Published: 18th April 2019
Ramjas College's AISA, SFI to publish separate magazine with political articles aplenty. Here's why
Following the student outrage, the college also issued a second circular saying any article on relevant topics and within the Election Commission guidelines can be submitted
It may seem almost impossible to sideline politics from Ramjas College. In fact, it wouldn't be wrong to metaphorically call politics as the backbone of this Delhi University college. An institution that was built in the early 1900s, it has witnessed its students come to the forefront to fight the British. It can even lay claim to the fact that it was the place where the revolutionary Chandrashekhar Azad sought refuge.
But even when the college prides itself on all the political history, it is prominently mentioned on their website homepage, a recent circular by the administration came as a shocker to the students and the faculty. The circular dated April 3, called for submissions in the college magazine. But it came with a clause — no article about politics, both national and international, will be accepted.
This created a lot of hue and cry inside and outside the college. The All India Students Association (AISA) went ahead and submitted a memorandum to the college's principal, after which the circular was amended, where it said that students should submit articles in accordance to the Election Commission of India guidelines.
The protests worked. The college issued new circular, dated April 15, that reads, "In order to remove any confusion about the topics on which articles can be contributed, the students may also submit their original writings on any topic, other than listed earlier, which are relevant to college magazine. Students should, however, take precautions that the Election commission of India has issued a certain guideline to give views on social media."
But the students are certainly not convinced by the college's explanation. "The second circular was a clarification to the first one saying that there was some confusion. But the college is still not accepting the vague use of the term political. They're just mending their statement here," says Abhigyan, a I year BA Political Science student and an AISA activist.
Protesting against the college's circular, the AISA, SFI and the Teachers' Union have decided to come up with another magazine, that publishes only political articles. "AISA, SFI and the Teachers' Union are calling for submissions of political articles, to publish a new magazine, protesting the college's decision. We are planning to get it out by this weekend," he adds.
He goes on to explain why the circular's blatant use of the word 'political' was wrong. "I think the most important part was the vague usage of political. A college that is predominantly about humanity, the authorities just throw around things casually. In political science, we study that everything is political," he says.
Apart from its historical prominence, Ramjas College came into the limelight in 2016, after the AISA and the ABVP activists in the college clashed over inviting JNU students Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid as speakers for an event. Abhigyan says that since then the political atmosphere of the college has changed. He also thinks that the circular could be part of a larger attempt to curb political freedom in the college.