vice Chancellor.

Under these circumstances, when the damage to the university is reaching irreparable proportions, we are urging your urgent intervention.

As the visitor of the university we hope that you would intervene to ensure that justice is done. All actions taken by the VC and the university administration against the students must be withdrawn forthwith. You will agree that all of us will have to wait till the ongoing judicial proceedings are concluded.

We request you to treat this matter with the urgency.

Digvijay Singh
Indian National Congress

Sitaram Yechury
Communist Party of India (Marxist)

D Raja
Communist Party of India

K C Tyagi
Janata Dal (United)

Pawan Kumar Verma
Janata Dal (United)

K T S Tulsi

Majid Memon
Nationalist Congress Party

Baishnab Parida
Biju Janata Dal

Statement in Solidarity with the JNU Students by Concerned Academics from West Bengal

We, the undersigned academics, both retired and still in active service, of different colleges, universities, and research centres of West Bengal, are shocked to learn that Jawaharlal Nehru University has variously rusticated and fined several of its students for the events that occurred on the evening of February 9, 2016. The charge levelled against them is that they took part in a rally, commemorating the execution of Afzal Guru on the same date three years ago, and of Maqbul Bhatt even earlier, in which anti-India slogans were allegedly raised. This the University, as much as the police, believed invited the charge of sedition, and several students had indeed been arrested under section 124 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860. The students were later granted bail and now a High Level Committee of the University has enquired and decided on the quantum of punishment to be meted out to them.

We find this painful and absolutely contrary to our understanding of what a university should be. To our mind a university is a place where students are not only offered education in the academic sense, but also where young people mature and mould themselves into full fledged members of the community. A vital part of this process is, or at least should be, that they should learn to think for themselves, and also imbibe the courage to stand by their conviction and understanding of the world around them. We strongly believe that this will be impossible if freedom of speech and thought is denied in university campuses, and only conformism to the state authority is tolerated and even encouraged. We find it incredible that today an old colonial law is invoked to discipline our students. This was the very law that our colonial masters had used to incarcerate our freedom fighters, and it is ludicrous and outright shameful that our present rulers find it so handy.

It is not yet fully established that the accused students had indeed raised such slogans as they are alleged to have done. Notwithstanding that, we do not believe that questioning the policies of the state, even if that pertains to cessation of a part of its territory, amounts to sedition, howsoever sedition is defined. In fact, a lot of the legal experts have opined that the alleged slogan shouting, even if it did occur, does not amount to sedition under the laws of the land. Are we not free to question, or condemn our state, if we happen to believe that it has on some account or other acted illegally or immorally? If such freedom is denied, then we conclude, this state has lost its privilege to call itself a republic.

We stand in solidarity with the students of JNU. We urge upon the Vice Chancellor of the University to reject the recommendation of the High Level Committee, and to open a dialogue with his students. This will not tarnish the image of the University, on the contrary, will enhance its prestige.

  1. Abhijit Mazumdar, Siliguri College

  2. Abhijit Roy, Jadavpur University

  3. Aditi Dasgupta

  4. Amit Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University

  5. Amit Dasgupta, Heramba Chandra College

  6. Amlan Dasgupta, Jadavpur University

  7. Anindya Sengupta, Jadavpur University

  8. Anirban Mukherjee, Calcutta University

  9. Anjan Chakrabarti, Calcutta University

  10. Anup K. Sinha, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

  11. Anuradha Roy, Jadavpur University

  12. Arabinda Bhattacharya, Calcutta University

  13. Arijita Dutta, Calcutta University

  14. Arun Hota, West Bengal State University

  15. Arunabha Adhikari, West Bengal State University

  16. Atig Ghosh, Visva Bharati

  17. Avishek Konar, Observer Research Foundation, Calcutta

  18. Bidhan Das, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

  19. Bijoya Goswami, Jadavpur University

  20. Debashish Goswami, Indian Statistical Institute

  21. Dulali Nag, Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management

  22. Gopa Mukherjee, Gurudas College

  23. Gorkey  Chakraborty, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata 

  24. Janabrata Sil, Retd. Calcutta University

  25. Keya Dasgupta, Retd. Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta

  26. Kumarjit Mandal, Calcutta University

  27. Kunal Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University

  28. M.P. Terence Samuel, Visva Bharati

  29. Madhabi Chatterjee, Maheshtala College

  30. Madhumati Dutta, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology

  31. Mahalaya Chatterjee, Calcutta University

  32. Maidul Islam, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta

  33. Manabi Majumdar, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta

  34. Manas Joardar, Retd. Calcutta University

  35. Manas Maity, Visva Bharati

  36. Maroona Murmu, Jadavpur University

  37. Mausumi Manna, Scottish Church College

  38. Mrityunjay Prabhakar, Visva Bharati

  39. Nandini Bhattacharya, Calcutta Girls’ College

  40. Nandini Ghosh, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

  41. Nilanjana Gupta, Jadavpur University

  42. P.K.Sarkar, Retd. Medical College

  43. Parimal Ghosh, Retd. Calcutta University

  44. Partha Chakrabarti, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology

  45. Partha Majumdar, Ramkrishna Mission Vivekananda University

  46. Parthiba Basu, Calcutta University

  47. Partho Sarothi Ray, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata

  48. Prabir Bhattacharyya, Retd. Ram Krishna Mission Bidyamandira

  49. Prabrit Dasmohapatra, Calcutta University

  50. Pranab Kanti Basu, Visva Bharati

  51. Pranab Sarkar, Visva Bharati

  52. Priya Sangameswaran, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta

  53. Probal Dasgupta, Indian Statistical Institute

  54. Purusottam Bhattacharya, Retd. Jadavpur University

  55. Rabin Chakraborty, Retd. Calcutta University

  56. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

  57. Rajarshi Ghose,Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

  58. Rajib Chaudhury, St. Xavier’s College

  59. Rosinka Chaudhuri, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

  60. Ruma Chatterjee, Retd. Kidderpore College

  61. Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay, Kalyani University

  62. Samantak Das, Jadavpur University

  63. Samir Karmakar, Jadavpur University

  64. Sanchayan Ghosh, Visva Bharati

  65. Sanjay Kumar Saha, Jadavpur University

  66. Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Retd. Calcutta University

  67. Sarbajaya Bhattacharya, Kidderpore College

  68. Sarbani Bandyopadhyay, St.Xavier’s College

  69. Sarmila Bannerjee, Calcutta University

  70. Saumya Chakraborti, Visva Bharati

  71. Shobanlal Dattagupta, Retd. Calcutta University

  72. Subhanil Chowdhury, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

  73. Shyamalendu Chatterjee, Chittaranjan College

  74. Silanjan Bhattacharya, West Bengal State University

  75. Sipra Mukherjee, West Bengal State University

  76. Soma Marik, RKSM Vivekananda Vidyabhavan

  77. Soumyen Sikdar, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

  78. Soumik Nandy Majumdar, Visva Bharati

  79. Subhamita Chaudhuri, West Bengal State University

  80. Subhendu Dasgupta, Retd. Calcutta University

  81. Subrata Sarkar, Retd. College of Nursing, R.G. Kar Medical College

  82. Suchetana Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University

  83. Sudeshna Banerjee, Jadavpur University

  84. Sujato Bhadra, Narasingha Dutta College

  85. Sukanta Bhattacharya, Calcutta University

  86. Sukanta Das, Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology

  87. Sumana Bandyopadhyay, Calcutta University

  88. Suparna Bhattacharya, Retd. Vidyasagar College for Women

  89. Suranjan Chatterjee, Retd. Shovarani Memorial College

  90. Surasri Chaudhuri, Thakurpukur College

  91. Sutanu Bhattacharya, Kalyani University

  92. Sweta Ghosh, Retd. St. Xavier’s College

  93. Tapan Chakraborty, Indian Statistical Institute

  94. Tanweer Alam Mazhari, Ram Krishna Mission Bidyamandira

  95. Tilottama Mukherjee, Jadavpur University

  96. Utsa Ray, Jadavpur University

  97. Uttam Bhattacharya, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata

  98. Uttama Ray, Rammohan College


Calcutta University Teachers’ Association (CUTA) Message of Solidarity

Calcutta University Teachers’ Association (CUTA)
Asutosh Building, College Street, Kolkata –700073

Date:  29.04.2016

Solidarity Message

The General Secretary
JNU Teachers’ Association
New Delhi.

We have come to know that a sizeable number of students of your university are on an indefinite hunger strike protesting the punitive action, recommended by an investigation committee, against students who were accused of raising anti-national slogans in an event inside the university campus. JNUTA has extended its moral support to the students’ struggle for proper justice from the university administration.

The university authorities must not be revengeful in conducting the probe against students, as they are the raison d’être of any institute of higher learning. We firmly believe that if poor students are slapped with huge financial fines or debarred from continuing their course of studies for no fault of their own, it would be a great threat to any academic institution on one hand and a devastating danger for the society at large on the other.

CUTA expresses its deep concern over the entire situation that has developed within JNU, and particularly the way of treating the student community by the university administration.
We express our solidarity with the JNUTA on this particular struggle for justice by the students, teachers and other members of the university. Prof. Ishita Mukhopadhyaya, a senior member of our association, has already visited the university campus and addressed the students on hunger strike on behalf our association to show our solidarity.
With revolutionary greetings,


Yours truly,

(Dr. Ram Prahlad Choudhary)
General Secretary

(Prof. Gautam Gangopadhyay)


DU teachers express solidarity with students on hunger strike

Photograph: Samim Asgor Ali
A five-member DUTA delegation, including its president Nandita Narain, also met the striking students Sunday and demanded withdrawal of all charges against them.

Indian Express: JNU, DU teachers express solidarity with students on hunger strike

Janaki Nair: Echoes from Karnataka and Kerala

Not all the responses from other parts of the country to the momentous events that have unfolded in JNU over the past two and a half months have been hostile. Not one, but two compilations of talks/writings/poems/cartoons have been produced in Kannada recently. The first, JNU Mele Daali: Bharatada Mele Daali (An Attack on JNU is an Attack On India) edited by Neela K with able translations by Ashok KR, Srinivas Karkala and Vedaraj NK, and published by Kriya Pustaka contains articles by Kanhaiya Kumar, G Sampath, P Sainath, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and Sandipan Sharma, as well as original writings in Kannada by Neela K, Purushotham Bilimale (currently holding the Kannada Chair at JNU) Natraj Huliyar, Sugatha Srinivasaraju and other well known writers in Kannada. Prof. Bilimale has been reporting on JNU issues since the struggle broke out in the leading Karnataka paper Prajavani.

JNU Mele Daali not only contains a diary of events and a document to the overwhelming support from institutions within and beyond India, it also includes photographs (though not of very high quality) and cartoons (of very high quality). The strength of Kannada cartooning is on full display: a poor peasant asking a well fed politician about when ACCHE DIN will arrive, and being told his “love of country” is deficient! A policeman gives an interview before the Patiala house court, explaining to the press that the lawyer beating up the unsuspecting man is showing “love of country” which the victim is an enemy of the nation! The pyrrhic conquest of Mount JNU, and several other Indian cartoons are included as well.

A surprising aspect of the first volume is the silence on how the JNU story connected to the HCU events, and to the tragic death of Rohith Vemula. This exceptionalisation of JNU is avoided in the other Kannada volume, Desha Andare…Manushyaru (the nation is …made of its people) published by the well know Lankesh Prakashan (named after the famous writer P Lankesh, who had for years brought out the leading journal Lankesh Patrike, now in its new avatar Gauri Lankesh). The volume is edited by Harshkumar Kudve, and is a more comprehensive, set of articles which have been picked from the wide range of writings on student politics since the fateful year 2016 began. In addition to the tragic eloquence of Rohith in his suicide note, Kanhaiya Kumar’s first speech, there are articles on Umar Khalid, Rama Naga’s life story, Shehla Rashid’s speech: the 45 article volume ends appropriately with Kanhiaya Kumar’s electrifying speech on March 3, 2016 following his release.

The events that have swept the Indian campuses in 2016 no doubt mark a watershed, a new level of attacks on university autonomy. It is fortunate that it has in equal measure generated a huge amount of concern, sympathy, hostility, anger and wariness about the student movement in India generally. This volume is testimony to the wide range of issues that have been openly voiced, that have gone well beyond the immediate crisis, to include reflection on the relationship between the Left and the Ambedkarites surely, but also between established left politics and the crucial categories of caste, sexuality, and ideas of nationalism. Also included is the open letter to Smriti Irani after her dramatic performance in the Rajya Sabha from a fearful and bewildered student. Among the other interesting inclusions, apart from poems in Kannada, is the letter from a teacher at HCU and member of the sexual minorities cell of Telengana.

We are at a time of great uncertainty about the future of the public university, and about the prospects of sustaining and nurturing the huge and inclusive spaces they have become. These volumes will serve to spread the concerns and anxieties as well as the triumphs and creativity well beyond the four walls of the University. It is therefore even more gratifying to note also that Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, (whose degrees are awarded via JNU) is continuing the series of nationalism lectures in its campus.

FEDCUTA Statement on actions of the VC of Central University of Jharkhand

31 March 2016


The FEDCUTA expresses its outrage at the bizarre, high-handed and politically motivated action of the Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Jharkand in suspending a senior teacher Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and removing her from all administrative positions on the absurd grounds of “misconduct” by inviting a senior professor from JNU as a Guest of Honour at a function she had been entrusted to organise!

Even though the suspension has since been withdrawn, presumably in response to the widespread condemnation of the action, the shocking and unprecedented incident has only served to underline the extremely grim situation confronting universities in India today. Public-funded universities are under an assault of gigantic magnitude, with pliable Vice Chancellors increasingly becoming instruments of dubious political agendas. The central role of our universities – to provide access to affordable quality education, by providing a space that nurtures independent and creative thinking, has been severely undermined.

In the eagerness to please the powers that be, the Vice-Chancellor of the Central University of Jharkand has ended up bringing disgrace to his own University. The attempt to malign the invited scholar, Professor M.N. Panini, as a “mentor of the group of students of JNU, who were involved in anti-national activities in JNU campus recently” , would be laughable if it were not a scandal with dangerous portents.

The suspension of Dr. Bhattacharji is one more instance of a dangerous process that is targeting institution after institution, JNU and HCU being recent instances. While extending its solidarity and support to Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji and Professor Panini, the FEDCUTA appeals to teachers and academics across the country to unitedly resist this onslaught which aims to destroy and dismantle our best public-funded universities at the behest of international corporate interests that are pushing for complete privatisation of higher education. To thwart any united resistance to this nefarious agenda, socially divisive campaigns that dub any dissent as “anti-national” are being whipped up. The attempt to hand over Government Schools, Colleges and Universities to private profiteers, domestic and global, is the agenda that is truly anti-national as it is inimical to the interests of the people of this country.

The FEDCUTA also demands that the VC of Central University of Jharkhand issue a public apology to Professor M.N. Panini as well as to Dr. Shreya Bhattacharji, and ensures that such incidents are not repeated.

Nandita Narain Ajay Patnaik
President, FEDCUTA Secretary, FEDCUTA

India’s Student Protests: Struggle for a Better World | ISA Forum 2016

Margaret Abraham, professor of sociology at Hofstra University and the president (2014-2018) of the International Sociological Association, writes: My recent visit to India coincided with the student protests that convulsed the nation. What was striking was not the scale of the agitation but the idea of India put forth by these young men and women seeking freedom, equality and justice has resonated with the people and altered the national discourse.


India’s Student Protests: Struggle for a Better World | ISA Forum 2016

Former Civil Servants Sense ‘Clear and Present Danger to Values of Freedom of Speech’ | The Wire

“A call to the media and the general public to reflect upon the deeply disquieting trends visible in the public sphere and in our polity today”


Former Civil Servants Sense ‘Clear and Present Danger to Values of Freedom of Speech’ | The Wire

‘Don’t persecute Kanhaiyas Mr President. Use them for nation building’

Krishna Sobti, a nonagenarian litterateur, wrote to India’s First Citizen to express her concern about disturbing divisive traits in the current atmosphere.

‘Don’t persecute Kanhaiyas Mr President. Use them for nation building’

University of Sussex Asia Centre


Full text: 139 academics condemn ‘vicious media campaign’ against JNU professor Nivedita Menon

A group of 139 academics from around the world has sent out an open letter decrying the “right-wing media campaign” against Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Nivedita Menon, a political scientist and well-known feminist scholar. The list of signatories includes some of the world’s leading scholars including Partha Chatterjee, Homi Bhabha, Lila Abu-Lughod and Sheldon Pollock.

Full text: 139 academics condemn ‘vicious media campaign’ against JNU professor Nivedita Menon