Professor Gopal Guru, political science professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), during an event at Panjab University on Thursday talked about the issue of tolerance and attack on students.
He questioned, “When Kanhaiya Kumar was slapped with the charges of sedition and was attacked, was it because the nation was offended or the government?”
Addressing a two-day national seminar on ‘The Representations of Gender, Caste and Religion in Indian Writing’, organised by the department of English and cultural studies, Prof Guru said everybody is aware of the JNU incident. The slapping of the sedition case and attacks outside the Patiala House court on JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar has ignited the debate on tolerance and the ambit of freedom of speech. He also talked about the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad Central University last month. “There should be a mechanism to avoid all such incidents, especially at an academic place, since we need to encourage the academic community while there should be an adequate awareness among students about this issue. Rohith was an asset to the nation but he was forced to undergo tragic circumstances and our country cannot afford to lose such sources,” he said.
“We as part of the academic institutions need to outgrow the narrow caste identities,” he added. Meanwhile the co-founder of ‘Kali for Women’, Urvashi Butalia, delivered a keynote address. She delineated the history of the publishing house to underscore the role of publishing as a means to self-representation through authorship. An anthology of essays and papers, which was presented at the first UGCSAP seminar organised by the department, edited by Prof Rana Nayar, Prof Akshay Kumar and Prof Pushpinder Syal, was also released. The other academic sessions included presentations on various discussions, including caste, gender and religion in literature, gender and higher education, metaphors in poetry, and dance forms like Kathakali and their relation with caste.
On the occasion, many academic luminaries presented their papers.