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Politics and campus mayhem in Kolkata varsities

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By Arka Mondal

Kolkata: West Bengal’s once-reputed educational institutions that once produced some of India’s best known faces, both leaders and scholars, are now plagued by frequent incidents of campus violence, mass copying, irregularities in admission procedures and student protests over trivial matters.

The state’s prestigious institution, Jadavpur varsity, remained the epicentre of a massive student agitation recently that led to the unprecedented step of its vice chancellor being asked to step down. The students’ movement, that had extensive reverberation with many of the Jadavpur University alumni expressing solidarity, had its roots in a demand by students for an independent probe into the alleged molestation of a female pupil. A subsequent “violent” police crackdown on the agitating students gradually snowballed, resulting in vice chancellor Abhijit Chakrabrti stepping down in the face of what he called an “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” stir initiated by “politically-affiliated” students.

Academic circles attributed the present scenario to the political leaders who are politicising

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the educational system in the state to reap their personal gain. It has become a common phenomenon among people to point finger at the party in power. Same happened with the Jadavpur University fiasco with people, including educationists, blaming political interference, especially by the ruling Trinamool, for the “anarchy”. They further claimed that the students were acquiring a tendency to agitate for “anything and everything”. Instead of pointing fingers a section of teachers and students must bear the responsibility for the crisis that has engulfed the education system, said a former vice chancellor Pradip Narayan Ghosh.

Bengal students have always been politically active, but the restiveness now seems to be going beyond limits. The problem is not only with Jadavpur, where the best goes to study, but the phenomenon is fairly widespread. Reports of students sitting on fasts or confining teachers and authorities have become too frequent.

The iconic Presidency varsity witnessed similar scenes with students resorting to a fast-unto-death demanding revocation of the clause that barred students with less than 60 percent attendance.

www.collegedunia.com
www.collegedunia.compercent attendance from contesting or voting in the student’s body polls.

It is alarming that students have become habitual agitators and the varsity authorities have to concede to the illegitimate demands of the students.

The situation is a result of the former Leftist government’s theory of using the growing restiveness of the students for its “political ambition”s, engulfing the entire education system in anarchy. And the result – the rise of right wing politics in the campus. It surely is alarming to see the ABVP gaining ground in Bengal.

What was horrific was killing of a cop during campus elections. West Bengal’s education now boasts of regular mass copying, goons becoming part of the college administration and teachers and principals working at the mercy of students.

Violence in educational campus is not a new phenomenon and happens across the world. Rather, every country has its faction of students that indulge in agitations. However, the character, nature and dimensions of violent incidents in developed countries are completely different from the violence that we witness in our educational campuses. The prime reasons of these differences are, that our attitude, value and belief system to the academic institution are absolutely asymmetrical from the western culture and belief system. Our attitude and values to the academic institution and their sanctity in student and student-teacher relationship are different.

From the days of our national movement against the colonial power, students in India had played a very significant role and came forward to take active part in the liberation struggle. Such was the aura of the students that it compelled even our national leader to unhesitatingly declare that education could be suspended for a certain period of time but national movement for freedom should be never be stopped. Politics is in our tradition since the time of our national liberation struggle.

During late 60’s and early 70’s of the last century, student politics and campus violence became synonymous with the college life in West Bengal. But from late 70’s, the violence started to haunt the state and its politics. A new type of campus politics emerged. This new type of violence comes with only one motive – to take hold of the campus.

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West Bengal Topper’s name Archisman Panigrahi Appears in Jadavpur University Merit List without Applying

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Jadavpur University
West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi tops the Jadavpur University merit list without applying to the varsity. Wikimedia

Kolkata, July 14, 2017: West Bengal Class 12 topper Archisman Panigrahi is in a unique predicament, his name tops the Jadavpur University merit list in four subjects without him ever applying to the varsity.

“I never applied to Jadavpur University but I came to know through a friend that my name figured in the top in the merit list for physics, chemistry, geology, and mathematics. The marks and birthdate were not mine,” the student said.

He said he has informed the varsity authorities.

“I have written to the dean highlighting that I had not applied and I can see my name on the top,” he said.

According to varsity vice chancellor Suranjan Das the matter will be taken up with the cyber crime department of the police. (IANS)


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Martyr’s daughter withdraws from campaign; college backs her

Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdraws her campaign against the violence at Ramjas college after being subjected to mass threats allegedly by ABVP

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Gurmehar Kaur, wikimedia commons

New Delhi, February 28: Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdrew from her social media campaign against the ABVP today after allegedly becoming the recipient of a number of threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and being badly trolled by the ruling BJP leaders.

Kaur, who is the daughter of martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, has received a lot of support from her college – the Lady Shri Ram college and her act has been termed as sensible and brave by her peers and superiors.

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In to her recent tweet, Kaur said, “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say… One thing is for sure, next time we will think twice before resorting to violence or threats and that’s all this was about.”

Kaur has also mentioned that she has been through a lot, and “this is all my 20 year self could take”.

According to PTI reports, After her withdrawal from the campaign, the DU student will not take part in any activity against ABVP members. She will also not attend a march being conducted by a group of students at the Delhi University today.

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“The campaign is about students and not about me. Please go to the march in huge numbers. Best of luck… To anyone questioning my courage and bravery.. I’ve shown more than enough,” Kaur has stated in a series of tweets.

The Lady Sri Ram college has supported Kaur saying that she is entitled to the right to express her opinion, just like everyone else.

In an official statement the college has said, “We support our student as duty of institutions is to nurture students without fear. Gurmehar has right to express her opinion and she responded sensitively, bravely. She has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen.”

Following the violent events at Ramjas college, The 20-year-old had started the campaign ‘I am not afraid of ABVP’. The campaign went viral and managed to receive a massive support from students of various universities from all over India.

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Yesterday, She had met Swati Maliwal, chief of Delhi Commission for Women and mentioned that she has been receiving a torrent of “rape threats” on social media, allegedly by ABVP members.

Terming the threats as “shameful”, Maliwal has also written to Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik with a demand that an FIR be lodged against the “abusers” and security be provided to the student and her family. Currently, Kaur and her family are being provided protection by DCW Home Guards.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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National Library in Kolkata will now house Books from Vietnam at the ‘Vietnam Corner’

The National Library in collaboration with Embassy of Vietnam in India and the committee also organised a seminar on 'Indo-Vietnam Relations: Golden Past & Nurturing For Glorious Future'

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National Library
The National Library. Wikimedia commons

Kolkata, November 05, 2016: The National Library, the largest library in the country, will now house books from Vietnam at the ‘Vietnam Corner’, which was inaugurated on Friday and is the first such corner to be set up by a foreign country in the library.

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“For the first time in India books from Vietnam are available. The Vietnam Corner is the first such corner to be set up by a foreign country in the National Library,” Geetesh Sharma, President of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee said.

“It has been patronised by government of Vietnam. They will supply the books for readers and research scholars. This will strengthen people to people interaction between the nations,” said Sharma.

A Vietnam Corner was also inaugurated at Jadavpur University. The Solidarity Committee will supply the books at the varsity.

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The National Library in collaboration with Embassy of Vietnam in India and the committee also organised a seminar on ‘Indo-Vietnam Relations: Golden Past & Nurturing For Glorious Future’.

The book “Da Nang: The City of Wonders” by Sharma was released on the occasion.

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Tran Quang Tuyen, Minister, Deputy Chief of the Vietnam Embassy in India was the chief guest while Arun Kumar Chakraborty, Director General, National Library presided over the function. (IANS)