[Reader-list] Insight Study Circle meeting (22nd June) on Women's Reservation Bill & Caste Discrimination in IIT Delhi

anoop kumar anoopkheri at gmail.com
Fri Jun 20 01:00:16 IST 2008

Dear Friends,


*Insight Study Circle *invites you for a public talk on *22nd June* *(Sunday
@ **10.30 AM- 1.30PM**)* on the following topics: -

*Women's Reservation Bill *

* *

* *


·        Prof. Sushma Yadav (*Indian Institute of Public Administration*)

·        Prof. Nivedita Menon (*Delhi** **University*)

*Caste Discrimination in IIT **Delhi**  *

* *

* *

*Speakers:**-  *

* *

·        Dalit students from IIT Delhi will share their experiences

·        Anoop Kumar will share the fact-finding report of Insight group on
'Caste Discrimination in IIT Delhi'

* *

*Venue*: - Room No- 304, Indian Social Institute (ISI), Lodi Road, New Delhi

*Date*: - 22nd June (Sunday)

*Time*: -* *10.30 am- 1.30 pm

* *
*---- Caste Discrimination in IIT **Delhi** ----*

The hostility towards SC and ST students by the faculty members in higher
educational institutions, especially in the professional institutions and
the Sciences, has been 'legendary'. From not fulfilling the required quotas
to harassing Dalit students for intruding and polluting these 'sacred'
spaces- have been the hall-marks of their behaviours. In all the institutes
of 'excellence', the question of merit has turned into blatant casteism, as
faculty members believe that Dalit students are born inferior. SC/ST
students' weak financial backgrounds and lack of English proficiency often
become easy markers of their supposed inferiority. Coupled with this is a
total lack of support systems within the Dalit community that can go a long
way in preparing and equipping Dalit students to negotiate with such

Recently, some of the Dalit students in IIT Delhi approached the SC
Commission alleging discriminatory behaviour. The IIT faculty members, most
of whom cancelled their classes to help 'upper' caste students to join
anti-reservation agitations last year, try every means possible to
demoralize Dalit students in order to punish them for their 'sin' of using
reservation to gain admission.

The suicides of Dalit students Senthil Kumar (University of Hyderabad), Ajay
Sri Chandra (Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore), Jaspreet Singh
(Government Medical College, Chandigarh) and Prof. Thorat Committee report
on AIIMS provide us enough evidences of the kind of environment our campuses
provide to the Dalit students.

*--- Women's Reservation Bill ---*

The Women's Reservation Bill has thrown significant questions on the state
of democracy in India. The proponents of the Bill in the present form argue
for reservation for the universal category- 'women', ignoring other axes of
marginalization, like caste. The historical investigation of the debates
surrounding women's reservation shows that neither the women's organizations
nor the Left parties have been in favour of reservation of any kind! In
fact, women's organizations have dismissed any reservation for women,
saying, "We do not want to be likened to the Scheduled Castes"!

It is, therefore, crucial that firstly, to contextualize the present debate
surrounding the Bill in a historical perspective, and, secondly, to
investigate how caste and gender interact with each other in the process of
deepening democracy through reservation.

Finally, the question of Dalit women's representation in Parliament has not
been raised adequately by either the proponents of the Bill or by the Dalit

*We invite all of you to take part in an engaging discussion on the various
aspects of the both the topics.*

INSIGHT: YOUNG VOICES is an English bimonthly Dalit youth magazine. One of
our prime objectives has been to create a platform for Dalit students and
youth to share their views and to interact with scholars, academicians,
activists and organizations working on the issues related with the Dalit

Towards this, our study circle organizes meetings on any particular issue
every month. We encourage young Dalit students/ researchers/ activists to
share their work with us during the meetings of Study Circle.

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