“Trend of criminality is growing in colleges and educational institutions. The student unions have a role in this”, observed the Supreme Court of India in one of cases in June 2014. While presenting a report on certain aspects of student union elections in educational institutions, the Lingdoh Committee had recommended that where the atmosphere of the university campus is adverse to the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections, the university, its constituent colleges and departments must initiate a system of student representation based on nominations. It is sad that student politics that have been instrumental in shaping many nations of the modern world are facing such adverse comments.
It is beyond doubt that political socialisation is indispensable process in a democracy and educational campuses are the best breeding ground for politically responsible citizens. With the competitive elections of political parties entering the student union elections, student politics has acquired all the deficiencies of party politics. Students as an independent class are losing their identity and are concerned about electoral gains and losses, instead of academic and administrative issues campus is facing.
Of course, student organisations have larger role to play on the national canvass. Ideological and national issues have to be discussed and articulated at the campus level. But it cannot promote violence, hatred and disorder in the name of freedom of speech and expression or rights of student organisations.
Recently, two student organisations related issues cropped up on the national scene. In both the cases, hatred and disorder was the message. Misrepresentations of facts were used as convenient tools. Idea was to gain cheap popularity without any genuine ground work. The soul of student organisation is questioning the government policies, if they are not in the interest of the nation and fight against the administrative tyranny. When these two tools themselves are used for petty political gains, it can be self-destructive to the student politics.
In case of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle controversy, the issue of disciplinary action by the IIT – Madras administration was turned into curbing of freedom of speech and expression by the Centre. In the disguise of two prominent social reformers, having diabolically opposite views on many issues, are conveniently rapped in the Marxists mask. Still, the organisation has a right to express and mobilise certain political ideology or not, of course ‘yes’. Whether they can do so under the banner and with the resources of the educational institution is the real question. More importantly, rather than raising the question caste eradication from all spheres of social life, misrepresenting reformers for spreading hatred is poisonous for the student politics.
The same is the case with NSUI, otherwise also not known for any constructive agenda. The top leader of a party preaching them disorder and misrepresenting the facts of a nationalist organisation like RSS is another dangerous ploy.
Instead of giving a constructive agenda for youth on certain values and discipline, attacking Hinduism, nationalism and national culture seems to be the core agenda of such politics. This strategy of injecting divisive thinking among students can prove to be dangerous not only for the respective organisations but all will be poisonous for student politics.
The controversy surrounding IIT Madras’s decision to ‘derecognise’ a student group is a classical example how a non-issue can be made a big issue. The issue was of campus discipline but it was shown as a ban on freedom of speech. A section of media blowed it out of proportion and the political leaders jumped into it to fish in the troubled waters. Naturally the students involved in it also found an opportunity to get publicity. Fact is that nobody was banned and nobody was stopped from saying anything he/she wishes. The simple matter of an educational institution enforcing campus discipline was converted into a political war between ideologies.
The Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) was approved as an “Independent Student Body” by Indian Institute of Technology Madras
(IIT-M’s) Dean of Students more than a year ago and the approval was conditional upon the group following the prescribed code of conduct. Incidentally, the Dean of Students, who has now taken the decision to withdraw the approval, apparently was also the Faculty Advisor of APSC. The approval allows such groups to use IIT-M’s infrastructure to organise activities. It does not allow them to use IIT-M’s name or funds without the Dean’s permission. Therefore, withdrawal of approval only means the group cannot use institutional facilities, including the internal email network to espouse its views. To put it simply, there is no ban on free speech.
In all the noise and heat generated by APSC’s pungent views and controversial pamphlets one has failed to notice the basic premise of IIT-M’s action. The Dean is quoted to have given only one reason for the withdrawal of approval—“they (APSC) did not follow the guidelines for an Institute student body”. It is believed that the APSC specifically violated two of the seven guidelines—‘not informing the faculty advisor about their activities, or getting posters and other promotional material approved by him and using IIT-M’s name and logo on publicity material without adequate permission’.
More importantly IIT-M has clarified that this de-recognition is only provisional and a final decision will only be taken by a representative body of students after giving the APSC an opportunity to justify itself. A clear conspectus of these events leading to withdrawal of APSC’s approval can be found on the website of IIT-M’s campus magazine The Fifth Estate.
The approval and the consequent right to use institutional facilities were only privileges, which IIT-M gave to these groups. They cannot be claimed as a matter of right and certainly have nothing to with one’s freedom of speech and expression. IIT-M’s actions should be seen strictly from the perspective of the institution’s right to enforce campus discipline. But the larger issue of whether students should be allowed to promote overtly casteist and communal views within campus should be seriously considered.
The pamphlets and lectures circulated by APSC target specific communities. One pamphlet posted by APSC online accuses IIT-M of being “under Brahmincal tyranny” and another calls for “fight towards liberating the mass from the clutches of Hinduism”. Should an institution willingly lend its resources for aiding the dissemination of such divisive thoughts?
The lectures at the Study Circle are mostly anti-India, anti-Hinduism and anti-Hindutva. The summary of a lecture shows seditious statements like “India was declared to be the nationality of all just because it was no one’s nationality!” It furiously attacks Hinduism and Hindutva. The lecture’s every line needs to be read carefully. The summery was written by the lecture organiser—a student group supported by some faculties and the group was started around in April 2014. It was forwarded to some students by the organisers through mail.
Also have a look at the Brochure of HSEE Exam (available in public domain) conducted by IIT Madras for admission of MA (integrated) programme. Especially the section titled “Indian Society & Culture” (page 16) needs special focus. Some issues in the syllabus are:
a. It refers to 1857 war as “sepoy mutiny” and not as War of Independence. This is typical stand taken by Britishers and left historians! In contrast, in 2007 the Parliament of India celebrated 150th anniversary of it as War of Independence.
b. It focuses on Mughal and Islamisation. There is no mention of Maratha Kingdom, Rajput Dynasties, Vijayanagar Dynasty, Sikh kings (all are contemporary of Mughal) and Ahom Dynasty (from Assam) etc. It is purely Islamisation of the syllabus.
c. History of North-East India is missing in the syllabus, especially Ahom Dynasty. Hence it is not inclusive. In May 2014, the UGC directed all Boards and Universities to give some space to North-East India's history, and culture all level including higher education. Central Government has given lot of importance to North-East and has also created separate ministry for it.
d. In the sub section titled “Indian Philosophy & Thinkers”, there is no mention of Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Madhva-charya. All Hindu systems of Hindu philosophies were covered in one word “Orthodox Systems”. This reduces space given to it and loses prominence. But Charvakya is separated conveniently, though it is also a part of six philosophical traditions of (school of thoughts) Hinduism. Guru Gobind Singh’s name is also missing. There might be some anomalies in other sections hence full syllabus needs to be looked into properly.
One IIT-M student has reacted to the whole controversy on his Facebook page by bringing to light the general disrepute, which APSC appears to have carried in campus: “They have been very notorious from the day of …inception. When other groups in the campus publicize their events adhering to the regulations… these guys like to call for road-side debate(s).”
The anonymous letter sent by the IITM students to the Central Government goes further than just accusing the APSC of spreading communal propaganda. It says the group was receiving funds and support from external organisations. In fact, one pamphlet circulated by APSC on social networking sites was actually published by the radical Left Wing outfit Revolutionary Students Youth Front. Was IIT-M not justified in taking a serious view of the matter? Some sections of the media are trying to obfuscate the larger issue of campus discipline by referring to MHRD’s letter to IIT-M.
It must be noted that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD’s) letter only calls for an explanation on the issues raised in the anonymous letter. Even assuming IIT-M decided to take action only after the MHRD letter, how can that justify any violations committed by APSC in conducting its activities? Where is the need for political leaders to voice opinion on this issue? It should be treated entirely as an internal matter of IIT-M, which does not warrant any attention from outside.
(The writer is a practising lawyer in Madras High Court)
Student Power Vanguard of Change
When the issues pertaining to the role of student politics in nation building are discussed about, insights provided by Prof Bal Apte in 1970s on the issue are still relevant.
In India, the student activism has erupted in different forms and for totally unconnected reasons in different parts of the country. A quarrel between the staff of the bus transport and a group of students in Jabalpur accompanied by negligence of police led to massive demonstrations and strike in the whole of the M.P. and U.P.
A change in the method of payment of examination fees resulted in total strikes and violence in Lucknow University. A demand for a steel plant brought the Andhra students on the streets. Vietnam has always provided an early opportunity to the Calcutta students to agitate. Demand for Agricultural University gave rise to a massive agitation in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. A demand for reforms in the Agricultural University was a reason behind agitation in Jammu Kashmir.
A few rusticated student leaders aided by political maneuvers wrought the closure of the Banaras Hindu University. A rivalry between student factions, one supporting the Vice-Chancellor and the other the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in Osmania University was one of the factors for the Telangana agitation to flare up. On almost all these cases, violence and police excesses were a common feature. Disruption of instruction, closure of university, and postponement of examinations were the logical results. Barring a few successful agitations e.g. the one in the Agricultural University at Sajpur, that in the University of Madhya Pradesh and in the S.N.D.T. University of Women in Mumbai, students solidarity has failed to be peaceful in its agitation.
Causes of Students’ Unrest
The causes traditionally listed to explain the India student unrest include the politicians mentioned above who seek to use student power to further partisan policies, disillusionment with the discredited authority, social, educational and political frustration and pessimism due to the uncertainty of future, and unemployment of the educated. The student is always asked to behave without any guidance as to how he should behave. He has tremendous energy, but there is no consciousness as to his rights and responsibilities.
By and large, he is apathetic and drawn in struggle only when mass frenzy grips his mind. There is complete divorce between his struggle for survival and the education which is supposed to help him in the matter. He is not interested in knowledge in the abstract. He goes to the college because, he has no alternative. He must get a degree if he has to ‘make it.’ He has no options. Therefore, his only aim is to get in, get out and get on with it. The University is no more an isolated community of scholars; but is more a community of young people. The reality of the world today involves serious problem and the universities just are not doing much about it.
While writing all this, I have eschewed all reference to particular ideologies seeking to influence the student world in the right and in the wrong way and the case-study of the student unrest in different parts of the country for lack of space.
A Dominant Force for Change
All this activism is positively anti-establishment. And there is nothing wrong in it. The trouble is that this anti-establishment stance is not fortified by a resolution to erect a new revolutionary infrastructure and is often mired by inevitable complying with violence and destruction.
The student, now, is socially (and politically) conscious. And there is nothing wrong about it. This consciousness can provide a sound ideological base to stimulate a revolutionary force along with it which is committed to social change and service to national ideals.
The student is a force. Events, crises and challenges of constructive activity have shown that he can rise to the occasion and meet the challenges of reconstruction. Power, albeit it is, but if the hand that uses it is guided by national interests, it can shatter the designs of disruptive forces by meeting and eliminating them at all levels and thus this power can herald a new revolution in a changing society where though the Authority stands discredited, the youth shall triumph and usher in an era of social change. The problem, therefore, is not that of the ammunition available, it is that of the shell potency of the trigger hand and the target. Will the Indian students reach their appointed target? It is for them to answer; not by their demeanor, but by their deeds.
(Excerpts from the book, Nation First, published by Prabhat Prakashan, Delhi)
IIT or Tantrum
If certain rules are not followed in educational campuses and divisive activism is not curbed, Indian Institute of Technology will not only become another drain on national exchequer and a breeding a ground for communal hatred, it will gradually come to be known as Indian Institute of Tantrum.
TN Students to launch moon-orbitor in 2018; Times of India, 30 May 2015
….Students seethe…. IIT-M….; Sunday Times of India, 31 May 2015
If you are thinking that students of IIT-Madras(M) are seething because students of another college in Chennai are launching moon-orbitor than you are mistaken. IIT-Madras students are seething as per Times of India. Why, because they are not being allowed to slaughter Hindus. Yes you have read it correct. I have lot of documentary evidence to prove it, but it might lead to communal disharmony; hence, I am restraining myself from sharing it here.
According to the Economic Times, “The IIT Bombay students have floated a group in the name of Ambedkar-Periyar-Phule Circle (APPC) and IIT Delhi has retained the original name of APCS. Kolkata's Jadavpur University and New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University have, too, floated APSC in their campuses.
Students of IIT-M are busy running Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle (APSC), with an external guide in Hindu/India hater Arundhati Roy!!!!!!! Guess they can’t have Bose-Raman Study Circle or a circle based on any other scientists because their caste may not to be right for IIT-M.
On the other hand students of SRM University are launching a nano-satellite weighing around 20 Kg to focus on the moon’s rocks and the lunar surface chemistry. Students of this university first launched a 10 kg earth observation nano-satellite called SRMSAT on 12 October 2011, which is still performing satisfactorily.
Student forums at IIT Madras are classified into 3 categories, based on the classification designed by student body meeting held on 28th January 2015.
1. Student Affairs Council (SAC) affiliated student body is provided monetary and infrastructural support from IIT Madras. Such bodies report to a Student Secretary of IIT Madras.
2. Institute Recognized Independent Body of students cannot use the name of IIT Madras, or any of its official entities, in any capacity, to publicize their activities or garner support without official permission. Such bodies would not, generally, be provided any monetary support from IIT Madras. Requests for support, if any, from IIT Madras shall be routed through the Faculty Advisor. The faculty advisor shall take responsibility for the group’s activities.
3. Direct Institute-approved Student Bodies, are provided monetary and infrastructural support from IIT Madras and formed by a Faculty Advisor approved by the Institute administration.
There is not much difference among different student bodies, except the fact that Independent Body can’t use Institute’s name.
Where Lies the Problem
Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle is an Independent body. Not only this but as an Independent body it is supposed to have faculty advisor who shall take responsibility for the group’s activity. But as per the report of blog, The Fifth Estate – The Students Voice of IIT Madras didn’t keep the advisor in loop. The report says “The Dean of Students, however, was clear about the reason for derecognizing APSC. Being the Faculty Advisor for the student body, he mentioned that they violated the Institute’s guidelines (applicable to all recognized Institute bodies) by not informing him about their activities, or getting posters and other promotional material approved by him — the Dean pointed out that they had used IITM’s name and logo on publicity material without adequate permission. When these violations were brought to his notice, Prof. Sivakumar decided to derecognize them provisionally on the grounds of ‘misuse of privileges’, thereby denying them access to the usage of the Institute’s resources, until such a time when the status of APSC is decided conclusively by the Board of Students once the academic year begins.
Now, let’s come back to the subject of lectures. The above listing in Table-1 is not an exhaustive list but just some randomly selected programs. It is obvious that a student who goes through the above will plan to slaughter Hindus rather than design Satellite. But at one glance it answers whole lot of other questions as well; which are as follows
A. Standard of IIT.
Recent rankings of Indian University by QS World University Ranking
Delhi IIT was ranked 42nd in 2008 and on 31 May 2009 Kapil Sibal or took over as Minister of HRD and rest is History. (These ranking are based on research, research citations, and quality of students and faculty. Some parameters might be skewed against IITs but even stalwarts of industry have accepted falling standards of IIT.)
B. Perception of IITians as Terrorist and Sex Maniacs
Parents will have to re-think if they are sending their children to become engineers or terrorists and sex maniacs. Just note the programs organised by Chinta Bar- a student’s body not recognised by IIT-M, which still functions and still the administration of IIT-M has not taken any action. To top it IIT-M promotes pages on facebook about sex orientation. Here is the link https://www.facebook.com/vannam.iitm?pnref=story
C. Brain Drain
All these have a huge cascading effect e.g. Students and Parents use rankings and perceptions as their decision-making tools to choose their education destinations. In the 2013-2014 academic year, nearly 1,03,000 Indian students were enrolled in US institutions of higher education alone. Seventy eight per cent of Indian students opt to study Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics fields (The US Embassy in India). IIT’s being the direct looser in this race.
D. Cash Outflow from India
Indian students contributed $3.3 billion to US Economy alone last year. (The Economic Times, 1st June 2015). So India as a nation is not facing brain drain but also outflow of cash.
These influence other factors and the same facts also explain the poor rankings of the IITs. Let’s have a look at some of them.
A. Decrease in number of Patents from India
World Intellectual Property Indicators, 2012 report says: China’s contribution in patent applications globally has increased from 37.2 per cent in 1995-2009 to 72.1 per cent in 2009-11, whereas in the same period, India’s contribution decreased from 3.5 per cent to 2.7 per cent.
a. Decrease in number of Innovation from India
Global Innovation Index 2013 ranks India as the 66th most innovative nation among 142 economies, having dropped two places from last year's position of 68.
One can visualise the pre-mature death of all the initiatives of Government of India like Make in India, Skill Development etc. IIT’s run from funds given by the Government and they receive disproportionately high grants compared to other engineering colleges in India. 16 IITs for the year 2014-15, have been allocated Rs 2,337 crore.
And this is Tax Payers Money. Government is answerable to tax-payers (majority Tax Payers being Hindus) of this country who has voted for this government. Tax payer’s hard earned money can’t be used in the planning that aims to slaughter Hindus.
In the whole din, the patience of Hindu students has not been appreciated at all by anybody. Imagine being in majority and still getting abused day in and day out and that too in prime of youth and still keep calm. There is a very thin line between cowardliness and following Ahimsa. By sending the anonymous letter to ministry and not resorting to violence, (which is the intention of divisive forces) as of now the Hindu students have demonstrated maturity but patience has limits. Before something untowardly happens, the Ministry of HRD needs to act.
Government need not worry much about media noise. Mainline Media has been accepted as presititute and it is living upto its name. As per information on social media, Times of India and Economic Times on 2 June 2015 published the photo with caption saying ‘Protest against de-recognisation of Ambedkar-Periyar group’ which were actually taken during the ‘Research Fellowship Hike Protest at IIT Madras’ on 20 February , 2015 which was published in Times of India, Chennai Edition on 21 February 2015. Last year, The Hindu, on 12 February 2014 published that there was protest during Teesta Seetalvad’s lecture at IIT Madras and on 26 February 2014 published a clarification saying there was no protest.
It is the right time for the government to not only ban and dissolve all divisive organisations but also to terminate and punish government employees behind such initiatives in Government funded educational institutes and restore the institutes dignity and direction.
(The writer is founder www.swastik.net.in)