Thursday, November 11, 2010


Most of the students across the Indian University fall prey to the mainstream students political parties. It is due to their engagement with the society. Hence this ‘powerful’ platform is a romantic idea for these students. Because they think the society can be changed with these so-called powerful platform. They should realize that these platforms are smoke screen.
There could be several reasons to justify for joining the mainstream students parties, however the nature of parties are always discriminative in natures. The mainstream students parties such are ABVP, SFI, BSF, AISU etc. These parties are either directly or indirectly supportive to the mainstream Hindutuva forces. Though BSF could be considered a different movement, still the autonomous student movements are far better than any mainstream movements. The autonomous movements are those who frame on their own independent ideology, such movements largely on identity politics. These autonomous movements are the representative of the crucial problems the society faces. And their survival is of resistant or the identity politics. The mainstream survives though not with their ideology in a larger scale but because of their respective political parties backing up and constant engagement.
In over all I could say that the mainstream students movements are of a different kind of an institutions functioning towards the state’s view over the society or the so –called “mainstream” parities. The serious problem with these parties are either not discussing issues or neglecting the societies crucial problems, which can be broadly put into Caste and ‘Minority’ issues.
These vacant places are filled by the identity politics which are based on Caste and ‘Minority’ category.
The problem of the autonomous body is that they do not have a financial assistans or the constructive political ideology, which I mean the self – reflexive ness. For an example these movements are largely focusing on issues and sometime intellectual ideals. These movements are the reflection of the identity politics in the society. Fighting for their own goals and means. But in academical field these different students movements should have a respect and representation over all these problems.
It is time for these identity movements to self-reflect on their own movements and to reflect over the same.
In the past history the country has see many identity movements cropping up. Such as Sub-Caste movements, sexual ‘minority’, religious ‘minority’, these issues are also given a minority status by these identity movements by treating them as a mere numerical. It is time for the student’s movement, which is the back bone of the Indian political structure, should rethink and make an alliance with the other identity movements with a spirit not with the political gains.
It is also understood that every organization cannot take up all identity issues, but they can atleast extend their support morally.
These autonomous movements do not depend upon the mainstream parties and their fight is also a resistance towards the mainstream. Prolonging the resistance towards the mainstream parties is one of the difficult task, these movement can prolong their resistance because of their spirit.
There must be a consensus/platform for these identity politics . There must be a platform for these organizations to stand on with consensus and spirit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A suggestion to The Hindu, Safai Karmachari Andolan,and civil society.

An Open letters to all NGO’s, Dalits and civil society working on Scavenging:

Eradicating scavenging profession without liberating those people permanently is not going to eradicate scavenging. The perfect example is the recent The Hindu article (which was again sidelined) on 26th 2010 October talking of scavenging, the article titled “It’s shortlived rehabilitation for scavengers in Ambala” I quote from the article, “it took us a lot of courage to set those baskets on fire and announce that we were free. But now, for many of us the only way to feed our family is to pick up the same baskect again” said a disheartened worker.”(The caste is missing in theser article completely)
Adding to this the people in Savanur recently protested by smearing human excreata. These all shows that even if they are forced to leave or quit the profession they are not going to get liberated. And the packages or the demands put forth from these movements are not a permanent solution. Since I believe in empowering the scavenging community is the only way to eradicate scavenging. Hence I would discuss the demands focusing on Scavengers.

• Provide free education with monthly scholarship to all safai karmachari children for as many generations as their parents had worked as safai karmacharis.
• Provide job oriented technical education with residential facility and Job placements to the dependent youth of safai karmacharis .
• Provide support for dignified livelihood to safai karmachari women in accordance with their choice of livelihood schemes.
Above point on free education is a long sighted demand, but they are not clear. For example in government schools and colleges they are free with the nominal amount. It the demand says clearly that and children of scavengers should be allowed to have any education (medicine, engineering etc) the government should bear the responsibility.
After the free education is given how do we address the job? And even the present scavengers sons are educated? What about them?
Therefore the movement should press for a separate reservation for scavengers sons, and daughters.
In relation to the sweepers working in government institution should be promoted in 10 years time, and these community should be give free medical treatment, even if they have to approach the private hospitals.
The points proposed by Safai Karmachari Andolan’s can be seen below.
Our Demands
• An official apology from the Government of India for violating the human dignity and human rights Safai Karmcharis for over 3 thousand years.
• Eradicate Manual Scavenging
• Demolish Dry Latrines
• Implement the 1993 Act Strictly.
• Punish Violators of the Act 1993
• Punish Dry Latrine Owners and all those who forced safai karmacharis for cleaning shit under the SC/ST Atrocity Prohibition Act 1989.
• Rehabilitation Package
• Release Immediate relief of Rs. 10,000 for safai karmacharis
• Provide minimum 5 Lac rupees to safai karmacharis to take up dignified occupations.
• Provide 5 Acre fertile land to safai karmacharis for dignified livelihood
• Give Antyodaya Card to safai karmacharis
• Provide houses to safai karmacharis
• Provide special pension for single safai karmachari women.
• Provide special pension for aged safai karmacharis
• Provide free education with monthly scholarship to all safai karmachari children for as many generations as their parents had worked as safai karmacharis.
• Provide job oriented technical education with residential facility and Job placements to the dependent youth of safai karmacharis .
• Provide support for dignified livelihood to safai karmachari women in accordance with their choice of livelihood shemes.
• Register the assets created for safai karmachari women in their name only

check the link for full detail on the SKA movement

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

THE SACRED SHIT: A response to Dr. Anand teltumbde's writing on scavenging

I am tired of reading articles written on scavenging. Usually everyone starts with giving a glamour’s title or sub-title to their article by saying “India Stinking”, “India Untouched” , etc and end up discussing elaborately on shit, which never smells bad while discussing it. The recent article written “hypocracy thy name India” by Anand Teltumbde goes ahead from the normal once to hit the core idea of Dalit movement based on, saying they should think of changing its idea from caste to class.
Overview of Dr. Anand Teltumbde’s writings on Scavenging
Anand teltumdbe has recently wrote articles on the “Savanur “incident (Tehelka, Dalit strategy for respect has failed, Vol 7, Issue 39, Dated October 02, 2010. His writing was published in Tehelka, etc. I hope the article gave a wider publicity. And for the same reason I am responding to his writings.
Before going further I would like to summarize the article. The article begins with an elaborative information of the protest and the response after it. Then he talks of the failure of the government mechanisms to implement the 1993 law on Manual scavenging. And he also says about how the Hindu forces were trying to hijack the savanur vote bank through this incident. Later he argues about the dalit movements failure in eradicating the caste system. And the reason he give is that caste cannot unite people rather class.
What stricken me was what was the author’s intention on writing the scavenging issue? Was he concerned of the scavenging people? If so when he speaks of the failure of government laws to ban the profession, why didn’t he research the reason for failure (we cannot just reject by saying there is no commitment for the government authority)? (We should also remember Acts enacted in parliament for SC/ST are not implemented properly. What is the reason behind it).And when he says that the Hindu Sammy and BJP poured into the area, then why didn’t he analyze the reason behind these sammys going to these places.
The issue of scavenging still exists in India because people do not go further the ‘shit’ argument. Either they romanticize or sympathize the scavenging community rather politizing the issue. After so many decades for once Scavengers protested in their usual way (I say usual because most of the Dalit movements took their hereditary job as a weapon or a symbol of their protest.) The protest which should have awakened the Dalit writers to rethink their strategy, but it seems they are adamant in rethinking their stand on the same issue, and rejecting the caste factor involved in it.
I would like to take few of his point and discuss.
1. ……. Ambedkar exhorted his followers to give up clearing and scavenging dead animals, eating their meat and urged them to discard ornaments indicating their caste. Strangely, the Savanur Dalits used the very marker of their dehumanisation as the medium of their protest…..
If we look the protest from the scavengers angle, the protest will not seem to be strange. The shit they clean every day was transformed into a political weapon, as any dalit movement did. For example pariyars taking their work as their weapon. Hence, it is not strange protest, rather it was a shocking protest shown by the scavenging community to the outsiders, who never expected such a protest.

2. ….This fractal, recursive, discrimination speaks of a gross malady within the Dalit movement, a movement which supposedly aims at the annihilation of caste, but paradoxically, uses caste as its cementing force. It has failed to realise that despite sustained failure over six decades to keep Dalits united, caste is not and cannot be a force of unity; it is, instead, a divisive force that splinters…….
First of all let us understand what Dalit movement means. Dalit is not a homogeneous entity anytime, it was never a unified movement. Every sub-caste movement within Dalit community is called as Dalit movement. But all are called Dalit movements for the simple reason they read the issue on caste lines.

3. …….It is high time that Dalits realised that their caste-centric outlook when opposing caste is not only theoretically unsound and morally bankrupt, but is also strategically and empirically wrong. It is high time they shunned the caste idiom and regrouped themselves as a class…….

Let us not underestimate the caste function in India, the Mandal commission would prove the same. Every leaders vote bank in India is caste based.
The issue of Scavenging cannot be bought to class. Most often surprises me is that everyone who speaks on scavenging do agree that the profession is a Caste profession and also agree that the scavenging caste also has non-scavenging community in its caste and they too live backward as equal to the scavenging people. But the writers suddenly shift their argument towards class. Even if they think it is a class problem they why are the Scavenging people who are working in government sector live the same life. Though they are economically powerful. Therefore it is the Caste. 1,86,776(Bangi population)
4. “Living on a prayer Saints and ministers queued up to meet the Bhangis”
This was a caption given in his article, but why this is not to research more. If we look on scavenging the spear headed movement was from the RSS in Gujarat. This is an area were people should look why scavenging is always attracted by the Hindu forces.
For the same reason I would say human excreta or the shit is a ‘scared’ for these people. The Government’s stand and the Dalits stand I want to clarify here on the scavenging issue. For government it is a Scared job, The government never sincerely tried in anyway to eradicate the scavenging profession but rather they wanted to modernize the profession. I perceive the point as if the shit is a scared for the Indian rulers therefore they don’t want the people to touch it in bare hands so they wanted them to were glouses, mask, etc. For NGO’s and dalits it is a evil practice. Hence they try to eradicate the ‘scared’ profession. When Dr. Ambedkar addressed the untouchables he asked for implementation of poona act and a reservation policy. But now people who address the scavenging issue they just wanted them to forcefully leave their jobs without an alternative government mechanism to offer them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Ayodya verdict and its hype before the Verdict reminds me the book “Who Wants Democracy?” written by Prof. Javeed Alam. One of the points the author makes is in Democracy the majority of the voters are from low middle class families, they expect a change but they feel cheated every elections. Same expectation prevailed among the Muslim community and others on the Ayodya Verdict, thinking the Court would do justice but the court verdict sends a message to the Muslim community that no justice can be given for a ‘minority’(especially muslims inlarge and Christians). The verdict forces them again that they are minority.
Some of the key point in the verdict mentioned in favor of ‘Hindus’. One of the important point, Muslims built a mosque on the debris of a temple. A simple question can be asked, India was constitutionally formed in 1950s. Therefore, should we start reading history and take ‘revenge’? The court read history from the Hindu temple. Before the temple was there any other temple or mosque , is a serious question. People say we should forget the past and start the present as a new chapter in history. The Court verdict proves opposite, the ‘mistakes’ you have done in the past centuries before, should be punished in the present. If we go through the court verdict, Muslims cannot pardon anyone in the country, since the sepoy mutiny. For example: Delhi was once highly populated by the Muslims, they were butchered by hindus during the sepoy mutiny and the British supported the Hindus for doing the same. (read Last Mughal). Overall the verdict asserts, past history whether sad/good belongs and be decided by the ‘Hindus’.
Was the court neutral? I suspect. Before the verdict was pronounced there were different reactions. Let us see some of the significant reaction. The government of India is busy in dealing with Naxals, Kashimiris, CWG problem. But still went ahead with the verdict. One of the important reactions was the government of India did not provide enough security in Uttra Pradesh, before the verdict. Ms. Mayawati criticized the centre for not providing enough security. And the BJP was not interested to show any reaction on the upcoming verdict.
What is the importance of the land? It’s a matter of equality, dignity and self respect. After the verdict pronounced a news paper carried a headlines saying the Verdict kept the India ‘United’ (Deccan Chronicle) and even mass media. For these so-called Hindutva media the Unity means the country being calm. Under the carpet they also prove India can be united only by satisfying or breeding the communal forces. Some papers said that “India proved of its ‘secular’ stand”. They should remember, India was never a secular in its real meaning. The National mass media (Doordarshan) broadcasted Ramayana, Mahabaratha, the state books forces everyone to read Ram killed ravana at class 2, etc. Many movies would bear or show the photos or a celebration of an hindu icon, “Robot” rajini movie recently, adding to this Hindus can get away from any riots, for example, Gujarat riot, Babar Masjith, Mumbai riots, on these occasions Muslims are randomly picked in the name of terrorist, under the act of POTA, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and other draconian laws. (I refer to the Book who killed Karkare, and Listening to Grass hoppers) these all would be enough to prove that Hindutva forces are dominant and India is a Hindu country and not a Secular, which is against the Indian Constitution. The growing hegemony of a Hindu Fascism in India is unnoticed or least bothered by the social movements, civil society etc. As there are many writing which says that the verdict is biased to Muslim, The matter of fact of the verdict in our subconscious reminds us that the muslim community has got nothing from the “Indian Government” in relation to their empowerment. ‘India’ has done very little for this community’s empowerment. Only when this community is empowered, they can look for justice in court or from the government. The Muslim, Dalits other political parties, who have been selling their community should do some good at least,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Great EFLUniversity, Hyderabad. Was never a good place for academics

The campus is a vibrant place for politics. If anyone wants to do politics, then the best place to learn is in this campus. Certainly the University is ‘best’ in academics too. There are some or a handful of students who clear JRF exam, there are students who go abroad for their PhD and there are various people working in different corporate sectors as Managing directors, editors. But these people are not from the SC/ST. Then what is the point in saying that the university is good for academics. A best academics university is where majority of the SC/ST should be prepared to qualify in various fields.
All said above if anybody reads this and asks any faculty in our campus may be of any community he/she belongs, faculty would even immolate themselves to assert that the campus is good for academics and it is ‘Caste’ free and the University has been annihilated from Caste issues. And it was in the last two years the Caste ‘free’ campus campaign started and ended in 2010. As a result the Dalit students association will not be seen among students. Hence, students started writing about DABMSA (Dalit Adivasi Bhahujan and Minority Students Association). So DABMSA is a history. (these so-called faculties must be taught of what is Caste and how it functions in the educational institution). This university has around 36 dalit/adivasi faculties. They have been annihilated from the question of Caste and in the process of conversion into Brahmins.
Therefore at present in campus everyone, those who are not victims would assert and sing songs there is no Caste issues in Campus and Faculties would play the background music for this. Then they would theorize that everything is class and merit. However, as soon as they step out of the University gate immediately Caste operates for them. As a result of these above mention one tribal girl and an OBC boy etc have not been admitted in the Class. There are various other cases such but doesn’t come to public. Incase the victim talks to an association or anyone outside the campus to involve in the matter, these so-called people would theorize and keep this issue under the carpet. We should not forget that there are many students who do not have the courage to discuss Caste issue in campus because they feel they would be targeted by faculties, irrespective of caste the faculty belongs to. This is the failure of Dalit faculties/students, because there must be a place where these issues are discussed, which gives courage to the Dalits/Adivasi’s to discuss the matter in public. Even in the national scenario there were number of SC/ST atrocity cases filed after 1990s, thanks to various Dalit movement which gave the courage and backed the victims.
And it is sure that if SC/ST students are guided properly in their academic they would top in every field. But they are guided in political movements and activities.

Adding to above the campus life even for general students is in chaos now:
These below mention issue happened in less than two months
Past issues
Last week some ten students put a ladder and went into a room through the window and beat one person black and blue. And those people who beat them took the backing of faculties, the provost saw the student who was victim after two days, and I hope Provost has not given bouquet of flowers to the student to become ‘mahatma’ by not going to police station.
Students protested by locking the administration building a month before asking basic infrastructure in the Hostels.
Faculties went against them and protested by boycotting their classes, teaching students how to protest and they should not lock the administration. Later they demanded (but not know to whom) the administration to take action on students who protested. In the meanwhile the faculties did theorize the mode of protest reminding ‘Mahatma’ Gandhiji, etc. Thanks to them for not asking the students to take a ‘dhandi’ yatra somewhere in their respective hostels.

Continuous issues:
Stones are pelted on Ladies hostel once or twice in a week and sometimes beer bottles over the Ladies hostel.(people who have doubt can talk to the security Guards) And repeated complains to the provost has made them to realize the potrail of police in Indian Cinema.
At present Non-teaching staffs are on protest asking for implementation of six pay commission rules, which suggests them that a person who worked for 10 years should get one promotion and if 30 years, 3 promotions. Therefore if a person has got one promotion in last four years and he/she has worked for 30 year. Then he/she would be given two more promotions or atleast the increment. Approximately there are 54 people would be benefiting from this rules. The order has been prepaid and signed by the Executive Committee, which is the higher authority in the Universtity, for implementation but it was not implemented therefore they are on protest. They took the support of the Temporary staffs also for the protest along with the students. By supporting the permanent staffs demand, the temporary staffs are not going to get anything from these permanent staffs. The sad side of the story is the immediate enemy for the temporary staff is the permanent staffs. These people are used as a use and throw paper in the issues. Certain things are not clear on their agenda but still I support because in which protest everything was clear. Whatsoever atleast this protest may let the MHRD to appoint a VC at the earliest.

With these all above incident the academic life is nowhere in campus. Therefore, people who read this kindly pelt some stones on ‘Ministry of Human Resources ’, University Grant Commission or anyone for the matter, to send a vice chancellor for the University.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

India a Paradise for Tatas, Brilas and ambani etc and Hell for others

Once in five years we (Indians) are reminded by the Government of India that we are living in a world highest democracy. Rest of the period we are again reminded of a contradiction idea that we are living in one of the feudal society, where public opinions are created by the politicians and the worst part is the News Medias work as a mouth piece of the feudal government. The land we live in is a Paradise for the Tata’s, Ambani, and other business man, and it is a hell for the Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis and other subaltern groups.
Recently I happened to travel by one of the Meeru Cabs in Hyderabad, India. While interactive with the driver I came to know many shocking details of the life they live in. Meer cabs are available in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. Basically these cabs were introduced to operate to and fro the airport. Later this expanded to all walks of life, such as people use these cabs as Taxis too. The owner of the Meeru cab is Mr. Neeragi Gupta, ofcourse there are many owners depending upon their shares on the cabs. In Delhi there are around 1,000/ cabs, Hyderabad 800/, Bangalore 1000/ and Mumbai 1,500/- these are the approximate cars I am quoting. By the way we should not forget that there are many companies operating cab services too.
Each cab is monitored by radio and satellite for almost 80 kilometers surroundings. Driver of the each cab is the temporary ‘owner’ of it, 24/7 the cab would be his. There is a computerized system in the car which would track the passengers destination and the cab near to the destination and send messages to it asking there is a pickup nearby interested please inform. The first person who chooses would be the luckly to get his food. Nothing is compulsion but he has to pay every day Rs.900/- to his office excluding to this he has to pay for the petrol and the remaining amount he earn is his. If he drives the cab for 18 hours a day he would be getting Rs. 1000/- or Rs.500/- for him. And the maintenance of the car is done by the office but any accident happens the owner would spend 50% and the Driver 50% of the expenses. Recently they have introduced a system like any person want to be a driver of a Cab should deposit Rs. 10,000/- as a security deposit. The Driver can take leave but he has to pay Rs. 900 as a rental. In case he take a leave for a week then he should write to the office and request them to provide a leave. The office would provide him leave by taking the car back from the driver and if the driver doesn’t return after a week, then he would be treated as a new comer by asking him to go for a medical test and attend the class for a week and then he would be provided a job there.
With the above information we can clearly understand the company is overlapping the rules of daily wages norms fixed by the Indian government or the working hours. There are no holidays for the Driver. The CPI, CITU claim they are working for the people and fighting for the rights of labour. Where have they gone. While saying this I just remember of Arunthathi Roy’s book “listening to Grass Hoppers” I quote from the book
“The era of Privatization and Structural Adjustment accelerated that process at a mind-numbing speed.”

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Tribal girls discrimination is unnoticed by educated or progressive community

The Incident
Ms. Rajitha, student of 5 year Integrated MA German 2008 batch, who belongs to the ST category, was refused permission to attend her 5th semester classes which commenced this August. She had failed 4th semester exams, and this was stated as a reason for not letting her attend the classes. In her 4th semester there are four courses in which for one she was given ‘F’. In other three courses she has acquired grade ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘E’. Her GPA was below the minimum qualification for promotion. Her verbal appeal to the Controller of the Examinations to let her sit in the classes, or atleast to let her attend the 3rd semester classes were responded to orally by the Controller that he has issued orders to the German Department stating that she can attend the 5th semester classes. This was under the provision of the Supreme Court ruling regarding failed SC/ST/OBC students which categorically mentions that students belonging to SC/ST/OBC category and has failed in upto three subjects should be given a chance by promoting to the next semester.
On grounds of this assurance from the Controller, when the student approached the Head of the German Department, she denied being issued any such order by the Controller. Ms. Rajitha was made to wander between the two offices, with no respite. On 19th August 2010 (Thursday), Ms.Rajitha was intimated by Warden, that she could no longer avail of the mess facilities from 20th August, as she belonged to no course of the University.

Here I quote from the university ordinance (updated version) Point
“For promotion to second semester, a student must obtain at least a ‘D’ grade in minimum 50% of the courses (e.g. 2out of four courses or 3 out of 6 courses) in the first semester.”
According to the Administration, Ms. Rajitha was given a chance to sit in the next semester i.e. third to fourth semester. Along with her, there was another SC student with the same problem. He also was promoted, it was due to Ms. Rajitha coming out and fighting for justice. And this semester she has been targeted by the same Dean of German, and once again she is fighting against the injustice she has to face. Basically Ms. Rajitha was failed in two subjects in third semester, and she was not allowed to sit in class for a month almost. Every day she was sent to Controller of the Examination, Dean of German studies and the VC’s office. Despite repeated written requests from the VC to the Dean of German studies to accept Ms. Rajitha into her 3rd semester, no positive action was taken. Students protested against the decision of the Dean of German studies for not allowing her to sit in next semester. (the earlier case of hers can be read by clicking the link below.. This case was taken to the Human rights organization too. Yet nothing has happened yet.

Our Demand
In the light of the above mentioned events, the Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minority Students’ Association (DABMSA) hereby reminds the administration of EFLU that the treatment meted out to Ms.Rajitha is in direct contravention of the Supreme Court ruling regarding the promotion of SC/ST/OBC students. Taking into account not just the flouting of rules, but also of the psychological harassment that the student in question and by extension the students of the whole community faces, we demand stern action to be taken against the Dean of German studies, and thereby mend the loss of faith inflicted upon the students of the oppressed sections of the society. We also remind you that this incident is not one of its kind, but rather a routine by the German Department in dealing with its Dalit students. It is to be mentioned here that the same incidents had happened in the last semester, and there was a public outcry against the Department. Nothing came out of it except admitting those students who were not promoted. In the light of the above incident we would like to remind the University that it does not understand the spirit of the Supreme Court order either. The court ruled in the case of Avinash Singh Bagri &ors. Vs Registrar lit Delhi &Anr. On 12 August,2009, I quote
4. It is the case of the petitioners that in spite of providing reservation in higher education like Medical and Engineering streams, no coaching or any other facilities are provided to SC/ST/OBC candidate to enable them to compete with other general category students, as a result of which, more than 90% SC/ST/OBC students are dropped out from these higher courses in first year or second year……. The reservation made by the Central Government/State Governments becomes redundant as no infrastructure is provided to SC/ST/OBC candidates to enable them to acquire bench marks.
The UGC guidelines under Scheme of Remedial Coaching at Undergraduate and Postgraduate Level for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Students and Students Belonging to Minority Communities state:

Remedial Coaching is to be organized at Undergraduate / Postgraduate level with a view to �
a. Improve the academic skills and linguistic proficiency of the students in various subjects.
b. To raise their level of comprehension of basic subjects to provide a stronger foundation for further academic work
c. To strengthen their knowledge, skills and attitudes in such subjects, where quantitative and qualitative techniques and laboratory activities are involved , so that, the necessary guidance and training provided under the programme may enable the student to come up to the level necessary for pursuing higher studies efficiently.
It is surprising that the University conducts Remedial courses for the English but not for foreign languages. The foreign languages undergraduate courses were started by August 2008. Since then, there has been no kind of discussion over the issue.
These rules are neither followed by the University. The saddest part of the story is that in the last semester when the student was admitted after a protest, the administration has not thought of at least reviewing its stance on such academic issues such as introducing remedial class for SC/ST/OBCs. This semester the student has around 99% attendance in each course, except those days she was not allowed to sit in the class. There is a reasonable doubt that the girl was failed in the subject tutored by the Dean of German, who rejected her in last semester and who has again refused her to promote her.
EFL-University is a newly formed university. Earlier it was called as Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) and had post-graduate course and research. After CIEFL becoming a central University, the administration introduced new courses for undergraduate B.A honors’ in all streams. It is the fact that since its introduction there is a huge outcry from the students at the beginning of every semester that they have been failed in the previous semesters, and the majority of students who face these problems are from the SC/ST/OBC background, in particular from the German department where they have been rejected promotion on the grounds that they haven’t met the minimum academic requirements.
The administration cannot just follow the rules by implementing the Reservation policy in the admission procedure. Here I quote from the Supreme Court order again on the same before quoted..
“…..learned counsel appearing for the petitioners strenuously submitted that there is no use in providing reservation in higher education/higher courses in IIT, Medical and Engineering streams when no extra facilities are provided to SC/ST/OBC candidates to enable them to compete with other general category students. He also contended that no extra coaching or facilities are provided to them in these higher category students.”
In the light of remedial coaching not being provided to the SC/ST/OBC students, the Supreme Court ruling of “a chance” does not apply to the above mentioned case. Therefore, the student deserves not just admission to the classes but also extra coaching from the authorities to all SC/ST/OBC students. By denying her admission, the administration is in fact trying to veil its gross irresponsibility towards the students from the oppressed sections of the society.
We request all the readers to extend their support to fight this case and provide justice for the tribal girl.

If anybody has a speculation of the case please write or find it out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Revisiting Sinhala nationalist mindset

[TamilNet, Monday, 16 August 2010, 00:15 GMT]
As long as Sinhala nationalist mindset deny the antiquity and right of Eezham Tamil nation in the island and unable to come out with appropriate political models, no ‘reconciliation’ will be possible and there will be only subjugation. The Tamils don’t deny the Sinhala nation in the island but they are not reciprocated. It has become a must that the national question be decided with secession for any genuine reconciliation at least in the future. The ‘kohomba kankariya’ model of the past envisaged by some academics, who want to be ‘Tamil and Sri Lankan,’ will not work under current norms of Sinhala nationalism. If the current subjugation of Tamils continues there won’t be anyone in the island in future even to read what these academics have written in Tamil, says an academic of Tamil studies in Jaffna.

To understand the nationalist mindset of even seemingly liberal Sinhalese, the academic in Jaffna cited the following paragraph written by a Sinhala journalist who recently visited Jaffna.

“Sri Lankans in the North have undergone language and cultural replacement by acquiring the Tamil language, dress, Hinduism and cultural behaviour because of their contact with South Indian colonialism from 992 AD onwards”, says Sinhala journalist Dushy Ranetunge, ‘Revisiting Jaffna’.

“The place names, the numerous Bo-Trees and ancient Buddhist remains indicate that the people of Jaffna were Buddhists from about 400BC till approximately 992 AD, but despite them acquiring the Tamil language, culture and Hinduism, even today, they continue to perform some of their religious rituals under Bo-trees as they did so many generations ago”.

“In Jaffna there are to the present day over a thousand “Sinhalese” place names, which survive in a Tamil garb, such as Aliyawala(i), kodigama(m), Weligama(m) etc”.

“This indicates that rather than wholesale displacement of the population, there has been a gradual Tamilisation. Recent DNA testing has also indicated that Sri Lankan Tamils are genetically closer to the Sinhalese than they are to South Indian Tamils”, Dushy Ranetunge further said.

Dushy Ranetunge's article was ironically titled "Sinhala nationalist mind set seems incapable of comprehending what Tamils are articulating".

Dushy Ranetunge can write a thesis on how the Indus Civilisation itself is Sinhala-Budhhist, since the worship of the Bo-tree is seen in its seals, commented the Jaffna academic. “If it was the wish of the Eezham Tamils to accept and denounce Buddhism at particular stages of their historical discourse why should there be any qualms about it? Pakistan has so many Budhhist sites. Will Dushy tell them to become Buddhists again?”

Sometimes back a Sinhala engineer-turned academic and his academic wife who came to Jaffna were telling the Jaffna university students about ‘Sinhala-Buddhist’ past of Jaffna, told the academic in Jaffna. Even before the Mu’l’livaaykkal war this engineer-turned academic was advocating for settling Sinhala soldiers and their families in the ‘conquered’ land of the Tamils.

If these journalists and academics genuinely dig into their own past and if they seriously investigate into the etymology of what they think as Sinhala place names of their own core Sinhala land, they could find out what ‘language replacement’ they had gone through to become Sinhalicised and what distant influences and fascinations caused that language replacement, the Jaffna academic said.

“It is repulsive to see these people mutilating and desecrating the names of places which people of the land coined through their long interaction with their environment, such as Aazhiya-va’lai, meaning the coastal enclave. Have they ever thought how did Sinhala get the word Weli for sand?“

“Have they ever tried to comprehend how the names are pronounced and spelt in Tamil and what they really mean? Which language is the place name Ko’la Patuna (Kozhu-pattinam, meaning the port-town at the point) found in the garb of Pali in the chronicles, where the Asokan Budhist emissaries landed in the island, and then who might have been living there at that time?”

Have they ever tried testing their DNA with the people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and then compare it with the ‘Aryans’ of their imagination, the academic asked.

“But this bunch of people are not genuinely interested in History. By hook or by crook, by war or by peace, by threat or by sugar-coated approaches, Eezham Tamils have to be subjugated, made to feel inferior in culture to the Sinhalese and be Sinhalicised for the ultimate conquest of Sinhala nationalism of the island. They can rather tell their intentions plainly without victimising history”, the Jaffna academic commented.

“They will have a free go as Tamils are gagged and as there are ‘counterinsurgency’ media at their disposal to engineer deceptive ‘reconciliation’ for the ultimate conquest”.

Some Tamil academics cite folk discourses of past in the island such as the Kohomba Kankariya in which a Tamil folk practice has been adapted as a Sinhalese one, and try to justify the possibility of being a Tamil and a Sri Lankan at the same time. The present avatar of the Sinhala nationalism seems to be having no effect on the edification of their academic fallacies, was the comment of the Jaffna academic.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Recently students went for a protest asking the administration to create a new mess to accommodate students, because the present Mess cannot accommodate all students. But still students were accommodating with the existing messes; as a result many students couldn’t go to class on time. Sometimes they happen to skip some classes. This academic year started on 2nd of August 2010 the protest happened on 13th of August 2010. There was 3 months vacation, where the administration should have speculated such issues, but they didn't as usual blaming each other. In between 2nd and 13th of this month students complained to the higher authority and the concerned administration. One day they even staged a mock protest by eating in the Administrative lounge. There was no much response from the administration. Frustrated students called a GB and decided to go for a protest. While doing protest they have locked the administration, some people were in the administration. The protest started at 7.00 am and they locked the administration building at 12.30 P.M. At 11.00 AM students went to the staffs working in the administration and explained their plight they are living and requested them to support them by getting out of the administration, many left and some held in the building. Those who stayed were in the building while the building was locked. But still many people were let out of the building. Since the pressure was mounting the concerned administrative faculties gave a written assurance that everything would be in normal at the earliest and will make sure the VC would address the students on or before 17th of August and the deadline is tomorrow.
Faculties had called for a meeting today and wanted to protest on two issues, the first is supporting the students demand and second condemning student’s activities. It is obvious that we all should be proud to have such faculties in our university for supporting students cause and explaining us that we should not protest in that manner (locking up). It is certain that even if faculties are calling for discussion we would have not listened. Therefore Faculites protesting is the right way, where students will also understand that ‘un’democratic protest will not be entertained. I too strongly feel the way they protested might be wrong in various angle, still it could be justified in different angle. Hope faculties would give equal importance to both of their support, because supporting students demand should not be an eye wash. and the faculties should ask the VC to address the students or else faculties should join the students protest. But i doubt such a miracle will happen. Such a thing never has happened in our University earlier. Even in cases where some students are sitting for a dharna how many staffs in this university will come and support openly for the students as their doing it now. In this University there are around 5 associations, how many times they have come forward to support our issues, or anyother issues which are not related to them as the issue taken up by them now. There are so many temporary employees who face so many problems from the administration now and then, which association will come forward and fight for them. None, but suddenly one association is coming forward to support, do we have to believe this day light drama. The administration (all staffs) are fully responsible for introducing many courses without any basic infrastructure. And it the students who always bear their blunders. Last year students were living on the swingpool, how many faculties came forward to fight against the administration. None have done so far. Don’t forget that many faculties are part of the so-called administration. Let us forget all issues, when I first came to campus ‘D’ grade was considered as useless, but now how many students have got and what is their future, did anytime any meeting of faculties was called to talk on students future atleast on education level, never. The UGC has said NET as a compulsory subject for getting Asst-professor, how many of our students have cleared NET in Various fields. Many students are sent to this campus with many hopes in the back home. But how much have they learned in this campus in academics very little.
Therefore, the only request is let the faculties once at least protest for the student’s future in a genuine manner. I hope the teachers will not set a wrong example by protesting during the working hours. There are many faculties who are motivating the students in their education and this writing is surely not for them. At the same time there are faculties dividing students, why don’t the fellow faculties protest on this issue.
I strong feel people throwing stones in Kashmiri valley has a history, if they don’t throw the stones, the ‘democractic’ Centre will not respond, after throwing the stones they are calling for dialogue. If maoist haven’t taken arms against the State, the tribals would have not gotten so much public space for discussion. There are so many such instances, and even now teachers are protesting on working hours isn’t it undemocratic. I end this saying"
"It may be your interest to be our masters, but how can it be ours to be your slaves?"- Thucydides

Students should not get diverted by these protests, they should plan ahead over the 17th August given deadline. Till now nothing has happened, therefore students should concentrate on getting their demands right away.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Dedication To English And Foreign Language University

As an ‘ordinary’ student I joined EFL University (CIEFL), struggling to cope with a completely different atmosphere. I felt inferior in every way; the way I spoke, my written language and even the way I read. Sometimes even the way I dressed when my friends pointed out made me feel inferior. Now I am able to start a blog, I got my fair share of visibility and I involve myself in activities because of the Cultural Studies Department. This Department evoked my interest and made me question many things especially Caste? Therefore the one issue that has been troubling me often for the past two years is the Mess I eat in. So this article is about the Mess and Cultural Studies students of EFLU.
In CIEFL we had just one mess, after it became EFLU, the administration arranged for two messes where they wanted to divide Mess membership based on Gender. Students protested, asking why the administration should differentiate students on the basis of gender. Therefore the earlier VC supported this argument and held a referendum. The referendum was in favor of the protesting students, for a common mess membership where anyone can join any Mess. When the membership started on first come first serve basis, surprisingly Basheer Hostel Mess had a majority of Men and Bai Chanda hostel had a majority of Women with around 30 Men as its members.
An understanding between both the messes
After a year the Womens hostel office gave immediate mess Membership to women in Bai Chand mess and the Men were given membership in Basheer Hostel mess. Both members have never come on a single forum to address their grievances, though they both had serious problems in their respective Messes during the last two academic years.
The Third Year as the strength increased Basheer Hostel had 850 members and the Baichand hostel had 470 members.
Let us focus on the Structure of both these Messes.

Baichand Hostel:
Has a seating capacity of 120. Mess Members 329 (some around 25-40 Boys and remaining were women)
Mess Committee:
2008, the administration chose 6 Mess secretaries for a period of two months each. These 6 Mess secretaries will run the mess for a total of 12 months. (majority of the mess secretaries were Men during this year, though there were only 40 men as mess members.)
2009, in order to reduce the work load of the Mess secretaries they chose 1 secretary for each month. Among these 12 secretaries (3 were men and the rest were women but not from all categories, Still Men were dominant in the Mess)
Though there is a high women population in the Mess there is a serious under representation in the Mess administration and women from different social categories are never seen.
Basheer Hostel:
Has a seating capacity of 220. Mess members 470, (including 5 girls)
All the Mess secretaries were men.
On the 11th of August most of us in the Campus saw posters calling for a general body meeting to discuss the Mess issues. It was surprising for some of us to see a call for a general body meeting (Indian students) to address the Mess issues, as such a thing has never happened before. Before going any further, we must know why such a meeting was called for.
The Academic year started on the 2nd of August 2010, the admissions to the Mess also started on the same day. The Basheer Mess allowed its members to join the very same day but the Bai Chanda Mess did not allow students to join the Mess (this includes old members too). The people in charge said the old and new students will be allowed to become members once the office provides enough staff till then they can be a Guest. After a few days some of students raised their voice against this saying such a bias should not exist, students should be able to become members according to the university rules.
With this their membership were accepted in Bai Chanda. Since Basheer Hostel has 850 Members they were not able to have their food in the allotted one hour, there was not enough space either. So in just two or three days the members of the Basheer Hostel went on a protest against the administration asking for a new mess where all the members can be accommodated.
Since Bai Chanda also had the same problem they organized a general body meeting to take up this issue. This was the reason a combined general body meeting was called for.

Note: Bai Chanda hostel has a furnished mess hall which has been kept closed for the past two months from the time it was constructed. This Hall has a sitting capacity of 100. It is quite surprising why the new Bai Chanda mess hall is kept closed when people don’t have any place to sit and eat. As mentioned earlier Bai Chanda has a seating capacity of 120 and if we add the seating capacity of the new non operational mess it is 220, same as the Basheer Hostel Mess.
I have some points to raise here:
1. The referendum we had was for a common Mess in both the hostels, accordingly the membership must be renewed every academic year. This was not what happened, students who took admission in 2009 or 2010 were never given a choice to choose the mess of their liking as it was decided in the referendum. They automatically became members of their own respective Hostel mess. This year Bai Chanda was forced to take a few extra members from the Basheer hostel after a few students demanded to be taken in. Since then this became a General issue.
2. Why was Bai Chanda hostel reluctant to give mess memberships to their own Hostel members when Basheer Hostel could give immediate mess memberships?
3. After the General Body Meeting they brought up their demands as a Memorandum, they mention: Temporary dining arrangements must be set up, immediately, utilizing available spaces on campus, such as the non operational mess space in Mahlaqa Bai Chanda Hostel, the basements of Akka Mahadevi and Tagore hostels.
The above mentioned point doesn’t clearly say what they mean by temporary dining arrangements. Basheer Mess has 850 members and Bai Chanda 470 members, but both messes have the same seating capacity. So why can’t the students ask for equal membership in the both the Mess? Then, Basheer and Bai Chand will have 660 members each. But they are asking for temporary seating. Which means Basheer hostel mess will have the same strength till the next semester, they will be provided with a place to eat and thus settle their issue for this semester alone and Bai Chanda will have no pressure to accommodate any new members?

4. The whole issue is directed only towards the administration but we should not forget that the issue here is not only about space but also about membership and exclusivity. Membership can be sorted out among the Mess secretaries; but all they are asking for is temporary seating arrangements and a new mess. In this sense the GB does not ask the Bai Chanda secretaries to have equal students in both the hostel.

5. Issues raised in the General Body meetings concerns only ‘Indian’ students. The international students in the Campus are seen only as vote banks. When is this trend going to change in this Campus?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Violent English Media should stop acting as Gandhians!

Chaos in Bihar assembly: a new low for democracy
Democracy took a back seat in Bihar, as Opposition legislators indulged in unruly behaviour for the second consecutive day in the Assembly on Wednesday, stalling proceedings.
-The Hindu, Thursday, Jul 22, 2010
A real class act: July 25, 2010- Hindustan Times
In Kashmir, pelting stones for a price Amount ranges between Rs 5-8 lakh
'A new form of gunless terrorism'
Last updated on: February 8, 2010 15:45 IST, rediff news

The above news would shock most of us, and such News could be seen as a breaking and in no time they will have a special programme on how to stop such activities. Every one of us would think the same way and even I do feel in democracy there should be some ‘decency’ in the Assembly. Our thinking has very important influence of our Indian National Congress freedom struggle, especially Gandhi’s ideology.
In India the ‘Gandhianism’ has a very big pressure in every one’s mind whether community or an individual state of mind. The reason is whether you know about AyanKali, Phule, Ambedkar, Kashmiri history or not but for sure you would know Gandhi, Nehru, etc we are all one nation since your child hood. Therefore our school teaches us at our early stage that India’s greatness by Gandhi’s greatness of non-Violence movement. It is the result from the so-called mainstream national struggle (May be I could call Brahmins struggle for power) of Congress for ages. The question of ‘Nation’ is also a caricature in our mind created by these people. What the so-called Indian Government means by non-violence is that apart from ‘non’-violence everything is violence. There is no any clear distinction between these two categories in practical terms. Since, this is not my place to disagree Gandhis ideology of non-violence, I would just give the term non-violence explanation and go ahead with discussion.
Non-Violence: Love of the enemy, or the realization of the humanity of all people, is a fundamental concept of philosophical nonviolence. The goal of this type of nonviolence is not to defeat the enemy, but to win them over and create love and understanding between all.
Though every time we hear that Gandhi is the Father of our Nation, we are surprised the way the Indian government deals the non-violent protest with brutal violence. Hence, it is as if Gandhi is father for non-Congress people or non-national parties’ father. Because, the state sponsored violence is all put under the ‘Red’ Carpet. Either, the CPI in Nandigram, INC in Telengana, Naxal affected areas, Kashmir, North-east, etc. BJP in Ayodya etc.
Coming to the point: When a person immolated or throws stones or burns bus/train we get the information very quickly. These information’s are shown to us with a special attention the media and the government imposes on the audience, which we are always victim of the Act. When they show such activities they divert the issue and ask public opinion of such activities. They try to divert us emotionally and we fall trap to it most of the time. The simple question we should remember that there are many groups in New Delhi, Janata Mantar taking a hunger strike 24/7, how many news channels are interested in giving scrolling breaking news or live telecast. In Kashmir the media shows people pelting stones in the first page, why don’t they show Indian Army brutally using the force, and raping the civilian. Maoist killing police we can get the information immediately but not police raping innocent tribal women. Therefore even the so-called Brahminical media is interested to demonize the lower class/Caste people.
Readers would wonder how can suddenly class/Caste could appear. My explanation is when Tharoors allegiation popped, NDTV chief editor Burka Dutt had a live broadcast to make him he is right. Karunanidhi went on a fast in Tamil Nadu for Sri lankan Tamils the Sun TV/Kalaignar TV crew was broadcasting live and immediately his drama got result. If Hindu N.Ram wants to oppose/promote any issue like he did for Kashmiris issue he would certainly appear in editorials. Or his crew would report accordingly without an ‘a’an’ ‘the’. If P. Chithambaram, Home Minister wants to say lies on Kashmir issue suddenly you could see CNNIBN, NDTV, TIMESNOW, THE HINDU, and etc show suddenly stone pelters. Even the Media went ahead and said there are terrorists who are instigating the protest, without even verification. Kashmiris, Maoists, Tamil Eelaam, Telangana issues are not public issues because none of the National parties/Medias are supporting it. And it is obvious that National Parties/Media are owned by Brahmins, So that the National issue which concerns the nation as we hear is a created idea by the Medias, in that we are caricature.

We should not forget the other important things that are happening in news media especially, NDTV, CNNIBN and Times Now these Medias are acting as if they are the government/police/CBI/ Supreme Court of India. For an example when Kasab a person was caught the Media portrayed he is a Pakistian terrorist and before the court ruling they said he is the number one terrorist he should be given death sentence. It was done as they wished. How many Medias are propagating against Reservation. If you are for Anti-Reservation, they the Medias would be on your door step. If you are protesting for Reservation then no Media would come forward but throw a stone, block the road, the Media would be on your feet, But by showing you as a uncivilized person, still your message would be passed a bit. Can the media term RSS as a terrorist organization, they can never do that the simple reason is RSS has its own clout and a magazine too to claim their voice. But a frustrated common person can only show his protest to the hegemonic Brahmin media by pelting stone and throwing papers in Assembly. If these things has to change then first Brahmin Medias should give a space for subalterns and think that every issue is important and not the issues only they are interested in like Tharoor, and stop becoming mouthpiece of the Indian Government. The subaltern should verify the news.
These are the means to show their frustration, therefore the Media would carry the news at least by abusing/scandaling the issue.
This tradition would not continue for a long time, because of the Internet, Facebook, blogging, orkut, tweet are becoming very popular in protesting and expressing their views.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Negotiations on Kashmir: A concealed story

by Masrook A Dar
August 5, 2010
Kashmir, which is the bone of contention between Pakistan and India, has seen many phases of negotiations in the past six decades. These nuclear neighbors in South Asia have fought three wars over Kashmir. The genesis of the Kashmir conflict goes back to 1947, when both India and Pakistan obtained independence from the British. A lot has been written about the nature of this conflict but less attention has been given to resolving it. Pakistan considers Kashmir as the fundamental subject of political dispute with India whereas India does not consider Kashmir as an international dispute; in fact, it considers it an internal affair.
South Asian history has witnessed many phases when both countries come to the negotiating table to discuss the complex issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The past few years in particular have seen many negotiations on Kashmir, but none of them was a success. These negotiations were either proposed by Pakistan or by India. The question we are left with is: Why do these dialogues fail? This question needs to be examined in a broader political context of Kashmir i.e. politics within Kashmir and outside Kashmir (India). Indian political leaders are of the opinion that the issue should be discussed bilaterally, while Kashmiri political leaders propose that the discussion should involve Kashmiris. Before I address this central disagreement I shall briefly outline a history of negotiations on Kashmir and their conceptual pre-suppositions.
On August 15, 1947, the Indian subcontinent won its independence from the British rule. Rulers of the princely states were encouraged to accede their states to either India or Pakistan, taking into account factors such as geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people. The Maharaja of Kashmir delayed his decision in an effort to remain independent. Being a Muslim majority State and adjacent to Pakistan, Kashmir was expected to accede to Pakistan. When the Maharaja however acceded the territory to India, it resulted in a dispute. According to the 1948 Indian White Paper, India provisionally accepted the accession until such time as the will of the people could be ascertained by a plebiscite. In fact, the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made it clear in a speech on All India Radio that the people of Kashmir were free to choose their future and accede to either of the Domains:
We have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given, and the Maharaja has supported it not only to the people of Kashmir but the world. We will not, and cannot back out of it. We are prepared when peace and law and order have been established to have a referendum held under international auspices like the United Nations. We want it to be a fair and just Reference to the people, and we shall accept their verdict. I can imagine no fairer and juster offer.[1]
He subsequently reiterated:
I wish to draw your attention to broadcast on Kashmir which I made last evening. I have stated our government’s policy and made it clear that we have no desire to impose our will on Kashmir but to leave final decision to people of Kashmir. I further stated that we have agreed on impartial international agency like United Nations supervising referendum.[2]
In November 1947, India proposed that Pakistan withdraw all its troops first, as a precondition for a plebiscite, which Pakistan rejected on the grounds that the Kashmiris may not vote freely given the presence of Indian army and Sheikh Abdullah’s friendship with Nehru. Thus Pakistan counter-proposed simultaneous withdrawal of all troops followed by a plebiscite under international auspices, which India rejected. Pakistan therefore continued sending regular forces to Kashmir, and the first war over Kashmir broke out.
On March 17, 1948, Sheikh Abdullah became the first Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheikh was dismissed as Prime Minister by the then Sardr-i-Riyasat Dr. Karan Singh on August 8, 1953. Sheikh Abdullah was immediately arrested and later jailed for eleven years, accused of conspiracy against the State in the infamous “Kashmir Conspiracy Case”[3]. On April 8, 1964, the State Government dropped all charges in the “Kashmir Conspiracy Case” against Sheikh Abdullah (Sheikh Abdullah; M.Y.Taing (1985), p752). Sheikh Abdullah was released and returned to Srinagar where he was accorded an unprecedented welcome by the people of the valley” (Sheikh Abdullah; M.Y.Taing (1985), p755-757). Kashmiris saw Sheikh’s dismissal as a shift in the Kashmir policy by Nehru. The dismissal was understood in the valley as the beginning of a central control over an alienated populace. However, Indira Gandhi’s shrewd observation in May 1948 proves that it existed even as Indian troops were fighting the raiders and Pakistan’s troops in the State. The word “alienation”, which implies an earlier affection, is a misnomer. Kashmiris were never for the state’s accession to India. Realization of this bitter truth rent two devoted friends apart. Nehru could not risk holding the plebiscite he had promised, harried as he was by the Jan Sangh and the right-wing in the Congress. He pressed unwisely for a closer union. Sheikh Abdullah could no longer swear by accession and retain his popularity.[4]
Nehru’s promises remained promises on paper and were never pressed to realization. India feared that if a referendum took place, it would lose Kashmir, although Nehru thought that Sheikh Abdullah’s popular figure would be a boost to the Indian state in winning the referendum. In a letter to Nehru sent on May 14, 1948, Indira Gandhi wrote, “they say only Sheikh Saheb is confident of winning the plebiscite.” However, the fear of losing Kashmir remained President Rajendra Prasad wrote in a note to Nehru on July 14, 1953:
Last year, [Vice-Presdident] Dr. Radhakrishnan, on his return from a visit to Kashmir, came and told me that even Sheikh Abdullah thought that we would lose in a plebiscite as Sheikh Abdullah himself had told him that … but whether we win or lose in a plebiscite, with our commitments it is not possible to say that we shall not have a plebiscite if the other side presses for it.[5]
Sir Owen Dixon, the UN representative, came to the subcontinent in order to pursue UN Security Council resolution 1950 on Kashmir. Dixon got much closer to obtaining peace than any representative before or since. Dixon’s proposal assigned Ladakh to India and northern areas and Pakistan administered Kashmir to Pakistan. He split Jammu between the two, and a plebiscite would decide the status for the Kashmir Valley. Dixon’s plan failed, although Pakistan agreed to it, because Nehru did not accept the conditions in which plebiscite would be held. The Dixon Plan figured in discussions in the National Conference’s Working Committee on June 9, 1953. Chief Minister, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was emphatically of the opinion that this should be put up as first and the only practicable, advantageous and honorable solution of the dispute.
Following the overthrow of Sheikh Abdullah, his lieutenant Mirza Afzal Beg formed the Plebiscite Front on August 9, 1955 to fight for the plebiscite demand and the unconditional release of Sheikh Abdullah, who had been arrested after his removal. The activities of the Plebiscite Front eventually led to the institution of the ‘Kashmir Conspiracy Case’ in 1958 and two other cases[6]. Having put Abdullah behind bars on August 8 in “Kashmir conspiracy case”, Nehru could hardly risk a plebiscite. He said as much to Karan Singh and sent A. P. Jain to Bakshi[7] to explain matters.
On October 17, 1949, the Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Article 370 of the Constitution, ensuring special status and internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir with Indian jurisdiction in Kashmir limited to the three areas agreed in the Instrument of Accession (IOA); namely defense, foreign affairs, and communications. Five years passed without a referendum, and in 1954 the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir ratified the accession to India. The legal authority of the Constituent Assembly and the ratification of the accession remained questionable. On October 30, 1956 the state constituent assembly adopted a constitution for the state declaring it a part of India. But soon, on January 14, 1957, the United Nations passed another resolution stating that such actions would not constitute a final disposition of the state. India’s Home Minister G. B Pant during his visit to Kashmir, for the first time, declared Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India shattering all the promises which the Indian Union and Pandit Nehru had made with Kashmiri people.
By 1961, the conflict resumed and the second Indo-Pak war was fought. After three weeks, the war ended with a UN facilitated ceasefire, and both the countries signed an agreement—the Tashkent Agreement. Both nations agreed to return to the status-quo ceasefire-line negotiated previously, and pledged to refrain from the use of force to resolve the dispute. After the Tashkent Agreement, both India and Pakistan signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972, which was not primarily concerned with the Kashmir dispute, but was nonetheless important. It stated that both the countries would resolve all the outstanding issues bilaterally, including that of Kashmir. From July 1972 onwards, the Shimla Agreement became the cornerstone of Indo-Pakistan relations though both have tended to give different interpretations to the Agreement at times.
After a few years of relative quiet, a widespread armed insurgency started in Kashmir with the controversial rigging of the 1987 election. Since 1987, the Kashmir dispute has claimed thousands of lives, mostly of innocent civilian Kashmiris. In the due course of time, both countries have attained the status of nuclear powers. The dialogue between the two stopped after 1987, as India took a different direction, saying that Pakistan should stop cross-border terrorism, while Pakistan denied that it is involved in any such activities. The hostilities between the two South Asian neighbors have left Kashmiri people to suffer. The dialogue between India and Pakistan resumed in 1999. The Indian Prime minister A.B. Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif signed the Lahore Accord in February 1999. The Accord reaffirmed the desire of both countries to settle the dispute on the Kashmir issue. However, the Lahore Accord held only until May 1997, both countries fought a small-scale war in Kargil between May and July 1997 and all the dialogues came to a halt. Shortly after the Kargil war, General Pervez Musharraf toppled the Nawaz government and became the military ruler of Pakistan. Musharraf and the Indian Prime Minister A.B.Vajpayee met at Agra in July 2001, but failed to produce any agreement on Kashmir dispute.
On July 24, 2000, the Hizbul Mujahideen, largest militant outfit operating in Kashmir, announced a unilateral ceasefire and publicly expressed a willingness to initiate talks with the Government of India. The Government of India responded positively to the offer. The people of Jammu and Kashmir enthusiastically welcomed the development. But soon after a few days, on August 9, 2000, Hizbul Mujahideen announced its withdraw from the ceasefire. The reason for withdrawal, according to the group, was unwillingness on India’s part to involve Pakistan in the talks. Majid Dar, a leader of Hizbul Mujahideen in Srinagar, had made the offer of ceasefire. Syed Salahuddin, supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, in Islamabad withdrew it.
On April 18, 2003, in Srinagar, Prime Minister Vajpayee made his own overture to Musharraf. By May, India had agreed to re-establish diplomatic ties with Islamabad, and by October, some road and rail links were resumed between the two countries. India also made an important concession by agreeing to open a line of dialogue with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, whereas talks with Kashmiri groups had previously been denied outright. On November 26, a ceasefire offered by Pakistan to India went into effect in Kashmir territory. The year 2004 began with renewed dialogue between Musharraf and Vajpayee at a summit meeting of the South Asian nations. The then Indian National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, in an interview said, “It is a victory for peace and prosperity for the people of India and Pakistan and South Asia. In my view, it’s a win-win situation for all of us.”[8]
In 2004, the Government of India for the first time invited the Hurriyat Conference for a roundtable discussion on the Kashmir issue. However, the Hurriyat Geelani group (G) refused to enter into any summit until India accepted Kashmir as a disputed territory and not its integral part. But the other faction, the Hurriyat Mirwaiz group (M), accepted to enter into the dialogue. Hurriyat leaders went to Delhi for talks with the Government of India to resolve Kashmir issue. The first round of talks was held on January 22, and the second on March 27. However, both the sessions produced little more than photo shoots. Critics in Kashmir lampooned the talks as encounters between a shopkeeper who had no desire to sell and a customer who had no money to spend. After two rounds of discussions were held, the Hurriyat stopped pursuing the dialogue process with India without going into the third round, questioning the sincerity of India in the processes.
In May 2006, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh invited the Hurriyat Conference for talks on the Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister and the Hurriyat agreed to establish a system to discuss solutions to the dispute over Kashmir dating from the partition of the Indian subcontinent in the late 1940s. Hurriyat (M) came up with a list of preconditions for the resumption of talks between the two sides that India rejected. In a statement to the press, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “I am hopeful that a process will restart and yield results fast if India releases prisoners, gradually withdraws troops and repeals the black laws,” referring to draconian laws giving security forces expanded powers against insurrection.[9]
However, the Hurriyat boycotted the May 2006 round table conference in Srinagar, which pro-India leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Prime Minister of India attended.
In between these years back-channel political discussions were going on between India and Pakistan. However, none of them has been fruitful. The New Yorker on March 2, 2009 reported that for several years, special envoys from Pakistan and India had been holding talks in hotel rooms in Bangkok, Dubai, and London. Musharraf and Manmohan Singh had encouraged the negotiators to seek what some involved called a “paradigm shift” in relations between the two nations. The agenda included a search for an end to the long fight over Kashmir, a contest that is often described by Western military analysts as a potential trigger for atomic war.
On May 2, 2009, Dr. Manmohan Singh revealed that, “Gen Musharraf and I had nearly reached an agreement, a non-territorial solution to all problems but then Gen Musharraf got into many difficulties with the chief justice and other forces and therefore the whole process came to a halt”. Pervez Musharraf proposed a four-point plan to resolve the Kashmir problem. In an hour-long interview over Pakistan Television, he said that the first stage should involve a dialogue at the highest level between the two countries and that the process of his invitation to Agra should be maintained with similar talks. The second stage required an agreement on the centrality of Kashmir as the main issue between India and Pakistan. In the third step, both sides would have to eliminate all the formulas not acceptable to each other. The last step is the discussion on the actual solution. In June 2009, Musharraf said he had convinced the entire leadership in Kashmir, except hardliner Ali Shah Gilani, about his four-point formula that envisaged demilitarization and joint control of the region.
In this context let me go back to the question, which I raised in the beginning of this paper: what then actually has lead to the failure of all these attempts towards reconciliation? An honest answer to the question will point to a trust deficit between the two blocks.
When one goes back into the history of the dispute, it becomes obvious that it was a dispute between India and Pakistan in which Kashmiris be given the choice either to accede to India or to Pakistan. However, as the time passed the dispute took a different turn, and a different school of thought came into existence which demanded a free Kashmir. Sovereign Kashmir is more common in the recent Kashmiri imagination than accession to either of the countries. The situation took a different turn after last year’s Amarnath land issue. Most of the Kashmiris came on the streets demanding freedom. Most of the Indian intelligentsia supported this popular demand of Kashmiri people. Arundhati Roy in her article “Land and Freedom” (The Guardian, Friday, August 22, 2008) wrote, “The Indian military occupation of Kashmir makes monsters of us all. It allows Hindu chauvinists to target and victimize Muslims in India by holding them hostage to the freedom struggle being waged by Muslims in Kashmir. India needs azadi from Kashmir just as much as – if not more than – Kashmir needs azadi from India.”
The peace process between India and Pakistan stopped after the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, which was carried out allegedly by Pakistani nationals. Since then both the countries are trying to start afresh a peace process to resolve all the bilateral issues including Kashmir. Due to growing international pressure to resolve the Kashmir issue, Indian government again invited Hurriyat to discuss the Kashmir issue, in 2009. Home Minister P. Chidambaram on June 11, 2009 during his visit to Srinagar, said “We would like to take small, baby steps one by one and no great leap in Kashmir.” On October 28, 2009 Dr. Manmohan Singh reached out to Kashmiri separatists, offering to resume peace talks to end decades-old insurgency in the Himalayan region[10]. Soon after the PM’s offer of talks, Hurriyat (M) welcomed the step and said they are ready to participate in the dialogue whereas Hurriyat (G) rejected any such proposal. Dr. Singh also offered unconditional talks with Pakistan to resolve Kashmir issue. Ahead of the PM’s visit to Valley, on October 15 2009, P. Chidambaram announced a quiet dialogue with all the political shades of Kashmir. What lacked in this programme was the degree of quietness. New Delhi, backed by the Jammu and Kashmir state government, kept releasing press statements that it is engaging Hurriyat (M) in the quiet diplomacy, which the latter refused.
The past three years have seen a shift in the political scenario of Kashmir. Year 2008 saw agitation against transfer of some hectares of land to the Shri Amarnath Shirine Board, resulting in the death of nearly 60 people. The resistance died after the state government revoked its decision of land transfer and the cycle of deaths was put to a halt. Peace remained elusive for some time. Soon into the summer of 2009, security forces in the South Kashmir district of Shopian saw people on the streets of Kashmir after the alleged rape and murder of two women. The anger and the resistance died after a few months. Unfortunately, the relative peace could not survive even six months, and people were seen on the streets of Srinagar again after the killing of a youth, Tufail Matoo, allegedly at the hands of security forces on June 11, 2010. These protests against human rights violations have resulted in the deaths of 25 people so far. AK 47s and other modern sophisticated weapons are seen nowhere on the streets of Kashmir; instead, the baton has been transferred to youths (as noted by APHC (M) chairman, Molvi Umar Farooq in one of his statements) who come onto the streets of Kashmir with stones in their hands as a mark of protest. Many political analysts see it as ‘intifada’ against the Indian state?
In the pretext of development and regional cooperation, India and Pakistan have once again met at the table, resuming the dialogue between the two nuclear powers that was suspended after the Mumbai attacks. Dr. Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of SAARC summit in Bhutan, and both leaders agreed that relations between the two countries should be normalized and channels of contact should work effectively. Recently, on July 15, 2010, the Foreign Ministers of both countries met in Islamabad. The talks between Krishna and Qureshi ended in a deadlock, with the latter accusing India of selectively focusing on terror and ignoring its vital concerns on issues like Kashmir. India says that it will go in for gradualist, incremental approach revolving around trust-building humanitarian measures, before moving on to enlarge the scope of dialogue. However, the question remaining with us is whether this change of attitude by both the countries will come to the rescue of Kashmiris who have suffered in the last six decades. The concept of independent Kashmir makes Kashmiri people the primary stakeholders in the dispute, which is to be resolved between India and Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan should take into account all the sections of Kashmiri societies, pro-freedom leaders (both moderates and extremists) and pro-Indian leaders, irrespective of their opinions. Dialogue without any of these stakeholders will be a useless exercise.
[1] On 2nd November, 1947, broadcast to the nation over All India Radio, Pandit Nehru, PM of India
[2] Nehru’s reiteration of plebiscite pledge in a telegram to Liaqat Ali Khan, November 03, 1947
[3] Abdullah, S. M. (1986). Atish-e-Chinar. Ali Mohammad and Sons.
[4] A.G. Noorani; Harsh truths about Kashmir, Frontline Volume 20 – Issue 16, August 02 – 15, 2003
[5] President Rajendra Prasad’s letter to Jawaharlal Nehru on July 14, 1953
[7] SWJN; Volume 23; page 346
[8] India’s National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra, in a interview with Margaret Warner, Talking Peace; January 6, 2004
[9] Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of the separatist alliance All Parties Hurriyat Conference, to a press conference at Srinagar, January 2009.

Masrook A Dar is a research scholar at The English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad, India, and was accepted onto the elite panel of Fulbright Scholars by the Fulbright Commission, USA. He was placed at Michigan State University for the year 2009-10 as a visiting Fulbright Scholar. Read more articles by Masrook A Dar.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Experience Speaks!


I have uploaded a video in which a sanitary/sweeper/scavengers talks of his way of life. Since it is in Tamil i have translated it here with many point adding to it.

Our condition is worst, administration is prejudiced. If there are 26 Sanitary workers, and all do not work. Only 17 people work. Within this 6 workers are sent to water supply. Withing these Sanitary workers there are Badaga community (a Caste which is dominant in the Niligiris District, Tamil Nadu) too, but they work in the office/water supply. “The people in the office treat us as a slave. If we go with a complaint they would speak very nicely as we leave the place they would dump our complaint aside. Recently there was an incident, which would reveal the way we are treated”. There was a sanitary worker called Mr. Makaali, while he was standing behind the garbage tractor, the driver without noticing him took the vehicle and the back wheel ran through one of his legs. When all Sanitary workers went for asking compensation, the administration said there is no any provision such, still if Mr. Makali applies for a loan, we could sanction the amount at the earliest. Later, they sanctioned a personal loan Rs. 1, 00,000/- for his treatment. At present he can’t walk and his job is done by his wife. Kotagiri Town Panchayat has 26 sanitary workers, who are working for 21 wards, has haatis, colonies, villages etc. These 26 staffs are distributed the tractor will have 4 person, Doonigton 1, Johnson Square 2, market 5, Bustand 2, RamChand 2, bazaar 2, water supply 5, lorry 3, with this limited number we can’t take leave or attend any family functions because if we take our work would get piled up next day. On this context we demand more staffs. (This is the situation of Sweepers/Sanitary staffs across Tamil Nadu) They don’t have weekly off. Wednesday and Sundays are half a day. Our profession gives food for us and it is God, because of some people they think ill about the profession. Basically it is because of the Caste they treat us like this. Medical Facilities: We are not given any special attention in medical. And most of the time we are get treated in the Private hospital. Education For sweepers Tamil Nadu Adi-Dravida Housing and Development Corporation (THADCO) is the organization working with this people to uplift these communities. They provide scholarship for these children, if a person is Pursuing under graduation without any other assistant, they he would be provided Rs.1000/ per anum. (I don’t understand the logic; they say that to receive this money the candidate should not be availing any other assistant.) Quarters And in the office anyone talks about ‘Campline’, the place where the government quarters is situated and we live. In this area we have a public water tank. Since we are sent to clean many public tanks, we asked the administration to allow us to clean our tanks too. They said you can clean your tank, why do you ask us, after you complete your daily duties here, you can gather some people and clean your public tank. Basically we work till 5.00pm every day. How it is possible for us to go and clean our tank after this time. Apart from this we have been complain about the drainage getting mixed with the drinking water but still no response from the administration. The quarters we live was built before 50 years, without toilets and every houses now are dilapidated and like “Sunami” some houses have fallen. The quarters lack basic facilities, and we are paying Rs. 900/- as rent every month. In kotagiri you can get a good house for Rs. 1000/- with attached bathroom and a toilet. The place we live in is unclean the drainage is open, if it rains the water would be on everyone’s doors. We clean the whole town and our living place is unclean. We are tired of demanding the administration. Every time they say, we will be getting M.P’s fund, Central fund and M.L.A fund then sure we will do it. Our demand is only a basic facilities, especially a toilet, and a society center.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

‘Proud' Dalits math’- Politics of inclusion and 'exclusion'

I am writing this in a motive not to ask to Stop ‘Caste’ politics. Rather stop Sub-Caste politics. Recently I understood that every sub-caste(within it) is proud of their being and do not wanted to share any common idea among them.
Sub-Caste virus
In Tamil Nadu there are three major Dalit Castes, Pariyar, Pallar, Arunthathiyars. Within these three Castes there are number of Sub-Castes. These three Caste groups can never come under one single platform on political context even on social. Not only that these three groups are socially different too. Pallars and Pariyars do discriminate Arunthathiyars for being associated with the scavengers job (It is a Caste profession). Such kind of bias can be found in many Indian States. In Andhra Pradesh Malas, Madigas, Rellis (including Mehtars, Pakis). Malas and Madigas have a strong enimity and Relli population is marginalized. Last but not the least Maharastra, the state where Dr. Ambedkar was born has also the same enmity within the Dalits as Mahars and Mangs, where these both communities discriminate the Bhangis population. These Caste politics doest stop between these groups, it goes ahead that even among the scavenging community. In Tamil Nadu Context, the Arunthathiyars who do jobs other than scavenging tries to disassociate with scavenging people. Within Arunthathiyars too there are differences, such as they have two major groups .1. Avva 2 Amma these two groups think they are superiors. Such kind of chauvinism prevails in each Dalit communities, Pariyars, Pallars, Arunthahtiyars, Mahars, Mangs, Chamars, Mala, Madiga etc. Overall, every Dalit Caste thinks itself ‘superior’ than the fellow Dalits. When So many differences are there within the community why do people generalize “Dalit” word, esp
Virus among Dalit Castes
There are Dalit Castes which are politically mobilized and education wise forward compared to the other (Scavengers Caste, esp.) Castes. Since there is a strong bias within the Dalit Caste each Caste are only bothered about their own being. They not only isolate but waiting for chance to pull them down.
As a result surprisingly, the inner-Reservation (Categorization of Dalits) movement was spearheaded by two major parties in Tamil Nadu one is the scavenging castes movement (aathi Thamilar Peravai) and the other is the CPI party and Pariyars and Pallars were opposing constantly. Even in the Case of Andhra Pradesh, the inner Reservation (which would have benefited Madigas, Rellis, mehtars, pakis) was stopped by the Mala community.
Even Mahars and Mangs will never accept inner-reservation, which would benefit Bhangi population (Scavenging community).

When I am saying to stop Sub-Caste politics I mean apart from asserting their sub-Caste, they should even voice for other Dalit communities which are not politically mobilized and consider them as one of the fellow being or Dalits’ (at the same time never become the mouth peace for these people). This problem still prevails for many reasons, two very important reasons are the ‘educated’ Dalits who for their life time use Reservation policy and forget to even identify publicly that they belong to this community, political leaders are not exceptions for the same.
Second. Educated Dalits getting boozed up with the ‘Brahminical’ ideas such as meritocracy. Therefore this Proud ‘Dalits’(educated Dalits) are one of the main reasons for the failure of Dalit movement. The mail group ‘Sakya’ which only talk of Pariyar Kalai vila is a good example.
Dr. Ambedkar saw Dalits as a uniform category suffering by the Caste system. He wanted to eradicate the social system. But So-Called Dalit intellectuals, academicians, activists, political leaders, who speak on Dr.Ambedkar for thousand times never ever considered all Dalits are marginalized rather they think their particular Caste is marginalized and they wanted to become ‘Brahmins’. Therefore their idea is not to eradicate Caste system but to be equal to Brahmins. Or else to they hold the structure to enjoy Government policies, and end up in being a Proud Dalits.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

To save their humble homes, protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta
Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta
Savanur (Haveri dist), July 20, DHNS

The above link would direct to a report of Dalits smearing human excreta for saving their homes.
The most common response from the above post we get is that it is very sad! Some people even may say SHIT! about the news. After this news was published the state government and the municipal authority is questioned for allowing such practices in their state. The government is not questioned on why they are removed from their homes, instead why they were allowed pouring human excreta. Here I quote
"The state government is undeniably guilty of continuing the system of manual scavenging despite reminders by the National Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commission," he said.

With the above news we could realize that the scavengers politicizing the shit have again been diverted. The protesters poured excreta on them not to claim they are still scavengers, instead excreta is the only option to cover our body/family, if the houses are removed. The act was politicizing the Shit. It is again neglected by the main stream and the So called ‘Dalit’ intellectuals too. People who are running the NGO dealing with Scavenging community should understand that removing scavenging profession is not going to give dignity for the community, rather politicize the profession. It is sad that the profession has never been theorized. Whenever it is discussed it is only seen through the visual, as a result only the sympathy/Pity is created and this is one of the main reasons of scavenging communities has been rejected by the masses. There are number of books written on scavenging and even documentaries which speaks of the job. Firstly the authors and the directors should start thinking that Caste professions cannot be removed.

What does it comes to mind when we speak of scavenging profession? Only bucket and yellow colour shit. Did any time their way of life came to our mind. Never! It is because of the way we are seeing the profession.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The curious case of OBC reservation and cut off marks

The third and final stage in the implementation of OBC reservation in Central

Dr. Hany Babu M.T.. Associate Professor Arts Faculty, North Campus,University of Delhi,

Universities and Institutions as per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2006 enacted by the Parliament of India is almost coming to a close. Many of the Central Educational Institutions (CEIs) have reserved 27% of the total seats for OBC students for the academic year 2010-’11 and correspondingly increased the total intake of students by 54% of the intake of 2006. The projected expenditure on the infrastructural development for the increase in seats was Rs. 17,000 crore. But hardly any attempt has been made to ascertain how effectively the CEI Act has been implemented by the Universities and Institutions which are publicly funded.

A cursory look at the data from the last two years when reservation was 9% and 18% respectively, tells us that a large number of OBC seats remained vacant and were converted to general category seats. Thus, a step taken to mete out social justice has turned out to be a windfall for the socially dominant groups as it has increased the number of seats available to them in the CEIs. Those who had vehemently opposed the implementation of OBC reservation may be having their last laugh. The OBC seats remain vacant not because there aren’t applicants who meet the eligibility conditions. Even though a large number of OBC candidates are available, many universities and colleges do not and, even if they so wish, cannot lower the cut off marks in such a way as to facilitate the entry of the non-creamy layer OBCs into the CEIs. One doesn’t have to look beyond the “meritocracy” argument to understand why they do not lower the cut off marks. However, it is beyond the scope of this article to get into a proper debate on what constitutes “merit” in a society where the opportunities and resources are so unevenly distributed. The question I want to address is why the CEIs cannot lower the cut off marks even if they so desire.

Relaxation of marks to be given to the OBCs
Right at the outset of implementation of OBC reservation, the question of balancing the standard of the CEI and social justice was a matter of grave concern. In the judgment in April 2008 by the Supreme Court of India in the Ashoka Kumar Thakur versus Union of India case, one of the five judges remarked that “five marks grace can be extended to such candidates below the minimum eligibility marks fixed for general categories of students”. Note that the statement refers to “eligibility” and not to the cut off marks. Another judge recommends “cut off marks no lower than 10 marks below that of the general category”. Later the same judge goes on to say that “To maintain standards of excellence, cut off marks for OBCs should be set not more than 10 marks out of 100 below that of the general category” . Apart from these tentative recommendations, there was no unanimity among the judges about how much relaxation should be given to the OBC candidates. In fact, it is unfair to expect any body to work out the extent of relaxation to be given for admission into an academic programme without having access to any empirical data regarding the situation of the non-creamy layer OBC category. It must be precisely for this reason that the Oversight Committee set up to work out the modalities for the implementation of the new reservation policy in Higher education suggested that “the threshold for admission should be determined by the respective institutions alone, as is done today, so that the level of its excellence is not compromised at all” (section 4.4.2). The Oversight Committee also spelt out a very important policy in the implementation of reservation for OBCs. The following extract makes this clear:
4.4.3 As regards 'cut-offs' in institutions other than those mentioned in para 7, these may be placed somewhere midway between those for SC/ST and the unreserved category, carefully, calibrated so that the principles of both equity and excellence can be maintained.

The circular dated April 20, 2008 issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development also echoes this concern about maintaining a balance between the standards of Higher education and the implementation of the reservation policy when it states that
Each CEI is also authorized to fix cut off marks for admission / selection through admission test, etc. for the OBC candidates with such differential from the cut-off marks for the unreserved category as each institution may deem appropriate for maintaining the standards of education and at the same time ensuring that sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available in keeping with the directions / observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in this regard. This authorization by the Central Government to the CEIs to fix cut-off marks ins in compliance with the Apex Court’s direction asking the Central Government to examine the feasibility of determining such cut-off marks. The Central Government believes that each CEI would ensure that the directions / observation of the Hon’ble Court are followed.

However, in the reply to the writ filed by P.V. Indiresan and others in October, 2008, the Apex Court stipulated that “the maximum cut-off marks for O.B.C.s be 10% below the cut-off marks of general category candidates”. The context of the judgment makes it very clear that this suggestion was made to deal with the crisis precipitated by admissions in that particular year as it goes on to say that the seats remaining vacant should be filled up by October 2008. Following this, the MHRD issued a circular dated 17 October, 2008 which states “the maximum cut-off marks for OBCs be 10% below the cut off marks of the general category candidates”. This office order can also be only interpreted in the context of that specific year as the very next clause talks about conversion of vacant seats by “the end of October, 2008”. It is obvious that the ceiling of 10% on the relaxation of cut off marks for OBC was not made with the support of any empirical study. As the late K. Balagopal notes in his EPW (October 24, 2009) article, a judicial fiat by one of the five judges in the Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India case has become a policy overruling the government’s policy as spelt out in the MHRD circular of April 20, 2008 cited above.

The ground reality
Due to the ceiling on the lowering of cut off marks for OBC category a large number of OBC seats could not be filled with OBC students. As per the Times of India report dated July 19, 2010, about 15% of the seats reserved for OBCs are remaining vacant and they are going to be converted to general category seats after August 6, 2010. The diversion of the vacant OBC seats is another fall out of the Supreme Court judgment. Just as in the case of the relaxation of marks, this was tentatively recommended in the main judgment of April 2008, and reiterated in the clarification made in October, 2008. In a sense it seems to have been evident right from the beginning that the non-creamy layer OBC students are not going to make it beyond the arbitrarily stipulated cut off mark. Just as one may have predicted, the question raised quite often right at the beginning of admissions in many of the CEIs is when the conversion of OBC seats will take place. As the Times of India report mentions, the University of Delhi has declared August 6, 2010 as the date from which such diversion will take place. In fact, some of the Delhi University colleges even admit general category students beyond the allocated seats in anticipation of the increase when the conversion of OBC seats takes place. All this shows that it is taken for granted that the OBC are not going to be filled. And it is not because there are no OBC candidates available, but because they fail to meet the arbitrarily fixed cut off mark. What this shows is that the non-creamy layer OBC candidates suffer the same amount of deprivation as that of the SC/ST candidates.

A look at the SC/ST reservation policy
In fact, the state of affairs of SC/ST reservation was almost the same in the initial stages. And it is this sense of déjà vu that makes this story even more tragic. In the case of SC/ST reservation also some seats may remain vacant, but there is a clear directive both from the Government of India and from the UGC banning the de-reservation of seats. Moreover, to ensure that the reservation policy is implemented more effectively the UGC has also stipulated that the cut off in admission tests has to be lowered even to zero if sufficient number of SC/ST candidates cannot be found. These two principles effectively sealed any attempt to deliberately keep the SC/ST seats vacant in two ways: firstly, no one benefits directly from the vacant seats as they cannot be diverted to the general category. Secondly, the low scores in admission tests could not be held as a reason not to admit a candidate. Still the guardian angels of “merit” do resort to any kind of strategy to keep off students from SC/ST communities, or in many cases, to ensure that such students are “weeded out” even after entering the system on the pretext that they fail to meet the required standards in the course of their studies. Quite often even students who meet the general cut off from the SC/ST or OBC categories are given Admission in only the reserved categories and not in the general category as required by the rules. Needless to say, this means that the general category is seen as being reserved for certain “specific” categories and candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC category who need reservation are being deprived of their chances.

The question of minimum eligibility
A fact to be borne in mine is that we are talking about denying admission to students who meet the minimum eligibility condition. There is only a 5% relaxation in eligibility marks given to SC/ST students and no such relaxation is given to OBC students. A pertinent question to ask is: on what basis is a student who meets the minimum eligibility for a programme denied admission to that programme? The only reason can be this: there is another candidate who stands above him/her in the merit list drawn up by the Institute/department concerned on the basis of either the marks in the qualifying examination or in the admission test.

So, by lowering the marks of the admission test till sufficient number of candidates are found one is not at all compromising on the eligibility of a candidate to get admission. It is important to reiterate this point, as quite often you hear academics wonder about the logic of reducing marks till zero. The logic is straightforward: if you meet the minimum eligibility and if there is no other candidate in your category above you in merit, you have to be selected. This is the policy followed for SC/ST students. This is also the policy followed for general category students. (In some cases, however, there is a stipulated percentage of marks that a candidate has to secure in the Admission Test in order to be eligible for admission.) That is to say, whether a general category candidate scoring 45% gets selected or not depends on his/her position in the rank list. It does not depend on the performance of students belonging to other categories. In the case of OBC reservation, however, this principle has not been observed and they are left at the mercy of the performance of general category students. We should keep in mind that here we are talking about the students from the non creamy layer matching up to the performance of the cream of the cream.

Another look at “10% below the cut-off for general category”
The purpose of this write up is not to argue for a revoking of the 10% ceiling on relaxation of cut off marks for OBC. This matter is already under the consideration of the Honourable High Court of Delhi. The immediate context of this write up is the whimsical interpretation of the Supreme Court order of October, 2008 regarding the 10% relaxation. A careful reading of all April 2008 judgment as well as other documents like the report of the Oversight Committee tells us that the consensus is that the relaxation of marks given for OBCs should be somewhere between that of the General Category and the SC/ST. In many admission tests a general category candidate has to have scored a minimum percentage (say 40%) in order to be considered for admission, while in the case of an SC/ST candidate no such limit should be set (as already mentioned at the outset of this write up). It is in this context that the clarification by the Apex Court should be read. That is to say, if a general category candidate has to score 40%, then it should be fixed as 30% for an OBC candidate, while there can be no such limit for an SC/ST candidate. This is also the spirit of the April 20, 2008 order from MHRD, which states that
CEIs which are in the process of conducting admission tests may decide on the cut-off marks for the OBC category well in time, so that the consistent with the standards of education of the CEIs, sufficient number of eligible OBC candidates are available for selection on the basis of inter-se merit against the reserved seats.

As is obvious, a cut off that is made based on the last admitted candidate cannot be made “well in time”. So, where did the interpretation that the cut off has to be calculated on the basis of the last admitted candidate in general category come from? One should also note the irony that this interpretation places the OBC students at the mercy of the general category students. If the general category students score well, then the OBC students have to match up with theirs, or they are denied admission.

Bad as the above situation is, we see an even more regressive interpretation of the 10% relaxation. What is happening in universities like JNU and DU is that OBC students are given a relaxation of 10% marks of the last admitted candidate in the general category. That is to say, in an admission test of 100 marks, if the last admitted general category candidate has scored 50, then an OBC candidate is given only 5 marks (that is, 10% of 50) relaxation. This interpretation is nothing but a gross violation of the Supreme Court order and one can only see a devious strategy to keep away deserving OBC students from the CEIs.

Let us imagine the following scenario. Two candidates, Gen and Res score 60 and 51 marks out of 100 in a test. Now let us ask the question what percentage below is the mark of Res compared to that of Res. If we go by the “regressive interpretation” we have to say that the difference is 15% since 9 (which is the difference of marks between the two candidates) is 15% of 60. But anyone who has gone through at Secondary level of schooling will tell u that the marks scored by Res is 9% below that of Gen. One then wonders what makes the custodians of Higher Education ignorant of this elementary calculation.

The surplus seats
A final question is about the en bloc conversion of the vacant OBC seats to the general category. In the interim order passed by the Honourable High Court of Delhi on August 26, 2009 in the matter of Delhi University Reservation Execution& Anr. versus Union of India , it was made clear that the vacant seats cannot be given to general category students without taking into consideration the availability of OBC students within the stipulated cut off marks. That is to say, when the cut off for the general category is reduced in the process of filling up the converted seats, it should be “ascertained if any candidates in the OBC Category would also come within the 10% cut off with reference to the percentage of the said general category candidates and if any OBC candidates are available they should be granted admission.” But an even more serious question is about the implementation of SC/ST quota in the seats that get converted. If there is a Constitutional obligation to implement reservation, how is it that a proportionate number of those seats are not reserved for SC/ST students?

What I have argued for is the following:
• There should be a comprehensive review of how effectively the CEI Act has been implemented over the last three years.
• The Government of India should come out with a clear policy about the steps to be taken to ensure that the seats meant for the students from the weaker sections of the society are made available to them and that arbitrary restrictions do not come in the way.
• Till a proper policy is evolved about the relaxation to be given to the OBC candidates, it should be ensured that the clause in the October 2008 Supreme Court judgment about 10% relaxation of marks should be properly interpreted and implemented.
• If seats reserved for the OBC category are remaining vacant, they should be given to candidates from SC/ST category.

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