Wednesday, June 12, 2019

God in the Classroom- Unfolding Debate about Secularising Education



Subhash gatade

There is in every village a torch - the teacher; and an extinguisher - the priest.”
-Victor Hugo

Introduction

"Keep the words God, Jesus and the devil out of the classroom."
A school teacher'smessage on the first day of the school for first-grade students had caused tremendous consternation among a section of the parents.

She had a simple rationale to present her proposal. With their being a public school with children coming from different religions and beliefs joining it, she did not "[w]ant to upset a child/parent because of these words being used,” In her letter she had also advised them to talk to the children when they go to the church/temple/synagogue - whatever might be the case - or discuss the issue at home at an appropriate time and place of talking about it.” 

Well, instead of the discussion getting fixed on the slow imposition of the concept of God or closing of child's minds it turned into a debate on students’ free speech rights. It did not take much time for the management of the school to rescind this proposal.
There is nothing new about this dilemma faced by a teacher who has welfare of students at the center of her/his concerns.

'The Guardian' haddone a similar story some time back in a different manner where the science teacher had himself shared the dilemma inside the classroom.  The teacher had described the "[a]wkward situation of teaching something that flatly contradicts the religious beliefs of some of their students." or meeting "[s]tudents ..who have been brought up to believe that the holy book of their particular religion contains the literal truth about the origins of life and the universe" but in concluding remarks had emphasised how proper science education would equip young people to arrive at their own decisions about what to believe, and not to believe.

One can discuss similar experiences from different contexts and surroundings.
The task to discuss / not discuss the concept of god and its place in society and frankly discuss its relevance ( if any) for the subject being taught or raising question about holding regular prayer etc becomes extremely difficult if the institutions which manage the school/college or the parties which lead the government - who formulate policies to dictate what to teach and not to teach - become proactive on the issue. They use the medium of education to peddle their conservative world view and have no qualms in spreading superstition among them.

With the ascent of right-wing governments in different parts of the world the phenomenon seems quite widespread. The manner in which the idea of 'creationism' has caught fancy among many states of USA as opposed to the scientific theory of Evolution propounded by Darwin, is just an example to illustrate this.

No doubt countries of the third world seem to be more susceptible such onslaughts. One can look at well known physicist and human rights activists Prof Pervez Hoodbhoy's writings who has been discussing consistently on the plight of Pakistani education which has been shaped by the military-Mullah complex there and how it has led to transformation of Pakistani universities from becoming "[b]eacons of enlightenment, open inquiry, and bold new thinking" to "sheep farms" 

Of late, India - which had displayed lot of promise at the time of independence and had made strenuous efforts to embark a path emphasising scientific temper - seems to be catching up with the rest of the third world at a breakneck speed. It is also true that one also notices that lot of efforts are going on - at the individual and collective level - to reinvigorate the spirit professed by 'founding fathers' of the Constitution, indicating once again that the struggle is far from over

2.

It was June 2018 when BJP led state government in Rajasthan made a startling announcement. It decided toinvite Saints-Mahatmas to give lessons in moral education to the students, on every third Saturday of the month as an extra-curricular activity..What was more troubling that it was only few months back then that this part of India had been witness to the turmoil caused by the cases involving two high profile sadhus - Ram Rahim and AsaramBapu - for their involvement in sexual assault of their followers and other black deeds, who were later convicted by the courts. And there was enough documentary proof available to show how the saffrons did not shy away from showering their support to them in the long winding court battle, clearly with an eye on their mass following.

Vasundhara Raje led government had in fact to share few blushes then when it was brought to notice how in a chapter on saints in a Class III textbook taught in Rajasthanschools, the rape accused self-styled godman AsaramBapu had featured as a great saint, more than two years after he was jailed for his act. It was noticed that he was sharing the space in the text book with Vivekananda, Shankaracharya, Mother Teresa and Ramakrishna Paramhans in the book. 

A quick perusal of the state's policies reveal that inviting Saints-Mahatmas to schools was continuation of the process of providing 'religious tinge' to education undertaken by it. A report published in India Today had provided details about the ‘changes’ being undertaken there in the field of education since Raje government had took over :

“ Since 1 st July 2015 yoga, pranayam, vandemataram, suryanamaskar and meditation have been made compulsory at the time of school prayers ; Saraswati Puja Worship has been made compulsory on every government and non-government schools on BasantPanchami ; a school development committee has been formed in every school and its meeting is compulsory on every amavasya ; Bhagwadgeeta has been made part of curriculum; and Geeta and Jail diary of Bhagat Singh has been made mandatory in schools. Books on Integral Humanism and SamajikSamarasta have been made part of school libraries.” ( Badalne LagiHaiShiksha, ‘India Today’3 rd August 2016, Page 21)

The move to invite Saints-Mahatmas - most of them of dubious character - was later rescinded by the government after its stringent criticism by intellectuals and civil society people. Members of civil society as well as many political formations resisted this move purely on the basis of Constitutional Provisions to the effect.

It was pointedly asked whether such schools which are provided government aid can provide religious instruction or not?

It was pointed out that a cursory glance at the constitutional debates makes it abundantly clear that a majority of the members - despite their own religious inclination - were clearly of the opinion that schools, whose basic purpose was supposed to to open minds of children and not to make them dumping ground of useless information, should never be opened up for any type of religious instruction. It was clear that they were seeing the perils of poisioning of minds by religious frenzy in this part of the subcontinent and were keen that future of independent India could be secured on secular grounds only.

The insertion of article 28 (1) just goes to show the united resolve of our founding fathers which clearly states that

“No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State Funds” unless “established under any endowment or trust which requires that religious instruction shall be imparted in such institution”.

In fact article 28 of the constitution makes it more explicit and does not leave any ambiguity as far its implementation is concerned,

“No person attending any educational institution recognised by the state or receiving aid out of state funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto cultural and educational rights”.

It needs to be underlined that the expression religious instruction here has a restricted meaning. It conveys that teaching of customs, ways of worships, practices or rituals can not be allowed in educational institutions wholly maintained out of State funds.

It is worth considering whether an educational institution could impose its will on the students vis-a-vis religious instruction under the name of moral teaching etc ? Perhaps drafting committee of the constitution was aware of this possibility as well at a general level and had clearly stated that any such imposition is a breach of article 19 which says “”All citizens shall have the right -(a) to freedom of speech and expession;”; any such imposition is also a breach of article 25(1) which says “

“Subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of this Part, all person are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.”

What was found more disturbing that BJP government in the state then had not bothered to pay a heed to another constitutional provision which includes under fundamental duties “To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. ( Sec V, article 51 A on Fundamental duties) fully knowing that any such sermon by these “Saints-Mahatmas” would be a strong deterrent in development of scientific temper.

One could say that wiser sense prevailed and the government retracted its move.

3

What Raje government ( which has been replaced by Congress led government) tried to do was part of a practice popularised by the BJP which was leading the government at the center and many states.

Time and again it has expressed their proximity not only towards a particular religion but have promoted issues, taken up moves, courted controversial Sadhus which have had a serious impact on the secular fabric of the constitution. The public display of religiosity - which was unthinkable or rather muted till a few years ago- by people holding reins of power has become a new norm these days.

Merely few months before this order by the Rajasthan government, the MP government then led by Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan had granted Minister of State (MoS) rank to fivereligious leaders . It was evident that the immediate trigger to make these appointments was that few of these Sadhus had planned to take out Yatra to supposedly expose an an alleged scam by the government.

In this era of ‘binary’ politics, it is possible to take out a similar examples from the records of any other secular parties and show that what BJP or governments led by it has been doing is nothing unusual.

Any such claim or understanding which reduces the really ground breaking developments in Indian politics merely as a ‘political change’’ would tend to miss the ‘paradigm shift’ which is occurring (has occured) before our own eyes, thanks to the BJP government.  In fact, in a write-up commenting on Prime Minister Modi’s first Nepal trip ( August 2014) the author and well known journalist Bharat Bhushan had put itrather bluntly how a conscious attempt is on not only to legitimise ‘Hindu rituals in the public sphere’ but ‘’create a predominantly Hindutva public sphere that marginalises others.”( -do-)

Remember in his very first trip to Nepal Mr Modi had made a personal visit to Pashupatinath Temple, wearing a saffron kurta and saffron chawl, ‘wearing two strings of the holy rudrakshabead’and had symbolically presented 2,500 kg of yellow sandalwood to the temple authorities. He had performed a “RudraAbhishek” - a ritual supposedly performed to please Lord Shiva. The author had raised an important question whether it should have been done as “a representative of a secular republic” and whether ‘gifts’ worth more than 4 crore Rs should have been given from the funds from public exchequer should have “been linked with Modi’s personal visit to the temple?”

He had contrasted this public display of religiosity by the head of the state to the stand adopted by the newly independent Indian state on the proposal for renovation of the Somnath Temple.

“When Sardar Patel and K M Munshi went to Mahatma Gandhi with the project, he blessed the idea but told them that people should contribute for the renovation and not the state. Jawaharlal Nehru distanced himself from the project. He reprimanded Munshi for writing to the Indian Embassy in Peking asking it to “send waters from the Hoang Ho, the Yangtse and the Pearl rivers, and also some twigs from the Tien Shan mountains” for the reconstruction of Somnath. (-do-)

There are innumerable other examples which go to show the conscious manner in which the leaders of the nascent republic took steps so that the state does not appear favourably disposed towards particular religion, maintain separation between religion and state.

We should never forget that founders of constitution decided to move ahead on these lines in an atmosphere which had seen enough inter-communal bloodletting and killing of innocents. Despite the challenges involved in the process they resolved that unless and until we ensure separation of religion and politics similar bloodletting may occur again. The principled stand on maintaining the separation taken by Gandhi and Nehru, vis-a-vis Somnath Temple was merely a reflection of this greater concern.

4
"Prayer is a religious practice. And the Constitution of India, via Article 28, says that no religion instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.

...In a similar instance in the United States of America, one man had petitioned that religious prayers must not be held in schools run by State funds as the USA is a secular country. And the supreme court of America agreed with that viewpoint and passed a judgment. Now this practice of prayers has been discontinued in American schools run on government funds."


It is an interesting coincidence that this move by the Rajasthan government ( since rescinded) had come at a time when the highest courts of the country had been seized of a similar matter and had even asked the government to clarify its stand. A petition has been filed in the SC by Veenayak Shah, an advocate basedin Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh whose children had passed out of KV, which claimed that the Hindi prayers sung during the morning prayers in over 1100 Kendriya Vidyalaya’s promote a particular religion and hence violate the Constitution.
According to the petition, the Hindi prayers including shlokas like ‘asto ma sadgamaya’ and other prayers promote particular religious beliefs and thus parents of students from religious minorities, agnostics etc. might find them “constitutionally impermissible”.  The Supreme Court had observed the petition had raised a ‘serious issue’ and has thus issued a notice in the same.The petition stated that such religious instruction will create a “lot of obstacles in developing a scientific temperament among the students”. The petition insisted that a school or any educational institution funded by state cannot propagate any particular religion and had asked the courts to “Issue a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction to Respondents to forthwith discontinue any form of Prayer from the Morning Assembly or otherwise in Kendriya Vidhalaya Sangathans and to promote Scientific learning among the students”

Describing the daily routine inside a Kendriya Vidyalaya the petition contended that all the students have to begin their day by reciting the Common Prayer also followed by silent prayer. It added

" This practice creates a lot of obstacles in developing a Scientific Temperament among the students as the whole idea of God and Religious Faith is given immense priority and the same is instilled as a thought process among the students as well. Students as a result learn to develop an inclination towards seeking Refuge from Almighty instead of developing a Practical Outcome towards the Obstacles and hurdles faced in everyday life and spirit of enquiry and reform seems to be lost somewhere”

It had provided the following grounds for filing the petition

GROUNDS

1) The right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees protection of life and personal liberty. Further, the Schools have bound the students to recite and conduct the Prayers without giving them a liberty to refrain from the same.

2) Under Article 19 of the Constitution, the citizens have been guaranteed Freedom of Speech and expression and as a result the students shall not be put under any compulsion to recite the prayer or even as to recite in particular manner by folding their hands and closing their eyes.

3) Because immense emphasis is laid down on the recitation of prayer and its importance thus curbing the growth of scientific temperament among students and young minds.

4) The above prayer is being enforced throughout the country in all Kendra Vidhalayas. As a result, parents and children of the minority communities as well as Atheist and others who do not agree with this system of Prayer such as Agnostics, Sceptisists, Rationalists and others would find the imposition of this prayer constitutionally impermissible.

5) The above prayer is based on Hindu religion and it is very different both in substance and form from the prayers of the other religious/ non-religious orientations mentioned above, hence, can the state impose the above mentioned “common prayer” on students and teachers throughout the country.

6) In Aruna Roy & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (1996) 3 SCC 212 held the distinction between “Religious Instructions” and “Study of Religions. The Court held that “Special care has to be taken for avoiding possibility of imparting “Religious Instructions” in the name of “Religious Education”.

“A bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman said the question raised in a public interest litigation filed by lawyer Veenayak Shah was of seminal importance and placed it before the Chief Justice to refer to a Constitution bench of at least five judges.” (-do-)

5

The importance of this petition before the highest courts can also be gauged from the fact that even NCERT - which is tasked by the Government of India ‘to assist and advise the Central and State Governments on policies and programmes for qualitative improvement in school education’ and also undertake ‘research in areas related to school education; prepare and publish model textbooks’ etc has also noted something amiss in the way prayers are held in school assemblies across the country and how it alienates children from minority communities further. It was only last year that news had appeared in a section of the media about a manual prepared by it underlining these difficulties:

“A manual prepared by the National Council forEducational Research and Training (NCERT) has pointed out that children from minority communities at times find the prayers in the school assemblies and picture of gods and goddesses on the walls alien to them and has suggested some changes including the celebration of festivals related to religious minorities in schools, sensitive handling of these children during religious functions celebrated in schools, and adequate representation of minority parents in the School Management Committees (SMC).”


Emphasising that empowerment of the socially disadvantaged groups, SCs (scheduled castes), STs (scheduled tribes), OBCs (other backward classes) and the minorities should remain on the priority list of the country, because these groups still lag behind the rest of the society due to their social, economic and educational backwardness :

“It has also noted how discriminatory practices against these groups by teachers, peer groups and system are still prevalent in some schools and how the school management committee should play an important role to curtail such discrimination and provide a conducive atmosphere.”(-do)

A perusal of judgements by various courts also corroborate the fact that judiciary tries its best to protect the fundamental spirit of the constitution mentioned earlier. For example, Bombay High court had held that a ‘[t]eacher cannot be forced to fold his hands while standing in the school prayers or hold his hand in the front while taking oath of the preamble of the Constitution.’  It had said that forcing a teacher to do so would be violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. Justice Abhay Oka and Revethi Mohiti Dhere of the Bombay High Court had observed it while taking up the petition of a teacher Sanjay Salwe, who worked as a teacher in Matoshri Savitribai Phule Vidyalay in Nashik town of Western Maharashtra.

The school authorities had penalised him for ‘indiscipline’ and refused to to give higher pay scale for not folding his hands while prayers were being held. Teacher had contended that the prayer sung in the school is of religious nature and therefore he did not fold his hands. The teacher, who had an excellent record while working in the school since 1996 had argued that he has freedom of expression as per the Article 19 of the Constitution and,therefore,he cannot be forced to stand with folded hands at the time when the prayers are sung. Initially he had approached the education department, which had ruled in his favour but when school management refused to obey its order he had directly taken up the matter in Bombay High Court.

6
“I was not looking for a fight. All I was saying was that compulsory prayer is contrary to Article 28 (3) of the Constitution of India. It says that no person shall be required to take part in any religious instruction or to attend religious worship in an educational institution funded by the state. The Maharashtra Secondary School Code mentions the national anthem, but not prayer.”


What needs to be specially mentioned here that Sanjay Salve was later given Dr. Narendra Dabholkar Memorial Award for ‘pursuing a lone legal battle that successfully upheld a citizen’s right of not having to kneel before religious authority’ at Swatantralokam, the Annual Conference of the Science Trust, held in Calicut, where he was interviewed by Babu Gogineni, an Indian Humanist, rationalist, and human rights activist, who also served as Executive Director of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) for many years.
Excerpts of the interview would be opportune here :

“I joined the school in 1996 and for 12 years I was given excellent ratings in my Confidential Reports. But because I did not fold my hands while the rest of the school was praying in the School Assembly I was asked to provide a written explanation. I explained that as a Buddhist Atheist I did not wish to pray and that I had no obligation to do so. ..

“From then onwards, I was made to feel unwelcome. .. I wrote to the Government repeatedly but they never responded. Only when I approached the High Court did the District Education Officer respond to my complaint.

“The Officer wrote to the School Management that I could not be compelled to pray. He also said that the 30 minutes of mandatory daily human values education means also recognising the value of secularism. They were obliged to follow these instructions, but they did not. Even when warned by the Government that their funding would be cut off, they did not relent. I therefore had to approach the High Court once again to secure my rights. After all, I stand when the prayers are said, respecting the fact that others are praying. It is just that I do not join my hands during the religious prayer and I do not hold out my hand during the oath taking ritual. Did the Supreme Court of India not rule two decades ago that the 7th Day Adventists could not be compelled to sing the National Anthem?”(-do-)

The school where Salve taught is named after Savitribai Phule - the legendary social reformer from 19 th century - who alongwith her friend/comrade Fatima Shekh and her husband Mahatma Phule had started the first women's school in Pune. Savitribai Phule belonged to Mali community, considered a lower caste in the caste hierarchy.

The trial itself was instructive. “What is wrong with singing the Freedom fighter Sane Guruji’s prayer? It is secular. It says true religion should make us love humanity. It asks you to spread smiles on the faces of the oppressed,” a judge remarked to Sanjay. After all, Sane Guruji has an important place in the cultural history of Maharashtra – he fought to end untouchability, and even undertook a fast unto death to get the doors of the Pandharpur Vithoba temple opened to the untouchables.

“It is not secular because it invokes God” was Salve’s response. “I cannot say this prayer as it says I am a child of God whereas I am the child of my parents. I cannot be compelled to sing this prayer or be asked to revere the religious concept of Satyam Shivam Sundaram even if it invokes Truth and Beauty,” Sanjay contended.

The Division Bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Revati Mohite Dere did not agree that the prayer was religious, but found that Salve had the fundamental right not to pray and that he could not be compelled to do so. They ruled that folding of hands was not mandatory and that all of Sanjay’s increments, stopped since 2008, should be paid to him by 31 January 2014.(-do-)

7

“[i]ts importance lies in the fact that educational institutions are taking it; there young people are led to understand their surroundings and their place in history. More, the last five years have seen grave assaults on the autonomy of these institutions. The opening up of the ‘religion’ option through terms ranging from ‘humanity’ to ‘non-religious’ therefore suggests both an assertion of autonomy and the desire to encourage independent thought among students.

As one awaits how the Constitution Bench deliberates on this petition about prayer in KVs or remembers/celebrates the not so little victory of Sanjay Salve it is heartwarming to see that the spirit to give a "[f]ormal welcome tofearless thinking and freedom of belief"  is spreading. We have been witness to admission forms of some colleges from Calcutta this year providing new options under religion: humanity, secular, non-religious, atheism. Appears unbelievable!
Well, in an ambience loaded with religiosity and its increasing conflation with state, it is rather difficult to believe that some colleges may take such a creative step to convey how they see what is happening around them? No doubt it is small step but as noted by analysts it is an attempt to break/challenge the ‘construction of identity, thought and social and political space, indirectly conveying the vision of a secular and diverse India.’ 

The significance of this little step can be better understood if one looks into the fact that the elections held to the 17 th Parliament - which has returned BJP to power - have demonstrated one more thing that BJP is the ‘the most preferred party ofyoung India’ (https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/the-most-preferred-party-of-young-india/article27277454.ece) It has support cutting across caste as well as class lines. It is the same BJP which alongwith its ‘Parivar’siblings has consciously tried to conflate religion with exercise of power and has been successful in collapsing the majority faith into a rabid nationalism which targets difference and dissent and other specific groups, the ‘others’ according to its worldview.

With few hundreds or say few thousands of students seeking admission to those colleges every year being exposed to the idea of education being imparted without any compulsion to declare one’s religion, is definitely a welcome thing.

(To be published in 'Indian Journal of Secularism)


Sunday, May 5, 2019

(Critique Magazine Article ) Braving the Class Assault and Building a Better Future

An Interview With Union Organisors Khushi Ram, Jitender and Ram Nivas

(Critique Magazine Article... by on Scribd

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Reclaiming the Legacy of October Revolution in the Era of Bourgeois Hegemony



Reclaiming the Legacy of October Revolution in the Era of Bourgeois Hegemony[i]


Sanjay Kumar

 ‘When I ask why people are poor, they call me a Communist.’ Helder Camara

Two days before his execution on 23 March 1931 in Lahore Central Jailtwenty three years old Bhagat Singh asked his lawyer PremNath Mehta to bring him a biography of Lenin. According to his nephew Jagmohan Singh, the lawyer brought him the book the next day. Anecdotal evidence holds that he was reading Lenin’s biography when the prison staff came to take him to the gallows.

Though there were Communist factions in India at the time,Bhagat Singh was not a member of any one of these. His group,the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army(HSRA) came fromthe northern Indian revolutionary terrorist tradition. The manifesto of the Bharat Naujawan Sabha of Lahore, the open organization of which he was a leading member, ends with VandeMataram, a Sanskrit battle cry of savarna Hindu radicals of the Swaraj movement in Bengal. At the age of 17 years he was writing adulatory references to Veer Savarkar, the future leader of Hindu Mahasabha and the first Hindutva ideologue. However, his transition towards a radical left position is well documented. His explanation of HSRA’s political programme given to British colonial court delineates it in clear class terms, as a system without exploitation. His letter to ‘Young Political Organisers’ written from prison is a succinct and precise set of suggestions for preparation of a mass political movement along Leninist lines. 

October Revolution of 1917 was both an idea and a reality for countless left radical activists and thinkers like Bhagat Singh world over during the ‘short’ twentieth century. The literature from, and about the 1917 revolution, and Bolsheviks as its chief actors, sharpened the meaning of revolution for them. The reality and success of 1917, specifically defeating the counter revolution in thebrutal Civil War, brought revolution from the arena of speculation to immediate practical possibility.  It is perhaps a sign ofcurrent bourgeois political-ideological hegemony that most of the scholarly contributions to EPW’s special issue on October Revolution shirk away from addressing the very palpable possibility of revolutionexperienced by radicals like Bhagat Singh which was opened by the Bolshevik revolution.  Articles by Dilip Simeon (Simeon, 2017), Marcel van der Linden (Linden, 2017), and Rex A Wade (Wade, 2017), work within a liberal framework of understanding society; and despite adding new archival data and using new arguments, arrive at fairly old conclusions. Their criticism from ‘without’, fails to engage with the internal cognitive and moral world of Bolsheviks. Heterogeneous groupings of radical activists gathered around Marxist-Leninist, Maoist, or Trostkyite streamsfound definite answers to specific political questions in the Bolshevik revolution. These answers may appear dated, and incomplete, and their legacy questionable from the perspective of the current century. However, this in no way implies that the questions these answers addressed have become obsolete. The weight of the very real current bourgeois political and ideological hegemony itself makes it mandatory to confront these questions for any critical engagement with the present. In fact, it can be argued that the answers arrived at by the late nineteenth, early twentieth century revolutionary Marxists are still relevant at a meta level of understanding.

Context of a Revolutionary Understanding of Society

The questions addressed by the Bolshevik political practicehad emerged during the nineteenth and early twentieth century developments in Europe. Revolution is foremost a question of state power, and extreme, often violent, conflict between different expectations from and conceptions of this power.A revolutionary crisis may be a sign of the old regime, i.e. existing ‘exploiters ..not be(ing) able to live and rule  in the old way’(Lenin, 1920), however it does not mean that the erstwhile rulers lose their freedom to maneuver. All permutations and combinations for sharing of power between the privileged, and the not so privileged are possible. Fairytale renditions of the ‘good’ bourgeois democratic revolutions, the French Revolution of 1789, and February Revolution in Russia, present these as almost carnivalesquecelebrations of undifferentiated people’s power pushing awaymoribund, and decrepit regimes. For any serious practitioner of politics willing to learn from history, their reality was much more complex, messy and contingent. Precisely because revolutions are moments of coming together of acute but different contradictions from within an existing social dynamic, their outcomes are not given.Overdetermination of arevolutionary crisis in no way implies unique resolution. The spark for the French revolution was the refusal of aristocracy to agree to fiscal demands of an absolutist monarchy greatly indebted to the big bourgeoisie, for which it had to call Estates General. TheConstituent Assembly in 1791 would have been content with a constitutional monarchy.

For Marx and Engels, and their followers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the possibility of political revolution was stamped with the successes of counter revolution; the failure of the continental scale revolutions of 1848, andthe brutal repression of the Paris Commune in 1871 by armies of the French liberal bourgeoisie. For Bolsheviks like Lenin, the recent betrayal of revolutionary internationalism by larger European Social Democratic parties who supported their countries’ war preparations inWorld War I, was almost traumatic[ii].

The contested character and future of state power under revolutionary conditions comes out most starkly during civil wars, during which, the logic of emancipatory politics for revolutionaries gets entwined with the logic of war, i.e with the use of organized and systematic violencefor a military victoryover erstwhile rulers and their allies. Under such situations revolutionaries of the nineteenth and twentieth century, and before them the Jacobins of the French revolutions, viewed their choices not in terms of violence or nonviolence, but between revolutionary and counter revolutionary violence. The latter had the advantage ofthe tools of governance, ideological domination, and trained human power of the erstwhile rulers. It also gained by an instant transnational union of the rulers of different countries, as came out openly during the French and Russian civil wars. Nothing unties aristocracies, privileged strata, or the bourgeoisie in our times, as quickly as the threat of a revolutionary spark in any corner of the world. Revolutionaries respondedto counter-revolution by raising new forms of military organisations thatgalvanised popular appeal of the revolution’s political and social programme into a relatively egalitarian military institution: the New Model Army of Cromwell, the French army raised during the Convention period,( ‘the formidable child of the Jacobin Republic’, ‘in which formal barrack military discipline was negligible, soldiers were treated as men and the absolute rule of promotion by merit produced a simple hierarchy of courage.(Hobsbawm, 1996, p. 73)), the formidable Red Army of Russia, People’s Liberation Army of armed peasantry in China, or guerilla units in countless other revolutionary situations world over.

Already in 1850, Marx and Engels as members of the Central Authority of Communist League were deriving some important lessons from the failure of 1848 revolutions; which interestingly continue with Communist revolutionaries even after a century and a half.The first lesson was that in the face of a threat of a revolution from below, bourgeoisie have no hesitation in aligning with autocracy and reaction. Hence, the bourgeoisie cannot be counted to move for even the bourgeois democratic revolution that entails legal liberal freedoms of press, assembly, and political rights. The second lesson was that working class needs to organize itself independently, and not be led specifically by parties dominated by petit bourgeois interests of small property owners.

Political lessons derived by Communist revolutionaries from the history and practice of revolutions were embedded ina number of understandings that acted at different epistemic and practical levels. The most basic perhaps was an ontological conception of society as a conflict ridden system, riven by a fundamental contradiction between the exploiters and the exploited.Even while the dynamic of the existing social system implied continued domination of the exploiters, it also created necessary conditions for its overthrow. Revolution was both a potential actuality and a necessary goal. Hence, revolution as an idea represented both an objective process, as well an ethical good. In this conception of social history, humans do make their history but according to circumstances handed to them.

Alternativeinterpretations of October revolution are underlain with different ontological understandings of society. For instance, liberal understandings of society which assume that all lines of actions are principally open to any social actor would see the land and war policies of the Provisional Governmentof Russia between Feb to Nov 1917 as insufficient, or ‘slow to fulfill’(Wade, 2017) roused expectations of the wide strata of society.Bolsheviks in contrast saw these policies not as any failure, but precisely what followed from the interests of the bourgeoisie and opportunistic petty bourgeoisie. Liberal explanations of the failuresof the Provisional Government for them would be political apologetics.

In liberal conception of society, social order is created out of negotiated settlements between ontologically free social actors. Hence, ruptures like a revolution, or intense conflicts like civil war, are signs of political and moral failures. Specifically in the context of Russian revolution, the transition from the ‘massive disgust with war’, with immediate Peace being the major popular demand between Feb to Nov 1917, to Civil War appears as an ‘enigma’(Simeon, 2017) in a liberal framework. How could people clamouring for peace one day arm themselves for blood letting the next day? Civil war appears an enigma because an important piece of the puzzle, the armed counter revolution by social groups opposed to revolution, including their international collaborators, are missing in this understanding. As for the people, they saw no contradiction in marching for peace against an imperialist war of aggression, and defending their new found rights gained through revolution from counter revolutionary attacks.

The ontological understanding of society as riven by fundamental class conflicts was buttressed by theoretical claims. In distinction from other revolutionaries, or others before them, Communist revolutionaries saw their practice as a unique union of theoretical and practical labour. Three days after his friend’s death, Engels’ short address at Marx’s grave first took note of the theoretical achievements of ‘the man of science’ in discovering a materialist understanding of human society, and the ‘special law of motion governing the capitalist mode of production’. This however was ‘not even half the man’. Science was ‘a historically dynamic, revolutionary force’ for Marx, who ‘experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry, and in historical development in general’. The man though ‘was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society.’ For the latter, Engels recounted Marx’s central role in International Workingmen’s Association (IWMA).

Using science for solving practical problems, i.e. a union of theoretical and practical labour, is the hallmark of engineering. Even though the ideal of Enlightenment rationality is more often presented in romantic and ideological terms, its most far reaching, yet most prosaic realization is modern technology. However, certain unique features distinguish Communist revolutionary practices from any social engineering. Whereas all engineering uses established ‘laws’ of science to solve practical problems, revolutionary practice is revolutionary precisely because it attempts to change the laws governing social reality, by changing this very social reality.If ‘science’ is the lever necessary to bring about this change, the force for activating this lever was the working class movement. The image of working classes armed with the lever of the science of revolutionary practice, involved important assumptions about the nature of this social agency. The Marxist revolutionary subject is activated not by (religious) faith, or national or any other communitarian identity, or even ethical-moral commitments. It is the knowledge gained from answers to questions about the why and how of social reality that brings this subject in the arena of political struggle. As an orgnaised force this agency is guided by definite programmes of action, meant to take account of the specifics of a society. Bolshevik conception of the worker-peasant alliance, and Mao’s New Democracy were unique innovations for their time and place. The second character of working class as an agent of change, as envisioned in Communist revolutionary practice is related to its self-representation. Eventhough the working classis among the most destitute and economically weakest of population segments, its self representation is not of a victim. The beginning text of the Provisional Rules for the International Workingmen’s Association (IWMA), whichclaimsthat the ‘emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves’(Marx & Engels, 2010, p. 14), shuts the door on any sentimentality about more privileged strata ‘helping’ working classes out of their misery. This is the ‘politics of indifference’ to deprivations, and their immediate and partial alleviation, ‘that instead of focusing on the victims of abuses (of) a class divided society focuses on the abuse of class division itself’(Michaels, 2017).

Another understanding clearly articulated by Marx and Engels, and their followers was that success in a quickly unfolding revolutionary process required ideological and organizational preparation. Bolsheviks gained immense prestige among Marxist revolutionaries precisely because of their success in this regard. A global industry based on what LarsT Lih calls a ‘textbook’ interpretation of Lenin’s ‘What is to be Done?’ has long existed that has tried to show this professional revolutionary and party-centric preparation as a manifestation the anti- democratic character of the Bolshevik political practice. The central element of this Leninist core is believed to be a mistrust of the spontaneous consciousness of the working class, and the key role of a self-appointedrevolutionary intelligentsia to ‘divert’ it from its natural course towards a socialist revolutionary consciousness, i.e. to ‘direct’ it from without. Ideas of a class vanguard, and party dictatorship, etc. are believed to follow from this elemental mistrust of the working class. However, as Lih writes, ‘itis hardly an exaggeration to say that the textual basis for this portrait of Lenin is not just one book, not just one chapter in this book, not just two famousparagraphs from this chapter that are inevitably quoted, but three wordsfound in these paragraphs: ' spontaneity', ' divert', and ' from without' (oneword in Russian )’(Lih, 2008, p. 15).The bulk of the polemical text is an argument against ‘economism’, and in favour of Social Democrats to prepare themselves for a struggle around what were considered ‘bourgeois democratic’ political demands. As for a revolutionary consciousness ‘from without’, that was awell established orthodox position, first articulated by Marx and Engels and later by Kautsky, the most respected theoretician of German Social Democracy.Important points of distinction are drawn in the Communist Manifesto itself  in thesection Proletarians and Communists: ‘The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement’ (emphases added).

How can such claims be squared with the earlier deeply democratic claim that the emancipation of the working classes will be achieved by them alone?It seems hegemony is the key term on which the answer turns, even though it is not clearly articulated in the writings of Marx, or even Lenin. Hegemony of the existing modes of understandings and behaviours is the first hurdle in the path of any transformative politics, whether feminist, anti-caste, anti-race or the socialist struggle for the emancipation ofworking people. It is a fact that a significant majority of white women in the US ‘freely’ voted for a misogynist like Donald Trump. Rephrasing the Provisional Rules of IWMA quoted earlier, if a democratic feminist believes that ‘the emancipation of women must be conquered by the women themselves’, then the hegemony of patriarchy on women is the only understanding that keeps ‘optimism of the intellect’ intact, and allows for an understanding that majority of them will break this hegemony. An ‘advanced’ and ‘resolute’ Communist (or feminist) vanguard is envisaged as a practical necessity that supposedly is free from the hegemony and through its political leadership can help break the spell of hegemony. At least that was the self-perception of Communist revolutionaries.Once again,conceptions of a vanguardand hegemony would be foreign to liberal ontological understandings of society, which imagine the consciousness of all social actors to be freely self-evolved.

Confronting the Present

One hundred years after the anti-capital Bolshevik revolution, capitalism has come to dominate all aspects of human life and society. Opposition from all pre,or non capital political forces, feudal, anti-imperialist, nationalist, or socialist, has been overcome. Not only communist and socialist parties, trade unions too have collapsed. Globally the writ of capital over state finance runs unchallenged. Under the current neo liberal mode of regulation, capital has begun to transform human subjectivity at the mass scale. This perhaps might be its most far reaching, yet little appreciated change. The subjection of human productive labour to the demands of capital at work place is complete. Workers may seethe over their increased exploitation, temporary nature of their jobs, and the loss of employment,but with the decline of trade unionsthere is no site of solidarity and organizational alternative to suffering daily humiliations individually. Even deeper changes have taken place at the level of consumption. For a significant number of humans in rich economies, and professional strata of poorer countries, their immediately felt interaction with material culture as consumers is guided by satisfying wants and desires, rather than meeting necessities of life.Atomisation, fragmentation and depoliticisationis a natural consequence of the process that focuses human consciousness on the self, rather than the surroundings in which it is placed, and its commitments to this wider field(Streeck, 2017, p. 107).

Meanwhile external contradictions of capital with society and ecology, as seen in the increasingly obscene inequalities and the threat to the ecological basis of human species, are intensifying. Capital’s internal contradictions too keep on recurring in periodic crises. Mass political parties and public provision of essential services, which formed the basis of political success of bourgeois liberal democratic regimes, have atrophied. Liberal democracy is no longer a political project, but a mode of governance, pure and simple. The ascent of racist, communal and proto fascist extreme right wing is a sign of its turning into a hollowed out shell.

Revolutionary Marxism as a political programme in late nineteenth and early twentieth century had developed in response to capitalism that had not yet come to dominate society and economy. Actually in many ways, it was a critical and practical continuation of the socialist currents of the early nineteenth century Western Europe, just when capitalism was emerging with all its brutalities, and had not yet shaped society and human subjectivities in its own image. Revolutionary Marxism developed into a world scale phenomenon in the twentieth century due to certain understandings that went much beyond the limitations of the conditions of its birth. Nevertheless, these expansions too were limited to conditions of underdeveloped capitalism. Revolutionary Marxists must confront and clarify their basic understandings against the current phase of capitalism. Three of these seem most appropriate on the occasion of the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution. One, the ontological understanding of society as an objectivesystem riven by class contradictions;two, the necessity of the union of theoretical and practical labourto the practical political task of overthrowing this complex system, and three, the necessity of prior ideological and organizational preparation for the task at hand.

It is evident that as capitalism has come into its own, it is creating societies which are becoming increasingly unequal. Societies may not be congealing into the image of a simple two class formula with a pauperized proletariat on one side and a rich bourgeoisie on the other, yet it is recognized even at the mass popular level that the system basically runs for the benefit of a tiny fraction of the superrich. Objectivity of this system is felt in the form of political helplessness. Theory is the use of abstract human thinking to uncover aspects of a complex reality which are not obvious. As commodity fetishism acts to obfuscate the structure of domination inherent in capitalism, it is more than ever necessary to unite theoretical knowledge of the system with the practical task of confronting it.As for prior preparation, the bitter experience of the most recent popular upheaval, the Arab Spring, only reconfirms its necessity. Brave urban educated, largely secular youth from professional strata spearheaded the revolt. Their movement remained amorphous with only a rudimentary organization necessary to organize demonstrations. When it came to settling down to a post upsurge state in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest mass organization, much persecuted by the series of dictatorial secular regimes, emerged the winner. It should be obvious to any student of current politics, as it was to Marxist revolutionaries of earlier generations, that multiple interests do come into play at the time of crisis of a complex system, and only those forces which have ideological clarity and organization can hope to win the day.


(Sanjay Kumar teaches Physics at St Stephen’s College, Delhi)


[i]This article was written as a response to the EPW issue on the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, and submitted for the Discussion section of the journal. It was withdrawn due to lack of response from the journal.

[ii]To the socialist it is not the horrors of war that are the hardest to endure ... but the horrors of the treachery shown by the leaders of present day socialism, the horrors of the collapse of the present-day International.The European War and International Socialism (1914)  Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [197[4]], Moscow, Volume 21, pages 20-24. 

References

Hobsbawm, E. (1996). The Age of Revolution. New York: Vintage Books.
Lenin, V. I. (1920). Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder. New York: Pathfinder, pp 66-67.
Lih, L. T. (2008). Lenin Rediscovered, What is to be Done? in Context. Chicago: Haymarket Books.
Linden, M. v. (2017). Why Leninism and Bolshevism Are Not the Same. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 52, Issue no 44.
Marx, K., & Engels, F. (2010). MECW Vol 20. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Michaels, W. B. (2017). Picturing the whole: form, reform, revolution. Socialist Register, p. 324.
Simeon, D. (2017). The Bolshevik Heritage. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 52, Issue No 44.
Streeck, W. (2017). How Will Capitalism End? New Delhi: Juggernaut Books.
Wade, R. A. (2017). Revolutionary Expectations in 1917 Russia. Economic and Political Weekly, Vol 52, Issue no 44.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

क्या जनबुद्धिजीवी प्रोफेसर आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़े सलाखों के पीछे भेज दिए जाएंगे ?



जन संस्कृति मंच, दलित लेखक संघ, न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनीशिएटिव, रमणिका फाउंडेशन, साहित्य वार्ता, प्रगतिशील लेखक संघ और जनवादी लेखक संघ के प्रतिनिधियों द्वारा जारी बयान


एक आसन्न गिरफ़्तारी देश के ज़मीर पर शूल की तरह चुभती दिख रही है।

पुणे पुलिस द्वारा भीमा कोरेगांव मामले में प्रोफेसर आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़े के ख़िलाफ़ दायर एफ आई आर को खारिज करने की मांग को सर्वोच्च न्यायालय द्वारा ठुकरा दिए जाने के बाद यह स्थिति बनी है। अदालत ने उन्हें चार सप्ताह तक गिरफ़्तारी से सुरक्षा प्रदान की है और कहा है कि इस अन्तराल में वह निचली अदालत से जमानत लेने की कोशिश कर सकते हैं। इसका मतलब है कि उनके पास फरवरी के मध्य तक का समय है।

इस मामले में बाकी विद्वानोंमानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ताओं को जमानत देने से इन्कार करनेवाली निचली अदालत इस मामले में अपवाद करेगीइसकी संभावना बहुत कम बतायी जा रही है। सुधा भारद्वाज, वर्नन गोंसाल्विस, वरवर राव, गौतम नवलखा, अरुण फरेरा जैसे अनेक लेखक और मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ता सरकार के निशाने पर आ चुके हैं और इनमें से ज़्यादातर को गिरफ़्तार किया जा चुका है।
   
दलित खेत मज़दूर माता-पिता के घर जनमे और अपनी प्रतिभालगनसमर्पण और प्रतिबद्धता के ज़रिए विद्वतजगत में ही नहीं बल्कि देश के ग़रीबों-मजलूमों के हक़ों की आवाज़ बुलन्द करते हुए नयी उंचाइयों तक पहुंचे प्रोफेसर आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़े की यह आपबीती देश-दुनिया के प्रबुद्ध जनों में चिन्ता एवं क्षोभ का विषय बनी हुई है।

विश्वविख्यात विद्वानों नोम चोमस्कीप्रोफेसर कार्नेल वेस्टजां द्रेज से लेकर देश दुनिया के अग्रणी विश्वविद्यालयोंसंस्थानों से सम्बद्ध छात्रकर्मचारियों एवं अध्यापकों ने और दुनिया भर में फैले अम्बेडकरी संगठनों ने एक सुर में यह मांग की है कि पुणे पुलिस द्वारा डा आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़ेजो वरिष्ठ प्रोफेसर एवं गोवा इन्स्टिटयूट ऑफ़ मैनेजमेण्ट में बिग डाटा एनालिटिक्स के विभागाध्यक्ष हैंके ख़िलाफ़ जो मनगढंत आरोप लगाए गए हैं, उन्हें तत्काल वापस लिया जाए। जानीमानी लेखिका अरूंधती रॉय ने कहा है कि उनकी आसन्न गिरफ़्तारी एक राजनीतिक कार्रवाई होगी। यह हमारे इतिहास का एक बेहद शर्मनाक और खौफ़नाक अवसर होगा।

मालूम हो कि इस मामले में प्रोफेसर आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़े के ख़िलाफ़ प्रथम सूचना रिपोर्ट पुणे पुलिस ने पिछले साल दायर की थी और उन पर आरोप लगाए गए थे कि वह भीमा कोरेगांव संघर्ष के दो सौ साल पूरे होने पर आयोजित जनसभा के बाद हुई हिंसा के लिए जिम्मेदार हैं (जनवरी 2018)। यह वही मामला है जिसमें सरकार ने देश के चन्द अग्रणी बुद्धिजीवियों को ही निशाना बनाया हैजबकि इस प्रायोजित हिंसा को लेकर हिन्दुत्ववादी संगठनों पर एवं उनके मास्टरर्माइंडों पर हिंसा के पीड़ितों द्वारा दायर रिपोर्टों को लगभग ठंडे बस्ते में डाल दिया है।

इस मामले में दर्ज पहली प्रथम सूचना रिपोर्ट (8 जनवरी 2018) में प्रोफेसर आनन्द का नाम भी नहीं थाजिसे बिना कोई कारण स्पष्ट किए 21 अगस्त 2018 को शामिल किया गया और इसके बाद उनकी गैरमौजूदगी में उनके घर पर छापा भी डाला गयाजिसकी चारों ओर भर्त्सना हुई थी।

गौरतलब है कि जिस जनसभा के बाद हुई हिंसा के लिए उन्हें जिम्मेदार ठहराया जा रहा है, उसका आयोजन सेवानिवृत्त न्यायाधीश पी बी सावंत और न्यायमूर्ति बी जी कोलसे पाटील ने किया थाजिसमें खुद डा आनन्द शामिल भी नहीं हुए थे बल्कि अपने एक लेख में उन्होंने ऐसे प्रयासों की सीमाओं की बात की थी। उन्होंने स्पष्ट लिखा था कि भीमा कोरेगांव का मिथक उन्हीं पहचानों को मजबूत करता हैजिन्हें लांघने का वह दावा करता है। हिन्दुत्ववादी शक्तियों से लड़ने का संकल्प निश्चित ही काबिलेतारीफ हैमगर इसके लिए जिस मिथक का प्रयोग किया जा रहा है वह कुल मिला कर अनुत्पादक होगा।

मालूम हो कि पिछले साल इस गिरफ़्तारी को औचित्य प्रदान करने के सबूत’ के तौर पर पुणे पुलिस ने ‘‘कामरेड आनंद’’ को सम्बोधित कई फर्जी पत्र जारी किए। पुणे पुलिस द्वारा लगाए गए उन सभी आरोपों को डा तेलतुम्बड़े ने सप्रमाणदस्तावेजी सबूतों के साथ खारिज किया है। इसके बावजूद ये झूठे आरोप डा तेलतुम्बड़े को आतंकित करने एवं खामोश करने के लिए लगाए जाते रहे हैं। जैसा कि स्पष्ट है यूएपीए (अनलॉफुल एक्टिविटीज प्रिवेन्शन एक्ट) की धाराओं के तहत महज़ इन आरोपों के बलबूते डा तेलतुम्बड़े को सालों तक सलाखों के पीछे रखा जा सकता है।

डा आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़े की संभावित गिरफ़्तारी कई ज़रूरी मसलों को उठाती है।

दरअसल रफ़्ता-रफ़्ता दमनकारी भारतीय राज्य ने अपने-आप को निर्दोष साबित करने की बात खुद पीड़ित पर ही डाल दी है: हम सभी दोषी है जब तक हम प्रमाणित न करें कि हम निर्दोष हैं। हमारी जुबां हमसे छीन ली गयी है।

प्रोफेसर आनन्द की संभावित गिरफतारी को लेकर देश की एक जानीमानी वकील ने एक विदुषी के साथ निजी बातचीत में (scroll.inजो सवाल रखे हैंवह इस मौके पर रेखांकित करनेवाले हैं। उन्होंने पूछा है, ‘आख़िर आपराधिक दंडप्रणाली के प्राथमिक सिद्धांतों का क्या हुआआखिर क्यों अदालतें सबूतों के आकलन में बेहद एकांतिकलगभग दुराग्रही रूख अख्तियार कर  रही हैंआखिर अदालतें क्यों कह रही हैं कि अभियुक्तों को उन मामलों में भी अदालती कार्रवाइयों से गुज़रना पड़ेगा जहां वह खुद देख सकती हैं कि सबूत बहुत कमज़ोर हैंगढ़े गए हैं और झूठे हैं आखिर वे इस बात पर क्यों ज़ोर दे रही हैं कि एक लम्बीथकाउखर्चीली अदालती कार्रवाई का सामना करके ही अभियुक्त अपना निर्दोष होना साबित कर सकते हैंजबकि जुटाए गए सबूत प्रारंभिक अवस्था में ही खारिज किए जा सकते हैं ? ’

आज हम उस विरोधाभासपूर्ण स्थिति से गुजर रहे हैं कि आला अदालत को राफेल डील में कोई आपराधिकता नज़र नहीं आती जबकि उसके सामने तमाम सबूत पेश किए जा चुके हैंवहीं दूसरी तरफ वह तेलतुम्बड़े के मामले में गढ़ी हुई आपराधिकता पर मुहर लगा रही हैं। न्याय का पलड़ा फिलवक्त़ दूसरी तरफ झुकता दिखता है। इस बात को मददेनज़र रखते हुए कि अदालत ने जनतंत्र में असहमति की भूमिका को रेखांकित किया हैआखिर वह मानवाधिकार कार्यकर्ताओंबुद्धिजीवियों के लिए दूसरा पैमाना अपनाने की बात कैसे कर सकती है।

लेखकोंसंस्कृतिकर्मियोंप्रबुद्ध जनों की यह सभा इस समूचे घटनाक्रम पर गहरी चिन्ता प्रकट करती है और सरकार से यह मांग करती है कि उनके ख़िलाफ़ लगाए गए सभी फ़र्जी आरोपों को तत्काल खारिज किया जाए।

हम देश के हर संवेदनशीलप्रबुद्ध एवं इन्साफ़पसंद व्यक्ति के साथकलम के सिपाहियों एवं सृजन के क्षेत्र में तरह तरह से सक्रिय लोगों एवं समूहों के साथ इस चिन्ता को साझा भी करना चाहते हैं कि प्रोफेसर आनन्द तेलतुम्बड़ेजो जाति-वर्ग के अग्रणी विद्वान हैंजिन्होंने अपनी छब्बीस किताबों के ज़रिये - जो देश- दुनिया के अग्रणी प्रकाशनों से छपी हैंअन्य भाषाओं में अनूदित हुई हैं और सराही गयी हैं - अकादमिक जगत में ही नहीं सामाजिक-राजनीतिक हल्कों में नयी बहसों का आगाज़ किया हैजो कमेटी फ़ॉर प्रोटेक्शन आफ डेमोक्रेटिक राइट्स - जो मानवाधिकारों की हिफाजत के लिए बनी संस्था है - के सक्रिय कार्यकर्ता रहे हैजिन्होंने जनबुद्धिजीवी के तौर पर सत्ताधारियों को असहज करनेवाले सवाल पूछने से कभी गुरेज नहीं किया हैऔर जो फ़िलवक्त गोवा इन्स्टिटयूट ऑफ़ मैनेजमेण्ट में बिग डाटा एनालिटिक्स’ के विभागप्रमुख हैं और उसके पहले आई आई टी में प्रोफेसरभारत पेटोलियम कार्पोरेशन लिमिटेड के कार्यकारी निदेशक और पेट्रोनेट इंडिया के सीईओ जैसे पदों पर रहे चुके हैंक्या हम उनकी इस आसन्न गिरफतारी पर हम मौन रहेंगे!

आईएअपने मौन को तोड़ें और डा अम्बेडकर के विचारों को जन जन तक पहुंचाने में मुब्तिलाउनके विचारों को नए सिरे से व्याख्यायित करने में लगे इस जनबुद्धिजीवी के साथ खड़े हों!
 ...................
अशोक भौमिक, जन संस्कृति मंच (जसम)
हीरालाल राजस्थानी, दलित लेखक संघ (दलेस)
सुभाष गाताडे, न्यू सोशलिस्ट इनीशिएटिव
रमणिका गुप्ता, रमणिका फाउंडेशन
प्रेम सिंह, साहित्य वार्ता
अली जावेद, प्रगतिशील लेखक संघ (प्रलेस)
मुरली मनोहर प्रसाद सिंह, जनवादी लेखक संघ (जलेस)