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November 1, 2012

jawaharlal nehru university: take a left

members of jawaharlal nehru university students union (jnusu) have been on a hunger strike to persuade the university administration to make changes and undo some as well on how certain things should be run. the four “major demands” include reduction of viva-voice marks from 30 per cent to 10-15 per cent, increasing the amount of merit-cum-means scholarship meant for students from economically weaker sections, assigning grace marks for minority students and changing the 2011 decision of holding separate entrance exams for integrated courses in the school of languages. “there are instances where the student is not good in spoken english, and in viva-voce the student is marked less despite having adequate knowledge about the subject,” says a union member.

the union is led by the all-india students association (aisa), which won three of four posts in the recently-held jnusu elections. aisa is said to be radical left, which suits jnu, where for ages leftist ideology has been lingering about every nook and corner of the campus.

an easily noticeable difference between the student politics of jnu and delhi university (du) is the polarisation of two types of conduct – ideology in jnu, which has much to do with brains, and brawn in du, which is about muscle flexing and perhaps, money. the battle in jnu has traditionally been among left leaning student parties, while in du the congress’ national students union of india locks horns with the bjp’s akhil bharatiya vidhyarthi parishad – a prestige issue for both parent parties.  

jnu's main cafeteria.

this bucket is the perfect metaphor for the strangely quiet campus, for one never know when something would stir up.

jnu faced an interesting problem recently. a section of students had announced a ‘beef food festival’ on the campus, triggering opposition from the bjp and its student wing, abvp. university authorities did not allow the festival to be held on the campus. a member of the 'new materialists' – the group behind the idea – says the festival was “an assertion to retain food rights in a multicultural country.”

“the right wing forces in the country have always given a 'vegetarian impression' when it comes to the country's food culture. this festival is in a way to challenge the bramanical idea of what kind of food to be consumed. there is a section of people who are used to eating beef and pork, it is a part of their culture,” premjish, member of new materialists, told deccan herald.

while left-leaning student groups saw the festival as a celebration of the individual’s right to eat ‘taboo food’ without shame or fear, right-wing student union abvp had warned of repercussions if the festival was allowed. under the prohibition of cow slaughter act, there is a provision for five years of imprisonment and rs 10,000 fine for storing or serving beef.

according to new materialists members, one of the JNU canteens in the 1990s used to serve beef on saturdays, but it was shut down after bjp came to power.

it is going to take a while for the jnu administration to shake the left hand. and it may take forever for both sides to say loud and clear, "good enough, good enough". until then somebody's always got issues.

images treated with cross-processing option 2 in lightroom 3

highly recommended: 
1) jnu internation food festival 1 by journey basket
2) jnu international food festival 2 by journey basket
4) (on pork) it’s time to go the whole hog -- by vir sanghvi
5) a slice of history -- the times of india on bangalore ham shop
6) khub chand by journey basket
7) human development and other holy cows -- by sajan venniyoor

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equipment: canon eos 7d, canon powershot g12 software: adobe lightroom 5 images hosted on picasa web albums, link available on request all rights reserved


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