By The New School University, New York:
We, the undersigned, students, faculty, alumni, and staff at the New School University, New York, stand in solidarity with the students, staff, and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in their protests against the militarization of the campus and suppression of dissent by anti-democratic and divisive Hindu nationalist groups allied with the Modi government.
We condemn the arrest and detention of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, the criminalization of peaceful demonstration and healthy debate through the use of anti-democratic sedition laws, and the surveillance, intimidation, harassment of and outright brutality and use of force against members of the JNU community.
We condemn the Modi administration’s part in the complex of factors that led Ph.D. student Rohith Vemula to decide to end his life; we condemn the use of party machinery to expel and intimidate minority and marginalized students who are already underrepresented and face constant discrimination in an Indian university system that largely maintains and consolidates the power of upper caste Hindu elites; we condemn the blatant complicity of the police and mainstream media and the inflammatory statements made by Arnab Goswami, among others; and we condemn this latest attack on academia that the state has also opportunistically used to draw attention away from Dalit struggle on campuses and its part in expelling Rohith Vemula.
We affirm a shared transnational struggle to bring to light and address long legacies of colonialism, marginalization and erasure in our scholarship, institutions, and communities. We find the Indian government’s use of colonial-era sedition laws deeply disturbing, and its use of anti-colonial rhetoric to demonize progressive politics manifestly hypocritical.
Recent statements by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Education Smriti Irani are indicative of the fundamental opposition of the current regime to free thought and expression, and show the degree to which BJP politicians enjoy impunity for their part in the systematic suppression of dissent that the Modi administration and its associated complex of Hindu nationalist organizations has carried out since its rise to power. Student protests have been quashed, forestalled, and criminalized through the use of every tactic possible. ABVP chapters across campuses have orchestrated a concerted campaign of intimidation, aided by massive police complicity and the full support of state, police and media, to suppress talks, film screenings, and peaceful demonstrations, threaten and harass students, faculty and staff, and start smear campaigns condoning and inciting the use of violence against scholars deemed “anti-national”. The Modi government routinely targets scholars already made vulnerable by multiple axes of marginalization, seeking to silence their dissent at the expense of their safety and their lives.
The Modi government seeks to criminalize any disagreement with India’s undemocratic actions as “anti-national”. This “anti-nationalism” can only have meaning in relation to an imagined nation that is, at its core, fascist. Such a nation equates the peaceful expression of dissent with violence in order to justify its own brute force, creating a cycle that has no hope of ending when every avenue of democratic accountability is being systematically infiltrated or removed.
As members of a university that was founded on exile and resistance to fascism and that shares with JNU a fundamental commitment to justice, we stand with the courageous and inspiring protests at JNU and call on scholars and allies everywhere to do the same.
[su_spoiler title=”Signatories” icon=”arrow”]Jasveen Sarna, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
Sabrina Garity, MFA Creative Writing Non Fiction
Melissa Guerrero, Eugene Lang College
Luis Herran Avila, PhD, Politics and History, The New School For Social Research
Joshua Lacle, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
Tamara Oyola-Santiago, Wellness and Health Promotion
Ana Miljak, BA Literary Studies, Eugene Lang College
Andrew P. Tucker, Design & Urban Ecologies
Evangeline Scazzero, Journalism+Design Junior, Eugene Lang College
Ryan Khosravi, BA, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
Masoom Moitra, Student Co- Chair, Social Justice Committee, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design
As a co-chair of the Social Justice Committee at The New School, I strongly condemn these actions. They not only have a grave impact on the lives of students who have directly been targeted by the government, they have a long-term impact on the future of institutions that are supposed to nurture and cultivate lovingly, the minds of students in the country. This is a massive betrayal. The concept of ‘sedition’ is obsolete and must be destroyed! This is an insult to the idea of a democracy!
Geeti Das, PhD Candidate, Politics, The New School For Social Research
The attacks on Rohith Vemula, MM Kalburgi, Kanhaiya Kumar, FTII, and JNU are the actions of those who respond to their own fear by trying to create it in others. No student should find themselves left with only the hope of “knowing other worlds” because the one in which they find themselves so devalues their brilliance and their humanity. A just and democratic society can have no reason to meet peaceful dissent with brute force.
Nihira Ram, Freshman, Eugene Lang College
Kumar Kartik Amarnath, MS, Design and Urban Ecologies; School of Design Strategies; Parsons School of Design
Jamie Piper, Screen Studies, Eugene Lang College, Sophomore
Aliyah Hakim, BA, Theater, Eugene Lang College
Mariana Bomtempo, School of Design Strategies
Gamar Markarian, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons
Sascia Bailer, MA Theories of Urban Practice, Parsons
Nicholas Allanach, Dir. of Academic Operations (& alumnus, 2006)
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Kelsey Podaras, Eugene Lang College
Adriana Herrera Perhamus, BA Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College
Silvia Resende Xavier, MS Design and Urban Ecologies, School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design
chris crews, Politics, New School for Social Research
An attack against one is an attack against all.
Katyayani Dalmia, PhD Candidate, Anthropology, New School for Social Research
FaDi Shayya, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
J. Ricky Price, PhD Candidate Politics, New School for Social Research
E Condon, BA/BFA dance/fine arts
oona sullivan, BA, Psychology, Eugene Lang College
Suhyun Choi, Fine Arts, Parsons School of Design
Rachel Heiman, Associate Professor of Anthropology
Horace Charles, Administrative Assistant, English Language Studies, NSPE (BA, 2015)
Luis L., Philosophy
Margarita Velasco, Politics, New School for Social Research (2008)
Daniel Younessi, PhD
Jawied Nawabi, MA in Economics (2008) and Ph.D in Sociology (2014)
Lopamudra Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, New School for Social Research
Marielle Tejada Taveras, Sociology/Global Studies
Rishabh Kumar, PhD Economics, New School for Social Research
Tait Mandler, Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons
Kieran Gannon, MA, Theories of Urban Practice
Jasmine Rault, Assistant Professor, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College, The New School
Alexandria Eisenbarth, Ph.D., Economics, New School for Social Research
H Howell Williams, PhD candidate, New School for Social Research, Politics
Brandon Fischer, Staff – SPE – GLUE (alumnus, 2015)
Chelsea Ebin, PhD Politics, New School for Social Research
Joel de Lara, Philosophy
Issachar Curbeon Dieng, Global Studies
Johanna Oksala, Visiting Professor, Department of Politics, The New School for Social Research
Blair Bainbridge, MA, Anthropology
Samuel Miller, MA
Tamara Alvarez Fernandez, PhD Anthropology, New School for Social Research
Cagla Orpen, PhD student in Politics and History, New School for Social Research
Kevin Aportela-Flores, MA, Politics
Soheil Asefi, Graduate student, Politics department, and Independent journalist and scholar at The New School for Social Research
Michael Isaacson, Economics
Alix Jansen, MA Politics, New School for Social Research
Ilker Aslantepe, PhD, Economics, New School for Social Research
Jackie Vimo, PhD Candidate, Politics, New School for Social Research
Eli Nadeau, MA candidate, Politics 2016, MFA Creative Writing, 2013
Alexandra Délano, Assistant Professor of Global Studies
Susan Austin, Staff
Franziska König-Paratore, PhD
Eli Lichtenstein, MA in Philosophy
Greig Roselli, MA, Philosophy, New School for Social Research
Alex Altonji, MA Philosophy (2015)
Ramaa Vasudevan, Visiting Scholar
Sara Shroff, Phd Candidate, New School for Public Engagement
Veronica Sousa, MA, Anthropology
Julienne Obadia, Doctoral Candidate
Christopher DellaCamera, Journalism
Katherine Moos, PhD Student
Amanda Zadorian, Ph.D. Candidate, Politics, NSSR
Micha Steinwachs, BA (2015)
George Fisher, Part-time faculty, Mannes School of Music
The right to peaceful dissent without punishment or harassment should belong to all people in civilized society.
Rhea Rahman, PhD Candidate
Rachel Knopf Shey, Assistant Director Wellness and Health promotion, Student Health Services
Jonathan Bach, Associate Professor
Kemi Soyeju, M.A. Psychology
Douglas de Toledo Piza, PhD student, Sociology, New School for Social Research[/su_spoiler]
Featured image for representation only.