FROM the Occupy UGC movement, appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India, banning of the Ambedkar-Periyar Circle at IIT-Madras to the controversies surrounding JNU and the University of Hyderabad, the latest issues rocking the higher education sector in the country were discussed at the Azadi workshop, organised by the NSUI at the Gandhi Bhawan in Panjab University on Tuesday.
“The main objective of organising the event was to make students aware of the real factors pertaining to each of these incidents. Of late, these issued have to led to nationwide unrest, dividing students on the basis of their caste, opinions and preferences,” said a senior member of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).
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And much of the discussions weren’t one-sided: participants debated over contradicting ideas in each of the incidents. “The National Institutional Ranking Framework by the MHRD has revealed that JNU is after all the best university in the country but just for standing up in favor of freedom of expression, the university has unnecessarily been labeled ‘anti-national’.
The students of India need to know the real facts of the incidents that transpired and the student community must stand in solidarity against the forces that are trying to curb our strengths,” said Veer Mann, a PU student.
“Students want to be educated, they do not want each action of theirs to be challenged by the government. The freedom of students and Indian educational institutions are facing a threat,” added Amrinder, a student of PU’s Department of Laws.
At the discussion, PU students also highlighted the issue of increasing police action on their premises. Condemning the police involvement in every day affairs, a NSUI member said, “PU is a place for students to learn and excel – this also means that it is here that we are taught to fight for what is right. If students believe that the fee hike is unjustified, we have the freedom to oppose it non-violently, without expecting the police to get involved. Even at the University of Hyderabad last month, the police was involved in severely ill-treating the students. Such police action should never be tolerated and it is the responsibility of the university authorities to stand up for their students.”
Students also brought up issues concerning casteism that eventually led to the death of Rohith Vemula at the University of Hyderabad. “Casteism is deeply rooted in the Indian mindset and only the youth of the nation can bring about a change in this. We need to make sure that no more Rohiths give up their lives because of discrimination,” a participant said.
The event was moderated by NSUI general secretary Haziba Aman while members Ajay Chitkara, Iqbal Grewal, Gurjot Sandhu and Vipin Yadav participated in the dialogue with the students. Senior NSUI leaders Uday Bhan Singh, Chandan Rana, Manoj Lubana and Snigdha Bawa were also present.