Academic Forum for Social Justice.
Seminar on “Privatisation of Higher Education and its impact on Reservation.” at University Guest House, University of Delhi on 25th March, 2011. A report – The seminar was addressed by a number of speakers from political and academic fields. Teachers, Karamacharis and students of Delhi University, JNU and Jamia attended the seminar. The pre-lunch session was coordinated by Shri Anil Rai, Associate Professor, Department of History, Satyawati College. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, MP and President of Lokjanshakti Party presented the keynote address and called upon the academic community to unite and fully utilize the policy of Reservation granted by the Indian Constitution. He said it would be premature to demand Reservation in private sector, until reservation in Government sector remained unutilized. Shri Ram Vilas Paswan called for all round unity of SC,ST and OBC.
Shri D P Yadav, former MP and Congress leader from Bihar was candid in pointing out towards the Caste Census and said people should be cautious in NOT mentioning sub-castes and total count of castes within OBC should not go beyond a number so as to create confusion. Janab Ali Anwar, MP, spoke in favour of granting Reservation and said the people of Muslim Community belonging to backward classes had gained from OBC reservation policy. Shri Upendra Kushwaha, MP, said that privatization was a ploy to defeat the Reservation Policy. He said that it was unfortunate that the Prime Minister had not granted an appointment to OBC forum of MP’s in Parliament to discuss problems of OBC’s. Dr Kanchi Illaiah, Director, Social Inclusion & Exclusion Policy, Hyderabad University, gave detailed analysis of the Reservation Policy versus Privatisation. Dr Hansraj Suman also gave an enlightening account of Social Justice situation at Delhi University and underlined the leading role of SC,St group in fighting for the cause. He said that Delhi University was ignoring and not maintaining proper roaster system.
The post lunch session was coordinated by Dr Chitra Rani, Associate Professor, B R Ambedkar College. Dr P C Pattanjali, former Vice- Chancellor, Jaunpur University and Bhagalpur University spoke at length on the situation in which Mandal Commission was implemented in 1991 and the events that unfolded at Delhi University. He cautioned that the fight for due share of Other Backward Classes continued and unity amongst SC, St and OBC at Delhi University was important in making the agitation successful. Dr Bali Ram, MP from BSP (UP) gave an graphic account of Late Kanshi Ram’s struggle for the cause of Bahujan (have nots) which included SC, ST and OBC. He recalled how massive Dharna for 45 days had been staged by BSP in the leadership of Late Kanshi Ram at three locations at New Delhi in which the slogan was “Mandal Commission lagu karo, warna gaddi khali karo.” He said that only after the Dharna was over that Shri Devi Lal, Deputy Prime Minister had come to meet Kanshi Ram ji and promised to take action. Prof P K Yadav, of Life Sciences Department and former Dean at JNU gave an exclusive insight into various designs followed to nullify reservation for OBC and to elbow off their rights. He also suggested ways to combat such mischievous acts. Prof Yadav said that the roaster was being violated all the time in various institutions, also because many of us are not trained about it. He supported 20 point roaster and said that concept of single post not to be reserved had no logic and should be struck off. Prof Subodh Narain Malakar of JNU cautioned the audience on getting misled or carried away by loud sounding phrases like “affirmative action” and called upon everyone to take the Reservation issue as a Constitutional right rather than just a policy. He said that it is illogical to keep Nuclear Department outside the ambit of Reservation. Popular journalist Shri Anil Chamaria gave some latest information, drawn by RTI, on the number of personnel in AIR and Doordarshan at certain stations showing OBC count was nearly Nil and said that they were not exceptions but the rule. He said when Babri Masjid was demolished the Chief Minister of UP was Kalyan Singh, an OBC. He said that even in departments where OBC were in charge the requisite reservation for OBC were not given, for example the Rajya Sabha Channel, and we need to guard against such situation. He said that recently a channel “Colors” had bluntly and abusively attacked the Reservation Policy in a serial called “Arakshan – armanon ka balidaan” and not a word was raised against it. He pointed out that recently introduced ‘Semester System’ at Delhi University will have to be watched carefully because there were indications that it could be a ploy against Reservation system also, apart from blatantly attacking our higher education system. Dr Suraj Yadav, Associate Professor, Department of History, said that the subject was close to his heart because his great grandfather Late Rasbihari Lal Mandal was one of the founder members of Indian National Congress from Bihar and founder of Akhil Bhartiya Gope Jatiya (Yadav) Mahasabha in1911 and his son Late B P Mandal, former Chief Minister of Bihar had presented the Second Backward Classes Commission report in 1981. Dr Yadav said that when Mandal Commission report was implemented in 1991 by V P Singh government there was such intense reaction that no one dared speak infavour of reservation. In fact, he knew several beneficiaries who used to sport ‘Anti-Mandal’ tag on their foreheads and are now IAS/IPS on the basis of reservation. He categorically called for joint front with SC, ST and OBC on the issue and also take help of the Left and Socialists who support their cause. He recalled how when Mandal had visited West Bengal in course of compilation of the report that Jyoti Basu had commented that there was no caste in Bengal. B P Mandal had shown him metrmonial columns of leading newspapers of Bengal in which almost all advertisements mentioned caste and sub castes for marriage. Dr Yadav said privatization was reaction of Mandal Commission implementation to neutralize it, just as Rath Yatra of Advani was meant to finish the revolutionary effects of implementation of OBC reservation. Dr R C Yadav, Associate Professor from Satyawati College spoke in detail about the circumstances of formation of Backward Classes Commission and the great role of Chaudhary Charan Singh, the then Deputy prime Minister in it. He refute Dr Bali Ram’s views that Chaudhary Devi Lal had played a positive role in the implementation of Backward Classes Commission report. He also called a unified action programme with SC, ST and OBC for safeguarding Reservation rights. Shri Dhanraj Poswal, General Secretary of OBC Employees Union at Delhi University spoke on need for joint action on common issues with SC,ST unions. Shri Amar Singh Amar recalled the traumatic experience when Mandal Commission was implemented in1991. Dr Tulsi Ram Kannaujia, Associate Professor from Zakir Hussain College gave his Presidential address and pointed out the lacuna in various judgments which bound OBC reservation but could not strike it off. Dr Kannaujia also called for upholding the supremacy of legislature over Judiciary, which is now ruling defacto.
The Seminar was a huge success due to efforts of Dr Kedar Mandal, Dr Bijender, Dr V Hany Babu ,Dr Ashok Yadav, Dr Neeti Yadav and many others.
Report by – Suraj Yadav, Associate Professor, Department of History, SSN College, Delhi University. M-9868490170.