(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 28, 2010
SFI Organises All
Roshan and Nachiket
SFI central executive committee successfully organised an all
The rally echoed the resolve of the SFI and the larger student community to resist the commercialisation and centralisation of education and reaffirmed the legacy of the ‘study and struggle’. This resolve was resoundingly reflected in the public meeting as the speakers addressing the meeting asserted the basic right of the students to education and also the democratic rights of the students, while highlighting the anti-people anti-student nature of the policies pursued by the congress led UPA government.
Basu began his inspiring and insightful address by reminding the
the great anti-imperialist legacy of the student movement in
Ritabrata Banerjee drew the attention of the comrades to the spate of organised assaults on the student community from the government and affirmed the resolve of the SFI to resist these assaults steadfastly. Asserting that ‘when politics determines education, we have to determine politics’ he asserted the necessity of the struggle to maintain and regain the democratic rights of the student community which have come under the axe of neo liberal regime which has set out to depoliticise the student community. Saluting the undying legacy of the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for SFI, he appealed the comrades to uphold SFI’s legacy of ‘Study, Struggle and Sacrifice’.
The convention was inaugurated by Professor Prabhat Patnaik the next day.
Professor Patnaik in his insightful and comprehensive speech delineated the larger politics of government initiated reforms in education, placing it in the larger context of the politics of neo-liberalism and underscored the necessity to maintain the intellectual self-reliance as an important step towards countering the neo-liberalism and imperialism.
At the very outset, he emphasised the necessity of the democratic space to be available in the education system as it is a prerequisite for fostering alternative views to strengthen the democracy itself.
called for the existence of a
culture of activism which contributes to the aforementioned process.
the necessity of maintaining the specificity of the nature of education
Professor Patnaik stated that our educational system cannot be a clone
education system in
Commenting on the proposals for establishing new central universities as the ‘world class centres of excellence’ Professor Patnaik questioned the very notion of being world class as it amounts to losing the specificity of our institution which ultimately leads to the complete ignorance of the social goal of the education. Professor Patnaik also criticised the proposal to constitute National Council for Higher Education and Research for its anti-democratic centralising tendencies. Elaborating on this, Professor Patnaik said that the centralising tendencies are visible not only in terms of complete exclusion of the states from the entire process but more so in terms of the centralisation of decision making in the hands of few handpicked individuals ,and furthermore there is no direct political accountability.
Professor Patnaik also drew the attention of the audience to the threat that the standardising thrust of accreditation measures poses to the dissenting and heterodox voices in the academia as it entails a kind of ‘intellectual subservience to the logic of the market as the academics and intellectuals are supposed to fall in line with the dominant ideology. Stating that these reforms are targeted at keeping the student activism and social sensitivity out of education system, Professor Patnaik highlighted the individualising thrust of these policies.
Professor Patnaik further analysed these reforms in the context of the consolidation of bourgeois order under neo-liberal regime and hegemony of international finance capital. Elaborating the devastating impact of neo-liberal economic reforms on the living conditions of peasant-petty producers and working classes of this country, Professor Patnaik said that it becomes essential for the prevalent regime to prevent the struggle from emerging against its injustices and hence making the education subservient to its agenda becomes one of the important planks of its policies. He called for the analysis of new reforms being pursued by the government in the education sector as the ‘bourgeoisification of education’ whereby education system churns out the products keeping in with the requirements of the existing regime.
In this light, Professor Patnaik called for the necessity to fight the ‘new emerging education order’ as it is a part of new emerging bourgeois order which is counter-revolutionary in character as it entails the rolling back the democracy in its fullest sense. However Professor Patnaik said that this fight could not remain confined to the realm of education and it has to become a part of the larger struggle for systemic transformation of the existing bourgeois order. Coming down heavily on the Maoists Professor Patnaik categorically stated that the anarchist and puerile activities of Maoists undertaken in the name of revolution effectively undermines the possibility of revolution. While criticising the empty rhetoric of Maoists nevertheless Professor Patnaik stated that we cannot close our eyes to the necessity of revolution and the struggle should begin from the education itself. In conclusion, Professor Patnaik exposed the vacuous logic behind the repeated calls for keeping development above politics and as a logical corollary to it, keeping education above politics. He also explained how these notions entail systemic devaluation of political processes and depoliticisation which forecloses the democratic space and encroaches upon the democratic rights. In the end, Professor Patnaik gave the call to the student community to study and struggle and ‘study to struggle’.
this, the SFI approach papers were placed in the convention. There were
papers which were presented on university and college education,
education and school education. RItabrata Banerjee, Shivadasan and
presented these papers. P K Biju, the SFI all
After this the convention broke into three commissions on college/university education, professional education and school education. Vijender Sharma, Albeena Shakil presented papers in the college and university education session. Thomas Joseph and Prabir Purakayastha had their presentations in the professional education session while Smita Gupta presented her paper in the school education session. Detailed discussion were held in all the sessions which were chaired by Sayandeep Mitra, Koya Chandramohan and Mahender Singh Rana( College and University Session), Kadigalla Bhaskar, KS Kanakraj( Professional Education), Gautam Damor, K V Sumesh and Nilanjana Roy( School Education).
99 comrades took part in the discussions which were held in these sessions. After this there was group discussion among delegations from different sates and then a member from each state spoke on its suggestions to the charter of demands. Finally the CEC adopted a charter of demands which would be popularised across all the units in the days to come. The main thrust of the charter is to fight against centralisation and commercialisation of education and mount pressure on the government to increase its spending on education. The need to fight against centralisation moves like NCHER was stressed specially.
In the concluding session, Sitaram Yechury addressed the convention. Congratulating the delegates, he said that SFI was the first organisation which started the tradition of intervening in education policy matters for building up a better and equal society and not just fighting for the local demands of the students. He appealed to the delegates to use the charter which had been adopted as a weapon in their hands and carry forward the struggle across the length and breadth of the country.
also addressed an open meeting of students in JNU after the convention.
first inaugurated the Hindi organ of the SFI Chahtra Sangharsh. Ritabrata
Banerjee and Shivadasan, SFI all
Stating that the
requirements of the ruling
classes determine the nature of the education system, he said that this
factor undermines the possibility of the fullest realisation of the
intellectual potential in the country. He added that the realisation of
underutilised potential is a precondition for the creation of new and
Ritabrata Bannerjee pointed out that the convention has decided to wage the militant struggle against the commercialisation and centralisation of education and underscored the necessity to fight this struggle at the ground level. He reaffirmed the resolve of the SFI to oppose the introduction of the foreign education service providers bill tooth and nail. He also asserted that the students union elections have to be held in all the universities in the country upholding the democratic rights of the student community. Focussing on the vicious attacks against the left forces and SFI by the opportunist and anarchist forces he asserted that the left forces can not be defeated by anarchist violence as ‘ideas cannot be killed’, and the undying legacy of the martyrs has to be taken forward. He mentioned about the sacrifices of SFI comrades A B Bijesh, Abhijit Mahato and Tilak Tudu who had been brutally killed by the fundamentalist and reactionary forces after the Lok Sabha polls. He pointed out that in these days it is imperative to uphold the legacy of SFI of study, struggle and sacrifice and strengthen the fight for a better alternative.
The public rally followed the two day long convention which was attended by the 241 delegates and 124 comrades participated in the extensive discussion. As an outcome of these extensive discussion a demand charter was formulated on the basis of which the struggle against the commercialisation and centralisation has to be strengthened. The delagates coming from all over the country stayed on the JNU campus for two days and shared the rooms with the students.