Barricading ‘Hindutva Capital’: Student Movements and Ideas of Dissent and Resistance in Contemporary India

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Himadri MISTRI, JNU, India
Contentious nature of Indian student movements have roots in their colonial history. But unlike past(pre-independent anti colonial movement and post independent movement for strengthening democracy), contemporary student movements in India face different challenges. Rise of right wing Hindutva politics; whose political ideology seeks legitimacy from exclusionary hierarchical Hindu theology of ‘Varna and Caste’; in collaboration with neo-liberal ruling elites, pose challenge the very fundamental of Indian democratic system. Neo-liberal policies, which advocates privatization of education and delegitimize students as ‘political entity’ help to further consolidate Hindu hierarchy; as in a privatized education system students from lower class and lower caste are denied entry because of their economic inability. The very ‘Indian dichotomy’, ruling elite sense of India as ‘Technological Powerhouse” and growing Student unrests in leading Universities increasingly confront each other and questions to the current political establishment and their policies.

This paper conceptualizes the idea of dissent and how dissent transforms into the process of resistance, in context of Student movements in Indian Higher educational Institutions and while doing so, also focuses the historical transition of student movements in India and how that transition affected present day motives of movements. To understand these, paper explores relations among religion, society and capital and how capital’s effort to normalize non-democratic, exclusionary practices to maximize its profit is facing resistance in Indian campuses in terms of method and practices of movements. Finally, the paper also finds the impact that student movements’ create in national politics in respect to policy formulation and how it integrates itself with larger society. The paper will particularly focuses on anti-privatization movements in education and students activism on ‘enacting Rohit Act’ (Rohit Vemula, an ‘untouchable’ student committed suicide in campus) to protect the students of marginalized and weaker communities.