A mini-revolution in Jadavpur University is providing voice to the country’s youth
You’ve probably seen “Jadavpur” floating through your news feed the last few days, without quite knowing what’s happening. If you have Bengali friends, you’ve certainly seen them declaring # #HOKKOLOROB (Hok Kolorob, which translates into “Let there be clamour”) on their FB timeline, even as they share Rupam Islam’s Kolorob Hok Kolorob and pray for the goonda raj to end in West Bengal.
What exactly is going on? Today’s Your Daily Read provides the gory details, and here is a brief run down:
A student of Jadavpur University (JU) was allegedly molested and her non JU friend beaten up on August 28, in the midst of the university’s annual cultural festival (called, ironically, “Sanskriti”, which means culture). The University’s response when she complained to the Vice Chancellor (VC)? Attacks on her “personal character” and a directive to stay away from campus (it’s always the girl’s fault, silly).
Thankfully, the girl refused to give in and the JU students joined ranks with her. On September 10, the students’ body notified the VC of a peaceful, indefinite sit-in until the culprits were brought to book (Read the copy of the letter posted on Youthkiawaaz). What happened next is straight out of a Manto or Kafka story. In the manner of a pre colonial feudal lord, the Vice Chancellor – whose job is to ensure the students’ safety and ensure the smooth running of the University – refused to have any sort of discussion on the matter. Instead, he called in the police even as goons from the ruling party started gathering. The violence that followed saw dozens of students being hospitalized and arrested, even as the administration followed time honored tradition by blaming it on the Opposition, the Maoists and the Queen’s pet dogs.
As the author rightly points out:
This is not a question just about students or women alone. This is about the way in which people in power view those who they think they wield power over. This is the same smug arrogance that is routine in factories and offices where managements treat workers and employees with contempt. It is the same arrogance that makes patriarchs and politicians insult the autonomous choices made by young people by invoking the poison of ‘love Jihad’. It is the insults that the powerful throw at dalits, and especially young dalit women and men who are trying to carve lives of dignity with education, by wearing what they want to, by simply being ‘present’ in public space. It is the racist slur that the Delhi landlord throws at his young north-eastern tenant. Each of these instances is an offensive in war that has been unleashed on the young. On students, on young women, on young workers. It is a war on love, on pleasure, on friendship, on solidarity and on the right to lead one’s life with dignity and with freedom.
So here’s to a bigger and louder clamour against all the administrators, bureaucrats and politicians who believe they can treat citizens as their private serfs. And here’s to the voice of a united India.
Read the complete article here.
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Image courtesy: Youth Ki Awaaz