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Marx-Vaad Na Mao-Vaad Sabse Upar Rastravaad: Understanding Right Wing Student Activism


· Bagesh Kumar National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (New Delhi, India)


07/27 | 09:40-10:00 UTC+2/CEST


Right-wing ideologies have taken center-stage in national politics across the globe, including many nations in South Asia. Affecting several institutions at once, universities too have witnessed growth in right-wing activism. In India, universities have remained fertile grounds for contestation between students of varied ideological persuasions. This contestation has become more heightened in the last decade. This study, based in Hyderabad Central University, explores the motivations and aspirations of the right-wing student groups. Employing qualitative methodology, this paper examines the iconography, mobilizations, and politics of student groups through unstructured interviews and participant observation. This paper contributes especially in contextualizing celebrated political moments nationally (5 August, 26 January, Kargil Divas), within the setting of campus mobilizations. The shrinking space for dialogue and pursuit of progressive ideals are intertwined with the democratic deficit under market-determined regimes. Liberal politics often misreading the social reality of the marginalized sections, confounds their call for an alternative as a confirmation of its own agendas. The right-wing groups strategically use the discontent with liberal elitist politics to further their agendas along the fault lines of caste, class, and gender. Public spaces hijacked to interpret academic and social issues, appease the traditional constituency of upper-caste elites on the one hand, but also the disenchanted marginalized students on the other. The ideological conflict is further made violent by deploying the ‘repressive state apparatus’ to maintain right-wing hegemony.