NotA strongly condemns the Hijab ban imposed by the Karnataka state government. We express solidarity with all the students who have been protesting this act of blatant exclusion and bigotry. These students have the good sense, virtue and courage to oppose this assault on their fundamental rights. We stand by them.
The ban restricts the student’s freedom to practise religion and denies them access to education. This is against the pluralistic values enshrined in our constitution. We live in a time when Islam is under constant assault by the ruling party. Now they have resorted to using students as tools of intimidation by poisoning young minds, clothing them in saffron and pitting them against their own peers. This reprehensible behaviour is yet another example of the regime’s agenda of exclusion.
Workers’ Unity (WU) is a news outlet that reports on working class movements in various parts of the country, from Bangalore to Rajasthan to Punjab and Delhi. They go to demonstrations, protests, and events wherever they’re happening, and interview common people and leaders about the problems they’re facing and why they’re out in the streets.
While these topics may seem remote from the usual concerns of NotA, they are not. We cannot reform the academy while ignoring the outside world. Political struggle inside the academy cannot happen without alliance with political struggle in society, as they explain in the final section of this interview.
NotA: Could you please introduce our readers to Workers’ Unity (WU)? What does your work involve and what are your aims etc?
This article was originally published in The Truth, as the editorial in its January 2022 issue, about the recent protests in Bihar.
Yes, it is true. A single spark can set the whole forest on fire. RRB-NTPC-Group D job aspirants’ struggle is one more example of the correctness of this popular idiom. Just see. On one fine evening, some two to three thousand RRB-NTPC job aspirants all on a sudden and spontaneously gather at Rajendra Nager railway terminal shouting slogans against the RRB’s high handedness in the CBT1 results of NTPC (non-technical popular category), and what we witness is that in just a few hours it turns out to be a spark igniting a wild fire. The protest spreads in whole of Bihar and also in UP. Though the fire didn’t last long and there are things and reasons that can explain this, yet it proved beyond doubt that a very serious churning is taking place below the surface i.e. a significant transformation or a turn over process is underway in the thinking of students and youth. Even the erstwhile supporters of Modi could be seen calling upon the people to defeat BJP in coming elections. Many openly criticized Modi and his brand of politics – the politics of shamelessly hoodwinking the people. It truly seems that the effect of communal and nationalistic-jingoistic agenda of Modi’s brand of politics has started losing shine.
Authored by a Croatian who at various times in his life was a Roman Catholic priest, a theologian-philosopher, and a social critic, the author of Deschooling Society comes out swinging and he isn’t pulling any punches:
“Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom, nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue’s responsibility until it engulfs his pupils’ lifetimes will deliver universal education.”1
After reading the above paragraph, excerpted from the book’s introduction, you might find yourself thinking that the pugilistic offerings of its author, Ivan Illich, are a poor fit for Notes on the Academy. We have, in our earlier articles, spent a lot of time trying to think of the many ways in which schools and colleges can be made better. If the above quote is anything to go by, Illich would much rather that we shut down the academy altogether. How does one approach a book whose rejection of institutionalised schooling is so vehement?