The richest of the regions of the country—Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh—in terms of mineral, water and forest wealth, are inhabited by the poorest of people. Ever since the transfer of power in 1947, these people have been robbed several times of their rights and livelihoods. Yet again, the tribals in Chhattisgarh have become target of the worst attack of the state in the form of Salwa Judum where thousands of them have got displaced from their lands.
The worst anti-people policies, euphemistically called the ‘third generation reforms’, have become a bane for the peasantry, the toiling masses and the most deprived and oppressed sections of this country. More than a lakh and a half peasants have committed suicide. Even today despite all fan fare of the government to stem this, more and more news of the suicide death of farmers are coming from Andhra Pradesh, Vidharbha, Punjab etc. Hundreds of MOUs have been signed by the various state and central governments with the Multi National Corporations and the local compradors which is nothing but an open call to loot and plunder the valuable resources and livelihoods of the people to satiate the needs of the imperialist market.
Scared of the unprecedented defiance of lakhs and lakhs of the people of Kashmir who have thronged the streets of the Valley demanding Azaadi, the only way the so-called largest democracy in the world could respond was through brute military force. The politics of bomb blasts have become a good excuse for the communal, fascist state to make the Muslim community easy fodder for the so-called war against terror. The recent fake encounters in Jamia Nagar only exposes this communal fascist chararcetr of the indian state too clearly.
Any protests or dissent has been met with the worst kinds of draconian laws such as the ULPA, AFSPA, DAA, PSA, MCOCA, POCA etc. The bursting of the bubble of IT, ITES and tourism with the hurricane effect of the sub prime crisis, the so-called ‘high profile’ jobs of the new economy also have taken a tumble. Retrenchment is the order of the day. It is at this juncture that the present JNUSU elections are taking place.
Student politics cannot afford to remain confined within the four walls of the campus. Education, especially higher education should objectively reflect on the unfolding social realities so as to help build a society that is free from all forms of exploitation, oppression and mistreatment. DSU being committed to the politics of building a new world—free of urban-rural divide, free from all forms of national and social oppressions, of the domination of small business by big monopoly capital, free of the divide between mental and manual labour—where the interests of the oppressed, exploited and discriminated hold paramount place once again stresses the need to link the struggle of the student community for a scientific and democratic education with the everyday larger struggles of the toiling masses for fundamental revolutionary social transformation.
Campus issues: This was the first year that OBC reservation was to be implemented in JNU, as in all other campuses. Instead of the implementing 27% reservation in one go, as promised to the students by the administration, only 12 % resertvation with 18% seat increase was offered this year. But through various technical hurdles the administration ensured that not even 10% of the seat reserved for OBCs were actually fulfilled. This has been a huge step back for JNU for till last year, through the system of deprivation points, each new batch for the past few years had 20-24% OBC students. DSU has consistenly argued for the need of a vigilant student community and a millitant student union, to ensure the implementation of reservation. Once the reservation bill has been passed, the struggle for its implementation poses a long and difficult chanllenge. Unfortunately, this year in JNU the students union was not upto the challenge; at many points of time over the past semester they have compromised with the administration. They have misinformed the student community, wilfully withheld information from the students and worst of all, they have failed to live upto their radically pro-reservation claims.
This year, according to figures released by the administration itself, even the quotas for SC/ST and physically challenged (PH) students have also not been fulfilled. In fact the administration attempted to do away with PH category quota altogether and it is only due to the vigilance of the PH students themselves that 1.1% PH students finally entered the campus. It has also come to light that violation of varying magnitude in the fulfillment of SC/ST quotas have persisted over the the last many years. DSU believes that the fight to implement reservation is a difficult one and requires an uncompromising leadership. A leadership that understands reservation as a way to aggressively democratise higher education, not a leadership that bows to the law of the land no matter whether it is pro-people or not.
Last year, around this very time the JNU presidential debate was disrupted by a group of ABVP hooligans under the leadership of an RSS pracharak. These goons indulged in physical violence where some students were badly hurt, but worst of all their actions constituted a frontal attack on the, still independent political traditions of JNU. Nearly a year later, the Sankar Basu committee constituted to look into the matter brought out its report in which it unequivocally stated that the people named in the report were guilty and deserved exemplary punishment. In keeping with its hallowed tradition of sheilding lumpens, caste abusers and sexual offenders, the administration has let them off with a tame warning. The erstwhile JNUSU, on this count too, completely failed to put up a fight to ensure punishment for these lumpens.
JNU last year saw an extensive and militant struggle of workers and students on the issue of minimum wage for workers. It was a fight for the violation of workers’ rights as well as against a fight against contractor-administration nexus which is neck dip in corruption. The fight for workers’ right is continuing under the leadership of the newly formed JNU Sangharshil Mazdoor Union which the administration has refused to recognize. Many crucial demands including ensuring minimum wages in some sectors, esi/pf for all workers, medical facility are being raised by the JNUSMU for which the JNUSU must fight alongside the workers.
The gradual yet consistent efforts to corporatise education is becoming quite distinct in JNU every year. The subsidy that pours into JNU is spent in the so-called ‘beautification’ of campus while the students are faced with many pressing issues related to hostels, accommodation, infrastructure in the centers, library, health center etc. The irregularities in the financial assistance for the students remains a persistent problem and to cover it up the administration is pushing for corporate funding in many courses. We must also remain vigilant against the efforts to corporatise education and reduce it to a marketable product, available only to a handful.
The people across the country are leading revolutionary movements against the imperialist, communal and casteist ruling class of india and the world. Drawing inspiration from these movements going on in Chhattisgarh, Bastar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Nandigram ,Chengara as well as in Kashmir and the North East. We draw inspirations from these movements and are fighting to build a radical alternative in the campus.
Banojyotsna (for president)
Amrita, Kalaiyarasan, Priya Dharshini, Uma (for SSS Councilors)