Education

Students, Alumni of IIT Gandhinagar Express Solidarity With JNU Protest

The statement said it stands with JNU students for fighting the privatisation and contractualisation of higher education.

New Delhi: The students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar have issued a statement in solidarity with the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University.

In the statement, around 80 students and faculty of IIT Gandhinagar condemn the “repressive university administration” and express support for the students of JNU for fighting the privatisation and contractualisation of higher education. Calling the administration ‘authoritarian’, the statement says that the agitation by the students was being treated as a mere ‘law and order problem’.

The undersigned students and faculty members also pointed out that the authoritarian attitude of the administration had also manifested in the form of “brutal police violence against students who protested peacefully”.

The statement also referred to JNU as the benchmark for institutions of public higher education in India due to its values of inclusivity and critical thinking and further pointed out that the proposed fee hike was a direct attack on the institution’s inclusiveness and autonomy.

The statement cited the rise of the Sangh parivar and the ideology of neoliberalism that aimed to privatise and commodify education and exclude marginalised communities like Dalit-Bahujans, Muslims, and the lower classes. The signatories also asserted that an atmosphere that was diverse and inclusive was intrinsic to learning.

Also read: ‘Jasn-e-JNU’: What Lies Behind the Calls to Dismantle Public University Education?

The statement drew attention to resistances in universities across the country like the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jadavpur University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Visva-Bharati University, University of Hyderabad and Delhi University and held that the current regime was opposed to a “spirit of inclusion and diversity”. Expressing solidarity with the struggles of students, teachers, staff and alumni at all universities, the signatories maintained that the “right to protest should be respected”.

The full text of the statement has been reproduced below.

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In Solidarity with JNU: Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar

We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff and alumni of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, stand in solidarity with the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), who have been fighting the increasing privatization and contractualization of higher education. They have also been fighting a repressive university administration. The administration has refused to engage in any dialogue, has attempted to bypass norms while introducing new policies, treated the agitation of the students as a mere ‘law and order problem,’ and has lodged criminal cases against protesting students. This is clearly the case of an authoritarian administration refusing to listen to claims expressed by students through democratic dissent. This attitude has also manifested itself outside the university, where we saw brutal police violence against students who protested peacefully. Clearly, the JNU administration and the Central Government are in unison.

From its inception, JNU had set a benchmark for public higher education in India, through its inclusiveness, and its appreciation of critical thinking. The JNU community has fiercely guarded these qualities in the past, and is guarding them today. The proposed hike in fees is a direct attack on the idea of JNU. The inclusiveness of the JNU community–which has been achieved through innovative admission criteria, sensitivity to diversity, and reasonable autonomy–is under threat. The immediate consequence would be the exclusion of students from marginalized sections of society.

This issue should be placed in a larger context, where the idea of the public university in India has come under attack from two directions: the Sangh Parivar and Neoliberalism. The first aims to cleanse university spaces of any voices opposing the Modi-led regime. The second looks at education as mere commodity, to be privatized and ‘sold’ at high prices. It is obvious that the immediate victims of Hindutva and neoliberalism are students from marginalized communities: Dalit-Bahujans, Muslims, and the lower classes.

We believe that learning can be most rewarding if we learn amidst people coming from diverse backgrounds–including various caste, class, gender, and religious backgrounds. Many individuals and groups have strived to make our university spaces more diverse and inclusive. We hold that the current regime has accelerated processes that go against this spirit of inclusion and diversity. Apart from JNU, resistance against these processes has shown itself in universities throughout the country, including Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Jadavpur University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Visva-Bharati University, University of Hyderabad and Delhi University. We stand by the struggles of the various communities of students, teachers, staff and alumni of these as well as other universities in India. Their right to protest should be respected, and their demands should be heeded.

SIGNED:

Ajin K Thomas, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Rohit Revi, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Prateek Pawankumar Khobragade, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Dalia N, Alumna, Class of 2019
Bhargav Oza, Alumnus, Class of 2016
Asaf Ali Lona, Alumnus, Class of 2016
Ingole Prashant, Student
Zaphya Gena, Student, Class of 2020
Vysakh R, Student, Class of 2024
Amritha Mather, Student,
Noyonika Das, Student, Class of 2020
Anushka, Student, Class of 2020
Sanika Gupta, Alumna, Class of 2019
Rachelle C, Student, Class of 2020
Ihsan K, Student, Class of 2020
Gurpreet Kaur, Student
Nanditha J S, Student
Pankaj, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Kamyaban Hazarika, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Anant Mista, Student, Class of 2021
Arka Chattopadhyay, Faculty member
Shobhit Kakaria, Alumnus, Class of 2018
Debasmita Ghosh, Student
Ambika Aiyadurai, Faculty member
Suhair KK, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Mohd Javaid, Student, Class of 2021
Devdutta Chakraborty, Student, Class of 2020
Saravanan Velusamy, Alumnus, Class of 2016
Tushar Meshram, Alumnus, Class of 2016
Ravi Setty, Alumnus, Class of 2018
Omi Kumari, Alumna, Class of 2019
Ashish Joseph, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Fasna K, Student, Class of 2021
Dyotana Banerjee, Student, Class of 2019
Sushanth, Staff member
Prerna Khobragade, Student, Class of 2020
Mujeebu Rahman K C,  Alumnus, Class of 2017
Vinaya E H, Alumna, Class of 2018
Megha Sanyal, Alumna, Class of 2018
Jahnu Bharadwaj, Student, Class of 2020
Arun Krishna, Alumnus, Class of 2016
Samruddhi Damle, Student, Class of 2020
Prashanth, Student, Class of 2020
Haby Koshy Mathew, Student
Arundhathy Beena, Alumna, Class of 2018
Medha Deshpande, Alumna, Class of 2019
Amit Tiwari, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Abhijith TK, Alumnus, Class of 2018
Camellia Biswas, Student, Class of 2023
Rishabh Bhattacharya, Alumnus, Class of 2019
B.Vishnu Sai, Student, Class of 2021
Prerna Subramanian, Alumna, Class of 2018
Kashif Jamal, Student, Class of 2020
Moin Quresshi, Student, Class of 2021
Suyash Pasi, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Tanvi Jain, Alumna, Class of 2019
Aastha Soni, Alumna, Class of 2018
Sairam Manjula, Student, Class of 2018
Luke Nihal Dasari, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Noopur Joshi, Alumna, Class of 2016
Vaibhav Joshi, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Aatman Vora, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Mayank, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Sai Kiran Bojja, Alumnus, Class of 2019
Ankit Bhange, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Bhavesh Sonwani, Alumnus, Class of 2018
Dharmendra Kumar, Alumnus, Class of 2017
Ayushi Rai, Student
Akansha Yashasvi, Student, Class of 2020
Rujuta Naik, Student, Class of 2020
Simily Sabu, Alumna, Class of 2015
Prashant, Student, Class of 2024
Oishi Roy, Staff member
Debtroy Das, Student, Class of 2020
S.S.Isaiamudhu, Alumna, Class of 2019
Kanishk Kalra, Student, Class of 2021
Aakrati Gupta, Alumna, Class of 2016
Gnana Selvam, Student, Class of 2020
Shailendra Kumar, Alumnus, Class of 2017