National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF) Claims to be a Mala Organisation

During my recent visit to the Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU), on the side lines of the Interdisciplinary Global Seminar on Exploring the Cultural and Literary Nationalism of the Fourth World, I’ve observed a Student Organisation, in a peculiar way. This Student organisation is named as ‘National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF)’, but, again claims to be representing the interests of a particular Scheduled Caste section, i.e., Mala, instead of representing Scheduled Castes at National level. I’ve closely observed a poster, which was released by NDSF on the ANU Campus, which is as follows;

National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF)  Get Together Poster. Please observe the borders of the posters, where it is prominently mentioned as 'Jai Mala, Jai Jai Mala, Jai Jai Jai Mala'!!!
National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF) Get Together Poster. Please observe the borders of the posters, where it is prominently mentioned as ‘Jai Mala, Jai Jai Mala, Jai Jai Jai Mala’!!!

Some of the other Banners erected on December 15, 2012 for welcoming different Guests for Get Together are as follows;

Welcome to Prof Vishuvardhan -
Welcome to Prof Vishuvardhan –
Welcome to Dr Johnson P
Welcome to Dr Johnson P, Chief Warden, Boys Hostel –
Welcome to Sudhakar M -
Welcome to Sudhakar M –
This big banner is tied to the University main gate -
This big banner was tied to the University main gate – 

Apart from these banners there were many more big banners erected, which caught the attention of  the persons like me prominently. On the whole, NDSF students’ seemed to spent huge sums and resources for the success of this event.

I strongly feel the words like Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes would be much appropriate to refer to the sections like untouchables, etc, instead of the word ‘Dalit’, which is attempting to unify all the varying sections in guise, and in such a guise only some few section/s are able to garner the benefits in the socio-political realm. But, again if any section is not interested to claim the word ‘SC/ST/Dalit’, they can specifically claim their identity in the name of their community itself, wihout any guise. In this regard, we can observe Madiga Student Federation, etc.

Madiga Student Federation (MSF) is specially claiming as a platform of Madigas only, but, it is very dangerous to observe the dimension of NDSF at Acharya Nagarjuna University, which is representing a narrow section among the Scheduled Castes, in the guise of ‘Dalit’.

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Madiga Student Federation (MSF), Acharya Nagarjuna University Students’ Agitation

On December 14, 2012, when I was at Acharya Nagarjuna University for taking part in the ‘Interdisciplinary Global Seminar on Exploring the Literary and Cultural Nationalism of the Fourth World’, a section of the student group caught my attention, who were seriously followed and observed by the Police personnel. Soon, I realized that these persons belong to the Madiga Student Federation (MSF), which is regarded as an affiliated wing of the Madiga Reservation Poratha Samithi (MRPS). The agitating crowd carried an effigy on-to the National High Way, which is just opposite to their University main gate and halted the traffic for about ten minutes and carried their activity by giving slogans, burning the effigy of the Chief Minister Mr Kiran kumar Reddy, etc. The reason for their agitation is; the recently passed legislation on SC/ST Sub-Plan is not from Sub-Categorization perspective; and their demand is to implement it from that perspective. Police personnel seemed to have arrived well in advance, in order to ensure smooth and peaceful  way of protest. The days pictures are as follows;

MSF Students' rushed to the National High Way and started their agitation by halting traffic; police personnel observing silently and trying to ensure smooth process of the event.
MSF Students’ rushed to the National High Way and started their agitation by halting traffic; police personnel observing silently and trying to ensure smooth process of the event.
Burning of the effigy of the Chief Minister Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy, and a MSF student slogans around the burning effigy. Slogans were given against the Deputy Chief Minister Mr Damodar Rajanarasimha, who too belongs to the Madiga community, and who is one of the main person behind SC/ST Sub-Plan Act.
Burning of the effigy of the Chief Minister Mr Kiran Kumar Reddy, and a MSF student slogans around the burning effigy. Slogans were given against the Deputy Chief Minister Mr Damodar Rajanarasimha, who too belongs to the Madiga community, and who is one of the main person behind SC/ST Sub-Plan Act.
Slogans in praise of Mr Manda Krishna Madiga were given. But, the fact is MRPS did not seriously concentrate upon the Su-Plan, for the benefit of different Sub-Communities of the SC category.  Its a late response to the from Sub-Categorization perspective. So, its their serious fault!!
Slogans in praise of Mr Manda Krishna Madiga were given. But, the fact is MRPS did not seriously concentrate upon the Su-Plan, for the benefit of different Sub-Communities of the SC category. Its a late response. So, its their serious fault!!

Interdisciplinary Global Seminar on ‘Exploring the Cultural and Literary Nationalism of the Fourth World’

Prof Raja Shekar Patteti, Head, Department of English, Acharya Nagarjuna University organised an Interdisciplinary Global Seminar on ‘Exploring the Literary and Cultural Nationalism of the Fourth World’, during December 14-16, 2012. I was also one of the participant of a Paper entitled ‘Dalit Christians: An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective’. Some of the photos of the days are as follows.

Guests standing for National Anthem on the dais
Guests standing for National Anthem on the dais
Welcome Banner at the Deichmann Auditorium on the University Campu
Welcome Banner at the Deichmann Auditorium on the University Campus
Prof Raja Shekar Patteti address to the gathering
Prof Raja Shekar Patteti address to the gathering
Some of the Paper Presenters Dr Venkata Ramana Murthy Balaga, Mr Ramesh, Dr Robert Masterson, Dr Amedkar Ashok, Dr Ram Babu Mallavarapu, from left to right respectively
Some of the Paper Presenters Dr Venkata Ramana Murthy Balaga, Mr Ramesh, Dr Robert Masterson, Dr Amedkar Ashok, Dr Ram Babu Mallavarapu, from left to right respectively
Myself along with Dr Venkata Ramana Murthy Balaga, Mr Ramesh, Dr Robert Masterson and Dr Amedkar Ashok
Myself along with Dr Venkata Ramana Murthy Balaga, Mr Ramesh, Dr Robert Masterson and Dr Amedkar Ashok

 

 

The Culture of Statues on Educational Institutions: The Instance of Acharya Nagarjuna University

Educational Institutions are subject to their Nation’s governments, though they enjoy academic autonomy. There are wide incidents of intervention of the Governments in academic institutions of higher learning and instances of according due prestige and respect to them in various countries across the globe. Higher Educational Institutions like Universities are subject to various ideological contestations and the academic disciples are divided on ideological lines too. The ideological academic division/differences form crucial places in the entire academic campus of an institution. There are plenty of instances to share in this respect across the globe. There are some academic institutions which are trying to maintain great degrees of neutrality in terms of ideological academic differences/divisions, to the best of their capability. In this respect, to some extent, I can recollect the University of Hyderabad’s (UoH) position to main neutrality while naming various hostels on the Campus; UoH adopted the policy of naming hostels in English alphabetical order for Gents hostels and numerical order for ladies hostels, with a wish to avoid confrontation among different social backgrounds of students, if the same (like hostels) were named after any other great personality, etc. There are some Universities where this kind of policy is not followed to some extent; for instance Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi adopted the policy of naming its hostels after the names of various Indian rivers. But, then there are dissenting voices to this dimension too; for example the name of a river called Krishna/Ganges, etc would also be the name of a God/Goddess of Hindu religion. So, there is dissenting voice from the subaltern sections like Dalits, who claims to be anti Hindu and who proclaims to be not part of the Hindu religion!! Anyhow, even-though UoH wished to maintain a degree of neutrality without being caught and branded as anti to any particular student social group, in due course of time it failed to retain such a reputation; in this respect, we can observe the instances of UoH administrations opposition to permit Beef Stall as part of annual Sukoon festival for about initial two consecutive years, and the instances of caste discrimination in various Departments and subsequent reports of student suicides, etc.

Academic institutions are subject to various ideological counters and increased vigor of academic activism from the same perspective. In this respect, we can find the activism of Marxist academic intellectuals at JNU and increasing Dalit-Bahujan (Ambedkar-Jyotirao Phule ideological legacy based) activism in most of the Universities in Andhra Pradesh, etc.

The increasing assertion of the Dalit-Bahujan ideological assertion together or separately is posing a great challenge to the well established ideological counters of the upper castes. At Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU), I had observed a strange position, which can be regarded as a pinnacle in the Dalit-Bahujan ideological assertion. This pinnacle can most visibly be observed on the ANU Campus by any lay visitor for the first time; this pinnacle can be observed at the erection of Dalit-Bahujan persons statues like Dr B R Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Dr Babu Jagjeevan Ram!! But, same time one can also find the identities of various other non Dalit-Bahujans too on the campus in various forms, like the statues of Mr M K Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi, etc. Anyhow, the prominent erection of the statues of Dalit-Bahujan personalities is regarded as a pinnacle in the Dalit-Bahujan movement, though subject to some degrees of variation in various sub-analysis.

Please see the below pictures of Dalit-Bahujan Personalities and others on the ANU Campus;

Jyotirao Phule Statue
Jyotirao Phule Statue
Dr Babu Jagjeevan Ram's Statue
Dr Babu Jagjeevan Ram’s Statue
Mr M K Gandhi Statue
Mr M K Gandhi Statue
Acharya Nagarjuna Statue, on whose name the University is established
Acharya Nagarjuna Statue, on whose name the University is established
ANU Logo
ANU Logo

 

 

 

 

Students’ Political Activism at Acharya Nagarjuna University

Acharya Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh, India has many active student organisations, when observed the Campus at first sight. But, I actually don’t know, presently their activities and popularity in terms of membership, etc. The following pictures captures a lay visitors glimpse of the student political activism;

DSC00032

Akhil Bharatiya Vidarthi Parishad at ANU, an affiliated body of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)…

Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO)
Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO)
National Students Union of India (NSUI), an affiliated wing of Indian National Congress
National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), an affiliated wing of Indian National Congress
Students' Federation of India (SFI), an associated wing of Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M)
Students’ Federation of India (SFI), an associated wing of Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M)
All India Students' Federation (AISF)
All India Students’ Federation (AISF)

DSC00029Telugu Nadu Students’ Federation (TNSF), a student front-line wing of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP)

DSC00026

Progressive Democratic Students’ Union (PDSU)…

Progressive Democratic Student Organisation (PDSO)
Progressive Democratic Student Organisation (PDSO)
Students' Service Society (SSS)
Students’ Service Society (SSS)

DSC00023Other Castes Students’ Federation (OCSF)…

Backward Classes Student Federation (BCSF)
Backward Classes Student Federation (BCSF)

DSC00030__Madiga Students’ Federation (MSF)…

National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF)
National Dalit Student Federation (NDSF)
Scheduled Tribes Students' Federation (STSF)
Scheduled Tribes Students’ Federation (STSF)

At some point of time, I wish to concentrate upon this ANU Students Political activism and bring about an academic article. Already, I had presented a paper on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) Student Organisations. A comparative study of ANU and UoH Students Political activism would also be much more interesting!!

Christian Activism at Acharya Nagarjuna University

Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh was established during 1970’s to cater the needs of some Coastal Andhra Pradesh Districts, and especially in-order to reduce the burden upon the Andhra University. Most of the persons, who are into higher education in some of the districts of Coastal Andhra Pradesh are well acquainted with this University in various forms, especially as most of them receives their Academic Degrees from this University, in one form or the other. In this respect my siblings and myself is not an exception. Technically, I qualified two Degrees from this University, i.e. B.A.. & B. Ed.,. But, did these two courses from affiliated colleges.

Though, I’ve been associating with University of Hyderabad (UoH) since 2006 continually for my M.A., M. Phil & Doctorate (Ph.D.,), I’ve a limited experiences with ANU. After my association with UoH, I’ve started to compare ANU with UoH, where-ever I visited the former (ANU) Campus, in various aspects. Presently, in this post, I wish to share with you some of the photographs which depicts the Christian activism among the ANU (Christian) students. Image

Today, i.e. December 6, 2012 a Pre Christmas Celebration is organised in-front of the University Campus in association with the Layman Evangelical Fellowship (LEF), by the ANU Christian Students. And, the same programmes pamphlets/posters like this were released throughout the Campus.

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This picture depicts 2011 Semi Christmas celebration. Even after more than a year, this poster is visible on the University Campus, especially to me!!

Image

Youth Meeting in-front of the University at Ananda Jyothy…

Image

ANU Research Scholars and PG & B.Tech Mighty-men organised this!

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ANU Christian Youth activism…

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This was erected right in-front of the University Main Entrance. I found this in October, 2012.

Christianity as a unique position in the Coastal Districts of Andhra Pradesh, when compared to rest of the other two regions of the State. Suiting to this historic unique position and other contemporary factors, the present activism at ANU or the surroundings areas should be understood. As I’m concentrating upon Dalit Christian aspect for my Doctoral Studies, the present focus upon the Christian activism at ANU interested me a bit.

Paper Presentation on ‘Dalit Christians: An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective’

Prof Raja Shekar Patteti, Department of English, Acharya Nagarjuna University is scheduled to host a UGC Global Seminar on ‘Exploring the Cultural & Literary Nationalism of the Fourth World (Natives/Aboriginals/Dalits)’ from December 14-16, 2012 at Acharya Nagarjuna University itself. As part of this Global Seminar, I’m scheduled to present a paper on ‘Dalit Christians: An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective’. The abstract is as follows. 

Dalit Christians:

An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective[1]  

Dalits are part of various discriminative circumstances, and victims of various atrocities too against them from the times immemorial in India and the Indian sub-continent. In order to escape this caste and related discriminations and atrocities against them, they converted to various religions, through-out their history. Especially they converted en-mass to religions like Islam and Christianity, with a wish to escape Hindu religion’s ritual degradation/pollution. But, contrary to their wishes and expectations; caste followed them as a shadow in these religions too. Dalits of non-Hindu background are regarded as Dalits only, even after their conversion and recognized as Dalit-Sikhs/Dalit-Muslims/Dalit-Buddhists/Dalit-Christians, etc. Though there is a kind of degree of change after conversion to non-Hindu religions in their lives; that change was not satisfactory enough in mitigating their better livelihood. At the most, the intensity of atrocities and discrimination changed from Hindu religion to non-Hindu religions after conversion. The present paper highlights the discriminations faced by the Dalit Christians, in various forms, especially; one – within the Indian Church, two – by the Indian State and three – in the wider Indian Society. And, specifically links to the political and nationalist agendas of the Hindutva forces like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allied forces like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), etc, which are vehemently opposing the Dalits religious rights. Moreover, this paper attempts to expose shallow secular fabric of the Indian State, especially by critiquing the Indian secular political discourse from liberal secular democratic front.


[1] S Swaroop Sirapangi, Doctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, Email: ssanthiswaroop@hotmail.com