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- 46 Academics have put forward a petition highlighting the rot that has set in in the Indian Academia in the aftermath of the tragic suicide of Rohit Vemula at Hyderabad Central University on January 17, 2016.
- The petitioners allege that a new brand of scholarship has emerged in the last decade, that has converted academic scenario into a political war-zone.
- The petitioners have urged the Indian academic community to save the Academia from such scholarship promoting hate and discord in the society
- The petition can be accessed here
Here is the Open Statement by concerned Academics on the tragic happenings at Hyderabad Central University and the rot in Indian academia that it has exposed:
Save Indian Academia from the scholarship of hate and anger
The tragic death of a young research scholar of the University of Hyderabad is deeply regrettable. We sincerely hope that this sad death, which has drawn so much national and international attention, makes the teachers and administrators in our institutions of higher learning adopt a more caring and concerned attitudes towards their wards, so that no more brilliant young lives are wasted in this manner.
This tragic death has brought forth the rot that has set-in in the Indian academia in general, and particularly in our premier schools and institutions of learning. Over the last ten or fifteen years, a new brand of scholarship have transformed the meaning of high academics in such a manner as to convert our high institutions of learning into some kind of war zones. The avowed purpose of this scholarship is not to understand, to analyse, to empathise with the Society around and to create possibilities of invigorating it with new ideas and meanings, but to abuse, ridicule, distort and destroy.
Such scholars have not only come to dominate the social science faculties of our institutions, but their peers have also managed to occupy high positions of power in the various Councils and Commissions that govern and guide the Indian academia. Consequently, several new disciplines, departments, centers and chairs, etc., have been created in many premier institutions of higher learning with the explicit intention of unraveling the fabric of Indian society and creating discord and dissension within it. The University of Hyderabad itself has a multiplicity of such centers, engaged in different aspects of what they call “exclusion studies”.
Under the influence of such scholars and their peers in the higher echelons of academic governance, the young scholars joining these institutions are being led astray. They are being taught the language of anger, abuse and discord instead of that of sobriety, reflection and harmony, which is the essence of all genuine scholarship. They are being forced to fight the ideological war that their angry teachers and mentors have chosen to wage on the Indian society.
More than the alleged caste discrimination, the tragic death at the University of Hyderabad is the consequence of this deep distortion of the academic atmosphere of the campuses. The young, innocent and often poor students entering the campuses are seen as fodder in the ideological war of their mentors; they are taught to hate and angrily agitate rather than soberly read, learn and comprehend. In the celebrated suicide note of the scholar of Hyderabad University, this conflict of a young boy, who joined the University to become a scholar and was made an agitator instead, is reflected even more strongly than the “accident of birth” that has been highlighted.
The atmosphere of discord and discontent that has been created in the campuses has led to several suicides in the past. The death of the University of Hyderabad scholar is not the first that has happened there and in other premier Institutions, nor will it be the last unless the atmosphere in our campuses is radically corrected.
It is indeed surprising that several Indian and foreign scholars, instead of reflecting on the sad state to which they have reduced scholarship in India, have brazenly affirmed that the kind of discordant atmosphere that has led to this tragic death is what the Universities in India must support and nurture; and that inculcating such anger and hate, and not sober serious scholarship, is the proper business of academia.
We condemn the attempt to use the tragic death of a young scholar to further distort the academic atmosphere in India. We call upon the academic community and its leaders and governors to:
1. Act swiftly to save the Indian academia from the clutches of this new brand of academics in the University faculties and their peers in the higher academic governance of India. The people at the helm of affairs in the higher governing bodies of Indian academia have remained largely unchanged. These persons in position of authority have continued to further vitiate the atmosphere in our institutions of higher learning.
2. Protect the academia from the on-going political and ideological warfare by strongly discouraging angry agitational ways of the teachers and students on the campuses.
3. Moderate and restrain the voices of anger, abuse and discord on the campuses at least as strongly as these are in the society outside. The angry academics entrenched in these institutions must not be allowed to continue their ideological wars in the name of academic autonomy.
4. Initiate a comprehensive review of the direction that the social sciences have taken in India, audit the academic work done in the major institutions of learning during the last ten years, and explore ways of inculcating an atmosphere of sobriety, harmony and serious scholarship in these institutions.
This Statement is issued on behalf of the following scholars, teachers and researchers:
- Dr. J. K. Bajaj, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai and Delhi
2. Prof. M. D. Srinivas, Centre for Policy Studies; Member ICHR; Formerly, Professor of Theoretical Physics University of Madras, Chennai
3. Prof. Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies; Editor, Manushi
4. Prof. Shreepad Karmalkar, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
5. Prof. Sunil Kumar, Professor, Thomas G. Pine Faculty Fellow and Director, Multimedia & Wireless Networks Research Group, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
6. Prof. Vipin Chaturvedi, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA USA
7. Pro. Mohan Lal chhipa, Vice Chancellor, Atal Bihari Vajpayi Hindi Vishwavidhyalay, Bhopal
8. Prof. Kapil Kapoor Chancellor, MGAHV, Wardha Formerly, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, JNU
9. Professor Santishree D. Pandit, Department of Politics and Public-Administration, Savitribai Phule University, Pune
10. Prof. Ashok Kapoor, Former Professor, School of Physics, University of Hyderabad; Currently, Visiting Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Bhubaneswar
11. Sri Banwari, Formerly, Editor, Janssatta
12. Prof. M. S. Sriram, Formerly, Professor and Head, Department of Theoretical Physics University of Madras, Chennai
13. Prof. Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Professor, Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras
14. Prof. Kanchi Gopinathan, Professor, Computer Science & Automation Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
15. Prof. Yashwant Pathak, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, College of Pharmacy University of South Florida Health, Tampa, FL, USA
16. Prof. Devendra Jalihal, Professor, Dept of Electrical Engineering Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai
17. Dr. Satish K. Sharma, Senior Member IEEE; Professor and Director Antenna & Microwave Lab (AML), Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, San Diego State University, San Diego CA USA
18. Makrand R. Paranjpe, Professor of English, Jawaharlal Nehru University
19. Professor Aswhini Mohapatra, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
20. Professor V. Varadharajan, Formerly, Professor of Economics Vivekananda College, Chennai
21. Dr S N Sharan, Professor & Director, School of Electrical, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Manipal University, Jaipur
22. Prof. R. Vaidyanathan, Professor of Finance, IIM Bangalore
23. Prof. Daya Nath Tripathi, Department of History, Archaeology and Culture Gorakhpur University; Former, Chairman, ICHR
24. Dr. Gautam Sen, Former Faculty, London School of Economics and Politics
25. Michel Danino, Guest Professor, IIT Gandhinagar Member, ICHR
26. Dr. Inder Mohan Kapahy, Former Professor of Physics Delhi University, Delhi
27. Prof. Edamana Prasad, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, Chennai
28. Dr. Rajni Garg, Research Professor, Computational Science Research Center San Diego State University, San Diego
29. Prof. G. Gopal Reddy, Department of Political Science Osmania University, Hyderabad
30. Dr. P. Kanagasabapathi, Professor, School of Management SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu
31. Prof. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Professor of Political Science, Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut
32. Prof. Mohan Kashikar, Professor of Political Science and HOD RTM Nagpur University
33. Prof. K. K. Mishra, Professor of Politial Science Banaras Hindu University
34. R C Jain, Professor and Head, Electronics & Communication Engineering Department, Jaypee Institute of Information Technology, NOIDA
35. Dr. P. Madurai Veeran, Department of Public Administration Presidency College, Chennai
36. Sarma L. Rani, Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering University of Alabama in Huntsville
37. Dr. Mahaveer K. Jain, Associate Professor, Physics Department, IIT Madras, Chennai
38. Dr. Karam Veer Arya, ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management, Gwalior
39. Prof. T. Pradeep, Institute Professor and Professor of Chemistry Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai
40. Dr. Ram Subramanian, Department of HSS IIT Mumbai
41. Prof. R. Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, Chennai.
42. Dr. Anil Kumar Gourishetty, Assistant Professor in Physics, IIT Roorkee
43. Dr. K. V. S. Shiv Chaitanya, BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus, Hyderabad, India
44. Prof. Sushma Yadav, Chair Professor, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Chair In Social Justice, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi
45. Prof. Sharadindu Mukherjee, Member ICHR and former Professor of History, Delhi University.
46. Prof. Ved Nanda, Thompson G. Marsh Professor of Law, University of Denver, USA
NewsGram view: The recent happenings in the Indian Academia, especially, the politics played over the suicide of Rohit Vemula and the anti-national sloganeering in the JNU, have clearly exposed the politicization of the Indian Academia, especially carried out by the regressive Left. The atmosphere of politics in general, of anger, hate, and anti-national sentiments in particular are not conductive for imparting education to students. It is high time that the rot in the Academia is cleaned and a calm and conductive environment for learning is established.
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021