Voices of emancipation to fight the continual surveillance in campus of Jamia Millia Islamia

April 5, 2016

by Dhrupadi Ghosh

On 22nd of January 2016, advisor of Security, Jamia Millia Islamia, sent a ‘crucial letter’ to all deans and faculties, welfare departments and HODs, directors, institutes and to the offices and principals of school. This letter was addressed by the additional deputy police commissioner,Delhi to the highest authority of the university.

The ‘magnificence of the letter’ openly targets Muslim students in a very ‘refined paternal technique’. It says that it is pointless to mention that educational institutes in general and Jamia Millia Islamia in particular is a very soft target for militants/separatists. Hence the unarmed security personnel deployed in the university are the frail options to fight, effectively, the heavily equipped militants with sophisticated weapons. Henceforth they should be equipped to fight the ’enemies’. Additionally, it was said that the students and staffs of JMI should be ‘sensitized’ of such danger and are advised to contact security(armed) or police(armed) at the first opportunity in case of slightest suspicion. ‘No unauthorised person should be allowed to stay in boys/girls’ hostels. If any stay of outsiders is noticed, should be informed to the security and police immediately.’

JMI has been a place for the students coming from socially marginalised community, oppressed nationality, oppressed caste that have been assertive to create a space for the ‘students themselves’ to debate against shrinkage of university’s democratic expanse or argue to uphold the students’ demand to fight the continual methodical surveillance posts.

In sociology, Mead talks about ‘role taking’ in society. Interestingly these ‘roles’ change with the moments we step inside the university premise, witnessing heavily cordoned security walls. The ‘role’ alters if the students raise voice against the systematic lynching of Md. Iqlakh by Hindutva forces in Bisara village, Dadri, or students gather for a public meeting to extend the struggle of institutionally murdered scholar Rohith Vemula, against a casteist state. The students become the ‘other’ in their own university space. Their ‘immediate identity becomes a Muslim student’ and thus the subject of ‘surveillance’. We become the bodies under surveillance and investigation and our role simply modifies into event with candle light to maintain the dynamics of “rest in peace ,Md. Iqlakh”. The demand for justice liquefies.

‘Taking permission to maintain the law’ is the key point that the authority of the university tries to uphold. ‘Every moment you breathe in, moments you walk through the crowd or clusters of our own students, you are observed’. Every footstep of yours is gauged. But why to bear the burden of surveillance, why to swallow the load of permission in an educational institute that is not formed and conceptualised to highhandedly curb our democratic rights in campus? Why can’t we openly discuss on Batla House and the fake encounter? Why do we have to find a corner to talk about Kashmir’s freedom struggle, mass grave in Baramullah, interrogation centres where the young Kashmiri people disappear forever or two young Kashmiri boys, beaten and stripped by Indian army in 2010? Because all the fake encounters and occupations are well planned and warranted with ‘permission’ of the Indian state machinery.

And today when the UGC has ‘worn’ a father figure to send notice to all the universities on security question, Jamia can’t be sent ‘a special fear letter’ for fighting for minority status, equal rights, thoughtful educational system and a dignified fraternity in an imbalanced authoritarian society. When, we, the students who rise in rage against institutional murders and fake encounters, scrapping of the basic rights of UGC non Net fellowship, or scrapping of the ‘percentage’ of minority status and radicalise the fight with the question of equality, our expansionist home ministry gets too scared of the ‘educated students’. The students from a minority institute with no rights of ‘unionization’, scrape out soil of discrimination, replacing with a seed of ‘azaadi’ to declare with delight that the ‘armed security can effectively brand and then kill us but not our soul that pounds with the hundred thoughts to reclaim a democratic campus’.

The anti-colonial Islamic activism, the Khilafat movement and the pro-independence radical section of Indian Muslim espoused the soul of nationalist struggle’ and today when Kashmiri students in NIT, which is historically a regional engineering college ‘offering education to locals’, are beaten up by Indians, the authority disremembers the ‘history of nationalist struggle’. The ‘letter’ sent to JMI is evidently there to ‘nurture fear instead of education’. Because, students here still exercise self-determination to uphold the rights of marginalised section who are under the incessant attack of corporation, WTO, GATTS backed Hindutva forces and their intrusion to restrain every rights of Muslim students.

But we are fighting for our educational rights to thrash the diction of a majoritarian threat and its irrational and dangerous education policies where it is termed as ‘tradable commodity’. The threat of the letter can’t really curb our enthusiasm, like Ali said in Battle of Algiers, he is not tired to carry on liberation struggle, and we are not exhausted in our university to ensure emancipation against an authoritarian onslaught.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Voices of emancipation to fight the continual surveillance in campus of Jamia Millia Islamia”

  1. Malin Says:
    August 13th, 2016 at 16:14


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