#StandWithJNU: Solidarity Statement by Academics in the UK

Posted by sepoy on February 18, 2016 · 19 mins read

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students, faculty, and staff of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the BJP government-sanctioned police action in the JNU campus and the illegal detention of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. We strongly condemn the manner in which political dissent is being stifled, reducing academic spaces to fortresses. We also condemn the widespread witch-hunt of left-wing students and student groups that this police action has unleashed.

These recent acts are representative of the larger trend that we have been observing - the imposition of an authoritarian and regressive agenda in institutions of higher learning from Films and Television Institute [FTII], Hyderabad Central University [HCU] to Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU]. From the institutional murder of HCU student, Rohith Vemula, and the suppression of student protests at FTII to the illegal detention of the student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and pervasive police presence at JNU, there has been a constant non- observance and disregard of administrative and legal norms as well as a gross infringement of the democratic rights of the student community. These actions are embedded in a deeply chauvinistic cultural nationalism, which espouses a casteist and Brahmanical, homophobic, and patriarchal worldview.

We strongly believe that student politics is being targeted currently by giving a new lease of life to a sedition law that was a draconian tool in the hands of the colonial state and has no place in a democracy. It is our democratic right to dissent, disagree, organise and struggle against state, institutions or policies that transgress and suppress democratic and egalitarian values. Expression of dissent cannot and should not be equated with being 'anti-national' (or any other such constructed category) and is definitely not punishable under law especially if it is non-violent. Disguising targeted assault on oppositional student groups/political movements within the narrative binaries of nationalism/anti nationalism only reflects how vulnerable the BJP government feels in its own ability to provide accountable governance.

We also believe that institutions of higher learning should be publicly funded spaces for political engagement, debates, and critical discussions — a legacy campuses (be it JNU, DU, or FTII) have embodied. As they always have, university spaces should subsidise costs of education for students, irrespective of the political disposition of the students. A rather disturbing feature of the narratives around this issue has been the construction and furthering of an artificial dichotomy between academics and politics that suggests that being 'political' is an aberration. This would certainly appear to be the case, if seen through the neoliberal lens of perceiving education as an industry that produces 'semester bred' automated 'disciplined' individuals who are mere consumers.

However, as the nonviolent expressions of dissent by students in JNU clearly demonstrate, contrary to this neoliberal view of academia, we believe that 'personal is political' and there is no sphere that is devoid of politics. We believe that good academic work necessarily involves a critical engagement with society and its power inequities and in that sense is always politically engaged. This engagement thrives in the democratic space of the university where many dissenting views can be heard and debated. The vilification of JNU as a space of 'anti-national' politics is being carried out by ABVP and BJP in order to attack and break this democratic spirit of academic and political life in Indian universities.

As teachers, students, scholars, and academics from the UK, who are keenly observing the developments unfolding in JNU, we express our solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU as they non-violently resist this infringement on their rights. We urge the Vice Chancellor of JNU to uphold the institutional autonomy and the democratic rights of the student community. We also urge the government of India to stop encroaching on our rights as citizens, students, activists, political and politicised subjects.

  1. Akanksha Mehta, SOAS, University of London
  2. Priyanka Basu, SOAS, London
  3. Neha Vermani (JNU, 2013), Royal Holloway college, University of London
  4. Partha Pratim Shil, PhD student, Trinity College, University of Cambridge
  5. Niyati Sharma, University of Oxford
  6. Dr. Benarji Chakka, Chevening Scholar, SOAS, UoL
  7. Javed Wani, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London
  8. J. Chacko, University of London.
  9. Jay Lingham, SOAS, University of London
  10. Anjali B Datta, University of Cambridge
  11. Shinjini Das, University of Cambridge
  12. Jaice Sara Titus, Brunel University London
  13. William Rees, SOAS, (2015)
  14. Alex Wolfers PhD Researcher at Cambridge University
  15. Aditya Balasubramanian, University of Cambridge
  16. Mayur Suresh, SOAS.
  17. Lipika Kamra, University of Oxford
  18. Sneha Krishnan, University of Oxford
  19. Prashant Kidambi, University of Leicester
  20. Dr. James Eastwoos (SOAS, University of London)
  21. Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History, University of Reading
  22. Prerna Bhardwaj, King's College London
  23. Tristan Burke (University of Manchester)
  24. Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
  25. Sanya Samtani, University of Oxford
  26. Baisali Mohanty, Post-graduate candidate, contemporary south asian studies, University of Oxford
  27. Prithvi Hirani, Aberystwyth University
  28. Dr Lorenza Monaco, SOAS, University of London
  29. Suman Ghosh, Bath Spa University
  30. Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
  31. Lakshmy Venkatesh Marie-France Courriol, University of Cambridge
  32. Jayesha M. Koushik, University of Oxford
  33. Aditya Ramesh, SOAS
  34. Umika Pidaparthy, University of Oxford
  35. Sruthi Muraleedharan, SOAS, University of London
  36. JD Brown, SOAS, London
  37. Sudarshana Srinivasan, King's College London
  38. Wiktor Ostasz (University of Oxford)
  39. T Khaitan, University of Oxford
  40. Erica Wald, Goldsmiths, University of London
  41. Sanjoy Bhattacharya, University of York, UK
  42. Dr. Thomas Marois, SOAS, University of London
  43. Saba Hussain, University of Warwick
  44. Feyzi Ismail, SOAS Joe Buckley, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  45. Sandipto Dasgupta, Newton International Fellow of the Royal Society and the British Academy
  46. Annabelle Sreberny, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London
  47. Sahil K. Warsi, University of Leeds
  48. Subir Sinha, Department of Development Studies, SOAS
  49. Sabiha Allouche, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London
  50. Abhay Regulagedda - MIPLC
  51. Jaimie Johansson, University of East Anglia
  52. Shabnum Tejani, Senior Lecturer in Modern South Asian History, Department of History, SOAS, University of London
  53. Dr Kerem Nisancioglu, SOAS University of London
  54. Alfredo Saad Filho, SOAS University of London
  55. Arijeet Pal, University of Oxford
  56. Elisabeth Leake, Royal Holloway, University of London
  57. Musab Younis, Oxford University and SOAS
  58. Smitana Saikia King's College London
  59. Dr Rahul S Gandhi BSc (Neuroscience) MBCHB, Member - Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  60. Sara Stevano, SOAS University of London
  61. Rachel Harrison, SOAS
  62. Jonathan Daniel Luther (SOAS)
  63. Abeera Khan, MA Gender Studies, SOAS
  64. Alexandra Tzirkoti, PhD. King's College London
  65. Aditya Sarkar, Warwick University
  66. Teja Varma Pusapati, D.Phil Student in English, University of Oxford
  67. Secki P. Jose, PhD candidate, University of Leicester
  68. Shreya Sinha, SOAS, University of London
  69. Dr. Ashok Kumar, Queen Mary University of London
  70. Steven Martin, University of Cambridge
  71. Dr Helen Elsey, University of Leeds
  72. Dr Mandy Turner, Middle East Centre, LSE
  73. Zarah Sultana, NUS Black Students' Campaign
  74. Nicholas Simcik Arese, University of Oxford
  75. Dr Aravinda Guntupalli, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  76. Lisa Tilley, University of Warwick
  77. Uttara Shahani, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
  78. Nadje Al-Ali SOAS
  79. Saumya Saxena, University of Cambridge
  80. Diya Gupta, Department of English, King's College London
  81. John Wood Aberystwyth University
  82. Dimitra Kotouza, University of Kent
  83. Nilanjana Sen Graduate Student King's College London
  84. Gerhard Kling, SOAS University of London
  85. Akhila Yechury, University of St. Andrews
  86. Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, SOAS, University of London
  87. Rudra Sen (SOAS)
  88. Cam Stocks, Medical Student, Barts and The London School of Medicine
  89. Manjeet Ramgotra, SOAS University of London
  90. Dr. Juanita Elias, University of Warwick
  91. Sarah Gandee, University of Leeds
  92. Roy, SOAS
  93. Dr Richard Williams, University of Oxford
  94. Tom Cowan, King's College London
  95. Dr. Layli Uddin, Royal Holloway
  96. Dr Sarah Hodges, History, University of Warwick
  97. Emma Hart, University of St Andrews
  98. Meenakshi Sinha, King's India Institute, King's College London
  99. Antonio Ferraz de Oliveira - University of Warwick
  100. Eve Tignol (Royal Holloway University of London)
  101. Ashwitha Jayakumar, MA student, University of Leeds
  102. Alastair McClure, PhD Student at the University of Cambridge
  103. Amir Khan - University of Cambridge
  104. Javier Moreno Zacarés, Warwick University
  105. Professor Stephen Hopgood, SOAS University of London
  106. Jordan Osserman, UCL
  107. Josh Holroyd, Socialist Appeal
  108. Ina Goel, Gender and Sexuality Studies, University College London
  109. Julian Benda, SOAS
  110. Ola Innset, European University Institute
  111. Nicole Beardsworth, University of Warwick
  112. Fatima Rajina, SOAS
  113. Karthikeyan Damodaran, University of Edinburgh
  114. Vanya V Bhargav, University of Oxford
  115. Meghna Nag Chowdhuri, University of Cambridge
  116. Ranjita Neogi, University of Reading
  117. Aparna John, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
  118. Omar Raii, UCL
  119. Ashna Sarkar — UCL
  120. Garikoitz Gómez Alfaro, University of Brighton
  121. Tom Cunliffe, KCL
  122. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  123. Kavita Maya (SOAS, University of London)
  124. Niharika Pandit, master's candidate, SOAS
  125. Jonathan Saha, University of Leeds
  126. Farooq Sulehria. Graduate Teaching Asst. SOAS, London
  127. Shreya Agrawal, Student at UCL
  128. Malia Bouattia, NUS Black Students' Officer (UK)
  129. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford, UK)
  130. Amelia Bonea, University of Oxford
  131. Avinash Paliwal, King's College London
  132. Amrita Shodhan, SOAS, University of London
  133. Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, Birkbeck College, University of London
  134. Laurence Gautier, University of Cambridge
  135. Smriti Sawkar, University of Oxford
  136. Arianna Tassinari (University of Warwick)
  137. Anindya Raychaudhuri, University of St Andrews
  138. Onaiza Drabu, University of Oxford
  139. Mipsie Marshall University of Sussex
  140. Amit Kumar, DPhil Chemistry, University of Oxford
  141. Ishan Mukherjee, University of Cambridge
  142. Dr. Urmimala Maitra, University of Oxford
  143. Sahil Nijhawan (Student, University College London)
  144. James Caron. Lecturer in Islamicate South Asia, SOAS, University of London
  145. Anirudh Mathur, Student, Inner Temple
  146. Maia Barkaia, (JNU, 2010),Research Fellow, LMH, Oxford University
  147. Sheiry Dhillon, DPhil OB/GYN (C) MD (C)
  148. Jacob George Pallath, GDL student at University of Westminster
  149. Sadie Young. Coventry University
  150. Dr Nicholas Cimini, Lecturer and EIS-ULA Exec member at Edinburgh Napier University
  151. Leandro Vergara-Camus, SOAS, University of London
  152. Chandak Sengoopta, Professor of History, Birkbeck College, University of London
  153. Ozan Kamiloglu, Associate Lecturer, University of London, Birkbeck
  154. Selbi Jumayeva, Visiting Research Fellow, IGS at LMH University of Oxford
  155. Somak Biswas, University of Warwick
  156. Divya David, University of Oxford
  157. Mihika Chatterjee, University of Oxford
  158. Mishka Sinha, University of Cambridge, UK
  159. Emile Chabal, University of Edinburgh
  160. Radhika Govinda, University of Edinburgh
  161. Varun Ramesh - University of Oxford
  162. Nat Raha, University of Sussex
  163. David Dahlborn, UCL
  164. Lesley Hoggart, The Open University, UK 165. Chinmay Sharma SOAS
  165. Sahil Kureshi, University of Oxford
  166. Leshu Torchin, University of St Andrews 168. Ameya Kelkar-SOAS, London
  167. Ankita Pandey, D. Phil candidate, University of Oxford 170. Sinthujan Varatharajah, UCL Geography
  168. Maanasa SOAS
  169. Dr Ghazala Mir, University of Leeds
  170. Deepa Kurup, University of Oxford
  171. Secki P Jose, University of Leicester
  172. Dr. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick
  173. Sneha Menon, University of Oxford
  174. Yasser Shams Khan, University of Oxford
  175. Harry Stopes, University College London
  176. Nithya Natarajan, SOAS
  177. Dr Marika Rose, Durham University
  178. Mansi Sood, Student, University of Oxford, 2015-16
  179. Mukulika Banerjee, Director of LSE South Asia Centre and Associate Professor of Anthropology, LSE
  180. Fatima Shahzad, Postgraduate Student, SOAS, University of London
  181. Rodrigo Torres, UCL
  182. Kanika Sharma, Birkbeck, University of London
  183. Paavani Singh - King's College London
  184. Mallika Leuzinger, University College London
  185. Kashish Madan, M.A. English Literary Studies, Durham University
  186. Grace Egan, University of Glasgow
  187. Joseph McQuade, University of Cambridge
  188. Amrita Lamba, SOAS
  189. Sarah Kunz - PhD student, UCL
  190. Shamim Zakaria, University of Sussex
  191. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  192. Moiz Tundawala, PhD candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science.
  193. Aditya Ray, Queen Mary University of London
  194. Rahul Rao, SOAS, University of London
  195. Dr Lee Jones, Queen Mary University of London
  196. Manish Kushwaha, University of Warwick
  197. Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and Political Science
  198. Daniela Lainez del Pozo - University College London
  199. Praveen Priyadarshi, PhD Candidate, London School of Economics
  200. Anju Christine, King's College London
  201. Amogha Varsha (University of Oxford)
  202. Ashutosh Kumar, University of Leeds, UK
  203. neha kagal, Doctoral Scholar, SOAS
  204. Dr Hannah Boast, University of York
  205. Phiroze Vasunia, University College London
  206. Saawani, King's College London
  207. Saawani Raje, King's College London
  208. Sanghita Sen, University of St. Andrews. Scotland
  209. Dr Rohit K Dasgupta (WSA), University of Southampton
  210. Utsa Mukherjee, Royal Holloway
  211. Senjuti Chakraborti, Birkbeck College, University of London
  212. Aakshi Magazine, University Of St Andrews
  213. Souraj Dutta, Research student, University of St Andrews, Scotland
  214. Megan Robb, University of Oxford
  215. Andrew Kinnell, President of Stirling Students Union
  216. Grant Buttars, University of Edinburgh
  217. Johannes Makar, student at SOAS and KU Leuven
  218. Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Sheffield Hallam University
  219. Anish Vanaik, Purdue University (Oxford, 2013)
  220. Akshyeta Suryanarayan, University of Cambridge
  221. Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS, University of London
  222. Rubina Jasani, University of Manchester
  223. Siddharth Chawla, Cambridge University
  224. Dimble Mathew University of Bradford
  225. Kshiti Gala, SOAS, University of London
  226. Bjorn Berntson, University College London
  227. Sreenanti Banerjee, Birkbeck, University of London
  228. Pori Saikia University of Essex
  229. James Harland (Department of History, University of York)
  230. Kanwar Nain Singh, University of Cambridge
  231. Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, London School of Economics and Political Science
  232. Dr Satoshi Miyamura, SOAS, University of London
  233. Kyle Jordan (UCL)
  234. Gautam Bondada, D.Phil student, University of Oxford
  235. Tom Robinson, UCLU Welfare & International Officer
  236. Ettore Morelli, School of Oriental and African Studies
  237. Dr Jayasree Kalathil, Survivor Research, UK
  238. Tvisha Nevatia, LSE
  239. Karin Sjöstedt, SOAS
  240. Prof. Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
  241. Dr Peter Dwyer, Ruskin College, Oxford
  242. Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Warwick
  243. Rama S. Dieng, SOAS
  244. Anish Augustine, Queen Mary, University of London
  245. Sofa Gradin, Queen Mary University of London
  246. Nandini Maharaj, Sheffield Hallam University
  247. Shivangi Pareek, University of Cambridge
  248. Shubranshu Mishra, University of Kent
  249. Dr. Ritanjan Das, University of Portsmouth
  250. Ananya Rao-Middleton, University of Cambridge
  251. Ganga Shreedhar, London School of Economics
  252. Swapna Kona Nayudu, LSE
  253. Elizabeth Frazer, Head of Department, Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford
  254. Dr William McEvoy, University of Sussex, UK
  255. Prof. William Gould, University of Leeds
  256. Marta Garcia Aliaga (SOAS, University of London, and NALSAR)
  257. Ayse Zarakol, University of Cambridge
  258. Prof Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick
  259. Lisa Skwirblies, Ph.D. Candidate (University of Warwick)
  260. Dr. Louiza Odysseos, University of Sussex
  261. Dr. Alex Anievas, University of Cambridge
  262. Dr Meera Sabaratnam, SOAS
  263. Dr. Kirsten Forkert, School of Media, Birmingham City University
  264. Dr. Eda Ulus, University of Leicester
  265. Premalatha Balan, University of Nottingham and University College, London
  266. Adelie Chevee, SOAS, University of London
  267. Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway (University of London)
  268. Rosalind Galt, King's College London
  269. Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Oxford
  270. Rod Earle, Dept of Health & Social Care, The Open University
  271. Caoimhe Mader McGuinness, Queen Mary University of London
  272. Julie Dayot University of Oxford
  273. Sai Englert, PhD candidate, SOAS, University of London
  274. Sonali Campion, London School of Economics
  275. Dr Cathy Bergin, University of Brighton
  276. Aditya, University of Oxford
  277. Akshi Singh, Queen Mary, University of London
  278. Karan Katoch, University of Oxford
  279. Raghav Kishore, University of Huddersfield
  280. Dr Tanvi Pate, PAIS, University of Warwick
  281. Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Salford, UK
  282. Konrad M Lawson (Lecturer St Andrews)
  283. Professor Emilia Jamroziak, University of Leeds
  284. Anwesha Sengupta, University of Oxford
  285. Andy Rixon The Open University UK
  286. Natalie James, UCLU
  287. Mirna Guha, PhD Candidate. School of International Development, University of East Anglia
  288. Sita Balani King's College London
  289. Steffan Blayney, Birkbeck, University of London
  290. Mehroosh Tak, SOAS
  291. Tanya Singh, University of Wolverhampton
  292. Kathryn Maude, Swansea University
  293. Hilary Aked, University of Bath
  294. Dr. S.V.P. Capildeo, Affiliate, St. John's College, University of Cambridge
  295. Dr. Katy Sian, University of York
  296. S Lidher (Cambridge)
  297. Paul Kirby, University of Sussex
  298. Gayathri Sekhar, King's College London
  299. Dr. Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Politics and Int. Studies, University of Warwick
  300. Lorena Lombardozzi (SOAS)
  301. Alen Toplisek, Queen Mary University of London
  302. Dr. Owen Clayton, University of Lincoln, UK
  303. Dr Terese Jonsson, University of Portsmuth
  304. Alexandra Sporidou Nottingham Trend University
  305. Professor Azrini Wahidin, Nottingham Trent University
  306. Janhavi Mittal, King's College London
  307. Špela Drnovšek Zorko, SOAS, London
  308. Aapurv Jain, SOAS, University of London
  309. Noelle Richardson
  310. Vicki Baars
  311. Abhilasha Joshi, DPhil Neuroscience
  312. Fuad Ali, OtherAsias
  313. Miqdad
  314. Zara Kayani
  315. Jack Bardsley
  316. Joel White
  317. Pallavi Roy
  318. Vinayak Raj Gathoria
  319. Suchitra Sebastian
  320. Shariq
  321. Debanjali Biswas
  322. Umer Malik
  323. sabahat ijaz
  324. Sharon Mallon
  325. Arushi Menon
  326. Umang Kamra
  327. Kaushik Banerjee
  328. Saumya Singh
  329. Sophie Mayer (independent scholar)
  330. Zara Qadeer
  331. Darshana Gurung
  332. Sahiba student masters
  333. Nihad Ahmed
  334. Nasir Arafat
  335. Shreya Chatterjee
  336. Edyth Parker
  337. Sinjini Chatterjee, student
  338. Daniel Ong
  339. Sunny Singh
  340. Ritika Bose
  341. Sanaz Raji, Independent Research & Campaigner
  342. Sameen Ali
  343. Shruti Sekhar Ravindran
  344. Shamira Meghani — scholar and teacher
  345. Leon Sealey-Huggins
  346. Neeharika Shetty
  347. Abhishikta Mallick
  348. Lakshmy Venkatesh
  349. Deepa Kurup, Oxford University

COMMENTS


kiran jyot | February 18, 2016

We need to moved beyond the religion politics. we need to look at each other as human beings first - we need to free ourselves from the self created bondage, tags. Humanity first religion later. Difference of opinion does not mean hate, it means freedom to be who we are - our authentic thinking selves


Chiranjit | March 26, 2016

Democracy is not the best political philosophy, it is the 'least worst'. Freedom of speech is the right of every citizen, and criticizing government or policies is always welcomed, but CERTIAN students at JNU supports radical ideas when they promote independence of Kashmir, Bengal, Kerela. They also promotes failed political philosophies like Marxism & Communism. They also enchant slogans like 'India Go Back', and 'we will not stop until India is destroyed.' This is proper ANTI NATIONALISM. Let us not forget that JNU is a public university. Every year the govt. pays tax payers money to subsidize JNU students' education. If hardworking Indians are paying money form their pockets they surely want that money to be used for the development of the country and not to promote anti nationalism. So, if the govt. is taking steps to stop spread of such anti nationalist sentiment, it is not completely unjustified. No democratic country can work if they don't stop anti nationalism. India is a over tolerant country, and politicians like Arvind Kejriwal exploit by taking opportunity like this. Just look at France, after the Paris attack, that country has given so much power to the police and amending hundreds of its archaic laws to fight terrorism and anti nationalism. It is commendable. India should do the same for people who wants to break us and wants independence. They should leave India and return all the privileges they received. May be what is govt. is doing at JNU is not democratic, but is the right thing to do for the time being. India may not be the greatest country in the world but it is still far better than many others, and if certain Indians cannot appreciate that and want independence they should be asked to leave. United we stand, divided they fall.