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India: Lift Evaluation Boycott at Delhi University - Appeal to Teachers on 17th June 2018

by Mukul Mangalik, 19 June 2018

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This appeal to teachers of Delhi university was written on the 17 June 2018 and on the 18th of June the general body meeting of Delhi university teachers association (DUTA) called off the evaluation boycott, but the text of this appeal still remains relevant.

[short excerpt from the appeal by Mukul Mangalik]

" [ . . . ] It is remarkable that our struggles have kept gloom from enveloping DU [Delhi University], but what has transformed the remarkable into the magnificent as far as the history of the DU teachers’ movement, as also the recent history of student movements from the FTII and JNU right down to Ramjas are concerned, is, that even when forced to the brink, pushed against the wall, and teetering on the edge of an abyss, not only have they stood their ground, protesting and fighting back, but they have done so with spectacular popular mobilization, words, arguments, ideas, slogans and songs, in the finest traditions of active non-violent resistance.

As for the DUTA [Delhi University Teachers Associations] in particular, it is especially pertinent to remember, as our evaluation boycott enters it’s sixth week—which is unprecedented even in relation to other movements of protest and resistance—that while no mode of protest has been, or is anathema to the DUTA, it has been important for our union leaderships, even as they try to ensure that the mass of teachers remain actively committed to major agitation-related decisions and as many students, non- teaching staff and sections of civil society stand by us as possible, to be always prepared to reconsider courses of action, take a few steps back, if necessary, should a strike or a boycott threaten to cause irrevocable harm either to students or to teachers themselves and thereby, to the future of the entire teachers’ movement. It is truly splendid that the DUTA, thus far at least, has been able to fight it’s battles, that have meant a lot to teachers across the country, by striking this fine political balance.
Let us make no mistake. The DUTA’s political weight within the ranks of the teachers’ movement as a whole and vis-à-vis the state, derives hugely from it’s moral authority rooted in treading this thin line.

It speaks volumes for the alertness of DUTA activists of all hues that despite the political games all of them continue to play, they have respected, either instinctively or consciously, this particular code of political behavior. Break this code or, for that matter, step onto the terrain of violent resistance—in word as much as in deed—and you strike a mortal blow at the magnificent threads in the history of DUTA politics. This cannot but weaken the teachers’ movement as a whole.

The evaluation boycott, a perfectly acceptable form of protest until recently, has now begun to corrode and eat into our struggle, subtracting from, rather than adding to it. We may or may not have achieved even a fraction of what we had hoped for when we embarked upon the boycott, despite the valiant efforts of DUTA activists, but it is clear that we’ve reached a point today, where if the boycott continues, the harm done to the futures of students coming from all kinds of backgrounds, harbouring a million dreams for themselves, but also laboring under unknowable compulsions and unimaginable pressures, shall be irrevocable. [ . . . ]


True, we’re ‘up against the wall’, yet the evaluation boycott by Delhi University teachers must be called off NOW
An Appeal to Teachers by Mukul Mangalik (17 June 2018)