Published: 25th March 2021
Ashoka students call off strike over professor's resignation, vow to continue to fight injustice across India
The students thanked the V-C for being receptive to their proposed changes in a public letter
The students of Ashoka University have ended the strike started after the resignation of Pratap Bhanu Mehta. "Over the last week, we have observed the power and impact of collective action. We witnessed a strong sense of community that emerged for one of the first times since we went online. We sincerely thank you for your undeterred support and resilience for the past 6 days", they said in the letter. "We sincerely appreciate your participation in the protest. With the Vice Chancellor's email today morning, we are officially closing the strike," they added. "However, this is not to say that the movement must end. We must continue coming together, asking questions, making art, and discussing academic freedom and the precarious political situation we find ourselves in. We must continue showing solidarity with our faculty members, workers, each other, and movements against injustice beyond Ashoka", the students said.
"We would like to sincerely thank all the people on-campus for fighting in our stead, for challenging and questioning without fear, and most of all, for holding sit-ins, painting protest art, and working towards making Our Ashoka. For those of us who were online, we needed to find a way to show collective solidarity through a screen. You organised reading circles, club events, plays and so much more in a pandemic. We thank the alums for their continued support as well", they added.
"To the Vice-Chancellor, we thank you for being so receptive to our proposed changes and for your commitment to work with us to the best of your ability in building a more representative Ashoka. To our Professors, TAs and TFs, we have nothing but appreciation. You have supported us by cancelling classes or creating a space to discuss Prof. Mehta and Prof. Subramanian's resignations", the students said.
"We are at a critical juncture -- the university is growing and we must grow with it. The way we proceed going forward will leave an impact on the way Ashoka treats its own stakeholders as well as those outside of it. We were able to meet unprecedented demands after protesting for six days and boycotting classes for two. Public universities across the country strike for weeks and months on end, often to fulfill basic needs, and even then they are not always successful. We must forge deeper solidarities with student unions and collectives fighting against injustice throughout India", they added.