Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Mob-Mindedness, Minority Exclusion and Institutional Communalism in the School of Arts and Aesthetics


The present situation in the country is on the verge of total collapse into conflict between opposing sections of society and different warring communities. In the midst of the communal name-changing of places and mob-lynching of Muslims, women and Dalits, BAPSA raises the clarion call for unity of the oppressed, by which is meant the co-optation of the oppressed sections of society as masses ready to transform society! What a huge task that is set upon the shoulders of people who everyday live a life and death struggle with humiliation and fear and an organization like BAPSA only claims unity with certain reserve representatives who can be characterized as the lumpen elements of the populace like OBC forum and Muslim Students Front well known for their anti-student stances on education policies at the larger level, with no intent of political education. Why and how would they take up the task of political education when they do not have a political program! While the Left in JNU is raised and fought on issues both within and outside campus such as the water problem and the lack of availability of hostels, DTC workers strike, and the movement of manual scavenging of the sewage workers, BAPSA has only paid lip service and has put zero efforts to mobilize students on these pressing issues. In SAA, where we are blessed with the presence of Sanjay Kumar, a councilor from BAPSA, you can look around, inside and outside the department and not find a single statement or poster on these issues. These factors do not bother the students of SAA anymore.

Why? Because of the unity of the oppressed? Who are the oppressed? These are the people who “feel” oppressed. These are students from well-to-do families guilt-ridden in a department where no empathy is to be found or experienced from the lot of the oppressed coming from villages and studying in JNU. For the students of SAA, the students coming to study in JNU from the countryside in departments like SL,L&CS are the mob. With this characterization of the mob that supports the Left-unity because organizations like AISA have fought for their essential rights as a student like RGNF, MANF and MCM scholarships which students in SAA seldom avail, the students of SAA characterize themselves as the torchbearers of the struggle against oppression. How do they struggle against oppression? By means of personal slandering of professors and students who are against them and their agenda of identity politics and targeting those who refuse to reduce people based on their immediate identity and choose to look at what the individual has to offer as a social being. They would dare not target a professor like Y. S Alone and Naman Ahuja, the former because he is believed to be a Buddhist and the latter because his academic standards are much greater than so-called scholars like Kancha Iliyah. Also because of the fact that these professors have not been as actively participating in the struggle against the draconian JNU administration as the Dean Kavita Singh who was replaced by Mazhar Asif because of her stance against mandatory attendance and its vociferous critique in public spaces and Ranjani Majumar who has been fighting the battle in the court and is vital to the legal team of JNU students and teachers against the administration.  You must not make the distinction that the former are good and the latter are bad, for then you will make the mistakes like the politically bankrupt BAPSA and DSU. DSU is a marginal presence in the campus, along with BASO who claim to be Leftists, Marxists, communists and so on and so forth but no student in the campus would validate these false claims, except the students of SAA. This is not to say that is a critique of the students of SAA and their ideological field of thought. No, the students of SAA are brilliant and smartest. So smart apparently that the issues of the world and the global rise of the right would be discussed in their classrooms and they would still have no political line to offer outside of that space.

Whose fault is it? It is the fault of the students of SAA and their problem of not being able to correctly handle the antagonisms created in society that permeates into the campus and raises problems between the different sections of students and between students and teachers due to the fascist authoritarianism of the administration which is a cog of the start machinery as an instrument of the semi-feudal semi-colonial ruling class which creates conflicts where there is peace so that the disruption leads to dispossession which can be at some point seized by the ruling class. This the ruling class does by furthering their personal interests into the field of politics, like the kangaroo court of the students who impeached the teachers and demanded responses for baseless claims. None of the people in BAPSA or individually can substantiate these claims in front of the students, let alone the teachers if there was any iota of concrete consideration given to the students to think about what they were doing. This is how ideology functions. They do not know it but they are doing it, and by doing it they are pursuing their own ruin which is evident in Prof. Majumdar’s decision of no longer teaching MA students. What or more pertinently who has driven her to take this radical action in her professional career? The answer is: the so-called “radical” politics of SAA, which is simply opportunism under the guise of radicalism. The minimum requirements of any SAA student are that s/he has a laptop, a luxury that many students in JNU still cannot afford. The other requirement is the proficiency of the English language. Other than these two basic requirements, the rest is upon the student, as to how many movies the person has seen or how many books s/he has read. Political correctness and an informed stance on political situations is neither required nor encouraged.

This was explicit in the school GB M where students like Ajay Pateer, whose films are as bad as his sense of humor and political correctness and Naman whose ideology goes only so far as the logic of scoring weed from Subhash Nagar and drinking in Kaveri. This is not to pass moral or personal judgments on individuals like those passed regularly in school GBMs and the recent debacle of an all-students and faculty meeting. The purpose of this piece is to make people think as people and not as a mob. This is applicable to those like Apeksha and Devika who have seen the political situation for long and have done nothing more than sharing content on the department WhatsApp. What is to be expected of a department where the former councilor Sourodeep could not even produce a written document for the analysis of the work he had done under his ‘reign’ when the movement against mandatory attendance led to the lockdown and Sourodeep was present in the capacity of BAPSA. One person is the capacity of BAPSA! And so it is that in SAA, what is practiced in the name of politics is the bare minimum. What else would you expect from a centre where students only talk about websites, memes and what is going wrong in their measly lives! The students of SAA are not a force of movement as they had proven with the downfall of the lockdown, to which BAPSA again only paid lip service and DSU was nowhere to be found!The students of SAA are a mob, and that is the reason they care so much about the minority question because they are guilty. They are a force that effects actions like mob-lynching and exclusion of marginal identities. The radical politics of the students should be directed more and more outwards but here we regretfully see the opposite happening. DSU and BASO as a marginal presence is tolerated by BAPSA in SAA so long as they are monkeys rubbing each other’s backs. Here they find no stratagems of conflict, because both DSU and BAPSA are opportunists whose politics will only benefit the ruling class. In the name of minority exclusion in SAA, these forces, or wisps of air are actually propagating communal politics by antagonizing the student community and the teaching community as two communities with opposing interests. The notion that a Dalit or a Muslim student is more exploited in the campus is baseless so long as nothing is done to empower them, and BAPSA has done nothing on this front, other than using this notion to create a mob of blind followers of agendas that ultimately serve the interests of the administration as it would be easier for the admin to put pressure on students and teachers separately. It cannot be denied that minority representation in SAA is abominable, and that is why communally speaking we have seen a lineage of Hindu councilors, savarna until BASPA came to the rescue, and Prof. Soumyabrata and Prof. Alone came to BAPSA’s rescue, as much as they could in their own personal terms. Because remember, “personal is political” is the ultimate motto of politics in SAA. There is no such thing as social. But what has BAPSA rescued the students from? From the social? Perhaps but… NO! The answer: their consciousness and reason. 
The real question then has to be posed: who needs mobs? Who needs to be in mobs? People who cannot fight for themselves and people who can make use of this uselessness; in a nutshell, cowards. The students of SAA in particular are afraid of what the students in JNU in general are afraid of and there is little need to mention it here because as has been stated before, the students are SAA are the smartest. They are not foolish but cowards, or at least motivated by cowardice. Why would they not be cowards? They are part of an institution, an institution much like the prison and the courts, an apparatus of the state. A civil service aspirant is not very different from a SAA student who spends his evenings and nights cooped up in reading spaces making their own labor a point of universal crisis to achieve resolution or redemption in the success of achieving an opportunity on passing the exams. So students of SAA are also opportunists and see situations, gravely politically incorrect ones like the signing of the letter, as an opportunity of having done a political task and brushing their hands off this dirty work, getting back to their ivory tower, i.e. in the reading space of the library. The opportunist rend in the students is what mobilizes them towards BAPSA and their political activities. An activist in AISA for instance, will have to paste posters, meet and discuss issues with students at the dhabas, got to each room of the hostel to notify them of any events happening and in this way build a political presence in the campus. The affiliates of BAPSA, and it is no error if it is written as BASPA in places (for two reasons, one is the that both of them practice identity politics along caste and religious lines using feudal consciousness and the other is the affiliation of leaders they uphold like Mayawati and Kashinath), formulate their politics in negation to the political work of the organized left, much like DSU/BASO (once they were one :() and their criticism is only limited in words.
 As soon as they are transformed into deeds, they create divisions within students through their hollow rhetoric which suits the hollow existence of SAA students and/as intellectuals, and someone or the other ends up being excluded. It is a paradox in politics that those fighting against exclusion exclude people from their struggles violently and deliberately, at least as violently as the left-leaning campus would allow. Now let us get a glimpse of what has happened structurally in the institution with the presence of these forces and the possibilities of what will happen. After successfully sidelining the actual champions of struggle because of who the students don’t even have to see the attendance registers, they have put students in a position that they are resentful, but still arrogant enough to believe the signature upholds a valid critique. The students of SAA are hopeless and helpless. Gone are the days when there was a move to constitute a grievance redressal cell between students and teachers, at least according to BAPSA, much like the demand Keerthana raised about having a regular gender sensitization cell, which culminated in one event and raised nothing out of it. Like Prof. Majumdar, Prof. Ira Bhaskar is also not taking any more classes for MA. If we apply the supply and demand logic of Sourodeep, , there is a demand of new professors, which is filled by Prof. Soumyabrata by calling his students to take classes, albeit unpaid but this would not be the case for very long. In light of the new national policies in education, there would be drastic rise in ad-hoc faculty which was never the case in JNU because of its indispensable academic excellence. This has paved way for the opportunist students and the opportunist BAPSA and the opportunist section of students to take the “risk” of signing the letter that impeaches the professors and make way for their own career as intellectuals in JNU, because the new intake of SAA students would see this step as heroic for the sheer violence in it. Sometimes, cowards are more prone to violence because of the fear that makes them show courage through cruel behavior, and heroism is not always bravery, but a historical feature of bourgeois individualism. It is the service of this bourgeois individualism that the students of in MA struggle with the professors as a class and mistake it for ‘class struggle’, when in actuality they are only fighting for themselves. For raising the issue of a Muslim student who was not admitted into the university, students like Debjyoti reduce the person to his immediate identity and fight for the absent presence of minority students in campus. This is the motto of SAA, to which the MA students follow Debjyoti quite heroically while paying no heed to the actual presence of minority students in SAA and their actual marginalized status. On the other hand, they further marginalize the minority so much so that they are forced to reduce every aspect of their social interaction along ethnic lines. In all of this certain things are clear as crystal, no struggle will achieve anything if it is undertaken by the students of SAA in this manner. This is a brand of politics serving the guilt-ridding mechanism of the students who have everything need in life, except a proper understanding of the world because they believe that they are the world and nothing is beyond them. This claim of self-righteousness in signing the letters to address discrimination is just co-optation into identity politics on moral grounds. There are two problems that arise out of it. One is that it denies any specific circumstantial considerations of the event and its validity form the side of the students more than the side of the teachers. The other is that as soon as the students of SAA believe they are right, they become right-wing in their firmness and lose all sense of self-criticism because they mistakenly believe themselves to be morally infallible in their position with respect to the issue of minority rights, and this is without any representation of the minority of that community among the signatories, if one is to borrow the logic of representation from BAPSA. The solution to the problem of discrimination does not lie with the students of SAA, because the students of SAA are discriminatory in nature, and this is not a personal judgment but the observation of people from other departments about SAA. In vain then, the foolish and coward students of SAA talk about justice in their department when their mobilization consists only in getting as much of their brethren as they can to lynch teachers.

The world of SAA students is communal, perhaps not as communal as BJP but most definitely similar to Congress, which pays lip service to the Muslims to increase their vote share and does nothing subsequently to improve their conditions. The students of SAA are soft-right in their radicalism if they are to be considered radical at all because in neoliberalism, these micro-political issues become rallying point for ethnic communities in their demise in ethnic conflicts, such as Suu Kyi in Myanmar and Putin in Russia. The hand with which Aakash and Debjyoti signed the poster near the canteen is the same hand which wields the machete to kill a Muslim for eating beef. The rise of micropolitics is the demise of a politics that is able to resolve differences, that is helpful in achieving certain goals in the course of social development. We need to address these issues of communalism and right-wing politics which is the weapon with which BAPSA has raised conflict upon the students and teachers and deliberately oppressed people in the name of the unity of the oppressed. The issues that must be brought to the GBM therefore must be the following:

Discrimination in the department and who is the authority to seek grievance

End to personal slandering and blaming students and teachers on moral grounds

Separate discussions forums for problems between students and problems between professors

Taking up the responsibility to ensure a more inclusive dialogue and not mobs, by the SFC

To state clearly the agenda of identity politics to besmirch the reputation of teachers

Ensure the professional integrity of students and teachers in the university

To lay aside all claims of anonymity and discuss things with the responsibility of an authority, even if it means becoming one

To address the question of false representation of minority is SAA by BAPSA

To repudiate the practice of mob-formation involving students without correct intent or clear consent.

End of Part I

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The Critique of Subjectivity Or Why and How to Resist Mandatory Attendance

The question of attendance as a system which imposes oppressive structures on the subject whose being and presence is in prison by the ‘dictatorial dictat’ of the VC is also a very real situation which has to be understood in its ideal as well as its actual course of development. The VC, even in JNU campus, is absolute authority, and so long as it does not have objective knowledge of its subjects (students), it has no power to exercise upon us. The power he enjoys comes from the repression of the students as subjects under the objective system of control by the institutional authority of the VC . But the structure might appear as something leading to objectivity of ‘lived experiences’ and perception as the ultimate reality. Does perception live out of lived experience? Lived reality dwells too much upon the idea of the subjective. The present world schematism is such that the subject loses its place in the objective reality. If we see the case of students, their lived experiences are more generally so diverse that there always would be an incorrect definition in relation to the contradiction between a social group and a class. You could argue of either of the two. Between the student and the student community, the contradiction takes shape. For the administration, students are objects with substance but not essence. The very purpose of education has become the reproduction of ideas divorced from practice, in a manner, that we do not mostly realize what we study if we do not practice and what we actually practice is majorly a negation of our theoretical education, if we try to clearly understand it, by understanding reason as a notion of reality. The subjective notion of reality mostly celebrates the differences of lives of students, one from the other, while the administration has quantitative as well as qualitative understanding of students which is more actual and factual. The memories of lived experiences as objective data  come into conflict with fundamental laws imposed upon the subject that leaves no room but to find reason in  the objectivity and immediate actuality of practice. In a university, for the students, the administration is not much more than a mechanism and for the administration the students are not much more than organisms that it can and has to  affect because the environment has definite social construction governed by fixed laws. The truth is in all our lived experiences we have a subjective notion of reality in behaviour. There is a theoretical need to define objectivity as a higher stage of unity, a stage of absolute where it is almost possible qualitatively, where it ceases to be a mere stage wherein or upon which objectivity is achieved but the course of development of the movement.. On the one hand, there is the fact that all students come from similar and different social groups and classes, the bone of contention is how their lives are governed by reason manifest as the theorization of an actual phenomena, a scientific law because on the other hand the assault upon the classes antagonistic to the interests of the ruling  class. Can such a scientific theory, one that is realistic enough to materialize a longstanding movement, a dialectical movement wherein we can negatively realize the totalitarian tyranny of the VC be possible and subsequently to  act upon it as one?

Let us consider the case of DU where attendance is not only compulsory, as a form of subversion of subjectivity, but also the conditions of necessities and well as conditions of possibilities.  When a student goes to the class, s/he finds it overcrowded, along with a major chunk of students who feel completely  and have different opinions because of the disconnection of day scholars from the extracurricular work in college that should necessarily be a possibity of their objective existence. Just as work and no play makes one dull, similarly trying to become political or the trend of expectation that we can continue to resist in our own ways will never result in any realistic action. To gauge student activity as collective and objective as a social group would reveal the fact that objectivity is inherent in the structure and the fundamental contradiction of a capitalist society is such that through propagating that ideology, they are alienating the individual from the collective. By collective, I mean the rank and file of our elected officials in the union and the so-called ‘class representatives’, and the alt-left student group with other students. We live in an age where reality is negative and possibilities are positive but not material, and the self is split. The necessity of attendance is so real a phenomenon in the lived experiences of students that few would take the freedom to craft their own course and study it separately under the guidance of the University (or not!). While that would not only be a subjective notion of study, it would be a self-serving notion of subjectivism. The students expect  too much from the student organizations, and not all the student organizations deliver, especially when it comes to politicizing the students upon social issues to raise consciousness, they fall in the trap that the students have set for them. They have become subjectivists. We need to understand that the students are being subjective in their demand, because they are living in a negation of the power they have as a united force, but the manner in which the struggle is taken forward has a very subjectivist attitude. In practical terms, networking, alliances are essential tactically but what is good for the students in the university is what is good for the development of productive forces in the societies, if the activity or the struggle of the students is both pragmatic and prognostic and in the larger struggle is also the kind of unity to fight fascist authoritarianism in the whole country. The body and the mind cannot be separated from each other and only a scientific diagnosis and solution to the questions raised on the struggle against the subjective and the objective situations at play and only the highest unity between the Student masses, between the body and mind of the subject can be achieved. The best ally, the best friend of the students and the most productive force for the students is the union. Well not because they are in power, but precisely because they are not, and if we as students, do not look out for the interest of our union ‘friends’ who are actually struggling and getting served notices but we who study as students think consciously against the system of attendance and do not have a definite objective course planned for it. What is important for us is to actually struggle, not as intellectuals, but as students, learning in society how to make friends. Some friends would stab you in the back. Why? It is in their interest; but why should the student look at anyone differently? The student does not live in a life-and-death struggle. For them, most things are symbolic, as to a large section of youth in our country who are willing and able to work but the state has no employment to give.. Similarly, certain organizations have hoodwinked the students into believing that the students did not do their part in the disappearance of Najeeb and also the larger discourse of how ‘traditional’ vanguards become like the institutional police. These things the BAPSA cannot and will not understand, because they decentre the politics from the subject when they talk about the marginal and its impact on identity and consciousness. Their activity is for students who sit and pontificate on matters of discrimination and marginalization while themselves never consequentially being the voice of the voiceless also not considering a party of the most opppressed which is the propertyless laborer and by that they essentially create the subject in absence. The absent subject cannot speak for itself, therefore becomes an object to be spoken about, not an objective notion that caters to the lived experience of students as political activity. Working class politics then loses all its historical terminology and in the hands of petty bourgeois intellectuals becomes a method of propagating subjectivism. We should understand that fundamentally things can be objects about which one can think of anything. We can think about the attendance issue as another issue that is an objective necessity of our student life that is as structural or systemic oppression, which would obviously be a subjectivist compromise which students in JNU have often been making when they compare JNU to IIT and demand for the same possibilities in JNU at the same price. This is a demand which does not even sound good in the hallowed walls(!) of JNU, haunting us with the ghost of Chandrashekhar on the one hand and Najeeb on the other, wondering whether under the union of the former, the latter would have been the case with a student. Such questions are anyway futile, because nostalgia for/with the history of JNU is a bad trait, and against the interests of the subjectivists.

Who are the subjectivists? Those who think that proclaiming “Insha Allah” is a form of freedom (of expression) and thinking that it is in the interests of the minority, and by addressing the minority, we can really address the difference between a theory of political practice, that is not only a lived experience such as the practice of Islam rather than transforming the objective reality of being born into a Muslim family. Life is essential for the human species, and to ensure the prolongation of life, it is imperative to understand the laws of nature in the objective development of human society, and how certain subjects became backward or forward, and unequal or different not just in cultural respects but also in terms of the institutions they are in. In DU, students had stayed the continuation of the FYUP because the objective conditions were affected by the development of the various forces, particularly AISA, associated as another form of saffron terror in JNU, with the development of the student masses participating in that movement. If its defeat was the implementation of CBCS later, its victory was being repealed and setting up a model for the scientific method of struggle. The students have to be real actors in this movement not from the point of view of the subjectivists, but from the side of the union. The union is not just a collection of popular people, nor it the ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ or DCs ‘Justice League’, but the very apparatus of the union must be first put into its full utility before we ourselves as students transform it, hopefully by boycotting the Lyngdoh when the student movement of the JNU students reaches that stage. If a situation is reached wherein the negation can itself stand for the justification, the question in place of the answer, that has happened, not in the name of political polemics (which is negligible) but as the political line which they take to the masses, would you find it absurd or natural? If the question is hard to figuratively think about and definitively answered, what basis is there for catering as students to the interest of the subjectivists whose interests is to serve their own interest, but not to objectively participate and create movements that have lasting impact upon the masses and the student community. What remained the most dominant and decisive factor in the FYUP movement was precisely this lasting impact, when an academic issue became a mass issue for the student community about which organization and the students have the same definitive opinion. AISA knew the part DUSU would play after the elections as an apparatus and how as a mass organization to put pressure along with a variety of different groups of student and teachers who only shared a temporary alliance with the union. Now in JNU, when no student organization can boast of winning the elections for the union single-handedly, and with subjectivists frustrated in equating red terror with saffron terror because they are stuck naturally in their own lack, or rather the contradiction of the state and subject, to which the only essentially scientific resolution would be to be more practical and accept the logic of oppression inherent in the system but still not lose the subject. That can only be ensured when the people who represent you will be responsible for your political action and should so hold you accountable for it. Communication is necessary but lines must separate interest and the students must see for themselves the differences in political lines as separations. Wherever such is the case, the differences between the political constitutions of the students must not be antagonistic to the union and to themselves. This much is clear about the situation of political resistance in JNU.

The communication should be official and factual and the union in this case, has the only objective data, and as for the political path of the movement against mandatory resistance, it is negation of negation, the ultimate struggle for a higher for of political freedom has that has always been under the danger of an attack because university is still an institution run by the ruling class with a fascist government as the objective authority.
In the end then, since the development of subjectivity in the consciousness cannot be under the sole subjective question of identity, because an assault on the participation of students in classroom is a normative practice that now the administration wants to see as an objective criterion for the recognition of identity. The political pursuit of identity in the sphere of socio-economic reality cannot be dealt in isolation from the functioning of consciousness and the reasons for which attendance is made mandatory for the students so the kind of subjectivism that capitalism has led to in order to cover its contradiction is very evident in the reality that has made itself manifest in the actual body count who quantitatively and qualitatively stand for the administration and against the interest of the students and also the existence of individual identity outside or in the margins of the capitalist system. The student is reduced to the subject whose existence is under question, at most outside the classroom and the reason behind this is the reason given by the administration and the resultant silence on the part of the objective factual realityof the students and their rational demands for a more liberal administration.

 What we should strive to achieve as students therefore is the right to be members of a society divided by hierarchies but still united in the pursuit of concrete knowledge and scientific theories representative of the real field of study we undertake ‘for a living’ and in that living to overcome the hierarchies and reduce divisions to their minimum function. In order to live productively, we dwindle between sometimes good or bad and sometimes more or less. Such is the uncertain fate of subjectivity which destroys the unity of the student masses, like the Ramjas incident in DU has capability of mobililize thousands when a united activity is practiced and observed conscientiously by the students and the masses are diligent and vigilant about the issue and the politics of the enemy. The course of the development of history is always objective and that is what differentiates it from memories and remembering. In remembering and reminding ourselves of goals that ought to be achieved, the most definite is to repudiate both the “mandatory” as well as the man who enslaves students like the Roman empire in Coliseums to battle with each other and the loins of competitive struggle for existence , without the hope the next VC will be the same as previous. The objective task of the students and the necessary course of action of the students is to not fight ourselves, tame the lion and unleash it upon the despot. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Bastar and the Revisionist Left- Humanist and Maoist

In a quite ceremonious and inescapably subversive manner, the situation at Bastar was discussed by writer activist Bela Bhatia chaired by advocate Sanjay Hegde in the third annual Shahid Azmi lecture. Shahid Azmi was a lawyer who fought cases for Muslim youth falsely accused under TADA and POTA then, which is UAPA now, and got them acquitted. The movie ‘Shahid’ starring Raj Kumar is falsely based on him. The topic of the lecture was ‘Democratic Rights and Political Responsibility in a Conflict Zone. Ganesh Hegde opened the session by giving a short account of Shahid Azmi, giving a brief glimpse into his past and laying down the principal ambit within which the matter of the talk was to rotate. The general line of the lecture was precisely that of affirmative action, but on a level that ought to engage the larger level of civil society. The words ‘battle’ and ‘fight’ were thrown around a lot of times during the entire lecture. The liberalism of the entire lecture could be gathered by the emphasis of both the speakers, each on their level, about the power, sanctimony and the supreme justice of the constitution. They decried the state, its corporate nexuses, the Maoist insurgency but they hailed the constitution. Lawyers and civil rights activists were termed as soldiers of a constitutional democracy and the written law was seen as the source and site of struggle.
The Ambedkarite belief in the battle for the enactment of constitutional provisions for the citizens against a colonial state which used historic laws like sedition to put innocent students behind bars was a resonant tone in the voice of both the speakers. Both the speakers attributed this shortage to the shortage of time in the venue which was a hall in the Indian Law Institute, not JNU mind you, and the mood of the audience was mellow and that is why there was no real engagement with the issue at hand, the democratic responsibility of Indian citizens in Bastar. The colonial terror and the subsequent rebellions in Bastar was historicied by ela Bhatia since the Bhumkal rebellions in 1910 and the bloody assassination of the tribal king Pravir Chandra Bhanj Deo by the then Congress government in 1966. The war of the state against ‘the people of Bastar’ was rightly characterized as a fascist, authoritarian and a totalitarian one on the part of the state. The characterization of the CPI (ML) People’s War cadres coming to seek shelter among the tribal people for their operations in Andhra shed no pragmatic light into the program of the then underground party which later merged with other parties to form CPI(Maoist). She just mentioned that some development models were put into place by the dalams to ensure the sustenance, not even clarifying whether the methods put into place were revolutionary or a mere economist measure to secure revenues for the sustenance of the party at the cost of the native. The scope with which the present scenario was looked at in the lecture was unapologetically short-sighted. According to Bela Bhatia, the Bijapur movement by the insurgency fizzled out due to inner party strife. While this holds true, one has to also keep in mind the variance between the tendencies of the different outfits and organizations that came together to form the Maoist party also noting that the state always uses a whopping number of statistics to fool the public through media about Maoist surrenders. For this reason, Bela Bhatia chose to talk about organizations that are pitted against each others such as the Salva Judum movement, which pitted pro-Maoist adivasi groups against a united and state funded organized armed outfit of different adivasi groups. She also talked about the misrule of government especially in the way they handled and executed the counter-insurgency operations. Probably the strategic tact of the Indian executive machinery was heartache for Bhatia as she links a part of it to state violence upon the people and the other to the structural violence evident in any insurgency.
The situation of Bastar is no less than a state of war. Around ten thousand foots soldiers of the Indian state forces and private armies are deployed in the area to deal with the Maoists arousing people for a New Democratic Revolution which has led to effective eradication of the traditional means of livelihood and the provision of state support through public services and schemes. This really brings to question the intent of the Maoist cadres fighting in the jungles for a cause that is almost lost with a romantic fervor strong enough to influence intellectuals like Arundhati Roy and G.N Saibaba and students like Naveen Babu and Hem Mishra braving the inhuman torture and still standing tall for the emancipation of the adivasis. As it seems for ground reports and journalistic narratives, the people in Bastar or the people in any conflict zone for that matter are made to follow special form of citizenship, a citizenship where political allegiance is tantamount, and political reality becomes almost an existential reality, so much so that you can be abducted from the hamlets in Kumma and bus stops in Jagdalpur and killed for your political beliefs since any political belief system becomes a pragmatic and categorical social reality especially under the purview of the militarized surveillance state apparatus. Civil war in Bastar has claimed and wreaked havoc on such an extent that no amount of nationalist justification can render the actions of the state valid.
Tribals are beaten up when they demand justice the most primary information about their deceased and since 2015 social justice groups have tried and succeeded in bringing a large number of people for protest; however, due to their reformist and revisionist methods, an active investigation is never taken up by the state authorities. It should be noted that as long as the struggle of the adivasis in Bastar is alive, it will, as it should be, a struggle to seize state power and use the state machinery for the development of the toiling masses. It is quite obvious that the present state, a bourgeois parliamentary one, has closed its doors and denied the local people of Bastar their fair share of justice, according to the narratives furnished by Bela Bhaita. The scenario is so bad that even Devati Karma, the wife of Congress leader Mahendra Karma, could not fight for the rights of the people under the democratic ambit of court. If we look at the conflict from a class angle, we can see that it is the poor who are dying while the rich are making money from the mineral mining and other underground resources. The CRPF is in such a deplorable condition that if one serviceman is killed in the line of duty, another from the same family takes his or her place. On the one hand, social groups like Samajik Ekta Manvh are banned and on the other hand the saffron fascist regime is creating one vigilante group after another to mobilize the non-affected section of the population along the lines of their Hindutva ideology. These local vigilante groups enjoy direct as well as indirect support by state forces such as Koya Commandos and District Reserve Guards
With the appointment of a new IG in Bastar, things have taken a turn for the worst and democratic spaces have been drastically reduced; right-wing people can now openly talk of killing democratic political activists rather graphically and gruesomely. The language of violence has been embossed in the modes of communication between the people of different districts in Bastar in an attempt to diminish the space of dialogue and defame the activists in public.
She also went on to give a structural model conceptualizing the key players in the political process there. As we have seen earlier, there is the state with its corporate nexus n administration firstly and secondly the Maoist party with its party cadres, armed guerilla units, tribal militias and adivasi sympathizers. Thirdly, we have the groups in the interstices, the bourgeois parties not enjoying state power but desiring it to fill their pockets, opportunist shifters who may also be victims of Maoist program, and fourthly we have market apologists there to earn money through proper utilization of resources which can be acquired only through the dislocation of tribal communities and grabbing their lands, and the defectors from the Maoist cadres who surrender and are politically rehabilitated in the state apparatus through government jobs.
Then she began talking about the violence from the Maoist ends, starting with the brutal way in which they kill police informants and sometimes even their family members. To this point she was questioned by someone who claimed to had done investigative fact-finding works in the villages whether the narrative of the people about Maoist violence, or even state violence can be trusted because according to his political experience there, the people liked to tell the stories that these individuals associated with civil rights activist groups were primarily interested in, and many of these stories may be skewed or vague. Whatever may be the political case, we can see there is a deep and dangerous rift between the theoretical principles and the political praxis of mostly all the groups involved in the conflict which has left the common people dissatisfied and dismayed at the lack of a scientific progressive political alternative. It is also important to see the desertion of Umar Khalid and his clique from the revolutionary politics of DSU that students have begun to develop their own agenda to use educational institutions as a site of class struggle so much so that they even cease to understand the Leninist need for a revolutionary party for bringing about a revolution.
Bela Bhatia also stressed on how the Maoists have maintained a hard-line stance when it comes to questions of ideology and have defended their acts of crime and violence as imminent for a greater social transformation. “There is no room for dissent in Maoist polics”, according to her, and she is saying this though she is conscious of the fact that the CPI(Maoist) only managed to surface by uniting the fragmentary groups of the CPI(ML) and local militant groups such as the MCCI. She was very optimistic about the struggle waged by CPI and the triumph of their trade economist trade union movement against Tata Steel. She ended by calling for an open battle, an open form of struggle in which people can participate on a much bigger level.

While we understand the need for an open struggle, one has to also analyze the history of the transformation of theory and practice of what Charu Majumdar termed as ‘Mao-tse Tung thought’ to Maoism. The movement in Naxalbari  spread like forest fire in the different states of the country while the movement in Bastar is probably the last recourse for Maoists now. Instead of a people’s war, they now fight a contracted guerilla warfare where the state will have the upper hand in terms of both the technology and the manpower. The Mao Tse-tung thought of Charu which also lost its essential elements of people’s war when the mass base of the movement shifted from peasantry to adivasis. The guerilla tactics of the Maoists took an influence also from the focoism of Che Guevara to rely more on a band of armed romantic revolutionaries than the armed masses through mass raids as forms of social protest to seize ammunition. A broad unity of working class is needed at this time when fascism is at its peak and the fighting forces are slowly dying off. New villages with new insurgencies have to be liberated from where the struggle at Bastar can be made more strategic and beneficial for the people. It would also help developing cross-economy between villages. The fight for tribal rights in Bastar should lead to more peasant movements with participation from a larger section of society but it is only through an anti-state class struggle backed up by the armed peasantry can we truly ensure that the land belong to its rightful owner and all justice prevail. It is only when the party of the proletariat seize the means of production and state power that we can see India develop in its secular, socialist vision. Let humanists like Bela Bhatia be content with 'self-rule'. We say 'combat self interest, criticize and repudiate revisionism'. 

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Subject of Political Education

In the current scenario, the Marxists are confronted with a huge question in the case of India, especially with the successful rise of petty-bourgeois politics and its indoctrination in various classes other than the petty bourgeoisie, i.e. also a huge section of the proletariat, about the nature of political education to be adopted and also its means.

In the twentieth century, political education was largely based on political mobilization of the masses. During the presence of the Soviet Union and the ‘revolutionary’ People’s Republic of China, the political mobilization of the Marxists was more or less successful so much so that communists were able to build up strong bases in various parts of the country, both in urban as well as in rural areas of Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra (in case of trade union politics) and even as far as Punjab and Rajasthan. Even with the outset of splits and the specific case of infighting between the CPI(M) and the CPI(ML), a huge section of people were still able to conceive a socialist future and were willing to politically work towards its creation with devotion and honesty. This characteristic was well established in the Indian intelligentsia and academia and a considerable remnant of that past relic, aided by a few contemporary communists able to hold their ground till the twenty first century-first century still mobilized considerable consent of the young students and budding intellectuals to a Marxist doctrine.

However, with the disintegration of Soviet Union and the revisionism of CPC into an un-Marxist Communist party posed a problem for the communists to give a working model of socialism. This fall was exacerbated with the immense rise of cultural capitalism which took various forms, including religious conservatism and then fundamentalism to tap the basic archaic ideological-personal constructions and this facilitated the petty-bourgeois parties such as BJP to mobilize a considerable mass of people into their camp. Their victory in the Lok Sabha elections should in no way be seen as a success of their propaganda and political education. The structural changes that took place in the present Indian society and the fine tuning of the petty-bourgeois parties to the petty-bourgeois ambitions should rather be seen as a factor of their victory.
Indian parliament has always been run by dynasties; earlier it was the Gandhi dynasty and now we see the rule of the Sangh dynasty. This is not to say that the masses are more or less politically inactive. If it denotes anything, it denotes, only to a mild extent, the trend of petty-bourgeois masses in the strict structure of the parliament. When we set the problem in this way, we see that it is indeed a very marginal consent. Further, this consent is not the result of thorough political education of the petty-bourgeois but a lack thereof. In the Indian parliamentary trend, we see not a political vote but a commercial, or rather an economic vote where the masses vote a party which they feel offers certain incentives, like ridding the country of corruption, or simply because the party in power has been there for too long. We do not see an ideologically driven voting pattern in the Indian parliamentary system. This is a very revealing insight into the impact of capitalist forces on the socio-political aspects of the Indian masses. Religion, more than any other social force, has become the most insant tool for the petty-bourgeois parties.

The reason behind the politicization of religion is that religion is the basis of petty-bourgeois morals, civilization and their subsequent share in the hegemony of the ruling class. Religion creates a hierarchy that manifests itself through the process of deification. Elementary forms of religion were formed purely for the purpose of elementary division of labor. Work was considered, and to a great extent, is considered, as a religion, but only for the working class. The petty bourgeois interpretation of religion produces phantoms, rituals, devils, and purges of the soul at the same time obscuring the idealistic purity of the absolute God, the creator of the universe and consciousness. From a materialist point of view, the Marxists proudly proclaim that it is food, or more precisely matter, that is the basis of our existence, with the association of senses. Therefore, Marxists do not need to appeal to petty-bourgeois religious sentiments because they are armed with the scientific truth about the non-existence of God and its doctrines.
The subject of political education should indulge in a radical polemics with backward religious sentiments and the forces that use religion as a social force. We should shun all religious institution that convert or transform the inert nature of religion into a political force so much so that we should work to banish the belief of religion from the hearts and minds of the masses. As Feuerbach stated, ‘the real unity of the masses consists in its materiality’. Communism is the struggle for a higher social existence, with the evolution of individuals into a rational and scientific unit of the glorious working class. This can only be ensured id we raise the level of intensity of our political education in order use the development in modern philosophy and science to empower ourselves and our society. Communism serves as the only structural ideology that can accommodate the most progressive social and personal ideas if it can be imparted to the masses with sincerity and clarity.
It is therefore important that the fideism of religion should also be challenged through the most advanced refutations produced by dialectical materialism for it is the most advanced branch of the theory of science and knowledge. This subject of dialectical materialism as a theory of knowledge should be the epistemological tool for every Marxist who wishes to carry on the task of political education.

The other aspect of Marxist political education is the propagation of internationalism or international humanism. For this purpose, it is necessary that we see primarily set ourselves to finding out the factors that espouse the prejudices which lead to sectarianism in the Indian society. The greatest factor of this sectarianism in the present context, especially with the coming of the religious fascist BJP government is undoubtedly religion. We have discussed above ho we can combat the parasitic growth of religious fundamentalism in India. The polarization of Hindus and Muslims in India not only strengthens the BJP government but also irrevocably harms the little unity, communal harmony, fraternity and collective reason that our society had managed to learn over the past.
Since the politics of the ruling BJP government is also fascist, it needs an external ‘other’, an enemy in order to mobilize collective consent for the integrity of the nation. The problem with this kind of artificial unity lies in its very sectarianism and the fact that it needs to victimize and exploit the ‘other’ or the minority, to strengthen itself. The Indian government creates consent to victimize and wreak violence upon the minority by inciting popular rage and hatred (which is purely sentimental and baseless) and creating domestic and foreign enemies which do not really pose any reasonable threat, such as Pakistan and China. The Modi regime has so successfully politically brainwashed the masses through media institutions that the masses are charged with a jingoistic nationalism which is fascist in its fervor. The chief feature of this nationalistic fervor is to ‘purge’ the unsafe’ and ‘dangerous’ elements that threaten ‘our’ society without reason and purely based on bigoted judging. 

Only be addressing the addressing the surface of the issue, the ruling forces, using this ‘nationalistic fervor’ falsifies the facts underneath and project it to the masses in the same distorted manner. The question of rural empowerment, women empowerment, social security and economic equality remain unanswered and the Modi regime projects new problems for their citizens, namely the ‘threat’ to our society by the ‘dangerous’ terrorists. With the propagation of this idea, as the political line of the government, Modi shifts the focus to defense and investing heavily in this department while at the same time cutting funds from important sectors such as health and education. This brilliant is pulled off by the Modi regime as he diverts the attention of the masses to foreign affairs and yoga. It should come to the minds of the readers that it is not these measures that lead to the development of the nation but the development of the citizens in holistic manner by providing them jobs, by investing in social security and education, can a nation and its people truly grow to become a great power. So what really poses a threat to the nation is Modi regime’s total foolishness when it comes to the country’s economic security. Therefore the paranoid politics of Modi’s government and its underlying state sponsored terrorism is what is truly dangerous. Far from strengthening the integrity of the country o the country and its security, it will lead to a riotous situation throughout the country between the Hindus and Muslims o which Modi himself gave a glimpse in his ‘shangri-la’ Gujarat in 2002.

There is a stark middle-class character in this exclusivity, and is contrary to the temperament of the working class. The temperament of the working-class is the same everywhere, be it China India or Pakistan because in its essence as well as in is character, class is a borderless entity. Borders are created by the lapdogs of the ruling class to safeguard their surplus which they have snatched from the hands of the working-class. The working-class is divided not by its inherent prejudices, but the prejudices imposed upon them by the ruling-class and its apparatus. Indian state and its ‘democratically’ elected government is one such apparatus which divides the working class on the question of statehood as well as nationality. In the name of nationalism, the propagate chauvinism. 

One might be tempted to ask, pertaining to such one-sided jingoism so greatly in favor of the ruling classes, that where was their patriotism, or rather, where was the patriotism of our esteemed and honorable ministers when Vijay Mallya, the multi-millionaire from India, a Rajya Sabha member(!), fled to America with our taxpayers’ money? Why is he investigated and followed by media like Dawood Ibrahim? Why is there no siege of his assets, which he has left behind him in India, most notably, the Company Kingfisher? Is it because he is a Rajya Sbaha member? If this the case, then the readers should see the parliament as a hollow institution, and the parliamentarians, as corrupt pigs stealing the hard earned money of the common people.
The truth is that neither our elected ministers work for us nor will any democratically elected regime in the present socio-economic structure. All forms of governance that try to, or even promise to bring reform in the present structure, will be reduced to yet another exploitative force with a different name, and the people will always be under the boot of oppression as always, liking its soles in order to feed their stomachs.

This brings us to the third subject of political education, which is revolutionary class consciousness. This revolutionary class consciousness, in order to achieve its political aim should exclusively be class consciousness. It is the task of the party of the proletariat to create necessary consciousness within the working-class, in both rural as well as urban areas, pertaining to class struggle and the exploitation that is brought upon them by the ruling class through the apparatus of the Indian state. It should be stated here that in this essay, we only deal with the broad political tasks of the revolutionaries and do not go into the tactical and military aspects of insurrection and rebellion.
It is important to understand that the working-class is already aware of the wretched condition of the present structure, a consciousness that is absent in the petty bourgeoisie. It is their unorganized nature followed by the rigorous attempt of the ruling class and its forces to keep the working-class in captivity, coupled with the lack of any contemporary revolutionary organization working among them that they have developed a somewhat reconciliatory attitude towards the system. They are forced to work within the system, wherein they are exploited and from their personal experience they develop a primal class-consciousness also, but due to their sheer indolence and utter deprivation, rather than giving it a revolutionary fervor, they use the experience and the shared history of oppression and their class character, to outdo the system and incite disjointed micro-rebellions inside the system that, while they lack the strength to completely disrupt the system and pave way for a proletarian revolution, these disruptions help the individual of the working-class in gaining a larger share of his or her production. The working-class is reduced to such crass individualism because of the lack of organization. As Lenin said, ‘without organization of the masses, the proletariat is nothing. Being organized, it is everything.’

From here, we move to the last but equally important task, that is, to build up an organized revolutionary mass. This is only possible through conducting constant research of the conditions, both objective as well as subjective, base the propaganda along those lines and go to the masses armed with this propaganda and with the objective of organizing the masses. Regular public meetings should be conducted, small fronts should be created like study groups, cultural organizations, newsletter groups, magazine boards, book reading groups, etc. Such works would increase the awareness of the masses as well as help the revolutionary cadres build a connection with their respective localities. The end goal however, of such organizations, should be revolutionary and all such organizations, no matter how splintered from each other in nature or in their method of work among the masses, should be coordinated centrally and should be guided by the principle of Marxism, i.e. of dialectical materialist analysis of the present situation and crises in order to come to a revolutionary conclusion which rests with the interests of the working-class. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Politics and Culture in Delhi University


The prime question of a student and the way in which his/her student life is to be destined is determined solely by his/her adherence to a form of culture. When a student leaves behind his home and school, he leaves behind a huge chunk of his/her culture (which is also true for students living in Delhi though they do not leave their homes completely) and the student’s most important need becomes culture. The student might have a prejudice on the question of culture and might have his/her own ideas about culture but seldom is it realized in true material reality when the student becomes a part of the university. Why is it so? This is precisely because the university campuses in general and the University of Delhi in particular have no culture. The phenomenon that gives rise to a collective culture in Delhi University has not yet been formulated. There are many reasons as to why there is cause for the phenomenon of culture in Delhi University which we would deal with later.
First, we must concern ourselves with the epithets of culture (and one can only call them epithets of culture in that they are stereotypical) which is imagined to be the case not just by the students but by the enterprises that concern the students as well. There is a relation between “student culture” and “youth culture” which I have no qualms with but it is often seen that in most cases one is forced upon the other, i.e. the student culture is forced upon the youth culture and vice versa and the source of these forces are the very enterprises that concern themselves with students. What enterprise am I talking of? Any and every body, group or conglomerate that does the job of inducing capitalism into the student masses. These “enterprises” (which are increasing drastically in number) enforce the larger “youth culture” upon the more precise and different  student culture” which can be seen and should be seen as detrimental to the space of the university, and the University of Delhi has become the fertile ground for this eutrophication  of weeds which is killing the more independent “student culture”! ‘Why do they do so’, one might ask, and the obvious answer to that is the general motive with which every capitalist enterprise works- profit. And as to the question of ‘why the case of Delhi University in particular’, the answer is that unlike JNU or Jamia which are closed campuses, the colleges of Delhi University are scattered around the city and make easy targets as the students are mostly undergraduates who aspire more fun and materialistic satisfaction than the contentment of their basic plight and issues. But as I have already mentioned, since there is no inherent culture in DU, these packets of commodity culture easily find its way into the main nerve of DU students like an injection of heroine. It is not mere coincidence and is very surprising indeed that the residing areas in the vicinity of DU colleges have an exorbitantly high rent such as Patel Chest, Vijay Nagar, Mukherjee Nagar and in South Delhi, Satya Niketan, Munirka and at the same time scores of high-priced and “modern cafes” open up, as is seen on the lane opposite to Sri Venkateswara College. This vicious treatment of students as cash cows is not “modern”, but feudal, backward and absolutely abhorrent in its economic oppression. And what’s more, not only do the philistine students (a minority that projects itself as a majority) is silent on these issues to a mum, they even enjoy the bourgeois illusion without the slightest hint of disillusionment. This perverse copulation of ‘student culture” and “youth culture” is a lethal poison to the intellect of student life which has been visibly on the decline. However, this intellectual degradation does not show and on the other hand, a rise of standards and civilized outlook is seen as a result of this in “youth culture”. The youth culture is a characteristic and an outlook of people of ages from seventeen to twenty seven which also brackets the average age of students but is not limited to it. Besides students, it also includes uneducated people of that age, educated and employed people of the aforementioned age bracket as well as drop-out students. As the population strives for educated members in society, there is also a quest nowadays for “capitalist composure” or so called “professionalism” (here we leave aside the much larger debate about social culture which includes religion, domicile, etc. as a factor). The proletariat characters are shifted to the realm of the counter-culture (for example, the kurta, jhola outlook which is also well exploited by enterprises like Fab-India owing to its attraction among the elite pseudo-socialist bourgeois liberals and winnable revolutionaries). Thus the youth, that is not the student, aspires more and more to be a part of the student culture to pass himself or herself as a member of a higher class, i.e. the intelligentsia. Therefore the question of outward appearances should be completely disregarded in the “student culture” as giving it a place will mean giving the monster of capitalism a place and I have already hinted to the fact as to how it is detrimental to the idea of “student culture”.

One might think that the subject we are dealing with here, that of fashion, is more or less trivial to the idea of culture nothing can be far from the truth than this assertion. Fashion is the source of all the glamour that “plagues” Delhi University. Yes, I use the word plague in its negative sense of the term precisely because it hinders the creation of a more basic student culture due to its superficial nature. If one wants o be fashionable, one can very well join a modeling academy and relieve himself or herself off the burden of being a student, because being a student requires following a certain code which is in the best interests of the student collective. This argument that I have just made might seem a tad bit orthodox (and some would even say fundamentalist) and due to this very supposed accusation on the issue that we need a student culture that rises from the basic needs of the student which remains unanswered. As a result of this, and as a result of the added capitalist exploitation especially targeted upon the students, it becomes a need for the student masses to banish fashion from the campus because an average student is too riddled with basic issues of sustenance to be worried about how to dress for college. And only those people will have a problem with this after my explanation who are either materialistic, superficial students made idiots by the bourgeoisie propaganda of addictive commodity fetishism or pseudo-intellectual liberals and hippie morons who talk of abstract freedom without realizing the ground reality and the oppression that it holds within. Both these groups represent a useless minority who do not suffer the pangs of financial oppression in student life. Although they are a minority, they are the most visible section of the student crow solely because they are a part of the much larger youth culture (which is also a fallacy and a giant solely created by media and advertising) and have derailed from and defamed the tenets of student culture. 

As a result, they eclipse what is supposed to be concrete student culture.
What should be the ideal case for every individual student is for him or her to be distanced from his individuality to be a part of a larger progressive (in proletarian terms) collective of students from the ground up and not by any external force because any external force, no matter how progressive or liberal, will be a capitalist force and hence exploitative and profit-oriented in nature. Egalitarianism (or even socialism) in the framework of capitalism is a mere illusion and a dream from which the student majority has to wake up. Equality under capitalism is a farce and students strive to be equals to their fellow students. Students are therefore the strongest collective after the collective of workers as they are united both in their workplace (that is, the universities) as well as in their ideology (that is the circumstances which gives rise to their consciousness). There is neither room nor time for a reformative action because every power system, be it the market forces which the students will face once they graduate from the university, or the administrative (bureaucratic) forces that reside in the university are antagonistic to the interests of the students. In simple words, everyone is against us and the only ones we can trust are fellow students.  But herein too, lies a problem that some students or student groups valorize administrative power as opposed to student power (the power of the student masses in the university) and use the administrative framework under the guise of a student group. We will deal with such student groups and the negative impact of such student groups when we deal with the political nature of Delhi University.

First we must aid the argument of the detrimental effect of the lack of culture (i.e. student culture) on the students through a psychological critique of a student in Delhi University. Primarily, a student studying in Delhi University is a “DU student” only before the ignorant public unaware of the structure of DU. In reality, a student studying in DU is a Ramjas student, or a Hnasraj student, and an RLA student, or a Venky student and is seen and characterized accordingly. Each college imposes a signifier (or simply a psychological symptom) on a student which is in no way cultural in nature. And because the signifier of the college is imposed on the student with no underlying culture (or a complete base which results in the manifestation of the psychological symptom), the signifier gradually loses its meaning on the student (and not for the student). What this essentially means is that the student becomes a part of a psychological process over which he or she has no control. Those familiar with epileptic seizure might understand what I am trying to get at, which is that a student has no control over the time he/she spends in college. He or she is unconscious (for the most part) only of the time when he/she is idle, or with friends an at that time what prevails among them is not a form of student culture but a brooding mundane discharge of non-intellectual blabbering (i.e. useless discussions and gossips inconsistent with the larger student collective). It does not mean that the average DU student is a fool but that he/she is rendered unconscious about the surroundings due to a lack of culture. You cannot call them fools in the same way that you cannot call epileptics insane.
The students of Delhi University are becoming nihilists, and not just nihilists in the classic philosophical meaning of the word. They are becoming technocratic nihilists. It means that their activity is in an outer dimension and does not materialize to form a complete psychological process. An example to ferment my argument is that the students of DU enjoy the most invigorating college festivals, and their parties sometimes overwhelm the workaholic IITians. Also, DU students can be seen in most of the clubs in Hauz Khas and yet the mood of any DU college is like a Gothic novel; bland and dismal, and without any color or hope. What this teaches us resonates throughout my essay, and is the central line of my argument; that the University of Delhi has no unified student culture.


The Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung wrote in his essay “The Culture of New Democracy” that ‘a given culture is the ideological reflection of the politics and economics of a given society. This statement also holds absolutely true when applied to the student society. The student culture in Delhi University is meaningless (non-existent) because the political and economic situation of the students in the university framework is absurd. Politics is the focal point of any form of culture in a society because politics decides how to address the needs and characters of a society. Politics involves within it an entire shed of tools ranging from popular opinion, nature of collective consciousness, the extent of reactionary force, the power of administration to even matters such as censorship. DU witnessed the use of the lattermost tool of censorship when the ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union banned a play by the Hindi dramatics society of Khalsa College because of its content. What we see in this sort of an execution of power is a regression and a lack of political aim. Let us, for one moment, move to JNU and examine its culture of putting up posters, politicized wall-painting (on the walls of the Central Library of JNU), of the night of presidential debate during the students’ union elections that factors into JNU’s “campus democracy
The “Ganga dhaba” of JNU is lively with conversations that pertain to political issues, social issues, historical and literary discussions and is always the centre of polemics. The bookshops of JNU offer a variety of texts by eminent scholars, rare writers and authors, magazines of all kinds and novels in Hindi, English as well as regional languages (of that there are a few though). Compare this with Delhi University where even the main campus (North Campus) does not have a proper bookstore (let alone a good bookstore such as the ones in JNU). Why is this so? It is not that North Campus has such a shortage of space that it cannot put up a book kiosk. The problem is the students who will be unwilling to buy the books (under the present cultural conditions) or simply will not be able to afford it (under the present economic condition of the students). But even if DU overlooks the above mentioned conditions to compete with JNU, there is an added political dimension due to which DU would not want to do so.

The mechanism that I mentioned at the start that creates the culture is not politics per se. Politics is a means of generating the mechanism that creates culture. The mechanism that creates culture and is generated through politics is consciousness. The axioms that can be derived from this premise regarding student culture are the following:
1)      A conscious student is a cultured student and vice-versa.
2)      A political conscious student is a cultured student
3)      An unconscious student is an uncultured student
4)      An un-political is an unconscious student and therefore he/she is an uncultured student.
5)      A political student is a conscious student and therefore a cultured student.

This is the most basic point of my argument about politics and culture in Delhi University. Moving on to more advanced points, politics is a necessary discipline to raise the consciousness of the students and give rise to a student culture. But how is its worth to be determined?
Here I would like to expand n the point of student groups and the negative impact of student groups that use the administrative framework under the guise of student groups. These groups rely on students as unconscious masses and they seek to make them political without the necessary step of raising consciousness. According to my derived based on a proper and objective premise, we can conclude that the political activity of these kinds of student groups are responsible of propagating  the popular discontent among the students who then hide behind fashion, parties and technocratic nihilism student politics aims to rid the students of. Who are these political parties that work against the interests of the students? These parties are always the parties in power, holding one or more seats every year such as the National Students’ Union of India and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and other parties along their line. Of all these parties, ABVP, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, an autonomous registered party working along the lines of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) boasts of having an ideology. An ideology is necessary for the cultural development of consciousness so there might be confusion as to why ABVP is included in the list of students’ group that harms the student. However much the ABVP talks of its Hindutva and Akhand Bharat ideology, it has no impact whatsoever on the issue of student culture precisely due to the reason that the students have seen their unprecedented reign in DUSU wherein nothing of significance has changed. As a result, they failed to play the part of integrating ideology to practical affairs of the university to bring about a systemic change. A systemic change can only be brought by a revolutionary force which is communist in its ideology. A communist ideology entails the surrender of power to the people (working class) who are the revolutionary masses realizing the correct nature of their consciousness by meeting the counts of oppression that has been dealt upon them. Parties such as the Students’ Federation of India, the All India Students’ Federation and the more popular All India Students’ Association will serve as the organized focus and constitute the necessary politics and ideology which will help to develop a student culture (as is the case in JNU by the effort of AISA-led students’ union there). ABVP practices a system of rigorous administrational procedure in its working, participates in delinquency and violence (which since they are in union is akin to state-sponsored violence) and follows the advice of political leaders of the BJP. Their organization is bourgeois and so their ideology is fascist in nature, much like the National Socialist Party of Germany, better known as the Nazi party. Therefore, with ABVP in power, we see a neo-imperialist and feudal culture in Delhi University. For this to end, we need a siege from the collective majority of students who will use the means of popular violence (As was the case with the Commune of Paris) to quell their state-sponsored violence and ensure the dictatorship of the proletariat. In terms of the university space, this means that the students become the proletariat (working-class) not by the virtue of their actual class conditions (their family background, their economic class) but by the virtue of the socio-economic oppressions they face, such as fee-hikes, high rent of accommodation, insufficient food etc., uninformed changes in the education system (such as the introduction of the FYUP, CBCS and the passing of the Central University Bill). The common students need to seize power over the university by any means necessary, either by electing a pro-student body like AISA, or by the violent overthrow of anti-student bodies like NSUI, CYSS and ABVP.

The seizure of power will only be complete once a single pro-student body, a proletariat vanguard of the students takes complete control of the university and is at its epoch. A democratic process such as the elections is a bourgeois technique by way of which the bourgeois pro-administration student bodies take control and wreak havoc upon the student majority by massive fund frauds, small-scale riots, racial altercations and most of all preventing the genesis of a proper student culture. The current political scenario in DU needs radical reforms such as a centralized vanguard party which is ideological in nature and through which the members of the students’ union are elected. This will ensure a pro-student and working-class ideology practiced from the top down. Such a centralized system is required because the student community in general and the student crowd of DU in particular is facing an assault on all fronts in the form of rent-mafias, big franchise restaurants, by the propagators of “youth culture” guised as student culture, by the dictatorial force of the university administration, and lastly by the corrupt Indian State (the government) which has lost all regards for its citizens. In such a case, we need a fortified vanguard from where we can defend ourselves as students and rid the university of all oppressive forces that seek with a blindfold our political consciousness. A single pro-student group will ensure the entry of ideologically correct conscious students as its representatives who will not only be the guardians of student rights but will also ensure the organic development of a student culture in Delhi University which has for long been in dire need of change in the university. Only by ensuring such a political and cultural change can we ensure the legitimization of the claim that the university officials make about DU being the best university in India. Only when the students can raise themselves to become wholly conscious (both socio-politically and culturally) that there will be a uniformity in the prestige of colleges in the true sense (and not in the perverted sense that the Central University Bill promises) and the students themselves will make the University of Delhi a premiere institution not just in India but all over the world.