ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

The University Under SiegeSubscribe to The University Under Siege

The Public University after Rohith-Kanhaiya

The public university is on its way to becoming a truly democratic space. It is the only site in contemporary India where all major social groups come together in more or less egalitarian conditions. In every other social location, there are various forms of segregation, not to speak of explicit hierarchies. The public university is thus a unique and historically unprecedented space from the point of view of the democratisation of society. This is also the reason why existing social hierarchies and power centres are beginning to view it as a threat.

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.

Freedom of Speech in the University

There is a concerted campaign in the political arena, the media and even Parliament questioning the presumed autonomy of the university. The law must apply equally everywhere, we are being told, and so why should the university enjoy a special privilege? There is a fundamental confusion here, caused by lazy thinking or deliberate obfuscation, about the actual limits to freedom of speech in the university and the appropriate authorities who can enforce them.
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