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Posts tagged ‘Student Movements in India’

Contents: JNU and Its Tradition(s) of Dissent (Issue 24)

Contents: JNU and Its Tradition(s) of Dissent (Issue 24)

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Guest Editorial: JNU and its Tradition(s) of Dissent

By Malavika Binny
The backdrop of the JNU protest movement gives us a unique opportunity to interrogate the university’s history and its many lineages of dissent. Dissent, in this case, must be understood as any notion which challenges the conventional and the normative; be it the celebration of LGBTQ identities, ‘dhabha culture’, challenging of patriarchy and brahmanical hegemony, the presence of a strong North-Eastern discourse and so on within the campus. The protest movement also offers a vantage point to take a critical look at the fissures and contradictions within JNU.

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Sedition in a Democracy

By Meera Gopakumar
While many people have become aware of sedition laws in the country, courtesy the recent developments in JNU, what most people are not aware of is its colonial roots. India’s important nationalist leader, Gandhi, was tried for sedition for the articles he wrote in Young India against the British colonial regime. This brings us to one of the biggest conundrums that the history of any free nation can possible encounter – what is sedition in a free democratic country?

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Capitalising on Capital Punishment

By Tintu K Joseph
The very existence of a university, be it JNU or HCU or any other central or state university, is to discuss, debate and argue democratically on various subjects and to listen to the dissenting voices tolerantly. As university scholars, we will discuss about anti-nationalism, death penalty, state-sponsored terrorism, oppression by the state towards its own citizens, communalisation of politics, and so on. It is indeed these ideas which the university represents that are under the threat of state repression.

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TO BE DEMOCRATIC IS TO BE RADICAL: An Interview with Umar Khalid

By Malavika Binny
The situation got quite tricky for the government when Rohitha Vemula, a Dalit student committed suicide; the government thought that it may harm them electorally. So they used the entire 9 February incident with its entire national/anti-national binary to cover it up. We have to remember that it was not the first time that the binary was employed as Rohith Vemula was also called anti-national. The way an entire section of the electronic media and a section of the print media and the police, the government – the ministers, the MPs – the way that they went after us they thought that could bury, they could subsume HCU through their offensive against JNU through raising the issues of nationalism, terrorism, Islamic terrorism, etc.

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Saraswati, Mahishasura and Durga: Love, JNU and a Mythology of Dissent

By Kanad Sinha
Dissent is an extremely important content in the social and public life of JNU, and that goes beyond the field of political activism. Inside the classrooms of the Centre for Historical Studies, we learnt to ask questions to unravel the various dimensions of the past, to critically question the sources we use and their perceived ‘authenticity’, even to question the very nature of our discipline itself. However, JNU campus also trains one to relate academic training to that of lived existence.

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The Irony of Diversity in India

By Keisha Kashyap
However, even in the JNU campus, students still have to face racism in the form of micro-aggressions rather than violent forms. For example, cultural events are restricted by the administration. The fests have to refrain from serving beef, a staple in most northeastern states. The serving of fermented foods is also frowned upon. Northeastern students are mocked by some due to the different facial features. It is not uncommon for people to demand northeastern students about their identity, culture and race.

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Kanhaiya Speaks…: An Interview with Kanhaiya Kumar

By Vani Mecheril
My political stand and observation is that all those who are oppressed should unite with mutual understanding and respect. Dalits, women, transgender, marginalised and backward communities, Adivasis, tribals, the poor – all of these groups face exploitation and oppression by power structures. It should primarily be a comprehensive unity for resistance. The unity forged for such a resistance during protests will also reflect in times of election.

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My Dance in JNU, with JNU and for JNU: A History of Dance in JNU

By Tintumol Joseph
For the sheer pleasure of body, mind and soul that I experience every time I dance and the narcissistic pleasure derived out of a public performance, I still cannot think of not going back on stage to dance. Engulfed by the ‘sedition’ tsunami, JNU still dances on cultural nights, hostel nights and, most of all, is still dancing to the ‘azadi’ slogans and will continue to dance. Here is hoping that I will dance too!

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Queer Narratives from JNU

By Gourab Ghosh
‘Coming out’ is not a ‘ritual’ or an act necessary to be queer. But we have to also understand that to ‘be in the closet’ is not a choice, it is a forced condition due to extreme homophobia and fundamentalist mind-sets. Visibility of the ‘other’ also challenges the normative structures of society. Queer collectives are important because they bring visibility to queer issues as well as the identity of the other ‘out of the closet.’ It is thus extremely important for queer activists to understand that politicisation of activists is as important as the sensitisation of people.

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The Frayed Pallu of Mother India’s Sari

By Deepshikha Boro
Ignorance about Northeast has led to a devious construction of the region and its people as the ‘Others.’ The learned Indian society lacks a sophisticated understanding of the region and views it as a homogenous entity. The people from the Northeast are treated with suspicion and fear. Till date, they are addressed as ‘tribals’ and ‘forest dwellers;’ a colonial hangover that still persists. The ignorance continues because the Indian state has criminally neglected the inclusion of Northeastern studies in the curriculum of schools and universities in India.

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Glimpses of History and Teasers of the Future: An Interview with Anirban Bhattacharya

By Malavika Binny & Tintu K Joseph
We say that the annihilation of the caste is not possible without revolutionary social transformation and revolutionary social transformation is not possible without the annihilation of the caste. If we don’t go with the aim of social transformation, if we don’t go with the aim of democratisation, then we will always find those who should be with us are with them (Hindutva forces).

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Photo-Essay: JNU Protest Movement

By Azhar Amin
A photo-essay on the protest movement in JNU.

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When We Dance Naked…

By Ashrukona Deka
Here in JNU we do dance naked, but not literally. We dance naked because we discard our prejudices, social conditioning and other shackles that stifle thought and the ability to question the world. We dance naked in the sense that we believe in discarding the discriminatory layers of caste, class, gender and religious bigotry. We dance naked because we believe in dissent.

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