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Wednesday 23 September 2015

Politics and Culture in Delhi University



I

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.

II

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.

Sunday 30 August 2015

A Critical Note on Ambiguities and Anomalies in CBCS guidelines (14/08/15) issued by DU on Grading System


(Prepared by Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Assoc. Professor, Economics, Kirori Mal College)

Before we discuss how DU has implemented the grading system let us understand the professed advantages (advocated by supporters) of the grade based assessment system over the conventional marks based assessment system.
a) Grading considerably reduces inter and intra examiner’s variability in marking. The same answer particularly in subjective papers may get even 10% (or more) variation in marks. For example, examiners may give anything between 15 to 18 in a 20 marks question for an excellent answer, according to one’s predilection. However, while grading one is most likely to give A plus.

b) Often these marks differences get cumulated for individual students in a biased manner (that is the variations don’t necessarily cancel out) and substantial differences may appear between two students with similar potential and performance in their final result depending on which set of examiners corrected their papers. Putting students of similar performance in same assessment bands (grades) minimizes these aberrations in assessment techniques.

c) This becomes particularly pronounced in cases where students opt for different electives, some of which are supposed to be more scoring than the others. It has generally been observed that science courses (or even economics) have much higher average marks than humanities courses and in a situation where students can opt from a range of courses variability in marks can itself become a basis of choice of an optional subject. The grading system avoids such perversity in choice of course because now irrespective of the nature of the course an excellent answer gets A plus, a very good one A and so on.

d) Grading system also reduces undesired and unsound comparison of small difference of marks and also unhealthy competition regarding that.
However, the grading system can be implemented in two different ways. An ideal one removes any marking scheme and each answer is graded rather than marked. This is particularly relevant for subjective papers. Alternatively there can be a partial grading system where even if answers are marked, the total marks in the paper is converted to a grade and what is most pertinent here is the students get a grade for the paper and not marks (i.e. the marks that constituted the grade is not revealed to the student). Whereas the issues relating to point a above is not taken care in this scheme, the issues relating to point d or even point c (if a scaling is done) get taken care of in this partial grading system.

However, what DU has implemented is a marks system cursorily dressed up as a grading system. Whereas it may appear that DU has chosen variant 2 actually neither of the two variants of grading system has been implemented. The basic understanding that is there behind any CGPA grading system has been completely jettisoned. Let us examine what DU’s so called grading system entails:

All papers are to be marked in 100 (75+25) and the passing marks remains 40. These marks will show up in the student’s marks statement. Because the passing criterion is based on marks it seems (though it is unclear) that two parallel evaluation records – a marks statement and a grade statement will be issued to a student after every semester (and a consolidated one at the end). So irrespective of whether two students get the same grade in a semester, they can and will be compared according to their marks difference, defeating the very purpose of the grading system.
More pertinently, the guidelines are entirely silent on how marks are to be translated into grades. Whereas a table has been provided to indicate how letter grades are to be translated to grade points, there is no mention how marks are to be transformed into letter grades. This is a gross neglect as evaluation will take place entirely in marks.

Curiously the grade points stop at 4 (P - the passing grade point). Anybody who fails gets 0 grade point. This can cause a serious anomaly, given the annual passing rules based on marks. Consider the following situation: Suppose a student has 8 papers in a year spread over two semesters. The promotion rules are that if the student gets an overall 40% in all papers together (separately in theory and practicals) he is promoted to the next year.
So for example a student who gets 38/100 in 7 papers and 54/100 in one, gets 320/800 and therefore she passes and gets promoted according to this rule. However her letter grade will be F and grade point zero in seven papers and she may get B (we are not sure because there is no marks to grades table provided) in the other. Her cumulative grade point will therefore be [(0*7)+(6*1)]/8]= 0.75, which is much below the passing grade point 4.
Consider another example a student fails to secure 40% in 3 papers and gets 35, 37, 38 but she gets 40, 40, 40, 45, 46 in the other five. Her overall marks are 321 and she passes. But the grade points will be 0,0,0,4,4,4,5,5. So the CGPA (assuming equal weights) will be 22/8 = 2.75 i.e. Fail – because it is less than 4.

This serious anomaly occurs because the grade points stop arbitrarily at 4. When marks are to be translated to grades students who have obtained say 30% or 20% cannot be given 0 grade point. They should get 3 or 2 or something akin to this. Further and more importantly this anomaly may not vanish even with this. In marginal cases the mismatch between grading pass point (4) and marks passing score 40% may arise. Therefore it is necessary to have passing criterion entirely in grade points (and not in marks percentage) in a grading system. The students should only obtain grades in each paper (and not marks), however these grades are arrived at in the evaluation stage.

A further ambiguity in the guidelines is about the passing rules itself.
Rule 12 (1) (a) states that "If a student has secured an aggregate of minimum 40% marks taking together all the papers in theory examination (including internal assessment/project, wherever applicable) and Practical exam separately, till the end of the third year, i.e. upto the end of the VIth Semester, then she/he shall be awarded the degree in which the student has been admitted."

So here it appears that the student needs to get 40% in aggregate (not in each paper) at the end of her programme (overall in all the six semesters) to get a degree.
But Rule 12 (3) (a) states: "A student who passes all the papers from Semester I to Semester VI examinations will be eligible for the degree."
Here it appears that the student has to pass all the papers. This is a direct contradiction with Rule 12 (1) (a) above.

A further problem arises due to dual nature of assessment (marks and grades). Since each paper is 100 marks, how are 6 credit papers going to be differentiated from 4 credit ones in terms of overall marks. This is easily done in terms of CGPA. But in terms of marks are we supposed to multiply the marks obtained in these papers by 6 or 4 respectively. This was earlier done by variations in total marks (50 0r 100 marks papers). Now because all papers are out of 100, multiplication should be the only way out. Otherwise there will be an anomaly in calculating there overall percentage. This means a student securing 70 in a 100 marks 6 credit paper should be recorded as having scored 420/600 and correspondingly 280/400 in a 4 credit one. The total for each student should be aggregated similarly and this will imply that the maximum aggregate will be 19600 !!! It is of course feasible, but does it make sense to do this? Anyway, the University guidelines are totally silent about this.

It is also pertinent to note that the guidelines nowhere state the internal component of the internal assessments. Two different variants are in place in the current 2nd and 3rd years and we are not sure which one are we to follow for the 1st year batch.

Saturday 8 August 2015

A Detailed critique of the CBCS in Delhi University



I

The Choice Based Credit System is underway in the “prestigious” University of Delhi and when I use the term underway, it is in the sense that it is going through both theoretical and implementation phase, i.e. it has already been implemented without the necessary theoretical base. What is the Choice Based Credit System and what is its use in Delhi University which had been doing comfortably well in the semester system just after the immediate roll-back of the Four Year Undergraduate program? Why does the university confuse itself with the third year in the revised FYUP program, the second year in the classic (not so classic) semester system and the first year batch in the newly introduced CBCS program? It does not take a trained psychoanalyst to come to the conclusion that the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) along with the Delhi University officials in general and the vice chancellor in particular (whose stay in DU is rather short-lived, mind you) is in dire need of an educational reform, almost to the point of anxiety. Here another question arises that why only the rulers of the university (and the educational policy of the state) are in need of such radical reforms while the student and teacher community has whole-heartedly dissented against the former educational reform in the form of the FYUP. So far as the case presents itself, the mere introduction of the CBCS (let alone its implementation, which I will address later in depth) has rendered all prior structures, i.e. the revised FYUP, the semester system and the CBCS into one entangled loop which hangs over the neck of the entire student population of Delhi University and will result in its slow and torturous death is nothing is done soon. These couple of years will most probably go down in the history as the worst years of DU. The university has reduced itself to the point of being a mere political playground where games are played at the cost of the common students’ future. If one thinks of this statement as exaggerated or superfluous, let me remind him or her of the anti-FYUP struggle which attracted so much political attention that the parties contesting for the Delhi State elections had to address the issue in their election manifesto. Since we are not looking at another state election for some years, the students have to gauge themselves to a political struggle that would bring Delhi Government to a standstill. I will address this point in detail in the later part of my essay.

The Choice Based Credit System is both fresh and apparently nothing new in theory. In fact, the grading system has been working well in certain other universities like JNU, IIT, NIT  and some state universities as well as private universities but only because the grading system had been present in these universities since thee past. The problem with appropriating a grading system like the one they have in IIT or NIT posits a problem because DU does not just offer sciences or commerce courses. It also offers arts courses where a percentage of 60 is much reputed. Now, if we appropriate this 60 in the ten-point cumulative grade point average given by the UGC, it comes to a measly grade of B which is just “above average”. It is no problem, or maybe little problem for science, mathematics and commerce courses but the CGPA system fails in its implication on humanities courses. If sixty percent makes a student merely average, how will he ever, in the current scheme of things prove himself or herself to be very good (i.e. eighty percent, which is out of scope for the marking scheme of humanities courses) or outstanding (ninety to hundred)? So if it is applied in DU as it is, the humanities student will always be just above average or in the rarest cases, good (even though the student is actually outstanding for his/her own course), and the student of sciences or mathematics will, on an average basis always be a very good or even an outstanding student respectfully proven so by the grading system.
Both in its principle as well as its implementation, the grade point system is highly flawed. In JNU, the grade point average works on the basis, and on the premise that it only (or vastly since there is a science as well as a mathematics course) caters to a population pursuing a liberal arts degree. The science (microbiology) and the mathematics (operations research) courses offered by JNU appropriates to the CGPA system by the virtue of them being masters’ courses. It means that the amount of work done corresponds more to practical and research work as well as laboratory tutorials is much more than the final paper. That is not the case in the undergraduate science courses in DU where there already exists an infrastructural problem relating to lab facilities in almost each and every college.
Having briefly discussed one evaluative aspect of the CBCS, we move on to the crux of the matter of which there are two, namely the “credit” and the “choice”, The choice theoretically relates to the American major/minor model and it is indeed its worthless mimic and so the DU officials and the UGC shamelessly try to pass it off as original inventions by merely changing the name of the “minor choice” to “open elective”. What basically happens in the American model is that you can either choose to indulge in a minor course, while doing your discipline honors or do a supportive paper, or credit that links to your discipline course. The problem with its implementation in DU is that it follows a British model of education, much like Universities such as Oxford and Cambridge where there are different colleges following the same syllabus. In the British system, there is no mobility and the student is to do his or her course in his or her college. He enters as a student of, say for the example of Oxford University, Balliol College or Exeter College and stays in the college to complete his or her college degree. The chosen subject is then taught in depth and with great attention to the idea of pursuing the chosen discipline further academically. On the other hand, a student getting into Harvard University is appointed to a school or a centre but owing to the nature of the university, the student can apply for courses, or certain paper outside of his or her discipline in other centers or schools. This is not possible in DU, as it not possible in Oxford or Cambridge because the colleges are not enclosed but are scattered all over the city, and because the college is specifically responsible for a degree and cannot afford to take on itself the burden of furnishing options. This problem is even more exaggerated in Du where the necessary faculty is already lacking. Furthermore, the DU syllabus for the honors course has been diluted from the earlier 18-20 papers to just 14 honors papers simply to accommodate the so-called choices. This is not the case even in the American credit system because the very idea of compromising a discipline paper for optional papers is ludicrous, even more so as the students do not get the choice to elect more papers for the discipline courses. It is like robbing Peter to pay Paul as the CBCS, instead of giving the rightful extra credit to the student for taking the effort to choose an open elective or ‘discipline specific elective’, the program only creates the illusion of doing so while it robs the student of his or her credits that are already designated to the student for his or her honors course. So theoretically, the choice is one of no-choice and on top of that it is against the very choice of the honors course that the student takes when he or she joins the college. There is also the fact to be considered that there will be no added gradation of the opted choices and no provision to change the course or do a dual-major that are the prime characteristics of the American credit system. This is because the university is not equipped to handle such arbitration in terms of giving out a degree.
The practical implications of such a theory, that is already exposed to be a farce is even more farcical because the student is not allowed by DU to take a “discipline specific elective” till his or her fifth semester! In the classic semester system that was/is prevalent in DU (and we hope that it will be), the discipline specific optional papers are given as choices in the third semester itself! So, instead of providing more choices than the semester system, the CBCS takes away the choice of a student to study his or her discipline deeply till the fifth semester and the average student is compelled to take the mediocre generic electives. The real purpose of the generic course is hidden in its very name. The word “generic” seeks, in this case to create a uniformity of ideas or give way to education means applicable to an entire class or group. In this fashion, instead of doing the noble job of cultivating new ideas, the generic elective course seeks to breed conventionality or conformity in students. This opposes the very purpose of the university. The term “choice” therefore does not apply in the true sense and hence can be replaced by what I think more appropriate, i.e. “ordered directive” as the individual colleges of DU hold the right and hence the “order” over the choices.

The second problem with the choice in the CBCS is that of practice. In the generic elective courses, many new inter-disciplinary papers have been introduced along with many core elective papers as well. The core elective papers are discipline centered papers like Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, economics, English, etc. The problem here again is the philosophical “choice of no-choice” or rather the economic inflation of choice. To put it in simple terms, a student of economics, commerce sciences or English will seldom take courses such as Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi and will choose correlative disciplines like economics or English over the former. This will inevitably lead to a crunch of choices wherein on the one hand the introduction of some choices will be futile and on the other hand, some choices will have a massive subscription that would disrupt the proper student-teacher ratio required o hold a functional class properly. The manifestation of this choice of no-choice will be in the form of discrimination in the allotment of choices by the college based on meritocracy and marks of the twelfth grade, which should not be a factor in the taking up of choices in the college, and it is certainly a practical fault of the CBCS which outright reveals its false promises.
Another problem lies in the papers newly introduced such as Global Politics and the UN (which in my view is a neo-imperialist celebration of the US hegemony worldwide under the guide of the UN) and academic writing. The interesting and controversial thing in the introduction of both these papers is that even though they need an inter-disciplinary approach, only one department will be responsible for the implementation of these papers. A paper such as Global Politics and the UN requires not just a political understanding of international relations (which is already taught to students of economics, political science, sociology and history in one form or another in the present semester system) but also a knowledge of nation-state sociology as well as the historical and economic development of nations into global powers. A mere Department of Political Science would be highly unequipped to teach such an emphatic (supposedly emphatic) paper. The same goes for academic writing which is headed by the Department of English. Academic writing is a practice of not only the humanities students but also of the science and mathematics students. English Department might be able to cope, in case of research based writing and analysis, with literariness of the research paper since academic writing deals with the technique of writing a thesis or a research paper. An average professor of English literature is trained in analysis by means of social theories that apply exclusively to literary texts, literary theory, so to say. How will the professor then apply his analytical skills to society for teaching academic writing to students of sociology and economics, let alone to the students of physics, chemistry and mathematics who demand a mathematical proof rather than argumentative ones to substantiate their theses? Hence the notion of choice is flawed in every sense of its implementation.
The second aspect of the CBCS is the issue of the “credit” system for which the UGC has the following definition for a credit:

“A unit by which the course is measured. It determines the number of hours of instruction per-week. One credit is equivalent to one hour of teaching (lectures or tutorial) or two hours of practical work/field work per week.”

 It should be noted right from the start that no university or college all over the world equates credit to the amount of hours spent in a class because the very meaning of it would be absurd. It would mean to earn, say two credits, one needs to attend two classes irrespective of the student’s academic output. The UGC guidelines remark that “the credit based semester system provides flexibility in designing curriculum and assigning credits based on the course content and the hour of teaching” but all it actually does is to confuse the teachers about the system of evaluation and how to “grade” the students. The UGC is in such a hurry to implement the CBCS in DU that it concedes in its own guidelines in the following manner:

“Presently the performance of the students is reported using the conventional system of marks secured in the examinations or grades or both. The conversion from marks to letter grades and the letter grades used vary widely across the HEIs in the country. This creates difficulty for the academia (in the guidelines it is misspelled as ‘acadamia’!) and the employers to understand and infer the performance of the students graduating from different universities and colleges based on grades.”
First of all, it concedes to the fact that the erstwhile percentage based evaluation was working fine and the problems only arose when certain universities (mostly ambitious universities like IITs, NITs and the private universities) turned to grading system feeling a colonial fetish towards the grading system of the New West. In the same tone, the UGC also concedes that students are to be made commodities of the market and sold as intellectual prostitutes when it talks about the difficulty for the “employers” (i.e. the capitalists) to weigh the graduates with a uniform scale similar to the ones used by the whites to evaluate the colored slaves. It can be said of the CBCS that it provides a “cafeteria” approach, though the cafeteria approach is not for the students to enjoy under this system but the capitalist employers for whom the mark sheets will serve as menu and the student will be the main course.
Another draconian implementation of the credit system will be dissolution of the honors papers by an alarming 25% (which we discussed in figures earlier) to facilitate the introduction of the inter-disciplinary papers. The introduction of the additional papers comes from the UGC as a part and parcel of the grading system. If the grading system were to be implemented without the credit system, it would be unwise considering the disparity between the average scores of the sciences and humanities students, but to add the burden of the “so-called optional papers” as instigators to the credit system seems to be the sum of all evils and an absolutely foolish act. With the increase in the optional papers, there will obviously be an increase in evaluations and with the coming of the grade system, the pattern will be that of the CCE or continuous evaluation meaning that the student would have to prepare assignments in order to gain the credits for each week. This would mean the students would have sixteen weeks to make fifteen assignments and thus all the promises of the UGC about the CBCS being a flexible course will go down the gutter and will only seem a distant dream. However, being exposed to this fact, the DU administration and the UGC will lessen the rate of assignments and consign themselves to the previous definition of credit as mentioned in the UGC guidelines which maintains the misconception that the number of hours spent in a class will constitute the number of credits earned by a student. If that will be the case, then there is another pitfall that the UGC and the DU administration will have to encounter, i.e. the issue of passing the students based on written examinations. The current CBCS program has a 50-50 internal-external evaluation pattern. So if the student attends most of his classes and earns forty credits out of fifty, and he earns just twenty in his written examinations, he gets an overall score of seventy which is “very good” according to the CGPA, but the fact remains that he or she has failed in the written examination according to the rules of the university. In his way, through the introduction of the CBCS, we see the crumbling down of an entire evaluation system, instead of a “fairness in assessment” for which the UGC has mandated its guidelines (a concession again!).

II

In the struggle against CBCS that is to come, one should be reminded of the anti-FYUP struggle in order to draw parallels between both the student movements in order to triumph over CBCS in the same way that the students triumphed over the FYUP. Comparing the nature of the program of FYUP and CBCS, one can say that the FYUP was a lesser oppressive course than the CBCS because under FYUP, a student at least had an extra year to cope with the additional papers. Therefore, in the process of the roll-back of the FYUP program, the foundation courses and other additional courses were fully repealed. In the struggle against CBCS, our demand should be the roll-back of the generic elective and other optional papers that are made compulsory to the students and hence are an assault to the discipline courses that we are supposed to study. So, if the critique is much less the same, our manner of approach towards the CBCS and our general sentiment for it must also be the same, or maybe even more radical because the students are not even provided additional time like in the FYUP.

The main concern to grasp for the students who were against FYUP was the loss of a year. The CBCS program boasts of its completion in the regular three year semester system but we are already aware enough to make an educated opinion from our given premises about the critique of the CBCS program that three years will simply not be enough to complete such a vast course (not that the students should feel the need to complete the course, as they will be studying lesser discipline papers than students from other state universities).
Since much of what is to come under the guise of the CBCS is kept in the dark, the teachers as well as the students should force the institutions and its respective administrations to make a stand on CBCS so that much of our criticism would be realized and we would be able to cite practical references. The students, in this case, if we are successful in making the stance of the administration about the CBCS clear, would be agitated and will begin to be disillusioned as the course reveals its true nature. The students should be ready to resist the impingement of the administration upon their lives in ways such as extra-classes, more assignments than the students are able to do, no room for extra-curricular activities etc y boycotting classes on a mass basis, talking openly about the dictatorial and abusive nature of the CBCS with other students, talking to the college union about the oppressions meted out on the first-year students and joining any protest on a university scale against CBCS.
In any and all cases, whether the agitation regarding CBCS is personal or propagated through the medium of protest should be to repeal all the optional courses for all three years, to shift the assessment system back to the ratio of 75-25 written and internal respectively, to shift from the credit system to the classic semester system and finally to shift the grading system to the percentage system. These are materialistic, achievable goals which when realized together form the most proper alternative to the CBCS program. In the present situation therefore, when we have realized both the immediate and the upcoming affects of the draconian program that is the CBCS, it is time for us students to take matters from the hands of the powers that be (state machinery, the UGC, DU administration, etc.) into our own hands. The time has made immediate extreme and radical measures not only important but also inevitable. It is times like these when the true intellect of students is put to test; intellect that is not only theoretical but also practical and providing the necessary force for the revolutionary transformation of society. For us students, the battle starts right at our very workplace, the university. DU has been passively passed around as a space of sensationalism, philistinism and glamour and it is about time that the University of Delhi builds itself up again as the centre of movements that lead to nation-wide discourses where students decide how the courses are to be formulated and taught and not a bunch of aged stalwarts (lackeys of the capitalists) sitting in the cabinet and ministry. Student majority from the first year up to the third year should be at the forefront of this struggle and prove to the world that it is the people who decide how the system should work as opposed to the system imposing its state ideology on the masses (which is the case with the UGC and MHRD regarding the CBCS program). The struggle will be harder this time as there is no state election in which the bourgeois parties such as the BJP, Congress, AAP and others can raise the issue for their opportunistic gains. Politically, the student movement has to come to so strong a point that its consolidated force will shake the foundations of the AAP government in Delhi and they will be forced to intervene and repeal the CBCS (which is a policy of the central BJP government), since the state government reserves the right to intervene in any prime decision taken by the University of Delhi. We should remember that the tactics we employ, strikes, protests, referendum, signature petition, etc. are exercises to test the strength of our democracy and broaden it. Protests are means of direct engagement of the masses into the formulation of governmental policies and hence are the most democratic means of public involvement. One should not shy away from resorting to these tactics or participating in such events because only by being a part of the greater whole can one experience and become an expression of social consciousness, and through the process, a social being. If the current structure represses our movement with police action and student union corruption (such as the corruption of the ABVP-led DUSU that is responsible for bringing the CBCS in DU!) we shall reject such structures in order to create a new one. The student community has to be uncompromising in its demand because we are drawing the last straw. Education is central to culture and society and a resignation to opportunist, market-oriented and dictatorial regime would mean that the larger society would very well be going in the same totalitarian de-humanizing prostitution of labor. If we, as the youth of the nation, do not take our stance now, then history will never forgive us. We need to do all we can to resist such an apocalyptic future and pay all in- body and soul for the will to fight and fight to win!

Friday 17 July 2015

Who Makes the University?



 ~By Kamran

I
The university space in India has had an inseparable connection with political struggles, but in recent times we see quicksilver decadence in this trend. Similarly, the factories and trade unions in most states of India, particularly Delhi, have seen a decline in political organization and strikes in the present. Is this a mere coincidence or is there an objective condition which ties the fate of the worker and the student together. We shall discuss this matter further in the second part of the article.

A recent scandal took place when certain student activists informed the general public of the fee hike at Hamdard University in Delhi, a minority-based institution. The students of the university had reported to the activists that the university increases the fee by some percent every year. The condition of the students at Hamdard University is also deplorable since there virtually no hostels, and the administration is overly authoritative thereby lessening the extent of liberty  by a great deal in the institution, and the brutal brunt is borne by the students as they are never permitted to register the complaints against the bureaucratic regime of the administration. Even the professors are not spared from the totalitarianism of the college authorities. We should stop for a moment to consider the notion of “college authority”. Who is the one presiding over all the activities of the college administration being responsible (or rather appointing themselves as responsible) for the way the college is supposed to run. In almost all of universities across India, there is a chancellor appointed by the Government of India (I use the capital G here for satirical purposes) who, by the sheer virtue of his appointment holds supreme and unchecked power over the university and enjoys such pleasures of power as expelling any student without cause, demoting him or putting him on academic probation, subjecting him to special scrutiny (blacklisting), barring the student from entering the college premises(though he/she is a student of that college!) and the power goes so far as to firing any teacher(with the most causal of causes), clamping down on any teacher or student union(which is also the case with another minority institution, Jamia Milliah Univeristy) and even call the police inside the university spaces for brutal repression if faced with a peaceful demonstrations of teachers and students(as we have seen in the anti-FYUP protests, the transport protests and the recent anti-CBCS protests in Delhi University). Aside from these administrational powers, he also enjoys an absolute control over the treasury of the university. There are, so to say, administrative officers allotted to each part of the university administration, again either appointed directly by the (Supreme!) Vice Chancellor, or again, by the Ministry (either the UGC or any other state functionary regimes)

It is almost idiotic that India, a ‘remarkable’ example of democracy in the world, a country which describes itself in the first page of the constitution as ‘socialist’ would appoint vie-chancellors to give them all the dictatorial powers that he would then use to repress the democratic spirit of the university space, a space for education and breeding place for academic intellectuals. The conclusion to come out of this is only one- that is the State of India is falling short of its promise on democracy. In HU, the administration has banned the formation of both student as well as teachers’ union (such is also the case in Jamia Milliah). Even in universities like Delhi University, where a distorted, disfigured, corrupt and opportunistic (outright greed-stricken!), but some sort of a student union holds, even there the student democracy is further lowered and the question of student rights unanswered due to the presence of administration and administrative power, and lack of unity among students. An example corresponding to what I have just mentioned took place in St. Stephens’ College last year when the students released a magazine which was banned by the college authorities and when the students attempted to protest, the principal called the cops who violently suppressed the “attempted demonstration”. I will also deal with the issue of increasing political unity among students through means of organization and development of a critical consciousness.

Looking at these examples one has to ask is not this unrequited power given the university administration a form of sate power? For some who see this relation too farfetched, I furnish the history of Jamia’s history of suppression which was around the time Najeeb Jung was appointed the vice chancellor of Jamia and the credit (which the students might call fault) of the ban on student union elections goes to him along with other accolades such as a fee hike of two hundred percent (!), stationing of armed guards at the university gates (with full martial uniform!), fencing of the college premises with barbed wire and installing cameras for complete surveillance. The university space was turned into a maximum security prison or rather a Nazi concentration camp by (Nazi?) Mr. Jung and now the same Mr. Jung having shown unparalleled skill in disciplining a “particular sect” of students (minority class), as a result enjoys the comfortable and powerful (and dictatorial) position of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. We should also try to understand why the student fears the administration, or, why should the student fear the administration (or should the student fear the administration?) even though both parties are mutually dependent on each other, the officials being more dependent on the students than the other way round (like the citizens and the state). The answer, or the hint, I have just mentioned in the parenthesis, i.e. the students fear the administration in the same way as they fear the state. Democracy is just a veil that the state hides behind while it oppresses a certain class of people from who can economically profit. Here we must look at the two great examples, HU and Jamia which are both minority institutions catering to a certain section of society, a section to which the constituent people belong (unlike the population of St. Stephens), more and less, also to an economically oppressed class. And here, in Jamia and HU, it is more than a coincidence that we find the most authoritative and repressive attitude of the administration. There are other universities in Delhi as well, like DU, JNU, Ambedkar, Indraprastha, etc. but nowhere do we see such oppressive measures taken upon the students. Only a few colleges belonging to South Campus and other off-campus colleges which are called ‘lesser elite’ colleges come closer to such ruthless administrational oppression, such as Aryabhatta College, where, on one occasion the principal physically restrained and assaulted a student, when the students protested on the issue of procurement of admit cards for second, fourth and sixth semester examinations. Here also we see a pattern as in Aryabhatta College too, the students do not belong to the same elitist, bourgeois crowd as Sri Venkatesware, but to a more economically backward class (I generalize broadly due to a need to elucidate a point. It is not that there are no economically backwards students in Venky, but the most vocal and visible crowd in the college is that of the bourgeois and the petty bourgeois).This makes the administration think that they have a right over these “low class” students to discipline them.  At this point, one had to be able to reason that if after decades of independence, we still have the colonial mentality of domination and servitude, that we have not been free at all and that we should reject the democracy we have, the state that oppresses, and call for a fuller democracy governed, or rather, dictated by those who are oppressed culturally and economically not by the virtue of the power that they hold but by the virtue of their labor. We should rid ourselves of those pin-up middlemen in the university spaces such as the administrative officers, the vice-principals, principals, university officials and vice-chancellors or at least reduce the power they enjoy by reducing their status to mere workers as they are no producers of intellectual capital in a university apparatus. The professors ought to have more pay and power than the principal because they are the ones putting their labor (though it may not be much, as much of it is only theory) for the purpose of the mental development of the student. We need to challenge the existing structure of the university if we mean to really free ourselves from the kind of education that is overpriced and is taught to us “in slavery”. But we must not forget that in going against the university structure and its culture, we are also going against the dominant state structure i.e. the government and its ideologies as well. So e will require a counter-state ideology that will ensure fuller democracy and representation of the oppressed and the working-class (the oppressed class is the working-class) among the highest orders. We require the weapon of true militant socialism. To understand why the students require socialism, we must observe the nature of oppression in the university very scientifically.

II

A student is as much a worker in the university space as a professor and I would say even far more oppressed (from the professor, not from the worker). The kind of labor produced by a student is similar to the idealistic cognition as the teacher, and it is often the student who has to account for the synthesis of the dialectics that occur between the teacher and the student. Simply put, it is the student who has to put up with the burden of examination and the aspiration of passing with a degree. Rather than rewarding, or at least partially compensating for his intellectualism (in the most honest of terms as the student works towards his theoretical ambitions in a material manner), he has to in turn pay the fees in a sort of a reversal of the ‘concession scheme’ which is granted to certain areas. This concession is being deprived from the student as there is no stipend given to the student for his efforts. The notion is stipend is applicable to only the fields of study from which the state profits such as the armed forces, merchant marines etc. and this in a sense, alienates the average student from his education or academic affairs and the student gets “frustrated” even though he had opted for the course of his/her will. We must understand that the nature of the problem of the students in the university with the administration is economic in nature, and also that the interests of the students and teachers are diametrically opposed to the administrative bureaucracy. For instance, while the student demands for lower fees and the teacher for a permanent faculty, the administration (who are appointed more or less permanently themselves) involves itself not with those demands but things exactly opposite to it such as raising the fees while at the same time cutting down the number of students to be admitted in the subsequent year, and if need be, increasing the number of ad-hoc staff (but oh! Not permanent). The number of oppositions of interests is far too many to be broadly enlisted in the span of this article. But from the above made premise, we can safely deduce that the interests of students and professors are antagonistic to the interests of the administration. This is very similar to the situation of the worker in a private factory where his demands of pay according to his labor (i.e. the entire cost of finished products) is opposite to the demand of the capitalist factory owner which is maximized profits (for him!) for the industry that he owns. He earns more than the laborer by putting no work at all just by the virtue of ownership of means of production. This is the characteristic feature of any capitalist mode of production, even a mode of intellectual production such as the university. In this sense, the worker and the student are united in their economic struggle (on a major or minor scale) against democracy-induced capitalism and against state institutions to put an end to the tyranny that oppresses us. The true nature of a people’s republic is not realized in the economic structure of capitalism, and will not be realized in the near or distant future as long as capitalism and a few greedy, individual-minded capitalists (the 1% who make the 99% bleed) reign the dominant modes of production. True democracy and true republic of the people can only come with a suppression and consequent overthrow of the present state by the truly powerful masses to create an armed workers’ state to run the universities and the factories thus redistributing the dominant modes of production.
Any student activist or any student for that matter who wishes for complete liberty and freedom of expression and criticism in the university ought to strive towards creating an armed workers’ state and reducing himself or herself to the state of a worker (if it hasn’t already become the case). A student is the rightful master of the university and the only aid he requires is from the professors and no more. The Indian universities especially state universities in the 60s and 70s had that proletarian (revolutionary) culture of struggle and intellectual critique. By the end of the 80s and the coming of the 90s, around the time when India opened its doors to globalization was the time when we moved into a form of neo-imperialist subjugation where instead of global colonies, global economic powers and corporate magnates started to govern not just our economy but also our socio-political nature. It was in this period that the Indian universities became a factory for “professional” study as opposed to a haven for intellectual learning. Active discourses about Indian politics and its future were cut off from the university space and vice versa (that is, the student movement detached itself from larger working class and rural peasantry struggles and political movements) by the new millennia with the rise of the foreshadowing consumerist mass culture. It is also the very same reason, that of the student culture being dominated by opportunism and improper social consciousness, that there are no student newspapers (in Delhi University and Jamia, and JNU, to a greater extent) that oppose the inherent contradictions of interests between the students and the university officials. Professors in the university are intellectuals only in talk (paper tigers) as they too make little effort to increase the consciousness of the students and all they do is dazzle the student with radical lectures in the class. What these so-called intellectuals need to understand is that for a struggle so major as to reconstitute the university space, the students cannot be called on to bring a revolution. A gradual process is required to be built up which would create a mechanism of the formation of a revolutionary action. Even students, those who can write and have the ability to bring out newspapers in universities get caught up in popular opportunistic wave which, like an opium wave over the minds, makes them forget about their actual travail. These students cannot comprehend that they have a very vital weapon in their hands which can be used to drastically change the mindset of the average student and fill him with the revolutionary force with which he/she will fight the greater battle with the university for his/her right. University newspapers, especially the ones like DU beat, have the potential of being more popular than they are by inculcating the ability to expose the conditions of the university, wage a struggle and subsequently clash with the university armed with facts and a majority of students on their side. The current outlook of DU Beat, or even DU ki awaz caters to only an elite class of students, for two reasons (1) The sly gabbing and witticism in which DU Beat speaks is not the general colloquial among university students (2) The articles are far too wide spaced and non-contextual to the core of the conditions which make the student life unique. Granted that DU ki awaz has taken up some crucial issues time and again (while DU Beat is too busy taking interviews of Kiran Bedi and covering the treacherous vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh in a positive light!), a student newspaper should not only do the job of throwing current happening on the face of students but help building up a common university culture and that is, and will be impossible without addressing that which unites the student of all classes- the problems of the university and student life. DU Beat, especially, is so detached from students’ lives and their financial reality that it does a short review in some of their editions of the caf├ęs and restaurants. What DU Beat does not take into account is that at least ninety five percent of students studying in DU, especially those living in residential areas around the college and also those studying in the university are seldom simply cannot afford going to these places, even on the rarest occasions. Why, the reader of this article should ask, do they then print this useless article and waste the precious space in their newspaper that can inform the students about the legitimate problem regarding the shortage of cheap and affordable eating spaces in the vicinity of the campus. As much as I would like to answer it by saying that that it improves their rate of circulation, such triviality can hardly sway students to the side of the newspaper so that they can become its regular readers. So I come up with a simple and blunt answer that they do not know and they do not believe that a simple newspaper can turn into an organizational force and gather not just a cult following but a mass support in terms of funds. Or even if they know the fact, they might give the old argument about being ‘neutral’ and not being too political, but they do not realize that by not taking the side of the students, they immediately make a choice of siding with the authoritative forces (for example, the article about the vice-chancellor).

Nothing can be achieved if we stay divided among ourselves and do not utilize the weapons and forces at our disposal to flight for student rights. We have to flush every newspaper full with facts and theories about the nature of exploitation of the students, and if possible every department magazine (especially political science, sociology, economics, English, Hindi and for numbers, the science and math departments) and college magazine that come under the ambit of the university as well, and are drafted by student editorial committees. I urge not just the students but even the professors of the university to use the magazine as a weapon against the authoritative forces of the university and truly show and teach the students how to be an intellectual who carries forward his duties and responsibilities. The battle-ground is already set but we are wavering and fearing our opponents even though we are large in numbers and have ample weapons to use against them (as I have already shown). We waver because we do not really what our nature is, as students and those who do know (who are more than a few) feel insignificant, insecure and scared because  either they are opportunists and prostitute their intellect for better prospects or they lack the strength to confront their individual oppression. If each such student unites with others to form a front of solidarity of students’ mass with the same problems, we can easily fight the battle and win. In order to win the battle however, we need a unity of opinions among our ranks, and we need to understand the sameness of our nature of oppression. And here I repeat again, all of our oppressions arise from the very nature in which (the very dictatorial and non-democratic nature) the university is constituted such that we have no say in how or who the administrational officers and executives are, and they enjoy immense power over us because of the economic structure wherein the administration holds the economic power of salary in the case of professors and college fees in the case of students. We only demand for an economic shift of power from this bureaucracy to a committee of students and teachers to gain ownership over the university space.

Our simple is singular and simple, and it is indeed our only solution. The so-called “democratic” student union has failed us (so far) or in some cases (Jamia), it does not exist at all. Once the students gain the necessary consciousness and ready themselves with the means of organization, they will wage a war for fuller democracy and economic change and they will gain the support of many allies in this war. Rest assured, we will see the fight to its rightful conclusion.