hota hai shab-o-roz

hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha mere aage(The world is a children’s playground before me; everyday this theatre is enacted before me)" — Mirza Ghalib Standing tall in the main campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University Mirza Ghalib’s statue watches an enactment of adult life around him The world within the university is still a theatre of dissenting minds; the only difference is that Ghalib can no longer write about it Established in 1920 long after Ghalib’s death Jamia became a central university in 1988 Aside from Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University there are three more central universities in Delhi and Jamia Millia is the most prominent one A statue of Ghalib watches over the Jamia Millia Islamia University Over September 2017 the former two held their respective student body elections DU’s candidates went the firecracker and garland way leaning on an archaic style of politicking Billboards were erected far beyond the boundaries of the university and the National Students Union of India the Congress’ student wing that won the top two seats centered its campaign on an RTI that exposed the questionable usage of Rs 2178 lakh by the BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) In JNU where the Left holds sway student parties resorted to sloganeering and political satire on hand-painted posters within the campus but made national headlines by raising issues like the disappearance of student Najeeb Ahmed following a violent scuffle and the arrest of student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid on charges of sedition last year The Communist reds washed over any strains of saffron from their campus On the other hand Jamia Millia Islamia — where nearly 17000 study — banned its students’ union in 2006 The matter is sub-judice but this week 16 student groups — including NSUI AISA (All India Students’ Association; student wing of the Community party of India) CYSS (Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti) and representatives from the SP (Samajwadi Party) RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) JDU (Janata Dal United) PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) — are forming a joint committee and marching towards vice chancellor Talat Ahmed’s office to demand the restoration of the union “Since the union was dissolved students have consistently been subjected to the administration’s autocratic attitude with a lack of hostels poor placements regular fear of a fee hike less scholarships for needy students Research scholars too face delays in receiving their stipends If a university doesn’t offer us a platform and a medium of voicing our concerns then it is snatching our basic democratic right” said Laraib Ahmad Neyazi a member of the Joint Action Committee and of the NSUI The AISA’s Amber Fatmi says that students should be given a chance to decide whether they want a politics of love or hate “We must be allowed to question policies” he said reciting his party’s slogan ‘Ladho padhai karne ko padho samaaj badalne ko’ (Fight to earn the right to study and study to change the world) A flyer that the parties shared with us stated: ‘Don’t forget the turbulent times during the Batla House Encounter and the scared students of Jamia who had no agency to address their grievances And also remember how administrations behaved and treated you during IB raids The unheard issues like continuous fee hike authoritarian attitude of teachers and clerks worst healthcare facility zero placement teacher-student ratio police surveillance and inadequate facilities in girls and boys hostels We need to strengthen the students’ voice’ Laraib also shared with us emails to Congress leaders Mani Shankar Aiyar and Shashi Tharoor inviting them to deliver public lectures on the campus both from this year While the former was being invited to speak on ‘The Rapidly Changing Definition of Nationalism’ the latter’s letter of invite had three topics for him to choose from — ‘The US Politics of Hate’; ‘The Global Rise of the Right’ and ‘The Liberalist Discourse and the Paradox Within It’ Laraib asks us to investigate the actual reasons for why those lectures didn’t actually take place “It is not a matter of dissent it is a matter of free speech Lectures are a peaceful way of listening to another point of view aren’t they” asked Laraib To get the administration’s point of view authorities on campus directed us to Saima Saeed who they described as the media coordinator She politely denied us the right to speak to students and teachers on campus regarding student politics and clearly stated that those who are wishing to practise politics on campus are doing so for political mileage and not to address actual students’ issues We then met up with Jamia Teachers’ Association (JTA) secretary SM Mahmood who was willing to speak independently “We do not prescribe to any particular political party be it the BJP the Congress or the Left The teachers’ association will only represent the teachers and look into their concerns and not that of any political party” he said calling Jamia a neutral space Prof Mahmood was of the view that if the students want a union the need for it should come from them “As a teacher as a citizen I feel that democratic institutions are everybody’s responsibility Let the students speak for themselves since it’s their decision There is no good or bad students are here to learn and question If they falter they can seek guidance from a student advisor who is a senior teacher” he said Prof Mahmood feels it is important to engage the students in a dialogue so they understand their rights and why the administration is against the union Just last month the university cancelled the admission of PhD Sociology candidate Dhrupadi Ghosh She was a member of the Dayar-I-Shauq Students’ Charter (DISSC) a left-oriented political organisation Her resistance art animated posters on state repression in Kashmir shrinking democratic spaces in public universities and pro-imperialist government policies impacting agriculture Citing the evidence above one may conclude that the university is denying if not muzzling dissent Firstpost took its queries to the office of Jamia’s Dean of Students’ Welfare Naved Iqbal He shared with us email correspondence between HODs directors and senior professors on the administration’s proposal to the students to conduct indirect elections where Class Representatives (CRs) were to choose and form the council The nomination form Prof Iqbal shared with us contained the clause: ‘Candidates must also submit a copy of the mark sheet of (their) qualifying exam before joining present course in Jamia Millia Islamia’ The students rejected the proposal a chance at democracy Why Their reasons were listed out on a flyer for a public meeting scheduled on 21 March at Jamia’s Union Hall Building: ‘On 15 March the JMI administration called a secretive meeting which comprised the CRs of only some faculties and centers The administration apparently wants to promote academic standards through this council for which parameters are predefined by them The constitution of the council clearly reveals the administration’s shrewd intention to tame and infantilise students… We the students of Jamia Millia Islamia do not want an academia devoid of the real social and political issues of inequality poverty exclusion and discrimination for the students’ On 9 January 2012 the Jamia bulletin board had shared a circular about three petitioners who had filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court seeking directions for holding elections to the student’s body in the university The matter was heard by a division bench Lengthy arguments were advanced from both sides The university informed the court of the circumstances that prevented it from holding direct elections The university cited that there is in fact a mechanism for students to air grievances and that their representation is sustained through subject associations in various departments/faculties The court observed that the petition was preferred by individuals who were not on the regular rolls of the University The court then noted that one Mr Afroz Alam Sahil who was also a petitioner hadn’t been attending classes at the university The judges were of the opinion that "the petitioners do not genuinely raise issues pertaining to electoral politics on campus" and they being "non-interested parties" Justice SK Kaul was inclined to dismiss the writ petition At this juncture the counsel for the petitioners withdrew the writ petition against Jamia Millia Islamia Today Jamia offers 53 doctoral programmes 83 Masters’ programmes and 55 undergraduate programmes along with diplomas and certificate courses in subjects ranging from Peace and Conflict Studies to Neurology to Architecture Pedagogy to Convergent Journalism and Nanotechnology Jamia’s Centre for Coaching and Career Planning is famous for giving India a fresh crop of civil servants each year The MA Ansari Health Centre extends its services to neighbouring communities and Jamia’s The AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (which was founded in 1982 long before media and communication became a popular career of choice) has now forged collaborative ties with the University of York Toronto (Canada) University of Westminster London (UK) and Sciences Po Paris (France) On its website Jamia proudly wears the badge of an ‘A’ Grade certification from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) What’s missing from the Jamia Millia Islamia campus is the lack of a singular concept of democracy one that the administration and the politically attentive student groups don’t agree on The administration doesn’t think anything’s amiss and the students aren’t embracing what’s available Jamia is at war with itself If the issue of cow slaughter and beef eating had made maximum noise in Kerala it would not have surprised even the staunchest of cow vigilantes So entrenched is beef in the gastronomic traditions of the state that any attempt to overthrow it will invite a certain mutiny But this time in Kerala the ‘politics over beef’ has myriad hues For starters the Union Government’s notification surrounding the sale of cows for slaughter in markets was misunderstood as a blanket ban on the slaughter of cows and eating beef Both the Left and the Congress party had played equal roles in this misinformation campaign While the 200-odd beef festivals went on as planned things reached a feverish pitch when an over enthusiastic Youth Congress leader went to the extent of publicly slaughtering a calf – ending up behind bars rejected by his own party File image of BJP chief Amit Shah PTI The BJP certainly had been on the losing side of this vicious campaign and party president Amit Shah’s three-day sojourn in Kerala was intended more at placating the anti-party sentiments among the minorities than just galvanising the party’s state machinery for the 2019 General Elections But here too there is an anomaly Rather a larger game plan at play A closer look at what – apart from the usual party meetings – Shah has done in Kerala over the last weekend could tell the story While garlanding a community leader’s bust and meeting editors of top Malayalam media houses would be among the normal schedules in any powerful North Indian leader’s visit Shah’s attempt at extending the olive branch only to the Church has not gone unnoticed Especially since the BJP president made no attempt to reach out to Muslims who form the largest minority in the state If reaching out to minorities was indeed the agenda there is more to his actions than what meets the eye Perhaps never had any BJP president taken out time to meet such a wide collection of Bishops cutting across all denominations of the church in the state From the Syro-Malabar Catholic diocese – the largest denomination of the community in the state– to the Jacobites to the Orthodox to even the small Knanayas all sat across a table with Shah putting across their apprehensions and accepting the assurances from the saffron party at Kochi on Friday evening If sources inside the party are to be believed Shah had specially demanded to rewrite the schedule to accommodate the meeting of the Bishops and there was clearly a reason for it "See both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress have been spreading only rumours about the notification instilling fear among the minorities because they know that the BJP’s acceptance among them is increasing So we had to ensure that we explain to them the reality The party president’s visit was perhaps the best opportunity to send across that message. and among the Christian community heads we were able to do that” MS Kumar BJP state spokesperson told Firstpost Whether ‘beef’ became a topic of discussion at the meeting with the Bishops is still debatable as both sides stayed tight-lipped about it deflecting the focus on to various other issues like the price of rubber and release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil who continues to be an Islamic State hostage in Yemen But what set the ball rolling is what the Archbishop Soosapakyam the custodian of the Latin Church which holds a tremendous amount of influence among the fishing community in the coastal belt of the state had to say to the media after meeting Shah on Saturday at the state capital "This is certainly a new beginning and a new step forward The discussions gave an opportunity to understand our stands better and make a few corrections wherever needed We had talked about a number of issues and it was very cordial and positive” Soosapakyam told media persons in Thiruvananthapuram The words of the Bishop does suggest that a consolidation of the already existing vibes between the community which holds over 20 percent of the vote share in the state and a party that is desperate to break ground among the community with its ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’ slogan has taken place Also if the BJP hopes to make in-roads in Kerala in 2019 many believe it would have to be from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency which had been rumoured to be eyed by the party’s Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from Karnataka Rajeev Chandrasekhar After all the BJP had proved its worth in Thiruvananthapuram by putting up a strong fight at the City Corporation polls where they came a close second in the last local body elections and the NemomAssembly constituency which is a part of the Lok Sabha seat had sent the first saffron MLA to the legislature in 2016 in the form of the party’s old war horse O Rajagopal But for the BJP to win the Lok Sabha seat in Thiruvananthapuram in the immediate future would only remain a distant dream without the Latin Church on their side History tells us that the incumbent MP Shashi Tharoor was bailed out of a tough situation in 2014 by the crucial votes of the fishing community It is here that the meeting with the Latin Bishop and his words gather significance The saffron party the party feels that times have changed in Kerala and hence it is crucial for them to consolidate whatever small inroads they have developed with the Christian community in the state. 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