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‘Violence In The Name Of Nation Is A Big Concern’: Students And Alumni Of Ramjas

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Editor’s Note: On February 21, members of Akhil Bhartiya Vidya Parishad were accused of using violent means to stop an event on the “Culture of Protests” to take place in Ramjas College since they thought that the organisers of the event had invited “anti-nationalists” to the event. The next day, students of the college organised a protest to retaliate use of violence among other forms of intimidation by members of ABVP. This too was disrupted by members of the Parishad. Various proofs in the form of first-person accounts, pictures and videos of ABVP members physically and verbally assaulting protesters throughout the day in North Campus have surfaced since then. The police has been accused of doing nothing while this was happening and the FIR lodged against members of the party allegedly had distorted facts.

Students from across the country, and even from outside the country, are standing in solidarity with students of Ramjas. Read the statement of solidarity penned by alumni of the college along with the Ramjas SU’s statement here:


Nostalgia is made of more than just happiness. It is sulphurous too.

To many who spent three or more years of their life in Ramjas College, visuals of violence in and around it on 21 and 22 February 2017 have been a source of deep, personal shock. The footpath and the areas adjoining the college gate were often sites of lingering conversations between friends, offering moments of respite from studies, tensions accruing from impending exams or relief to those who had just accomplished a hectic ECA festival and were there catching up their breath or exhaling smoke.

The ABVP struck twice, once attacking the college Seminar Room and then coming back the second day to attack students. In the hundredth year of Ramjas’ establishment, a college founded at a time when protest was an active ideal for most Indians, this singular episode of planned, institutional violence against students and teachers is a grim reminder of the brute silencing of interrogation, peaceful protest, dialogue and dissent being normalised across our colleges and universities, and in our society at large. The audacity with which these perpetrators and their ideologues brand entire institutions and diverse communities of students and academics as anti-national—and therefore fit recipients for their brute censure—also gives the lie to the intellectual and effective bankruptcy of a rapidly emergent cultural orientation premised on simplistic binaries of good and bad, right and wrong, national and anti-national. In a society—and nation—whose ideals are peace, dialogue, and inclusion, these attacks on students and teachers point to the deep ideological rot in the perpetrators’ conception of nation, nationality and nationalism.

As an alumnus of Ramjas College, I cherish the right to self-determination and open debate. I feel outraged that the students’ and faculties’ right to decide what discussion to hold and whom to invite for it within college premises was usurped in this manner. It is disturbing that this violence rippled across the campus as it were, with students being followed, identified and harassed in their personal spaces for having asserted their right to listen to discussions on Bastar and for not bowing down to bodily attacks perpetrated through stones and fisticuffs by members of the ABVP and their affiliates.

Most alumni like me are invested in our respective professions, but the foundations of study and work were laid for us by Ramjas’ teachers and the college’s vibrant culture of extra-curricular instruction. This experience has proved fundamental to our engagement with our immediate workspaces, surroundings, power structures, and our nation. Denying current and future students their right to freely and openly debate issues of their choice in fora of their choice is tantamount to denial of a basic academic right. Threatening and manhandling academicians guided by the spirit of enquiry towards a generation of dialogue will prove detrimental to the quality of collegiate education in our nation. We collectively issue the following statement of solidarity with Ramjas’ students and teachers in this moment of crisis:

As alumni of Ramjas College we, the undersigned, wish to publicly state on record the following:

Ramjas College has for long been characterised by open debate, free thinking, and healthy interrogation of social and cultural norms in the best traditions of the liberal arts and collegiate education. We support all students and faculty of Ramjas College in light of the unprovoked violence unleashed against them by alleged members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Delhi University Students’ Union on 21 and 22 February 2017.

We strongly and unequivocally condemn the actions of these organisations and persons threatening the democratic and inclusive spaces of our alma mater. The upward spiral of violence in our colleges and universities in the name of nation and culture is a matter of utmost concern: we are extremely disturbed by the failure of the state and of government functionaries to quell such violence.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Ramjas College and its faculty for all that we are today: the scope and space to think and feel freely and fearlessly; to evaluate for ourselves the truths of society and nation; and the constant encouragement to exceed our limitations and excel in pursuit of economic and cultural inclusivity and the right to self-determination for all.

Some of us were office bearers and members of the Ramjas College Literary Society, a unique organisation actively committed to nurturing critical thinking amongst students. We feel proud to have been part of this organisation and vouch our complete support to our teachers and juniors for courageously carrying forward this interrogative tradition in these times of crisis.

Colleges and universities need to have the financial, administrative, and intellectual autonomy to be powerhouses of open and untrammelled exchange of ideas. We urge relevant authorities in Ramjas College, the University of Delhi, and the Delhi Police to take strict legal action against those members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Delhi University Students’ Union who have manhandled faculty and students and destroyed public property in the name of nationalism and Indian culture.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_tta_accordion active_section=”5″ collapsible_all=”true”][vc_tta_section title=”Signatories” tab_id=”1519108455860-1125e036-0ea6″][vc_column_text]Anubhav Pradhan, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Ishaan Mital, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Abhishek Ranjan Datta, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
Sonia Wigh, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2010)
Kriti Sharma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Sandipon Choudhury, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Rhea Srivastava, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Mihir Vatsa, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012); M.A. English (Batch of 2014)
Rohan Panjiar, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2010)
Varun Wighmal, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2013)
Sanmitra Ghosh, M.A. History (Batch of 2014)
Samarth Chandola, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Prashaste Sinha, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Meenakshi Bhattacharya, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Ananya Borgohain, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Manu Pande, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Rahul Mishra, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Nirbhay Bhogal, B.A. (Hons) History (registered 2007)
Safwan Amir, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010); General Secretary, Ramjas College Students’ Union (2008-09)
Anirban de Munshi, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Geetika Sinha, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Riddhi Sharma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2008)
Jyotishman Kalita, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
K. Ammu Sanyal, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2010)
Apoorva Joshi, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Arpita Sarkar, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Srija Singh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Martand Badoni, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Nairita Ganguli, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Palak Taneja, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Baljeet Kaur, B.Sc. (Hons) Zoology (Batch of 2016)
Venus Anand, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Siddharth Upasani, B.A. (Hons) Economics (Batch of 2011)
Abhilasha Verma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Ridhi Negi, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Ria Narayanan, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Noel Sengupta, B.Sc. (Hons) Botany (Batch of 2016)
Krispa Ningombam, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Eeshaan Tiwary, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2011)
Jonathan George, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Rishabh Jain, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Natalidita Ningthoukhongjam, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2008); M.A. English (Batch of 2012)
Shyamalima Kalita, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Mayoura Chatta, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Uplaksh Kochhar, B.Com (P) (Batch of 2013)
Angshuman Choudhury, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2014)
Ramneek Kaur, B.Sc. Life Sciences (Batch of 2014)
Avrati Bhatnagar, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
Kshitij Mervin Ekka, B.Com (Hons) (Batch of 2015)
Abhinav Kakkar, B.Com (Hons) (Batch of 2013)
Aasifa Sheikh, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Anchal Kandpal, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Disha Arora, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Daisy Salam, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Shresth Rajawat, B.Sc. (Prog) (Batch of 2013)
Tapasya Narang, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Sameer Selvam, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2011)
Shiva R. Boro, B.Com (Hons) (Batch of 2010)
Shyama Gupta, B.Sc. (Hons) Statistics (Batch of 2014)
Bijit Sinha, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Sandeep Kumar Verma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2008)
Ratana Sambhav, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Tanushri Upadhyay, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2013)
Sankalp Gehlawat, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Anjali Thakur, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Abantica Das, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Rachit Raj, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Kinshu Dang, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Shafique Shahi, B.Com (Hons) (Batch of 2010)
Zingjar Vashim, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Ritu Narang Falak Fatima, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Anmol Ahuja, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
Aparna Agarwal, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Chitranshu Tiwari, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Antara Rai Chowdhury, B.A. (Hons) Economics (Batch of 2010)
Akansha Verma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Abhija Ghosh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2008); M.A. English (Batch of 2010)
Siddhartha Pandey, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2008)
Aliza Bakht, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Surabhi Goel, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Kaustav Bhattacharya (Batch of 2010)
Saumya Jakhmola, B.Sc. (Hons) Mathematics (Batch of 2016)
Dhruba Basu, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Keshav Moodliar, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Gopal Verma, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2013)
Ajatika Singh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Olimpika Ojha, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Hreedish Kakoty, B.Sc. (Hons) Physics (Batch of 2012)
Sunandini Seth, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Rashi Singh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Ridham Gambhir, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Tuman Baruah, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2012)
Sania Hashmi, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Avishek Ghosh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2010)
Shah Usman, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
Visalam Narayanan, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009)
Sanchi Budhiraja, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Namra Zahid, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Misha Maitreyi, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2014)
Kunal Chauhan, B.A. (Hons) History (Batch of 2016)
Sakshi Jacob, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Deepak Chouhan, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Preety Queen Sinam, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Srijan Upadhyay, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Shrishti Chakraborti, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Sakhi Upadhyaya, B.A. (Hons) Economics (Batch of 2016)
Pratibha Kumari, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2012)
Malvika, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Nisha Jha, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Megha Singh, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Ishan Sharma, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Taniya Moin, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Gurpreet Kaur, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Nikita Sinha, B.Sc. (Hons) Statistics (Batch of 2012)
Prerna Chauhan, M.A. English (Batch of 2017)
Komal Anand, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Sagar Khemani, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Nandini Nag, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Ankit Bansal, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Varun Sinha, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2012)
Vidhi Agarwal, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2013)
Muhammed Suhail, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2014)
Ipshita Guha, B.A. (Hons) Economics (Batch of 2012)
Adeel Ahmed, B.A. (Hons) Political Science (Batch of 2008)
Abhijeet Phartiyal, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2009); M.A. English (Batch of 2014)
Vibhuti Aggarwal, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Mohd Farhan, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Raja Rabbi Hussain (Batch of 2009)
Gaurav Diwedi (Batch of 2009)
Taiyaba Ali, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2016)
Dharitri Gogoi, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2011)
Jyotsana Yadav, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)
Mishika Chauhan, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2014)
Antara Vijay, B.A. (Hons) English (Batch of 2015)[/su_spoiler]

The Student Union of Ramjas has also released a statement saying that while they condemn the violence that took place in the university, they oppose the “presence” of “anti-national” personalities in the college:

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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