Ananya S Guha
And now, the focus is on Allahabad University, an University of historical and pristine significance, an University which had in it’s portals the likes of Firaq Gorakhpuri the lyricist and his brother. An University also, which once upon a time contributed a substantial number of IAS officers to the country, some of them known for their brilliant and distinguished academic records. But does this really make much difference at a time when the past and its historical implications are being cleverly obliterated and even sullied? An intelligent and perceptive reading of historical imperatives of a country or its institutions is burnt at the stake, like a Joan-of-Arc, and is considered to be gruesome heresy.
What is happening in Allahabad University is not only another case in point of suppression of democracy and Fundamental Rights but also as infringement of women’s equality to participate in all democratic processes, and a crass attitudinal stand point which relegates them to the backwaters of subservience – to men. The very fact that the President of the Student’s Union out voted her male counterpart and, that he is in the forefront of making false allegations against her and her admission, supported by some rabid authorities is an example of vicious male tyranny. It is convention that any position of candidature reserved for Scheduled Caste or Tribes, falling vacant can, at the discretion of the authorities be replaced by General Candidates. The University in which I work also follows such guidelines.
What is astonishing however is why the bogey of the reserved vacancy was raised, much after her admission was confirmed? Is it because that holding the President’s position, and that too becoming the first woman to do so in the country is something that her detractors simply could not take or accept? This is a rhetorical question and, in this context rhetoric implies seeking justice and freedom. The subsequent harassment to her is unprecedented in the precincts of an University of democracy and hallowed past.
This is not only a shameless and egregious violation of democratic norms, but is also an ominous sign of how hooliganism and shameless muscle power can grip all democratic and secular institutions, where knowledge is sought but not sold like, as in a raucous market place.
Historical travesty is now a singular dominance in the shaping and re-shaping of this great country. It’s historical antecedents and denudation of it, is now taking the shape of a large myth, urged by fantasy and falsification of views. It is also a direct threat and challenge to the Constitution of a country which sought to seek social empowerment in terms of religion, caste and gender. In this case of Allahabad University there is blatant and incongruous subversion, not only of gender equality but a direct, unabashed attack on a woman’s right to pursue the frontiers of learning, a murderous assault on learning; atavistic in intent. Moreover the constant bludgeoning of the woman, by way of harassment, threats and false charges, belie all democratic claims of a nation – state which always trumps the ‘academic excellence’ card, reservation for women, educating the girl child platitudes.
We are now on a myth – making, larger than life destiny. How, historical forces will dispel this, is a question time will answer to record in the annals of History. This fanatical urge towards obliterating it is something which we will not only pay for dearly, but also something which the intelligent and the sensitive will resist stolidly. And I am not only talking of activists, writers and thinkers who have been raising their voices amidst the rubble, but I am also thinking of a young India: clear, visionary and articulate – the India which our politico – statisticians harp on and bandy as the future of a Nation, at the drop of a hat.