Monday, February 27, 2017

LSR College English faculty backs their student

NB: Congratulations on your brave protest, Gurmehar, we are all with you. My late father too was an Army officer, who taught me to stand up for truth and justice. I am sure the spirit of your dear father is proud of you. Well done. Dilip

Rituparna Chatterjee: What The Trolling Of Gurmehar Kaur Says About How Indian Men View Women With Opinion

We, the faculty members of the English Department, Lady Shri Ram College unequivocally and strongly support our student Gurmehar Kaur and her right to express her opinion on issues that embroil our university. It is immensely gratifying to us as her teachers that she has responded sensitively, creatively and bravely to events in her immediate context rather than seek the safe refuge of silence. We feel that it is the bounden duty of educational institutions to nurture sensitive, responsive and critical thinking students without the fear of violent retaliation. We are proud that Gurmehar has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen of this country.

The threats of violence and brutality that she faces are absolutely reprehensible. Responses on social media by public figures such as Virendra Sehwag and Randeep Hooda are shameful trivialization of the intimidation that Gurmehar faces at the hands of violent mobs whose viciousness the university has recently witnessed.We fervently appeal to the good sense of the public and to institutions of redressal to help restore our faith in law and justice in our country and let our young citizens think and articulate without fear of intimidation.

Delhi University student  Gurmehar Kaur early Tuesday morning announced that she’s withdrawing from the Save DU campaign – that’s protesting against student violence on campuses – saying she’s ‘gone through enough’. The 20-year-old daughter of a martyred Indian Army Captain was in the eye of storm following her poster campaign on social media demanding an end to violence on campuses, allegedly by ABVP students. “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say.. I have been through a lot and this is all my 20 year self could take :)” she tweeted this morning. Kaur, however, urged students to go to the protest march taking place today at Khalsa College in large numbers.  “The campaign is about students and not about me. Please go to the March in huge numbers. Best of luck.”

She adds: “To anyone questioning my courage and bravery.. I’ve shown more than enough. One thing is for sure, next time we will think twice before resorting to violence or threats and that’s all this was about.” Kaur has also alleged that over the last few days, she has received violent threats including those of rape and murder. On Monday, she approached the Delhi Commission for Women asking that the threats be probed.  The DCW then urged the Delhi Police to take suo-moto action and arrest those guilty.

On Monday, Union Ministers including Kiren Rijiju targeted Kaur questioning who was ‘polluting’ her mind, to which she responded saying:  “I have my own mind, nobody is polluting my mind. I am not anti-national.” Kaur initiated the campaign after her friends were verbally and physically abused at Ramjas College in North Campus, allegedly by ABVP students. Tuesday’s rally by students from Delhi University has been called to reclaim campuses spaces and demand that those responsible for last week’s violence – including police officials – be brought to book.

Union Law and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad condemned the intimidation. “Any kind of intimidation of this young girl is wrong and will be dealt with strongly,” Prasad told The Indian Express. He added: “Everyone has got the right of freedom of speech and expression. Violence is not permissible at all. But the country also needs to reflect that those who openly talk of breaking India, demanding that Kashmir should be given Independence and Bastar should be made independent, do they have the right to campaign for breaking of India under cover of freedom of speech? But violence has no place at all.”

NB: To suggest that the Ramjas seminar of 21-22 February was a venue for discussing the secession of Kashmir or Bastar is a shameless distortion of facts, which is now the expected mode of public utterances by this government. In fact I was due to speak there, on the issue of the massacre of 1984 and its impact. I could not do so as the ABVP was indulging in riotous activity, under the nose of the Delhi police. Students and teachers participating in a seminar were attacked with stones and beaten up, by the state-protected ABVP cadre who used the mere appearance of certain names on the seminar programme to start a riot. I have written about this here. That ministers responsible for law and order take the side of hooligans is shameful. The Law minister doesn't notice that the violence was unleashed by the ABVP, and that this courageous young woman was threatened in vile language for opposing violence and intimidation. Here is an example of the easy patriotism of our Sanghi motormouths: BJP MP Pratap Simha Compares DU Student Gurmehar Kaur With Dawood Ibrahim . How brave and manly they are. DS 

The English Department of Lady Shri Ram College, where 20-year-old Gurmehar Kaur is a first year student of English Honours, has unanimously issued the following statement today: We, the faculty members of the English Department, Lady Shri Ram College unequivocally and strongly support our student Gurmehar Kaur and her right to express her opinion on issues that embroil our university. It is immensely gratifying to us as her teachers that she has responded sensitively, creatively and bravely to events in her immediate context rather than seek the safe refuge of silence. We feel that it is the bounden duty of educational institutions to nurture sensitive, responsive and critical thinking students without the fear of violent retaliation. We are proud that Gurmehar has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen of this country.

The threats of violence and brutality that she faces are absolutely reprehensible. Responses on social media by public figures such as Virendra Sehwag and Randeep Hooda are shameful trivialization of the intimidation that Gurmehar faces at the hands of violent mobs whose viciousness the university has recently witnessed.We fervently appeal to the good sense of the public and to institutions of redressal to help restore our faith in law and justice in our country and let our young citizens think and articulate without fear of intimidation.

The statement has been signed by Rita Joshi, Madhu Grover, Rukshana Shroff, Arti Minocha, Maya Joshi, Shernaz Cama, Mitali Mishra, Arunima Ray, Dipti Nath, Maitreyee Mandal, Janet Lalawmpuii, Ngangom Maheshkanta Singh, Karuna Rajeev, Wafa Hamid, Jonathan Varghese, Taniya Sachdeva, Rachita Mittal. Kaur, on Tuesday, withdrew from the Save Delhi University campaign, but urged students to attend it in large numbers. She took up the poster campaign against violence on campuses after her friends were attacked – verbally and physically – allegedly by members of the ABVP. During her campaign, she alleged to have received threats – including those of rape and murder – on her social media accounts. Moreover, Union Ministers including Kiren Rijiju questioned her motives asking who were behind ‘polluting her mind’.
http://indianexpress.com/article/india/gurmehar-kaurs-protest-against-abvp-violence-lsr-college-backs-their-student/

PS: Among the comments below this article in IE is this one. We should read it carefully, for it reflects a common attitude: Like J-p-a-n, the nation that provides the best social services to its citizens, we should also ban social sciences research/degrees from all Indian universities..., it is urgent now, because too many fake or pseudo intellectual with less than half of IQ of any engineering student from a good college are getting created and a huge unproductive force of unskilled people with just show-off degrees are getting created... this is anti-thesis of education... these guys know nothing and consider themselves intellectuals... the only thing they try to learn is language and quotes.. The information about Japan is reported here: The Abe administration is directing the abolition of humanities and social sciences at National Universities in Japan

What is significant is that the commenter want this ideal to be enforced in India. He considers the only knowledge worth knowing and teaching to be that connected with measurement. Everything else is worthless. History, literature, philosophy, language, everything beyond mathematics, science and technology deserves to be forgotten. This is typical of the productionist sentiment of the modern mind, which can't understand that science is a product of the human spirit, not its lord and master. We may also note that the Sangh driven government wishes to bring about the same obliteration of the humanities in India - barring their certified and approved version of Indian religion and culture. The assault on the mind unfolds every day in India's universities as well - FYUP was only one example of it. Only a firm commitment to philosophical questioning can stem the tide of nihilism. Mathematics is ethically neutral. Here is something to think about: Satyagraha - An answer to modern nihilism - DS

Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca // samanyam etat pasubhir naranam
dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso // dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah
(Hunger, sleep, fear and sex are common to men and animals
What distinguishes men from animals is the knowledge of right and wrong)
(Bhagwadgita; Tr S. Radhakrishnan, 1948, 1971, p 79)

State protected hooliganism in Ramjas College
Here are some posts relevant to violent censorship in Ramjas and elsewhere: