Adobe Spark 36

SOCIAL discrimination is one of the basic divisions in Indian society since historical times. In India, there are a wide range of socially excluded groups, currently recognised by the state under the categories such as SCs, STs, Other Backward Classes and minorities, who experience discrimination and abuses in everyday life. Deprivation of people is a result of process whereby certain individuals are pushed to the edge of society and prevented from participating fully by virtue of their poverty, or lack of basic competencies and lifelong learning opportunities, or as a result of discrimination. They have little access to power and decision-making bodies and thus often feel powerless and unable to take control over the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.

This process of social exclusion which had deprived sections of society is the result of monopoly where certain sections (upper caste) keep other sections (lower caste) out of the social functioning. In Indian society, the process of deprivation has been institutionalised by religious beliefs and the structure of caste system. Caste is a reality which has deprived majority of the masses from their basic rights. Deprived castes were economically and socially discriminated by the upper castes which own the means of production and resources. The upper castes have used religious sanctions to operate their oppression on the lower castes.

For improvement of the status of deprived castes and for social inclusion, it is important to address a combination of issues that include income inequality, education, skill levels, housing affordability, health inequalities and work–life balance and access to land. Equal opportunities in education and employment are most crucial for breaking the clause of caste oppression and bringing lower castes into the mainstream process of development. It is also conceived as a way to bring financial uplift (through employment) for those who are excluded and subsequently they can improve their social status. Though it is a fact that only economic upliftment alone cannot fight the caste, access to resources and employment opportunity still can break the hurdles in a big way.

Various researches show that the influence of caste, religion, sex and place of birth is high in range with regard to employment opportunities. Due to this reason, reservation in employment becomes even more important for deprived sections.

The reservation policy in employment was never implemented wholeheartedly as reflected by the existing backlogs in various departments especially for top posts, still we have to acknowledge the fact that reservation in employment has actually played a crucial role in the process of advancement of the dalits. Due to reservation, the share of dalits in various government and semi-government services have increased substantially in all the groups or classes during the last six decades.

But now under the regime of neoliberal economic policies the impact of reservation in public sector is reduced. The policy of liberalisation and privatisation has reduced the number of employment opportunities which in turn reduced the job opportunities for the underprivileged sections, especially dalits and tribals, in government services and public sector undertakings. The governments at the Centre and in the states have imposed restrictions on creation of new posts and new appointments for a long period. Moreover, the governments are now interested to make appointment on an ad-hoc or contract basis instead of regular basis. The question of reservation roster is not followed in this ad-hoc or contractual appointments, both in the higher and lower level of posts. Ad-hoc or contractual appointment will no doubt harshly affect the provisions of reservation and the interests of the dalits in respect of services. The situation becomes more complicated owing to the abolition of thousands of posts arbitrarily by the government.

To add to this miserly employment opportunity in public sector, many government industries and public sector enterprises have already been sold off through various forms of disinvestment and privatisation. There are more efforts by the present government to even surrender the high profit making infrastructural public sector undertakings which are called ‘Navaratnas’ to private agencies. It is already in the process to privatise the largest employer in India, Indian railways. Air India is on the platter for private houses.

Clearly, employment opportunities in the public sector are continuously shrinking, whereas it is increasing in private sector. This is another factor that the present private sector is also facing jobless growth. Private sector does not follow any kind of reservation policy for recruitment. In this condition, there is no meaning of reservation in public sector when no or very less job opportunities are there.

As far as private sector is concerned which is totally controlled by market forces, it is largely owned by the upper caste entrepreneurs. Caste and gender disparities are there in all enterprises of private sector. The share of SC-ST ownership has declined over the period, SC-ST enterprises tend to be smaller, more rural than urban, and have a greater share of owner-operated (single employee) units. Dalits and Tribals find it very difficult to get recruitment in private sector particularly in the higher posts as these private institutions owned by the upper classes are full of discrimination. Same is proved by various studies.

There is a wage gap despite having laws like equal pay for equal wages between higher castes and the scheduled castes/tribes in the regular salaried urban labour market. Paul Attwell and S Madheswaran have concluded in a study (2007) that discrimination causes 15 per cent lower wages for SC/STs as compared to equally qualified others.

Even this discrimination is more prevalent at the entry level. A study conducted by Thorat and Attewell (2007) claims that succeeding with Dalit and Muslim family names is quite difficult for being called for next stage in the selection process during the job application compared to Hindu names with same educational qualification and skills in modern private enterprises.

Job reservation is not binding on the new private owners of such enterprises. As a result, employment opportunities for the dalits have drastically gone down. In these conditions when private actors have active role in markets and withdrawal of the state from basic service provision in the due course of neoliberal economy, and the discriminatory practices in the private sector, it is basic need to implement reservation in the private sector institutions if we really care about the betterment of the deprived sections in present time. It is also very important to note that reservation in private sector does not mean reservation in floor work or manual work only; it means reservation at all levels in private institutions.

There are various types of counter claims against the reservation in private sectors campaigned by the private houses. Two important of these are; first the old debate of merit versus reservation which says that reservations also impact the work efficiency of the private institutions and the second one is that private houses will not be ready for reservation. Both the arguments are without logic.

Various studies especially the one by Ashwini Deshpande on Indian Railways has indicated that reservation has positive impact on work efficiency. The second argument of willingness of the private sector is also futile and it reflects the will of the ruling class. When private sector is enjoying various concessions by the government to enhance industrial growth, it is hard to understand why this sector should not implement the affirmative actions proposed by the Constitution. We know that private sector uses public resources and even capital from the public sector banks and financial institutions (keep in mind the huge amount of tax concessions and loan relaxation). Basically, all these are mere excuses by the ruling class of the country.

If we analyse the general policy of the government, we can understand hypocrisy of its policy. The government claims that it is committed to the development of the deprived sections but this stand of the government remains a puzzle as on the one hand, it embarks on the neoliberal policy framework and on the other, it talks about promotion of inclusive growth. These two concepts, however, leave a question whether the government really wants inclusive growth and care about the upliftment of the deprived sections.

Therefore, it is the need of the hour to raise the demand of reservation in private sector in India. Recent struggles by the deprived castes on various issues are also a reflection of the situation of joblessness among the youth from these sections. When our government is busy in a criminal conspiracy to divert the public attention from the real issues, it is the duty of the Left and progressive movement to mobilise people on the basic issues; and employment is the issue of the young India. And without the demand of reservation in private sector, the struggle for employment will be incomplete.

 

-  Vikram Singh (General Secretary, SFI)

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Subin Dennis responds to the pseudo-intellectual froth delivered in a sermon in Times of India by a doctoral fellow from JNU supporting the obnoxious seat cut in JNU. (Here's the article in reference by Arunoday Majumdar:
 
Subin Dennis
It is not very often that I read 'The Times of India', but when some of my friends sent me a link to an article written by a JNU student in ToI justifying seat cuts in the University, I had to take a look.
 
The massive seat cuts in JNU (1212 seats have been reduced compared to the number of seats approved by the Academic Council) have caused a serious setback to the University and a colossal loss of opportunity for a large number of students all across the country. But the author of the ToI article thinks that the seat is a blessing. The article slams JNU for its student politics and claims that the University produces little other than "lengthy slogans and lousy research".
 
Now, if this article is representative of the standards of research in JNU these days, I would have to sadly agree with the author that the academics in the University has indeed become lousy.
 
The article says, for instance, "Of the more than 8,500 students in the residential university, only 4,865 students had stepped out and cast their votes in the last student election. Among them, 1,077 voted NOTA."
Sure, the article is not a research paper and it was published in ToI, but that doesn't mean cooking up data is justified. According to figures published by the Election Committee, the number of students who cast their votes in the JNU Students Union Elections 2016-17 is 5138, not 4865. The maximum number of votes polled for NOTA was 437 (for the post of Vice-President), less than half the figure of 1077 claimed by the author. In other office-bearer posts, the NOTA votes cast were as follows: President - 135, General Secretary - 296, Joint Secretary - 272.
Soon after this faux pas, the author makes this astonishing claim: "[The UGC notification] will discourage the possibility of seat distribution on the basis of ideological affiliations of candidates... With the upper limit of the number of supervisees now fixed, only the very best from all social sections will gain admission."
 
Now this is logically fallacious. If the seat distribution is done on the basis of the ideological affiliations of candidates as is alleged, what prevents the practice from continuing even when the number of seats are lower? On the other hand, if the best from all sections are the ones who have been gaining admission (as I would argue), there is no reason why the practice should be undermined by the number of seats being higher. In other words, even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that the allegation that candidates gain admissions "on the basis of ideological affiliations" was somehow true, it would have nothing to do with the number of seats.
 
There is no proof yet that the student-teacher ratio in JNU has become so worse that the teachers are unable to supervise the research work of their students. A large number of teachers have asserted the contrary. They readily recognise that the move is to target higher education and research in India. Having failed to take over the central universities of India by muzzling dissent directly, the RSS-BJP have realised that it would be easier for them if there are fewer research students in the country. After all, research in the social sciences and humanities teach people to read, think and debate. Once they do that, they become critical of the communal-fascist forces which are trying to rip our country apart. When that is the case, why bother to fund and sustain all these places from which critical voices are emerging? Thus comes the solution: curtail student intake.
 
The author then goes on to make yet another dubious claim: "The only indication of excellence in research is publication in peer-reviewed books and journals."
Can "excellence" or the quality of research be reduced to numbers? Unsurprisingly, this very same belief is the one underlying the UGC's discredited API score system as well.
 
On the one hand, there are a number of research areas and topics where papers can be published relatively quickly and in larger numbers, while there are other areas on the other hand where it will take more time for research papers to be written and published. In yet other cases, the M.Phil. or Ph.D. work might be the precursor to a much larger body of work or one with deeper insights and hence publications might come at a later stage. There would also be a number of people for whom research as part of M.Phil. or Ph.D.provides the foundation before they turn to some other field. A number of concrete examples can be given which correspond to each of these cases.
 
The key point here is that the number of research papers or books published per se is not a barometer with which to assess the quality of research.
Nevertheless, if one assumes that the conditions as outlined above would be not be very different in the universities all across the country, it might be possible to use statistics regarding publications to arrive at some conclusions regarding the state of research in a University in comparison with other universities. (Let us also disregard, for now, the various rankings which put JNU among the top Universities in India - such rankings come with their own set of problems.)
 
Therefore if one is to say that the proportion of published theses (or the number of publications by researchers in general) in a University is abysmally low, one has to produce comparable statistics for at least a few other universities as well. So what statistics does our author provide to make his case? Absolutely none - whether it is for JNU, or for any other University! The author seems to think that something can be proven merely by stating it.
The only figures the author has bothered to cite in his article are the polling and NOTA figures - which, as we saw earlier, turned out to be completely botched!
Considering the factual, logical and analytical errors in the article, it could very well have been titled, "How not to make an argument". As our Professor Utsa Patnaik keeps saying, a course on logic should be compulsory for all University students!
khap
Twinkle Siwach
The scheme “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” was launched on 22nd January, 2015 in Panipat, Haryana to balance child sex ratio. The agenda is to save girl child and to ensure education and participation of the girl child. Around one crore money has been given to villages for maintaining child sex ratio and the scheme is controlled by three ministerial departments namely, Women and Child, Health and Welfare and Human Resource Development. According to the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, around 90 percent of funds as allotted to the programme of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” remain unutilized. Out of the total allotted amount of 43 crore in the fiscal year 2016-2017, only 5 crore was utilized. To ensure survival, protection, equality, empowerment and education of the girl child, there needs to be a much coordinated effort to create a female friendly environment in our society. A society which is free from gender based discrimination, which provides basic elementary education, social security schemes and stringent laws against crime/violence against women. If she is born, she is made to feel vulnerable at various stages of life both inside and outside their home. The lack of proper sanitation facilities inside home leaves her no option other than relieving herself out in the open which often leads to physical harassment. On the other hand, the absence of (functional) toilets in the schools has been a major reason for the drop out of girls. Another major cause of hindrance in the education of the girl child is of the safety which also leads to her early marriage. The ratio of the boy and girl in primary education is one concern and the equivalent ratio of student and teacher is another concern.
 
Education is not just a tool to make someone literate; it is the social training through which values, knowledge and skills are ingrained into people. Therefore, quality matters. For a majority of female students, it becomes difficult to access higher education due to socio-economic factors such as high fees, lack of infrastructural facilities, lack of financial aid etc. which determine her participation in education. Socially constructed barriers for women continue to put constraints on their freedom to acquire education as independent beings. Whether the regular calls day and night to know of our whereabouts or being asked to remain within the socially demarcated boundaries, some are even advised to keep a check on what to wear, eat, whom to meet and become friends with. Even after having cracked the entrance or competitive examination, not all women are able to claim their seats because of the above many such conditions. On the eve of independence, women enrolment in India was less than 10 percent of the total enrollment which has increased to 41.5 percent in the academic year 2010-11. As per the UGC Report, 2012, only 12 percent women students enrolled for Master’s Level program whereas a mere 0.8 percentage was enrolled in research. Gender based discrimination, sexual harassment, molestation, violence do add hindrance to the continuation of their degrees and add to the reasons of dropping the course. To decrease the gender gap in some higher educational institutions, there are provisions to provide five marks relaxation to women students. To address the question of safety inside campus in colleges/universities, it is necessary as per UGC guidelines to set up an internal mechanism body which functions like a complaint Redressal forum to take cognizance of cases relating to that of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, it is hardly being implemented in most of the central universities. The presence of women in higher educational institutions have made them play a crucial role and sharing the responsibilities in social, political, economic and cultural arenas.
 
The participation and representation of women students across central or state universities have been tremendous over the years. Students Federation of India is one such student’s organization which has not just engaged with women students across social economic backgrounds but also motivated them with full efforts to increasingly participate in student movements and protests both inside and outside university campuses. In the current year, it holds close to 250 women students in Students’ Union position across colleges and universities in India. It is an organization which not only believes in increasing the number of memberships over a year but constantly believes in the spirit of Study and Struggle! Our comrades, excel both in academic as well as political life where they bring their classrooms learning’s, discussions as well as theories practically on the ground to fight discrimination at societal level on the basis of caste, color, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, language etc. 
 
16996112 1336221649805619 8271077839362213938 nNitheesh Narayanan writes an open letter to JNU Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy in response to his highly biased and manipulated write up on the political violence in Kannur. Here is the truth behind the mounting terror of RSS on left activists in Kannur, a northern district of Kerala. 
 
Dear Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy,
 
I read your piece in dailyo.in about the political violence in Kannur titled “Why isn’t Kerala cracking down on RSS and CPM’s bloody war in Kannur?” I was dismayed to see that the article has completely ignored the ground reality.  I do not see any difference in how certain corporate media portrays Kannur and what you have written in this above mentioned piece. As a person who has grown up in that district and also had to face the physical attacks and murder threats many times from the Sangh brigade, let me respond to certain arguments you are making.
 
As a former student of you, I am terribly disturbed that the arguments advanced about the cause of the violence come out to be baseless, one-sided, and utterly false  except that they fit into the Sangh script. I hope you will find certain time to visit Kannur and source the facts from the ground. I would affirm that, it is not a ‘dark area’, as you chose to describe Kannur in the article. I am confident enough to say, one  will find it difficult to find  a district in this country which has more number of public libraries than Kannur. I have the same level of confidence to say that you will be surprised to count the number of arts clubs and cultural platforms and the vibrancy in their functioning in each locality of the district. It is also a place in this  country where collective social entrepreneurship in the form of co-operatives provides employment to  the largest number of people. Let me also state that you will fail to prove that it is in Kannur that the most number of murders are happening. I don’t know who is providing you the information about this place or you just chose to believe what you have read in the right wing corporate media. Anyways, you must spend some days in Kannur. Let me offer you one of a the most fascinating experiences both as a political scientist and also as a peace loving human. Try it, it will cost only your biases and prejudices. Here, I am only attempting to show the irrationality of the testimonials you presented in the article. 
 
In the sub-title to the article, you write that once the truth comes out, many in the country will wonder how all this went on for so long. If people of great credential like you are presenting the matters like this, I am disappointed to say that the country may take a long time to learn the truth. Fortunately, we, who live in Kannur have our lives to assess [definitely not to wonder] why this is so than waiting for your theories written from the glass houses. In the first statement itself you are reproducing  a rightwing argument that whether ruled by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) or the United Democratic Front (UDF), the social welfare system was maintained and efforts were made to improve the living conditions of the poor!! Don’t you think that making this general statement and equalizing the role of left and right in improving the living conditions of the poor, you are committing an injustice to the history of Kerala which was filled with agrarian struggles and communist movements for equal rights and dignity? I thought at least your long time association with CPI must have taught you about the land reform and education bill. You seem to be clueless about how the communists ensured the continuity of the social reform movement of Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, Poykayil Appachan etc. I can only wish you go through the works of your  peers. For that matter, I do not think your colleagues in CPI will have any other opinion. 
 
Have you ever tried to trace out the background of the widely talked ‘violence’ in Kannur? Is it started all of a sudden at some point in the history? If so, why Kannur? Enquiry about this will lead you to late 60s, the time when Sangh Parivar planned its entry to Kannur as the henchmen of the owners of the Ganesh Beedi company which was based in Mangalore. This company got frustrated in  EMS government’s decision to implement welfare fund for Beedi workers who were paid very low. The workers who were unionized by the Communist party stood vehemently for their rights. It provoked the Mangalore based company and they brought their criminal gang to attack the protesting workers. They also attempted to destroy the unity of the workers by making another union which will dance at the tune of the company. They also dismissed the Left trade union members. Company was also closed for some time to put the weaken the living conditions of the poor workers and  force them to surrender before the company. But the Communist party, breaking the calculations of Sangh brigade, formed a co-operative firm for beedi production called ‘Dinesh beedi’. This actually aggravated the annoyance of the Ganesh company and they send its allies to physically attack the beedi workers who stands with the Communist party. The Beedi production units were attacked several times. Like what happened in Mumbai or Italy or Germany, the Sangh parivar fascists  came to the picture by attacking the trade unions workers unity in Kannur. The first attempt to destroy the powerful trade unionism was resisted. Then they tried to foment communal violence for expanding their roots. That is how they planned Thalassery riot by spreading hatred against Muslims. You must get a copy of Justice Vithayathil Commission report which enquired about the riot and understand the role of CPIM under the leadership of the current chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in defeating the divisive communal agenda of RSS. You will also get to know about UK Kunhiraman, a CPIM Branch secretary who was killed by RSS for protecting a mosque. You will see the incidents of unleashing communal violence wherever the fascists have planned an entry. This is what was fought and defeated by the CPIM in Kannur. Since then, after failing two different plans to make inroads to the region, the RSS turned into a planof physical annihilation of CPIM activists in the district and it continues still. 
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You must be aware of the number of Shakhas RSS has in Gujarat. It is less than 1800. In UP, one of the largest states in the country, RSS has less than 4000 Shakhas. In Karnataka the number is less than 3000. Remember the criminal roles they played, genocides they unleashed, riots they organized in all these states. Do you know how many Shakhas they have in small Kerala? It is more than 4500! That is the organizational strength that  they have built in Kerala over the decades with a planned agenda to infiltrate into the social lives of Kerala. I hope, as a serious political commentator you must have studied RSS and learned how much plan and focused work is behind the building of any Sangh Parivar outfit.  Still they could not repeat a Gujarat genocide in Kerala, They failed to do what they did in Kandhamal or different parts of Karnataka. We have seen the series of communal riots in UP prior to last Loksabha elections and BJP winning huge majority of the seats after that. Kerala is, even with their strongest organizational machinery, still far from being a stage for the Sangh strategy of gaining ground through generating communal tensions. You will understand that this is not an ‘innocent’ development once you study the different attempts made by Sangh organizations to communally polarize the state or disturb the secular fabric in various times in the past. I can write a very long note only on this.  RSS in Kerala is not a different species, something different from their counterparts in other parts of the country. They follow the same strategy of aggression. All those efforts were resisted tooth and nail and defeated in Kerala. You can never dismiss the role of the left led by CPIM in successfully blocking the Sangh agenda to be in a driving seat of the social fabric if the state. I hope you agree with me in that social atmosphere and people’s lives in Kerala is not a violent one. If violence is the character of the strongest party which forms government at the state, Kerala would have turned into a war zone long before. But then why when RSS enter the picture there is bloodshed and murders on both the sides? This question must not be answered with a generalized notion of ‘gang war’ in Kannur. This has nothing to do with ‘genetics’, but definitely with politics. For that one must study how RSS infiltrated into the different parts of the country and have a comparison with Kannur. I sincerely wish, our political sciences studies and researchers grow up to that level, instead of putting out uncritical equalizations and practicing selective ‘amnesia’. 
 
 In another part you say the ‘CPI(M) and the RSS have done politics in other states. There, if there was any killing, the law intervened’. It sounds as if the  people are in a free run to kill each other in Kannur. You should have at least looked into the case diaries, or the number of people arrested in political murders before making such statements.. CPIM is the largest political party in terms of its influence among the masses, number of seats in the assembly and also with a very wide and strong organisational presence throughout Kerala. Kannur is the strongest bastion where 54% voted for the Left in last election. RSS is lacking in both electoral arena and influence in determining the social dynamics. But they do have a very strong organizational machinery. Still, the number of CPIM cadres killed by RSS outnumbers the other one. This can be ended only with a high level decision of RSS to stop the attempt to infiltrate into Kerala with the violent methods. 
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Do you really think such politics is happening only in Kannur? Or are you in a belief that law is intervening in similar incidents in other states. 15 years is not an enough time for a concerned individual to forget the manner law found its place in Gujarat. Hope you correct such highly irresponsible comments. You must also not think whatever does not comes to your notice or does not shake your conscience is not happening. Around 13 Sangh Parivar activists were killed by other Sangh cadres in Karnataka including one Hindu Jagran Vedika activist getting killed recently in Mangalore. I have the complete list of this heinous crimes committed by Sangh workers against their own colleagues. How long more will it take to shake the ‘collective conscience’ of the nation? 
 
Let me conclude citing another dangerous element in your statement presented as an ‘innocent’ one. You refer to an incident of one school teacher hacked to death in classroom. I have no issue in anybody talking about this barbaric incident. All the political killings, irrespective of parties involved in it, must be condemned. But the people like you must not limit yourselves to depend on the news which was circulated consciously and selectively. Why a student leader, named KV Sudheesh, is hacked to death in front of his parents at his home doesn’t come to your mind when you pick up the examples? ‘A brick would have fit in many of the wounds in his body’ this was the comment of the doctor who did postmortem of his dead body which was cut into pieces by the RSS criminals. It was last year, an 8 year old Fahad was killed by a hindu religious fanatic who was a cadre of RSS in the nearest district. Two of my close friends have lost their fathers in murderous attacks of RSS. You will never refer the name of my friend Dhanaraj who was killed in front of his wife at his home few months ago. The day you wrote the article, one DYFI activist called Muhsin was hacked to death in Alappuzha. In an another shocking development one BJP worker Nirmal was killed by an another BJP worker in Thrissur. BJP called a hartal against CPIM after this murder! It was only few days back, one Sharirik Shikshak Pramukh of RSS, Vishnu, came out openly and said he was threatened to death for speaking out against the murderous plans of his own organization. He was under the custody of RSS and tortured for long 38 days. He was also forced to write a suicide note alleging a CPIM leader, Kannur district secretary to be specific, is behind his death. You can have a talk with him if want to know what is happening inside the Saffron contingents.  This list will never end. All I wanted to say is, there must be no space for violence in politics. But, we must not commit a grave mistake by thinking political violence happens only when two parties involved. You must at least go through the history of RSS and read what Golwalkar talks about communists in the ‘Bunch of thoughts’. I’m not done, but I stop here. And I do welcome a detailed debate if you choose to reply. Or let us have an united effort to expose the cellars of the saffron inferno.
  
With Love
Nitheesh Narayanan
 

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