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The University and Its Outside

In the new conception being put forward by the government, the university is considered as a skill factory which, through mass production, will address the needs of the country's economy. This model thinks of universities not as laboratories of thought but as factories where activities are performed in unison. Instead of a cohabitation of differences in friendship and respectful, heated disagreement, you have a paranoid fantasy that gets rid of all real diversity.

Recent events in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the strong, widespread responses they provoked indicate two things. First, what is at stake in the JNU crisis goes beyond the destiny of a particular university, or even questions of higher education, foreboding wider repression of freedoms in society. Second, in the current contestation over the scope of democracy, the public university as an institution and intellectual space is placed in a position of vital significance. Similarities between the situations that arose in the Hyderabad Central University, Jadavpur University and JNU have been instructive. In all these instances, the state and a section of the population sought to reconfigure the university space and enforce new limits to what can take place there. Has the Indian university become the visible site where the imminent futures of freedom and democracy are being thought and fought over?

Special Relationship

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There is a concerted campaign in the political arena, the media and even Parliament questioning the presumed autonomy of the university. The law...

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