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Academic freedom in Delhi, India – JNU and DU

Any readers of this blog know that I spent my sabbatical in 2013 in Delhi, India, teaching at Jamia Millia Islamia. At the time, I spent time with faculty and students from two other excellent universities in Delhi, Delhi University (DU) and Jawarhalal Nehru University (JNU). As I write, there are very serious concerns about academic freedom at both of these universities. Faculty at DU are being interrogated and harassed by police over supposed "sedition", and students at JNU have been detained under the same "sedition" law. Particularly at JNU, there are thuggish organizations (called in India "goondas") that are using force and intimidation to try to shut down academic freedom and freedom of speech. The authorities, who are expected to intervene to prevent the use of force to shut down academic freedom, have stood by and allowed faculty and students to be beaten up - in court, no less.

JNU has a lot in common with York - it is a place with a strong reputation in social sciences and humanities and for progressive politics. These universities are all fantastic places to study, have amazing people working at them, and have such great reputations because they have developed with a degree of academic freedom and independence. Unfortunately, that is under threat right now.

If you're interested in learning more or trying to do anything in solidarity with these universities, Prof. Vijay Prashad's article is not a bad place to start.

Here is a statement on what's happening at Delhi University.

And here is one on JNU.