Campaign for Reservation, Social Justice, and Democracy

Alliance For Social Justice & Students For Social Justice

In a society divided along religious, caste, linguistic, and regional lines, the most efficient way for a dominant segment to perpetuate its hegemony is to keep the subaltern from getting educated. History as well as mythology illustrates this, as seen in the stories of Shambook, Ekalavya, and Manusmriti's prescription to pour molten lead in the ears of a Shudra who dares to hear the Veda. In order to bring about a balance in our society, the Constitution of India has provided for Reservation to SC, ST, and OBC in admission and employment. However, our Universities, which are dominated by upper caste lobbies with their own vested interests, violate the norms of reservation wherever possible and do injustice to SC, ST, OBC students.

In the University of Delhi, discrimination against SC/ST students starts right from the registration process for admission. Just a look at the "Bulletin of Information" makes the height of discrimination evident. While the General Category is given an 80 page glossy "Bulletin of Information" (which has all the relevant information and also a detailed map of Delhi with the Colleges marked in it), SC/ST students are given a shoddily printed eight page bulletin which doesn't have most of the useful information. Other glaring instances of discrimination are: (i) lack of online facility for registration, which forces SC/ST students to physically come down to Delhi with originals of their certificates and mark sheets even to obtain the registration form, (ii) the limited number of choices of subjects and colleges available in the registration form (compared to the unlimited choice available for general students), and (iii) the unavailability of the option to transfer to a College or Course of their choice after taking admission.

The University is also guilty of not filling up the quota of reserved seats right from Undergraduate to the PhD level. In fact, in a reply to an RTI query, one of the Faculties of the University (Faculty of Commerce and Business Studies) even claims that they do not have any reservation for PhD. Many other Departments (like the Department of Economics) have not admitted a single SC, ST, OBC or PH candidate for Ph. D. in the last four years. Thus, year after year the premier University of India has been systematically depriving thousands of SC/ST/OBC students of their fundamental right to equality and perpetuating the hegemony of the dominant groups of the society. Without reservation policy in admission and jobs there can't be social justice and without social justice democracy is a sham.

"Alliance for Social Justice" (ASJ) is a growing platform that attempts to bring together various organizations that have been fighting for social justice in our society. Some of the organizations that are part of the Alliance are Students for Social Justice (SSJ), Innovative Institute for Democracy and Education of All, Safai Karmachaari Majdoor Morcha, Balmiki Mohalla Sudhar Samiti, and the SC/ST Employees' Welfare Association of Delhi University.The Alliance has also been working closely with teachers' organizations like the Academic Forum for Social Justice and Enlightened Teachers' Forum. The regular activities of the Alliance include: English classes for those in need, collecting data and information through RTIs, strategizing, brainstorming, and attending and organizing meetings in furtherance of human rights, social justice and democracy. Development of educational resources such as libraries as well as a curriculum on social justice issues that will be made available to schools, colleges and groups and working towards suitable electoral reforms (like the introduction of Proportional Representation system of election) in order to provide genuine representation for all segments of the society including the downtrodden in various elected bodies are also part of our larger agenda.

Prolonged bout of agitations, which included petitioning, series of protest rallies and indefinite relay hunger strike, forced the university in the month of July, 2012, to increase reserved category seats in proportion to actual number of admission rather than sanctioned number of seats, which has invariably been far smaller than the former. Subsequently, some of the constituent members of the Alliance, together with five students who were victims of various discriminatory practices in the admission process, filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court against University of Delhi for not honestly abiding by current reservation policies of the government. The Hon'ble High Court issued notice to the University and the matter was listed for hearing on October 11, 2012; but the University did not file a response by the scheduled date and asked for more time to respond, the next hearing is rescheduled for February 7, 2013.

We would like to open a chapter of ASJ and SSJ in each of the colleges of Delhi University. We urge all democratic organizations and individuals who want to fight against the injustices in our society to join ASJ and/or SSJ. It will make your voice heard and our voice will be louder. We urge you to gather together and hold joint meetings of (ASJ & SSJ) at regular intervals to discuss problems confronting us and find their solutions. We invite you all like-minded individuals and organizations to participate in a conference on:

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Organised by: Alliance For Social Justice & Students For Social Justice

Contact Nos. : 9540122831, 9811971166, 9212224183

Supported by: Academic Forum For Social Justice & Enlightened Teachers' Forum

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