Teach-in on Violence in Universities in India
In Solidarity with Delhi University
Room 227, Mudd Building, Columbia University
Sunday, March 5, 2017
3:00 – 4:30 PM
On February 22, the teachers and students of Ramjas College in Delhi University were beaten up by the right-wing student group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for organizing a conference on ‘Culture of Protest’. In the last three years, there has been an escalation in violence carried out by right-wing student groups on other students, faculty members and workers in universities across India. This escalation has been enabled by violence outside universities as well, that target especially gender, caste and religious minorities. The clamp down in HCU following the death of Rohith Vemula, arrest of students in JNU, silencing and suspension of faculty members in JNVU Jodhpur, and most recently the sheer violence on students and faculty members in Delhi University indicate a pattern of organized violence in university spaces. The silencing of dissent is orchestrated through right-wing student groups, thereby obfuscating the responsibility of the state in protecting the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. The police remain a mute spectator. The regime in power has either remained silent or actively endorsed the hooliganism. We have seen the emergence of the ‘ideal nationalist’ as a new norm of doing politics. The words ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ have become a tool to control and censor critical discourse across the country.
In defiance, the academic community in India has come together under a common cause of reclaiming their right to debate. With every stifling of dissent, new cultures of protest have emerged. Students, faculty, workers of universities and concerned citizens are coming out on the streets in huge numbers vociferously asserting their right to critical thought. Voices from different countries are pouring in against the violence. They are not just reclaiming their right to the university space, but also re-imagining the idea of the university in India. We are congregating to express support, to contribute to this critical moment in Indian history, and to explore the idea of academics in the university space. Do participate, spread the word, and join us in large numbers for discussions and posters.
3:00 PM – Introduction
3:10 PM – Talk by Dr. Rohit, Prof. Anupama Rao, and open session for speakers from fellow friends and comrades, followed by discussion.
4:00 PM – Show of Solidarity with #FightBackDU Campaign in India – posters, songs, slogans. We have posters, but please feel free to bring in your creative posters as well!
Contact: Shaunna Rodrigues: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sohini Chattopadhyay: email@example.com