At that time when Smruti Irani was HRD minister. In June 2015 Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle from Madras IIT was banned by its dean M. S. Shivakumar. An anonymous letter was written to Human resource development ministry, informing that Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle is circulating pamphlets that are spreading hate and scorn for Prime minister and Hindu’s and became a cause in increasing communal hatred. But the study centre had not involved in any such kind of act but Madras IIT has done this purposely motivated by communalist.
This incident had marked a sweeping impact on all reputable institutions from India. To protest against this act and show the unity among students IIT Delhi, Jadhavpur University and JNU started an organization in name of “Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle”. But in IIT Bombay it has expanded as “Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle” as to express the tribute towards Savitrimai and Jotiba Phule.
Among India Maharashtra and Tamilnadu, these two states always insisted on equitable social reform. In India, equitable social reform was a gift from Phule couple who cultivated Satyashodhak movement. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, through his ‘Anhillation of Cast’ ideally restrained the equitable social reform movement. Periyar cultivated this ideology in Tamil soil very deeply. The ideology of Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar, has introduced with equality, social justice and democratic rights to the people from marginalized communities like Dalits, Bahujans, minorities, and women. Their ideology has been always path directing towards social emancipation. Hence, the decision of banning “Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle” from Madras IIT by Communalist was furious and agitating.
IIT was established in India in 1951 at Kharagpur. The institution was a part of Nehru’s visionary dream, he had claimed that “these institutions are important to build the future of India.” IIT has taken the responsibility of technology research which is essential for the development of infrastructure. There are 23 IIT institutions in India. All over the world crucial research was going on by IIT and its alumnae. IIT students work for reputable institutions and companies all over the world. But in IIT Bombay manual scavenging was still done, this conflict was informed by the students of Ambedkar, Phule, Periyar study circle. APPSC has also shown that in IIT Bombay more than 90% of professors are from Savarn community.
The whole country is stirred up by the organizational murder of Rohit Vemula from Hyderabad University. Communalist and fanatical regimes have always been tried to curbing who fought for social justice. The organizational killing of Rohit Vemulula was a peak point of such repressive tendency. Earlier to this, a fourth-year student of electric engineering, Aniket Ambhure from IIT Bombay was also a culprit of such organizational murder. A committee under the presidency ship of A K Suresh was established to inquire about the murder of Aniket, but they didn’t mention any cast conflict in the report and the matter was pressed. After reading the last letter by Rohit Vemula, Aniket’s mother had denoted the similarity between both incidents and she showed cast mentality from such institutions and how they give mental torture to the students. Today also students of IIT Bombay still do not forget to remember Aniket.
While discussing with APPSC students from IIT Bombay, the explained their standpoint. “We have formed this group to fight for democratic rights and social justice for the students who came from a vulnerable group of society. We organize discussions to solve the problem of direct and indirect sex discrimination, organizing panel discussion for the representation of women and Dalits and bring such discussions between professors and students about other such issues. If needs we also struggle by attending rallies and organize protests for our demands.”
After the establishment of APPSC, we applied for the reorganization of the organization, but IIT Bombay consistently ignoring our demand as we work against caste discrimination. They always create any hindrance while we try to do any program. Though we organized programs, which created awareness against caste discrimination, sex discrimination, representation of women, pluralistic Terrorism, privatization of education, violations of human rights. This attempt has brought basic transformation to many students.
APPSC organize programs, in the premises on the occasion of birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Students should participate in the discussion on various subject and should express their opinion was the main purpose behind this function. In 2016 a picture was shown on the life of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, which was directed by Jabbar Patel. Students, professors, and employees from the institution and their family members were present for this show. In 2017 we organized an exhibition of paintings by Sudhkar Olave. Scavengers, Kamathipura, domestic violence against woman and atrocity from Maharashtra are the themes of these paintings. Along with this, we have conducted a photography competition for students. In 2018 we organized a cultural program of Samata Kala Manch.
IN 1919 Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar gave testimony before south buero commission about the citizens of India. This event completed hundred years in 2019. This event was a struggle for the equal right of voting for Dalits. Today also Dalits, women, Muslims are not treated as equal citizens, reactionary forces are standing their head up. So with this background, it was decided with the consensus that APPSC should organize such programs.
This year APPSC celebrated Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary through the whole semester. First, they conducted a lecture of former chief justice Chelameshwaram on the subject “History of Constitution and its relevance today.” More than 500 students. professors and employees with their family members attended the lecture, this was a key incident. In the institution of science and technology, it was important to create awareness and cultivate the values of the constitution among students. After that, the central government announced economy based reservation for upper castes. To discuss this issue and its consequences, well-known activist and academic Sani Kafikad were invited to deliver a lecture on social justice.
All over the country incidents of honour killing are increased. A conference was organized to discuss the reasons behind these incidents, Human right activist Vincent Kathir, Prof. Vandana Sonalakar, Prof. Umesh Bagade were present for this conference. A discussion was held through the screening of Pariyerum Perumal film directed by Mari Selvaraj, which displays social experience of inter-caste love, cast-murder, human love, and fraternity. To build a social, political and cultural bridge from Maharashtra to Tamil land students of
APPSC also presented playing of musical instrument Parai. This instrument is somewhat like Halagi, a musical instrument from Maharashtra, which has become now a symbol of struggle. In this year Vanam festival, more than 500 groups presented the playing of musical instrument Parai. Basically playing an instrument which is connected with the untouchable community, cultural conflict was elevated. A one-act play based on the biography of Rohit Vemula, named “Mai Ghans Hun” was staged by whistleblower theatre from Ahamadabad. This act condemns the repressive regime and students struggling for an education. A lecture by P. Sainath on the subject “Farming crisis during the periods of inequality” was organized.
As APPSC has organized various programs is inspirational. Technology and science are for human development but, while doing this it is natural to think about whole mankind. But on one hand, those who have a scientific viewpoint become victims of social inequality and caste mentality, subject to retrograde thoughts. Institutions of technology and science give us tomorrows leaders from various fields. There is great need to cultivate values like social justice, equality, fraternity, and constitutional values among these students, which are not part of their curriculum. While the regressive idea is spreading rapidly, the work of the APPSC will be a milestone for the upliftment of advanced thinking in such a vital institution. In the future, no of students with APPSC and their work will increase day by day and they would become a recognized student organization. We express warm greetings for their work!
Avinash Usha Vasant wrote this article for Netive Marathi