Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A democratic challenge for democracy

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. -Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer and historian.

This quotation is one of my favourites and I often utter these words. Today I am quoting with some significance.

I have heard ( not met yet) of Janab Prof. Javed Akhtar sb. from an old friend of mine Yasir, who is in MBA(Final) and in a ndtv video on AMU. He praised him calling “down-to-earth” person. However he earned my huge respect until recently when he replied to the allegations levelled against him in conducting the recent AMU Court elections(sadly students are still missing there though) in his capacity as Chief Election Officer in a very patient way which shows his utmost respect for democratic values needed in a society which ‘aim to thrive’. I can’t but praise him for this.

Whatever his role was during the election and whatever are the allegations put against him on this yahoo group, his endeavour to listen to other complains against him offering discussion and free speech and then answering them in the best possible & logical way definitely deserve applause and to me this is unseen in the recent times from any kind of person involved with the administration accepting public trial on the mind boggling web world. I hope in future he and others will show this magnificent courage to face the truth.

Free speech and discussion should always be there in our Aligarhrian society if it intends to develop and embrace the changes happening around the world. And in case of university from studies to research it can’t move forward without these pious ideas. The systematic failure at our university has often resulted from the absence of both and if I am not wrong this led to the choice of ‘violence’ over discussion in the common psychology of the students which is completely detestable and can’t be tolerated at any cost. The fear of extra-legal steps from the side of AMU administration has often mellowed down many virulent debaters to freely discuss the ailment in our institution and pushed them in the dark, which space was later frequently occupied by the rogue students who only know violence as their language as reaction. I have some friends here who are virulent-debater turned disappointed anarchist (at any point suffered from this system) who justifies such re-action and I end up in fierce argumentation defaming them.

If we read Yashpal Committee on Higher Studies today which is a law after getting ratified by the Ministry of HRD, it put the idea of university as A university is a place where new ideas germinate, strike roots and grow tall and sturdy. It is a unique space, which covers the entire universe of knowledge. It is a place where creative minds converge, interact with each other and construct visions of new realities. Established notions of truth are challenged in the pursuit of knowledge.”

Let’s question ourselves whether AMU stand by these ideas or not. If not then it can never achieve the national status it dreams, leave alone global even after it take all steps, any initiative, any new venture which predict revolutionary change. The other universities are far ahead today (We only relish being on 8th) and that’s because they respect the ideas enshrined for a university.

Now this democratic endeavour on yahoo group by Janab Prof. Javed Akhtar Sb. who is holding many responsible statutory post of AMU has given me the courage to throw a challenge to the AMU authority to hold a public debate of 1 hour at the Kennedy Auditorium or any other place( if not that then on yahoo groups), recorded on camera to be put on Youtube so that the entire world can see on the matters of democratic rights( study only or with politics) of students at AMU and the concerns of possible result by the AMU authority taking account of all the facts and figures available to them, the statutory obligations on AMU authority and their reasons for limited use of it, the prevalent disciplinary procedure followed and its legal validity, the camera supported security and surveillance system and its relevance etc( of which Javed sahab is a signatory at the EC may be while the resolution was passed).

The University is free to depute any member and as many from the teacher, administration, statutory bodies like Executive Council, Academic Council, AMU Court in this public debate and on the other side there will be regular students like us (I would be thrilled to join and know some hidden debaters far better than me). All what shall follow will be topics and war of words. No personal attack. It would be about defending the stand.

Holding many responsible posts I hope not only Janab Prof. Javed Akhtar sb. will take suo moto notice of this challenge from the side of the students but also this message will reach to the AMU administration that we sane students believe in the supremacy of free speech and discussion.

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