August Print Issue
The stage was set to re-invent pedagogy. To control thought crime, to turn student into prisoners. Prisoners of authority. The intoxicated one. Intoxicated by fear of government’s surveillance of IB (Intelligence Bureau) in campus. For the first time in the history of TISS orientation, a session for new students was introduced for instilling love for animals and authority : How to treat street dogs and punishment on taking alcohol and drugs in the university campus!
Just before the commencement of this, faculty members – Ms Monica Sakhrani and Dr Sanober Keshwaar departed (ejected) from the University. Ms.Monica was part of Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, while Dr.Sanober had a history of participating in protests ranging from workers to students cause. Their methods of engaging with students and proximity were unmatched. Their ousting is a loss for institution and not for them. According to media reports, the Director claimed that the concerned department did not send the contract for renewal. However, according to sources, the faculty members did approach Director for clarification, but he refused to talk on the topic. He claimed that no faculty is indispensable. Maybe only the Director is.
Sanober was also making a draft of the teacher’s union, which is non-existent in TISS while the talk is still going on for its formation. Also, when the faculty gathered for issuing a statement in support of JNU and against Rohith Vemula’s institutional murder, she was the only one who raised the slogan at the end ‘Awaaz do hum ek hain’, while other faculties forgot that they came for a rally, which in the due process was diffused into lecture of love to the student in the presence of Director. This “rally” was also boycotted by few faculties when they heard the Director is intervening in the process. The irony is that on the occasion, the Director said we have fought a lot for freedom of expression, please try to preserve it and just before climbing up to the platform under the tree, he asked everyone to switch off the camera.
Months later when a General Body meeting was held for the new academic year to discuss the fees hike and loss of dear faculty, the Director came in uninvited and asked his favorite question “ who is your leader ?”. There were none. On question from a student that why is he getting angry (since he appeared to be)? he said don’t worry about that. I am beyond anger, fear and all that. Fortunately or unfortunately there was a student with beard who questioned his presence. And the Director said “when I was at your age I had bigger beard than you and I have read Das Capital page by page. Don’t get angry, and make noise. If you make noise, Modi ji will get angry.” The student replied that he has not read much and he has just come for discussion with his friends and asked him to leave the space.
Now, the Director started his tryst with capital and he ‘felt’ agonized by saying “TATA gives millions of dollars to Cornell University in USA and to the university which has its name, it does not. UGC has cut 46% of the fund. We are trying to become a university of national importance and then the fund will be directly sanctioned from parliament and we will not have these problems. I have four months left and I am not going anywhere till I handover my responsibility to the new Director.” he said.
Few months before, on 20 March, the Director in his concluding remark at a conference ( during his 30mins presence in the two day conference) organized by HRLN, CHRI, MARG on Legal aid argued, “ The director of TISS is not a lawyer. We know that students are going to serve capital anyway after their graduation and not poor, so let us make them do some good work, when they are here. So we are going to make a framework where we are going to invite all the VCs of National Law University(NLU) and convince them to have a network of student lawyers, who can take cases of poor, through a web application developed in UK, which will be also available in regional language. It is Keele’s University School of Law community legal outreach companion scheme (CLOCK) web system. While the TISS Legal Services Clinic a UNDP-sponsored project in collaboration with the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority hardly functions to link students with community. But the Director is sure, and nobody can ignore.
In the following month, in a meeting at Cuttack, Odisha with the NLU VCs he was the only ‘lawyer’ among all of them. He easily managed to convince them, that the virtual system is going to work. On question, how the poor is will access the internet, he said the corporate HCL is going to provide it to each and every household soon or else we will do it. On one hand, he disagrees with the world that technology and money is going to solve the problem and on other, his schizophrenic logic paves another way.
The truth remains that he is neither an obstruction nor a rebel anymore to state or corporate. He is the pawn who maintains the status quo, who will absorb the rebellion with his diplomacy. He has become a slave of what he has built in last decade: to work with state and do anger management of PM. Anyway this false line between the state and TATA is blurred. TATA is in the gutter, on pavements, on trucks, in tea, in your salt and in the iron ore under Bastar.
Old students fail to accept that he will leave in four months. They will only believe it when he is gone. For the empire (dukaan) he has built is difficult to administer without psychophant faculties who are ‘yes brahmin’ men. Their silence is their approval to continue running the dukaan with or without best of their faculties.