Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Power to Socially Boycotted : Why Vijay Kumar P?

Facebook Post – ASA-HCU


Ambedkar Students Association, University of Hyderabad is contesting in the Students’ Union election 2016-17 independently for the Post of President with Vijay Kumar P, one of the socially boycotted students along with Rohith Vemula, as our candidate.

Academic year 2015-16, witnessed an unprecedented attack on Five Dalit Research Scholars for raising their voice against growing attacks of BJP on Dalit, Adivasis and Religious Minorities. ASA stood against communal violence and riots in Muzaffarnagar, articulated our positions against capital punishment in line with Ambedkar’s views, stood by Ambedkarite position on Kashmir and opposed the appropriation of Ambedkar by the RSS. Unable to digest these assertions, BJP Union Ministers launched propaganda against Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) which led to the social boycotting of Five Dalit Research Scholars including Rohith Vemula. To execute their evil designs, they found eager collaborators in the campus – Vice Chancellor Podile Appa Rao and his stooges. It is to fight this evil nexus that a Joint forum of students except ABVP was formed to seek Justice for Rohith Vemula. This forum was an umbrella formation including all non-Sanghi, anti-fascist forces on this campus. It must be said here that all those who were part of the joint struggle fought valiantly and stood united against the might of the police and the central BJP government. This coalition raised immense hopes that a new kind of force had taken birth to take India toward a progressive future. However, all these beautiful dreams came apart as soon as elections were announced on the campus.
Initially, ASA was for the Joint forum in election by proposing “One of the socially boycotted students would contest the election for the post of President”. But, few organizations were not in agreement with the idea of Joint Forum due to their ideological differences. So, we decided to move on independently on account of following reasons:

1) The betrayal by so-called progressive groups has made us realize that as long as we are seen as pitiful victims, everybody wants to show solidarity and extend support. But the moment we start speaking for ourselves and attempt to become architects of our own destiny, barriers will be created for us by the same forces who shed crocodile tears for us. We decided that enough is enough. For too long have others spoken on our behalf. It is time we spoke for ourselves!

2) Once we decided to unchain our voices and our core Ambedkarite ideology from the petty concerns of coalition politics, the question before us was, who among us is in the best position to represent us, the oppressed communities. The answer came to us instantly: Only a person who has experienced oppression. Who else in this campus has faced the worst form of Oppression? Who else in this campus knows what social exclusion is better than a person who has faced it first hand? Who in this campus has faced the brutal might of the State? Who else in this campus has spent 14 bitterly cold nights out in the open in his fight against Hindutva and casteist bigots? The hypocritical forces have come up with the slogan ‘Say no to ABVP’. Who else in this campus has taken on the ABVP frontally? The answer, of course, is Vijay Kumar P!



3) We also realized that the so-called progressive forces had played a very clever game to split the unity of the oppressed by fielding SC/ST and OBC candidates for the posts of Vice President, General Secretary, Joint Secretary, Cultural Secretary and Sports Secretary. How could we field candidates against our own brothers and sisters? We decided that we will not play into the hands of the soft brahminical forces by drawing swords against our own people. We decided to take the high road and withdrew all our candidates who had filed nominations for VP, GS, JS, CS, SS posts. It was the obvious choice before us and we did not blink an eye before taking this decision. We feel only love, affection and solidarity toward the other candidates and want to wish them the best of luck.

4) Through our decision to field only one candidate, Vijay Kumar Peddapudi, we have effectively turned these student union elections into a Presidential race. We have turned this into a battle between three ideologies represented by the colors Saffron, Red and Blue. The question before you, dear students, is: Which ideology is capable of bringing real and sustainable social change? The ideology that led to the death of Rohith Vemula? Or the ideology that gave us the Indian Constitution? We urge you to not reduce this into a fight for petty campus-level positions but elevate it to a fight over the idea of India! You are the intellectuals of this country. You are the scholars and the thinking people. The whole country is watching eagerly for the message from the students of the campus where Rohith Vemula sacrificed his life.


ASA:HCU – Ambedkar Students Association, University of Hyderabad


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