• Bahujan discourse puts JNU in the crosshairs

    Pramod Ranjan (see profile)
    Communication Studies, Festivals, Rituals, Public Spectacles, and Popular Culture, Sociology
    Journalism--Objectivity, Dalits--Social life and customs, Identity politics, Hinduism and politics, University autonomy, Women, Adivasi, Social justice and education, Indigenous peoples--Social life and customs, Indigenous peoples--Study and teaching
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    Jawaharlal Nehru University, Student politics, Mahishasura, Mahishasur, Durga, reservation, Bahujan movement, Left movement, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, Caste-based discrimination
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    If we closely study the recent string of incidents in JNU while keeping their background in mind, we will realize that the Bahujan-Left unity had set alarm bells ringing in the RSS camp. To grasp this better, we will have to revisit the first Mahishasur Martyrdom Day, organized by the All India Backward Students’ Forum (AIBSF) in JNU in October 2011 and the Food Freedom movement initiated by the New Materialists in September 2012. The Mahishasur and food-freedom movements were the manifestations of the new discourses that were replacing the old ones here. They drew nationwide attention. The traditional Left either looked the other way or made it clear that it would stand by the freedom of expression and would not oppose these voices coming from the deprived sections. This was, in a sense, the coming-together of Left and Bahujan ideologies or, at the very least, the two camps agreeing on a common minimum programme. The RSS calls itself a cultural organization and is perpetually busy in protecting and preserving the brahmanical culture. The young Bahujan intellectuals were dealing blow after fatal blow to the brahmanical culture, and this won them the approval of the Left in JNU. The amalgamation of the thoughts of Phule, Ambedkar, Periyar and Narayan Guru on the one hand and Marx, Lenin and Mao on the other threw up compelling arguments and incontrovertible facts. This, in turn, started influencing the students. A flummoxed Sangh did not know how to counter this assault. The deprived sections posed a stiff challenge – the stiffest in independent India – to the brahmanical culture, which the Sangh was trying to protect in the name of the Hindu religion, and behind it was the intellectual prowess of the JNU Bahujan research scholars. They were now capable of presenting their views in keeping with the highest academic standards.
    This Editorial essay was published on the Monthly magazine Forward Press website on 27 February 2016 and appeared in the print edition of March 2016. The writer served as managing editor of this magazine during 2011-2019.
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    2 years ago


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