Recently, for the past few years, especially after association with University of Hyderabad, where the presence of Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations are in considerable strength, I’ve been observing increasing denounce of Teacher’s Day Celebration on September 5, the Birth Day of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations have been arguing that instead of marking Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birth Day as Teacher’s Day, the Birth Day of Savitri Bai Phule should be marked as Teacher’s Day, who was regarded as the First Women/subaltern Teacher in India. As Brahmins never imparted education to others, especially to the subaltern, Savitri Bai Phule and her husband Jyotiba Phule were instrumental in taking a revolutionary step to educate the subaltern sections. With the increasing assertion of subaltern politics, especially Bahujan Samaj party’s style of Anti Brahmin/Hindutva style the subaltern sections like at University of Hyderabad (taking inspiration from Ambedkar-Phule ideological legacy and BSP political assertion, etc) are getting much more determined to break the challenge of Brahiminism in Indian public sphere, like in the present way.
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day on September 5, a few days back at University of Hyderabad Akhil Baratiya Vidarthi Parishad (ABVP) released a poster. Though I’ve been associating with the University of Hyderabad since 2006, this is the first time, as per my knowledge ABVP resorting to release a poster on the occasion of Teacher’s Day. This is a deliberate step by the ABVP as per my observation.
The student mobilization techniques of both the Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations and Hindutva forces like ABVP varies on two opposite poles, like while ABVP wishes to consolidate its base by projecting the threat of the ‘Other’ like Muslims, Religious conversions, threat to Bharatiya (upper caste Hindu) culture – like opposition to Beef, etc; on the other hand Dalit/Bahujan student organizations mobilization is based on in opposition of Hindutva forces, etc. In other words, it can be said that while ABVP is aiming to consolidate on upper caste unity (in guise of ‘Hindu’ Nationalism), the subaltern sections like Dalit/Bahujan Student organizations are aiming to break the hegemony of Hindu Nationalist/Brahmin forces, by consolidating the subaltern on Ambedkar-Jyotiba Phule ideological lines, etc.
Thus, we can observe that the contestation over the Indian public space to project and protect in favor of and in opposition of Hindu Nationalism is continuing in various forms (by both the ABVP and Dalit/Bahujan forces respectively), and the present Teacher’s Day occasion is one among them. The other notable incident in the same direction was Beef Stall installation at University of Hyderabad during annual Sukoon festival. Both the Hindutva forces lead by ABVP and Dalit/Bahujan forces lead by DSU, ASA, etc stood in opposition and in favor of the same.