Sunday, April 26, 2020

A lockdown... A protest...

This is a protest meeting, albeit, we are attending an academic lecture. In the winter of 2017-18, the admin introduced compulsory attendance system for all JNU scholars from undergraduate level till PhD. The move was accepted by neither students nor teachers.

JNU celebrates the culture of open lectures where classes are generally attended by one and all who is part of the community. Often some professors too attend a senior professor's lecture sitting alongside students. For the teachers, attendance register was an insult to their academic credibility.. they argued that students will come and attend or reject a lecture on their own.. the content and quality of the lecture made a professor or course important. Attendance was a mild form of corporal punishment to an otherwise tradition of learning for excellence.

Thus, the whole university unitedly imposed a lockdown. A lockdown of spaces that demanded attendance registation. The message was clear, classrooms will be locked down, but learning will go on.

We attended classes like this, in lawns, on the corridors, and anywhere we could do except classrooms. This is Prof. Janaki Nair giving a lecture on Capitalism and Colonialism. And those are us, the batch of MA CHS 2016-18.

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