Let us be clear. Much as many of us might enjoy or not like listening to Kanhaiya speak, this is not just about Kanhaiya. Defending his right to speak at DUTA’s ‘khaali thali’ dharna is about upholding the true meaning of teaching and universities, the value of free expression and solidarity, and above all, of democracy, liberty and the Indian Constitution. A respect for these values, for universal inalienable rights, can indeed become the basis for a durable unity among people who otherwise hold widely divergent political views and understandings. This is the need of the hour for popular movements, including the teachers’ movement, in the country. It is a crying need for the teachers’ movement at DU today.
Author: Mukul Mangalik
Mukul Manglik teaches history at Ramjas College, Delhi University and was a student at the Centre for Historical Studties, JNU in late 1970s.
A bombshell dropped by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on May 10th–the Gazette Notification 2016–has triggered a massive teachers’ rebellion at Delhi University (DU). When the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) leadership gave a call for a boycott of the evaluation process, May 24th onwards, teachers responded with uncommon readiness and near unanimity. Evaluation centres remain deserted. Thousands of teachers thronged the Sriram College of Commerce (SRCC) auditorium and jammed the Ring Road and the streets of DU in the mid-day heat of May 28th. Close to 5,000 teachers marched from Mandi House to Parliament Street this afternoon, May 30th.
My JNU comrades and friends, by doing what you have done thus far, you, like student rebels earlier have already begun to change the world for the better. This is a victory that nobody can snatch from you, a victory that has drawn unprecedented solidarity and support in your favour. Taking inspiration from this we shall continue to stand with JNU and together face the harder times ahead, ‘asking questions, chanting slogans, walking to the left where the heart resides’, taking one step back if necessary but making things difficult like hell for the fascists.