Awaam India http://awaam.net We, the People of India Mon, 08 Apr 2019 20:17:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 #?v=4.9.12 https://i2.wp.com/awaam.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-icon.png?fit=32%2C32 Awaam India http://awaam.net 32 32 106174354 #Justice: ICSSR-Sponsored National Seminar on ‘Towards a Just India’. /justice-icssr-sponsored-national-seminar-towards-just-india/ /justice-icssr-sponsored-national-seminar-towards-just-india/#respond Wed, 03 Apr 2019 19:57:17 +0000 /?p=3102 The Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh is organising an ICSSR-sponsored National Seminar on April 30, 2019- May 01, 2019. Important Dates

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The Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh is organising an ICSSR-sponsored National Seminar on April 30, 2019- May 01, 2019.

Important Dates

  • Submission of Abstract: 10th April 2019
  • Intimation of Acceptance of abstract: 12th April
  • Submission of Full Paper: 22nd April 2019
  • Intimation of Acceptance of final paper: 24th April 2019
  • Date of Seminar: April 30—May 01, 2019

Concept Note

This seminar may be seen as an attempt towards developing an organic understanding of the theory of justice for the developing world and beyond. It’s an attempt to develop a framework of justice which is best suited for the Indian needs while engaging with the contemporary practices of justice in India. Another running theme of the seminar is to go beyond the academic categories and concepts which make little sense to the lived-experiences of Indian masses. The seminar will try to analyze the dilemmas of justice both in practice and theory. Given the rich philosophical traditions of India, its cross-cutting diversity and issues specifically related to India, like Caste, the seminar will interrogate the question of justice from varied lenses specifically suited to Indian needs. We will try to evaluate the social justice framework in India from the standpoint of universalist western paradigms. An attempt will also be made to go beyond Eurocentric theories of justice while developing an Indigenous organic framework of justice.

Therefore,  we are trying to move beyond the traditional conceptualization of justice in terms of desert, virtue, distribution, fairness and bring into the fold of justice the emerging concepts like Capabilitarianism, Svaraj and Recognition in global south with special reference to India. With revisiting of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar and emergence of Amartya Sen, Neera Chandhoke, Rajeev Bhargava, Gurpreet Mahajan, Aakash Singh Rathore on the Indian academic scene, there is a quest for developing an Indian theory of Justice. The assertion of Ambedkarite forces, marginalization of minorities and adivasis and emergence of a mammoth Indian Urban Middle Class has changed the dynamics of academic discourse in India in a big way. After more than seventy years of Indian Independence and its interaction with the fast-changing global world, the academic categories to capture Indian reality are falling short. This conference attempts to meaningfully engage with the ground reality of the Indian masses vis-a-vis the academic theorization while contesting the western gaze on Global South.

Principal Theme

Towards a Just India: Challenges and Prospects

Suggested Sub-Themes

Section I: Theoretical Debates and Underpinnings on Justice

  • Classical Paradigms of Justice
  • Contemporary Paradigms: Liberal, Neo-Liberal and Communitarian Perspectives on Justice
  • Towards Integrating Classical and Contemporary Paradigms of Justice
  • Non-Western Perspectives on Justice
  • The Universalist and Relativist Conceptions of Justice
  • Global Justice: Implications for Developing World
  • Universalization and Institutionalization of Welfare State: Normative and Empirical Dimensions
  • Democracy and Justice: Representation. Recognition, Participation, Inclusion and Redistribution
  • Capability Paradigm of Justice and Global South
  • Post-Modern and Post-Colonial Theorization of Justice 

Section II: Issues and Debates in India

  • The Constitutionalization of Justice in India
  • Human Rights and Justice in Indian Context
  • Legal Initiatives and Social Rights Jurisprudence
  • Redistribution, Recognition and Representation Debates in India
  • Multicultural Framework and Justice in India
  • Affirmative Action Programs: Policies, Performance, Implementation and Outcomes
  • The Democratic Practice, Complex Diversity and Justice in India
  • Intersectionality of Caste, Class, and Gender
  • Rawlsian Justice: Exploring the Possibilities of Engagement in India
  • Contextualizing Communitarian Approaches to Justice with reference to India
  • Amartya Sen’s Idea of Justice: Deconstructing Contemporary India
  • Neo-Liberal Tilt of Indian State and Its implications for Marginalized Sections
  • Globalization and Its Impact on Marginalized Sections
  • Justice in Digital India: Implications of WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook
  • The Question of Growth with Equity
  • The Issue of Migration, Displacement, and Development: State Corporatism and Social Movements
  • Land Acquisition and the Question of Justice
  • Communal Violence and Justice
  • State of Gender Justice
  • Public Interest Litigation and Legal Aid
  • Ancient Hindu Traditions, Hindutva and Justice
  • Buddhist Ethics and Justice
  • Islamic Perspectives on Justice
  • Gandhi’s Conception of Justice
  • Ambedkarite Vision of Justice
  • State of Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development

Important Note

  • The participants will not be allowed to present the paper without the prior submission of the complete paper by 22nd April 2019.
  • Selected articles will be published in the form of a book from a reputed publisher.
  • Proper time will be given to revise the papers for publication in the backdrop of the critical inputs in the seminar.
  • Board and lodging will be provided to the outstation participants.
  • TA may be reimbursed as per needs of the participants and availability of funds.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission

The abstract should not be more than 400 words in MS word only (PDF files will not be accepted) along with the title of the proposed paper, Presenting Author, Second/Third Author (if any), email address, contact no., affiliating institution. Abstracts should be sent to justindiaamu@gmail.com

About the University

The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is a premier Central University included as an institution of ‘National Importance’ in the VII Schedule of the Constitution of India with several faculties and maintained institutions. The Aligarh Muslim University was Accredited by NAAC in ‘A’ grade. AMU draws students from all over the country as well as foreign countries. Imbibing the objective tenor of the west and preserving the oriental tradition, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the great visionary, established the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College on May 24, 1875 with a resolve to initiate western education amongst Muslims and liberate their mind from out-moded patterns of thought and behaviour. The vision became a reality in 1920 when this College matured to the status of the Aligarh Muslim University. Since then it has ever been expanding, diversifying and relentlessly working towards keeping its promise to the commitment of its founder. The residential character of this University, where most of the staff and students reside on the campus itself, contributes greatly to the country’s multi-religious, multi-social and multi-lingual character. There are thirteen faculties and more than a hundred Departments of Studies with a teaching strength of around 2,000 faculty members disseminating knowledge to more than thirty thousand students.

About the Department

 The Department of History and Politics of the Aligarh Muslim University was established in 1922. The present Department of Political Science became a separate and independent Department in 1948. Presently the Department has 26 faculty members. Apart from offering B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science the department also offers M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. programs in Political Science, Public Administration and Human Rights. Since 1967 the Department has been publishing a research journal, Indian Journal of Politics, [ISSN: 0303 – 9957] which has been indexed in the Current Contents and abstracted in the International Political Science Abstracts (Paris).

About Aligarh

Aligarh is located on the main Delhi-Kolkata rail route at a distance of 135 km south-east of Delhi (Approximately two hours journey from Delhi). Aligarh is only 82 km from Agra and 60 km from Mathura (by road), two very famous places of historical interest and tourist attraction. The campus is two kms away from Aligarh Railway Station.

Registration Fee

Faculty: Rs. 2000/-

Research Scholars/Students:Rs. 1000/-

Registration will be on-spot prior to the Inaugural Session.

The Committee

Patron                 

Prof. Tariq Mansoor (Vice-Chancellor, AMU)

Coordinator

Prof. Nigar Zuberi (Chairperson, D/o Political Science)

Convenor           

Dr. Khurram (+91 92197 33327)

Co-Convenors  

  • Dr. Mohammad Aslam (+91 99990 58968)
  • Mr. Akbar (+91 90138 98178)

Advisory Committee

  • Prof. A. R. Vijapur
  • Prof. Arif Hameed
  • Prof. M. Asmer Beg
  • Prof. Md. Nafees Ansari
  • Prof.Arshi Khan
  • Prof. Iftekhar Ahemmed

Organizational Committee

  • Prof. Aftab Alam
  • Prof. Farhana Kausar
  • Dr. Iqbalur Rehman
  • Dr. M. Mohibul Haque
  • Dr. M. Naseem Khan
  • Dr. Md. Aftab Alam

Email: justindiaamu@gmail.com

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Revisiting Huntington’s Legacy in the Post-Christchurch times /revisiting-legacies-huntington/ /revisiting-legacies-huntington/#respond Sun, 24 Mar 2019 13:13:32 +0000 /?p=3074 Mohammad Saif The recent diabolical attack on the people of the Muslim community in New Zealand, who were there for offering Jumah Salah (Friday

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Mohammad Saif

The recent diabolical attack on the people of the Muslim community in New Zealand, who were there for offering Jumah Salah (Friday Prayers) in Christchurch, very clearly explains the popular apprehensions in the West about the non-western immigrant and non-western civilization as a threat to them.

But these types of unfoldings of events were earlier predicted by some world public intellectuals giving them a color of a fault line between the Christian West and the Islam. Popularized through some events and empirical turn, Samuel P. Huntington was a great one among them.

Huntington was among the most plentiful and influential political scientists of his generation. His legacy has become inextricably linked to a Foreign Affairs article published three decades ago. In his article The Clash of Civilizations (1993), Huntington put forward the idea about what the post-cold-war world might look like and the debate has not been abandoned since then.

Huntington believed that the center of the world was shifting and the conflict would be defined by culture rather than ideology or economic premises. Nation-state, argued Huntington, would remain as the main actor but the conflict would occur between the nation and group of different cultures, and “fault lines between the civilizations will be the battle line of future”.

The current attack on Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch is one of the most important testimonies of being true of Huntington prophecy. The choosing of particular place and community by the killer uncovered the nature of hatred and clash simmering in the mind of like-minded people. This denotes the sense of Islamophobia and cultural threat to their western community by Islam and also the fear of domination by Muslim immigrants.

Is so-called Islamization of the west a threat to the natives’ culture and religion? While in Newzeland just one percent is the total population of Muslims, is it another phase of the debate? Growth in migration since globalization booming during 90s, As a result westerners increasingly fear “ that they are now being invaded not by armies and tanks but by migrants who speak other languages, worship other gods, belong to other cultures, and, they fear, will take their jobs, occupy their land, live off the welfare system, and threaten their way of life”.

Huntington was wrestling through the challenges of what “culture” was to look like in a globalizing world. The challenges that Huntington was facing as he looked at the conflict that would occur in various instances between “us” and “them” was primarily about understanding better what “us” meant in the new world and clash thesis was a part of how he sought to work out to understand those relationships.

Why is it a touchstone for nearly all contemporary debates about the capacity of different groups to live together in relative amity, not enmity? Because it exposes the hope and fear of globalization and its perfect imagination of post-cold war world scenario of conflict. After the defeat of the USSR, it was also the trend that enabled the religion to resume its long-abandoned place in global politics.

Exiled to marginalization after 1648, the sudden demise of the cold war and the USSR and its secular ideology, opened the way for new focus on “culture”. Reciprocal response by the US after 9/11 was real proof of the clash of civilizations between the “Christian West” and the “Islamic world”.

Huntington viewed in 1993 Islam as the great threat because “they hate us”, in 2004 he saw Hispanic immigration as the great danger because they aren’t us. It was not about hate, it was about us. If civilizations were the main fault line of the international politics “we” would be just “us” at peace with ourselves in our own place and everyone else in theirs.

The author is a research scholar at the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.

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AMU: WCSU to organise Women Leadership Summit 2019 /wcsu-women-leadership-summit-2019/ /wcsu-women-leadership-summit-2019/#respond Sun, 24 Mar 2019 09:43:32 +0000 /?p=3067 PR Team, WLS 2019 An initiative of the women, for the women, by the women! The summit will be first of its kind in

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PR Team, WLS 2019

An initiative of the women, for the women, by the women! The summit will be first of its kind in the history of Women’s College Students’ Union (WCSU).

“The hand that rocks the cradle, the procreator, the mother of tomorrow, a woman shapes the destiny of civilization”. Talking about equality over a cup of coffee is no more a taboo. But its implementation is certainly opaque.

Our life and all of its associations, we’ll all agree, have a tendency to fall in a lull, pretty soon and pretty often. We’ll be productive a day, only for it to be followed by a week of idleness. We’ll have the most intellectually stimulating time for a while, only for it to be followed by a dwindle in all things intellectual the following days.

But the importance of spreading words to the world is always a concern. To spread such awareness and empower one another, Women’s College Students’ Union has taken an innovative and unprecedented step through organizing the Women Leadership Summit 2019.

Prior to this event, the fifth AMU Literary Festival highlighted the significance of Literature and Society; lectures by Nazia Erum (author), Sagarika Ghose (journalist) and many empowered women were conducive to look closely into the matter of women empowerment and we are here again with an amazing line-up of pertinent and refreshing discourse.

What women empowerment actually means is not deifying women, rather asking for equal rights and opportunities defying patriarchy. Women have so far been successful in raising their voice against gender inequality in the post-independence era, but there is still a long way to go till women no more seek validation from the male strata of society.

Equal political rights, economic rights, judicial strength are yet to be achieved completely. In this trying era that we’ve set foot in, we witness a dichotomy at play in regards to the status of women in this world; where one face of reality is the strewn bodies of women stripped off their consent and accord, violated to the core of their being-body and soul; beaten down to a pulp-physically, also their thoughts, their voices; grappling for an iota of confidence, and the flip side ushers us into a world of strong-headed women with their chin up and burning scaffolds of stereotypes to the ground and weakening the foundation of patriarchy in the society.

Women as social activists, presidents, artists, Olympians are a few to name, to believe in ourselves, spring into action and find our strengths, clamp the world in our “delicate” fists. It is likely to say that a woman does not become powerful and strong when she competes and defeats a man, it is anything but. She rises to power when she competes with her inhibitions, her shortcomings and strives to morph into a better and improved version of herself.

The summit will see women speakers from all over the country speaking on issues that matter and that need to be spoken of. The very first of its sort, boasting impressive palette of paramount and eminent female figures like Shyamolie Singh, Fatima Nafees, Teesta Setalvad, Vrinda Gover, Irena Akbar, Prof. Roop Rekha Verma and lastly Arundhati Roy.

This intriguing mix of unprecedented women leaders will grace the varsity from 26th till 28th of March. It will be an interaction with the empowered change makers of our society, getting a very close insight into their struggles, journey towards change and progress.

In this day and age of women, their stories would definitely strike a chord within all. This celebration of women power should not be missed for its unparalleled opportunity to be inspired, implored, to connect and engage with such exceptional leaders and open oneself to enlarge their worldview and percipience.

When we bring women together at events like these, women who are clearly advancing as leaders and women who have already achieved the desired shows that we are not alone. We get a chance to hear about the struggles of being a woman.

But to witness such a positive change where women are willing to communicate in order to help each other is definitely a lesson and motivation in itself. For the first in the history of AMU, Women’s college is here to paint a sky of limitless ambitions, requesting all to gather, get set and dream.

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White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat /white-nationalism-born-in-the-usa-is-now-a-global-terror-threat/ /white-nationalism-born-in-the-usa-is-now-a-global-terror-threat/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 13:30:41 +0000 /?p=3064 Art Jipson and Paul J. Becker The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that

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Art Jipson and Paul J. Becker

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.

Despite President Donald Trump’s suggestion that white nationalist terrorism is not a major problem, recent data from the United Nations, University of Chicago and other sources show the opposite.

As more people embrace a xenophobic and anti-immigrant worldview, it is fueling hostility and violence toward those deemed “outsiders” – whether because of their religion, skin color or national origin.

Transnational violence

Most of the Western world – from Switzerland and Germany to the United States, Scandinavia and New Zealand – has witnessed a potent nationalist strain infecting society in recent years.

Driven by fear over the loss of white primacy, white nationalists believe that white identity should be the organizing principle of Western society.

“Every people in the world can have their own country except white people,” the American Freedom Party’s William Daniel Johnson told the Chicago Sun Times after the New Zealand attack. “We should have white ethno-states.”

In researching our upcoming book on extremism – our joint area of academic expertise – we found that hate crimes have risen alongside the global spread of white nationalism. Racist attacks on refugees, immigrants, Muslims and Jews are increasing worldwide at an alarming rate.

Scholars studying the internationalization of hate crimes call this dangerous phenomenon “violent transnationalism.”

In Europe, white violence appears to have been triggered by the sudden increase, in 2015, of refugees fleeing war in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ultra-nationalists across the continent – including politicians at the highest rungs of power – used the influx as evidence of the imminent “cultural genocide” of white people.

White nationalism is a US export

This disturbing international trend, in its modern incarnation, was born in the United States.

Since the 1970s, a small, vocal cadre of American white supremacists have sought to export their ideology of hate. Avowed racists like Ku Klux Klan wizard David Duke, Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler and extremist author William Pierce believe the white race is under attack worldwide by a cultural invasion of immigrants and people of color.

The United States is diversifying, but it remains 77 percent white. White supremacists, however, have long contended that the country’s demographic changes will lead to an extermination of the white race and culture.

The “alt-right” – an umbrella term describing modern online white supremacist movement – uses the same language. And it has expanded this 20th-century xenophobic worldview to portray refugees, Muslims and progressives as a threat, too.

Alt-right leaders like Richard Spencer, extremist Jared Taylor and the Neo-Nazi Daily Stormer editor Andrew Anglin also use social media to share their ideology and recruit members across borders.

They have found a global audience of white supremacists who, in turn, have also used the internet to share their ideas, encourage violence and broadcast their hate crimes worldwide.

“The hatred that led to violence in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville is finding new adherents around the world,” Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, a civil liberties watchdog, told USA Today after the New Zealand attack.

“Indeed, it appears that this attack was not just focused on New Zealand; it was intended to have a global impact.”

Rising racist violence

We know the alleged New Zealand mosque shooter’s hatred of Muslims was inspired by American white nationalism – he said so on Twitter.

His online “manifesto” includes references to cultural conflicts that the author believed would eventually lead the United States to separate along ethnic, political and racial lines.

The alleged attacker also wrote that he supports President Donald Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity.”

Trump and other right-wing politicians like French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and Dutch opposition leader Geert Wilders have blamed the very real problems of modern life – growing economic instability, rising inequality and industrial decay – on immigrants and people of color.

That narrative has added further hostility into the existing undercurrent of intolerance in increasingly multicultural societies like the United States.

Hate crimes against Muslims, immigrants and people of color have been on the rise in the U.S. since 2014.

In 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center documented 892 hate crimes. The next year, it counted 917 hate crimes. In 2017 – the year Trump took office stoking nationalist sentiment with promises to build walls, deport Mexicans and ban Muslims – the U.S. saw 954 white supremacist attacks.

One of them was a violent clash between counterprotesters and white nationalists over the removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, which killed one person and injured dozens, amplified the ideas of modern white nationalists nationally and worldwide.

Last year, white nationalists killed at least 50 people in the United States. Their victims included 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, two elderly black shoppers in a Kroger parking lot in Kentucky and two women practicing yoga in Florida.

The years 2015, 2016 and 2018 were the United States’ deadliest years for extremist violence since 1970, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

All perpetrators of deadly extremist violence in the U.S. in 2018 had links to white nationalist groups. That made 2018 “a particularly active year for right-wing extremist murders,” the Anti-Defamation League says.

Nationalist terror is a danger to the domestic security of the United States and, evidence shows, a global terror threat that endangers the very nature of global democratic society.The Conversation

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton and Paul J. Becker, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Photo Description: A protester holds a sign reading “White supremacy is terrorism” at a march in New York City, August 13, 2017. (Reuters / Joe Penney)

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Why banning controversial voices from universities is bad practice /banning-controversial-voices-universities-bad-practice/ /banning-controversial-voices-universities-bad-practice/#respond Sat, 09 Mar 2019 14:41:38 +0000 /?p=3059 Nuraan Davids and Yusef Waghid Two years ago the University of Cape Town (UCT) “disinvited” Flemming Rose from giving its annual T.B. Davie Academic Freedom

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Nuraan Davids and Yusef Waghid

Two years ago the University of Cape Town (UCT) “disinvited” Flemming Rose from giving its annual T.B. Davie Academic Freedom Lecture. Rose is the cultural editor of the Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten that depicted the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons.

The term disinvited was coined by the American-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. It refers to speakers who have been disinvited after being invited to speak at universities. Between 2000 and 2017, the foundation had found 192 incidents in which students or members of university staff had pushed for speakers to be disinvited.

In rescinding the invitation, UCT’s former vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, invoked the language of “safe spaces” and asserted that bringing Rose to campus:

might retard rather than advance academic freedom on campus.

Last year the Stellenbosch University found itself in a similar situation when a group of Israeli scholars withdrew from a planned conference. They cited feelings of inhospitality and exclusion. In this instance, after meeting with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the university’s vice-chancellor, stated that:

As a research-intensive university of global significance, we continue to welcome academics from all over the world at Stellenbosch University -– including scholars from Israel -– and co-create excellent research with significant social and academic impact.

This conundrum is being faced by universities across the world. In 2017 a survey of 115 UK universities showed that 54% actively censored speech, 40% stifled speech through excessive regulation. Only 6% were deemed truly free, open places.

In Australia, the Institute of Public Affair’s Free Speech on Campus Audit 2017 showed that the majority of Australian universities limit the diversity of ideas on campus. For example, 34 out of the country’s 42 universities (81%) have policies and actions that are hostile to free speech on campus and seven (17%) have policies and actions that threaten free speech on campus. Only eight of Australia’s 42 universities (19%) have an explicit policy that protects intellectual freedom.

In principle, academic freedom infers that both staff and students at universities have the right to participate in intellectual engagement and debate, without fear of censorship. This right extends into speech, writing (textual or digital), without fear of reprisal.

In this sense, academic freedom is akin to the preservation of intellectual autonomy. Yet, as the two South African examples show, speakers being disinvited is not uncommon in South African universities.

We argue strongly against the practice in our latest book on free speech at universities. We do so on the grounds that disinvitation compromises the very idea of human engagement and deliberation. This is because the act of disinviting an individual, for whatever reason, is in itself an abandonment of freedom and speech.

It not only stifles any opportunity for engagement with difference or controversy, but it implies that academic freedom is the preserve of those who are in agreement. If we are all in agreement, then where is the debate, and new ways of thinking?

Academic freedom is necessary for democracy

Firstly, regulating hurtful speech without re-signifying it, that is creating opportunities where harmful speech is challenged and re-directed, can aggravate the volatility between groups that favour controversy – and those who oppose it.

If controversial speakers are denied opportunities to speak at universities, it can be claimed that their right to freedom of speech has been hampered. Universities need to guard against what the Times Higher Education refers to as becoming “hotbeds of left wing bias”, or “political monocultures”.

Universities can’t be considered “safe places” where controversial ideas of people are considered at odds with liberal and or radical voices and deserve to be stunted.

Secondly, when controversy is opened up, people have an opportunity to scrutinise the controversial statements and find ways to rebut dissenting and provocative claims. Regulating speech doesn’t imply that speakers of harmful speech merely abandon their views. It simply means that their views are left unchallenged, and undisrupted. We argue that this deepens the already inhumane and undignified actions of some people even further.

Contestation is important for democracy

Universities shouldn’t cultivate intolerance towards dissent. Rather they ought to instil in students and lecturers capacities to appreciate divergent views. Universities need to create the conditions and safe spaces for people to cross-over into the unfamiliar and the controversial. The implications at play here are not only in relation to the academic well-being of a university, they also affect our understanding of a democratic society.

The real question is: what kinds of students, and hence society, do universities want to produce? Students need to learn that the relationship between knowledge and power can be emancipatory. Intolerance and exclusion, for example, can only be allayed if people have access to knowledge.

Academic freedom, therefore, is not only about unconstrained speech. It is also about questioning peoples’ worldviews, so that they can consider other ways of thinking, and bring into contestation what’s familiar, known and readily accepted.The Conversation

Nuraan Davids, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education, Stellenbosch University and Yusef Waghid, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Education, Stellenbosch University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Header Image credits: iStock

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[Video] Irfan Habib | Women Education at AMU: A Historical Perspective /video-irfan-habib-women-education-amu-historical-perspective/ /video-irfan-habib-women-education-amu-historical-perspective/#respond Sat, 09 Feb 2019 19:16:31 +0000 /?p=3055 Prof. Irfan Habib spoke at Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University on February 09, 2019. The program was organized by the Women’s College Students’ Union.

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Prof. Irfan Habib spoke at Women’s College, Aligarh Muslim University on February 09, 2019.
The program was organized by the Women’s College Students’ Union.

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Video: Introducing AMU Literary Festival 2019 | Farrukh Ilyas /introducing-amu-literary-festival-2019-farrukh-ilyas/ /introducing-amu-literary-festival-2019-farrukh-ilyas/#respond Fri, 08 Feb 2019 19:44:01 +0000 /?p=3049 AMU Literary Festival is a celebration of literature tinted with highbrow guests adding hues of contemporary politics and journalism. The literary festival of Aligarh

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AMU Literary Festival is a celebration of literature tinted with highbrow guests adding hues of contemporary politics and journalism.

The literary festival of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is unique in a way that it the first such festival of India being organized solely by the student community sans any corporate aid or sponsorship.

University Debating and Literary Club (UDLC) of AMU presents its 5th edition of AMU Literary Festival in March 2019.

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Video: Book Launch and Discussion ‘The Cambridge Companion to Sayyid Ahmad Khan’ /video-book-launch-discussion-cambridge-companion-sayyid-ahmad-khan/ /video-book-launch-discussion-cambridge-companion-sayyid-ahmad-khan/#respond Thu, 07 Feb 2019 21:01:21 +0000 /?p=3044 

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Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind: the spiritual moon of India /banneyr-shareef-badrul-hind/ /banneyr-shareef-badrul-hind/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 19:22:28 +0000 /?p=3035 Faisal Hassan India has been assimilating the enigma of Sufism and its charm into her composite culture for centuries, and hence we have entire

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India has been assimilating the enigma of Sufism and its charm into her composite culture for centuries, and hence we have entire sub continent dotted with Sufi shrines promoting peace, tranquil, harmony and socio-cultural exchanges.

Nobody would ever find any difference among devotees at the Sufi shrines. What all could be found here is just faith, as pure as the morning mist. A faith to which belongs every visitor who steps here, a faith that is deeper than the oceans, dedicated, enchanting, ageless, timeless, palpable, gentle, submissive, and enduringly true.

Discriminations and differences of caste, creed, colour and religion crumble to dust in the courtyards of Sufi saints. Seekers embark on thousands of journeys from here to unknown distances, unknown to places unheard of, adding to the glory and legend of these courtyards where all are equal and all are same, what connects them all is the love for divinity and the charisma of the saints.

Amidst the woods of yet another North Indian district of Bulandshahr in the state of Uttar Pradesh, rests a Qadri Saint, who is revered by the locales as the spiritual heir of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani (r.a.) (1077–1166) the founder of Qadiriyyah school of Sufism.

Not very far away from the suburbs of Aligarh, situated on the left bank of Kali Nadi or the Black River, lies Banneyr Shareef, a Sufi shrine in Bulandshahr district near the erstwhile prominent princely estate of Chattari. A thirty minute drive from the heart of Aligarh lands you straight into the heart of a Qadri Zawiya or the courtyard of Qadriyyah school of Sufism.

The abode of Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind (r.a.), arrived in India during the last decade of 17th century, from Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq. He was the disciple of Hazrat Mustafa Baghdadi and migrated to India to spread teachings and messages of Qadriyyah school of thought of Sufism, the principal mystical approach of Islam.

The first Qadri saint in the Indian sub continent was Sultan Bahoo (r.a.)(1630-1691) who was once stationed in Delhi. A spiritual master of Qadriyyah tradition, he contributed greatly to the advancement of spiritual literature available in those times and made Sufism flourish in India.

After Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind has the honour of being the second Saint of Qadriyyah school of thought in India, his shrine at Banneyr Shareef is known as a spiritual asylum among the masses, the experiences here might send chills to many.

People who are believed to be possessed by djinns, spirits and ghosts are brought here for spiritual treatments, and such patients usually outnumber those who come here for seeking solace, the shrine was unnoticed for long until 1902, when the present structure of it was built by the followers of the Saint.

People who are believed to be under the supernatural influences swarm around the shrine on every Thursday for the Haziri, which is considered their summoning from the Saint himself. Those disappointed by the general medical practices for their ailments come here for superior healing in hope of cure and to no surprise of theirs and others as well, most of them have been cured, attributing the healing to the fame of shrine and the spiritual powers of Hazrat Bahauddin Badrul Hind (r.a.). Often the healing is believed to be a gift from the Saint but sometimes it’s mere the effect of an alluring pilgrimage to this place, that healing begins spontaneously.

Popular belief is that Hazrat Badrul Hind died four times during his lifespan of 750 years, each time, he was buried in a different site and in a different city. Once buried, he was mysteriously spotted at a different place and therefore it is believed that he has four burial sites spread from Sindh to Deccan.

It is thus believed that the last time he was buried at Banneyr Shareef near Chhatari. Although there are no official records of the lifetime of this great Sufi saint, his legend continues to exist through the spiritual descendants of him, who inherited this place through a chain of spiritual masters, yet there are some writings in Urdu like Hayat-e-Wali and Hayat-e-Qudsi which have him mentioned.

Those who have spiritual yearnings, regardless of being strong or subtle, if the dedication to seek solace is true, this is place could be a delight. Banneyr Shareef is the metropolis of ensnaring sacredness, a visit to the shrine is worth all calm one can think of, so as to touch divinity and experience transcendence.

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Hazrat Shah Jamal: The King of Beauty, Piety and Radiance /hazrat-shah-jamal-king-beauty-piety-radiance/ /hazrat-shah-jamal-king-beauty-piety-radiance/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 08:34:10 +0000 /?p=2996 Faisal Hassan The tomb of Hazrat Shah Jamal adorns the skyline on Khair road; the adjacent localities received their name Shah Jamal from the

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Faisal Hassan

The tomb of Hazrat Shah Jamal adorns the skyline on Khair road; the adjacent localities received their name Shah Jamal from the Sufi saint unarguably, another very densely populated Muslim neighbourhood, Jamalpur has come up in the civil lines area, owing its name to Hazrat Shah Jamal.


Sufi shrines quintessentially create a cosmos around a saintly person in which solace seekers exist much like the revolving planets, which orbit around the sun, rarely crossing paths with each other. Then there are convergence and divergence over spiritual matters which are seemingly political, inclination and deviation which are largely philosophical.

But what surmounts these misnomers is the glory and sacredness attached to these citadels of veiled and unveiled charisma of Sufi saints. These shrines constitute a very significant part of the usual lives of orthodox Muslims, significantly influenced by tasawwuf or in other words, Sufism.  At present, when being Jamalpuri is more of an abuse than demonym in Aligarh, the name Shah Jamal means nothing more than a Muslim ghetto, while Jamalpur remains a frugal suburb of it, there is a need to look back and beyond.

On the west end of the city of Aligarh, lies a grove of graves, the central tomb houses the grave of a Sufi mendicant, Hazrat Shah Jamal Shamsul Arifeen (R.A.). Hazrat Shah Jamal was a Sufi saint of Chishti tradition, popularly known as Shamsul Arifeen meaning ‘the sun of piety’, because of this title he has been regarded the light of this town.

Spiritually inclined people of the city visit the shrine in the morning hours for reciting fateha for the saint, by doing so they seek blessings of the saint before they set off to face the world. Thursdays and Fridays are two important days when solace seekers throng the shrine making wishes and paying homage to the saint.

Hazrat Shah Jamal is among the first Sufis who settled at Aligarh, so he could be well credited as the fountainhead of Chishti tradition in this region of the country. He is also mentioned by Ibne Batuta in his book Travels of Ibne Batuta (Rihla), which holds him in high reverence in Aligarh and the areas nearby.

The tomb of Hazrat Shah Jamal adorns the skyline on Khair road; the adjacent localities received their name Shah Jamal from the Sufi saint unarguably, another very densely populated Muslim neighbourhood, Jamalpur has come up in the civil lines area, owing its name to Hazrat Shah Jamal.

Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jamal | Faisal Hassan

The elevation of tomb puts before an amalgamation of ancient and modern building styles, going by the arches and engravings. It is built with red sandstone and is identifiable with the popular patterns of sultanate period having beautiful engravings in Arabic, most prominent of them being the sacred name of lord, ‘Allah’, engraved on all its arches. Besides the central tomb there are graves which tell a different story, upon a closer look, the scenery brings back to life the times which would have been.

The trail of these graves hints towards some ballistic aggression involving Muslims which could have probably taken place much before they began to settle down in the town. The sheikh community in Aligarh traces its lineage to Hazrat Shah Jamal, supporting their claim with a conviction that Hazrat Shah Jamal was a Tatar dervish who had Turco-Mongol origins.

He migrated to Aligarh and made this place his abode before the invasion of India by the Ghurids or Ghoris during the mid 12th century. Although the reign of Ghoris was not long-lived, yet their slaves became the rulers of Indian sub-continent. Feeble and at the verge of collapse, Ghoris states managed to remain in power until the arrival of the Timurids, the conquests of Mohammed Ghori are believed to have laid the foundations of Muslim rule in India. Qutbu l-Din Aibak, a former slave or Mamluk of Ghori, became the first Sultan of Delhi, marking the beginning of the Delhi Sultanate.

Legend has it that Hazrat had predicted the invasion much before it actually happened, further referring this story to the mention of two disciples of the saint, who lost their lives in the battles that followed the invasion. Often attributed to the testimonies of two of his disciples whose graves are located in the Balai Qila area also known as Upper Fort, the miracles of Hazrat Shah Jamal have lived beyond life and times. One of those disciples was buried in the Mamu Bhanja locality of Aligarh town whilst the tomb of the other disciple overlooks the city, situated near the railway station, popularly known as Amba Aulia.

During the Ghori invasion, several other disciples died and their graves are spread all across the city, adding glory to the courtyards of Sufism. Most of these graves ushered as noted shrines as the times changed and were awarded endowments by the rulers and patrons of those times but due to the lacunae in handling the affairs of these spiritual citadels, the ilk of servants of these shrines fell prey to greed and misery and subsequently all the properties which were attached to these shrines today stands disposed of.

The shrine of Hazrat Shah Jamal is no exception to this ignorance; it has gotten into delirious condition and needs immediate attention. The central tomb has fallen into a ramshackle, having no real means of repair or rehabilitation and there seems to be almost no hope for it, as the grove of graves has condensed into a mere graveyard.

Hazrat Shah Jamal : Water colour painting from the British Museum

The unsubstantiated social stratification across the Muslim society has barely spared anyone as there remains a conflict of identities among the custodians of these spiritual centers, and for conflict like those to exist; there are more reasons than one. Considering the case of this 12th century shrine, the journey of inheritance has not been very smooth ever since the saint left for his heavenly abode. The later citizens of this insomniac town could not keep up with the spiritual legacy of Hazrat Shah Jamal Shamsul Arifeen (R.A.).

Initially the communities of weavers and artisans looked after the shrine, with their socio-economic progression and newly acquired status of theirs; they went up to overthrow the hereditary caretakers of the shrines, the traders and merchants. As a result the disagreements turned into resentment and over time it grew into a trench between these two communities so much so that they ended up having two parallel celebrations of Urs festivals.

Consequentially the shrine bore the brunt of these insignificant things in terms of the loss of identity and credit, while a comparatively newer shrine was rising to prominence. Also the drastic change in the spiritual obedience of the citizens of this town, in terms of ideologies, as a consistent assertion has been running through the beliefs and practices among the mutual coreligionists. Sufism has suffered irreparable losses due to such events of past and impact of those losses are imminent across the Muslim diasporas of the present day Aligarh.

It is a moment of introspection for every sensitive person that the shrine of a saint who is considered the king of beauty and piety rests in ruins and ignorance. Though the shrine needs patrons for its upheaval more than anything at the moment, yet it is a serenading retreat to have the candles and incense lit at the shrine of Hazrat Shah Jamal, adding more fragrance and the light to its ambience full of divinity, piety and enlightenment.

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