September 22, 2020
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'Vicious Campaign Against Menon'

Eminent academicians express their indignation at the vicious campaign against the well-known feminist scholar

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'Vicious Campaign Against Menon'
'Vicious Campaign Against Menon'
outlookindia.com
2016-03-15T23:49:40+05:30

We, the undersigned, wish to express our shock and indignation at the vicious right wing media campaign conducted over the past few days against well-known feminist scholar and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Nivedita Menon. This media campaign mischievously decontextualizes her lecture at the public teach-in programme in JNU with the use of selective clips and inflammatory commentary. The television channel Zee has led the main campaign by branding Professor Menon as 'anti-national' and instigating viewers to take action. Such branding is tantamount to a television channel acting as both judge and jury, and directly placing an individual’s rights and safety under threat.

The use of television media to attack intellectuals and instigate vigilante action is a feature of authoritarian regimes worldwide. Similar tendencies are visible in recent months in India. Singling out individuals and creating a mass-frenzy against them by using the medium of TV is a dangerous trend that directly incites and encourages violence. This is a deep disregard for any process of law. We saw Zee TV do this earlier when doctored videos became the basis of arrest and harassment of JNU students. In this case, Twitter and social media campaigns have followed attacks on Professor Menon, demanding the framing of sedition charges against her and wielding open threats of rape. Most disturbingly, there are media reports of police complaints filed by interested parties demanding ‘action’ against Professor Menon. 

Professor Menon is a renowned scholar and feminist thinker; her texts are used in university syllabi worldwide. As a prominent scholar and activist she has intervened in academic and public debates for decades. Professor Menon has also been known as an inspiring teacher for thirty years, guiding generations of students who now work in India and abroad. She has never shied away from intellectual debate in academic and public forums, passionately intervening in debates on feminism and social theory. This is the first time that her own freedom to articulate her ideas has been so viciously attacked in an orchestrated media campaign.

The freedom to articulate ideas is the basis of a university. When opinions voiced in a public lecture by an academic are made part of a selective media campaign that seeks not to debate but simply to malign, both democracy and the university are under threat. What is under question are not just Professor Menon’s ideas but also the very freedom for academics and citizens. We condemn this media campaign and associated threats, urging all academics and intellectuals to stand with Professor Menon at this time. 

We call on the Vice Chancellor of JNU to swiftly defend Professor Menon from such attacks and protect the sanctity of university debate. We urge the JNU administration to stand by its faculty’s right to hold individual opinions and condemn all efforts to diminish this. We call on the university to immediately ensure that freedoms that form its very academic basis are not eroded in this moment. We call further for every censure and action against the unlawful actions of the television channels in question. Finally, we urge all well wishers of a democratic India to stand by Professor Menon for their own freedoms, and not just hers.

1. Gananath Obeyesekere, Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus, Princeton University
2. Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
3. Mahmood Mamdani, Professor of Government and International Affairs, Columbia University
4. Gopal Guru, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
5. Sumit Sarkar, former Professor of History, University of Delhi
6. Tanika Sarkar, Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University
7. Sudhir Chandra, historian based in Delhi
8. Nayanjot Lahiri, Professor of History, Ashoka University.
9. Mrinalini Sinha, Professor, University of Michigan
10. Timothy Mitchell, Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University 
11. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Professor of History, University of Chicago, USA
12. Gyan Prakash, Professor of History, Princeton University
13. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Professor of History, UCLA
14. Homi Bhabha, Professor of English and Director, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University
15. Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University
16. David Hardiman, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Warwick
17. Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
18. Veena Das, Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
19. Ania Loomba, Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
20. Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York 
21. Sundar Sarukkai, Professor of Philosophy, Manipal University
22. Pradeep Jeganathan, Professor of Sociology,Shiv Nadar University
23. Kavita Panjabi, Professor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
24. Isabel Hofmeyr, Professor of African Languages and Literature, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
25. Shireen Hassim, Professor of Political Science, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
26. Srila Roy, Professor of Sociology, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
27. Kelly Gillespie, Professor of Anthropology, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, South Africa
28. Ivor Chipkin, Director Public Affairs Research Institute, Johannesburg
29. Premesh Lalu, Professor, Director, DST/NRF Flagship on Critical Thought in African Humanities, University of the Western Cape
30. Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, Columbia University
31. Sheldon Pollock, Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies,
Columbia University, New York
32. Hamid Dabashi, Professor, Columbia University, New York
33. Firdous Azim, Department of English and Humanities, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh 
34. Kama Maclean, Associate Professor, South Asian and World History, School of Humanities and Languages, UNSW Australia
35. Ashwin, Independent Researcher, based in Azim Premji University, Bangalore
36. V. J. Varghese, Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Hyderabad
37. José Emilio Burucúa, Fellow member of the Institut d'Études Avancées, Nantes, France
38. Danai Mupotsa, Lecturer, African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
39. Vashna Jagarnath, Senior Lecturer, History Department, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
40. Thiven Reddy, Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town
41. Ruchi Chaturvedi, Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
42. Patrick Olivelle, Professor, University of Texas at Austin, USA
43. Sambuddha Sen, Professor, Shiv Nadar University
44. Hina Saiyada, Filmmaker, Mumbai
45. Asanda Benya, University of Cape Town, Dept of Sociology, South Africa
46. Ravindran Sriramachandran, Dept. of Anthropology/ Sociology, Ashoka University
47. Koni Benson, University of Cape Town
48. Vedita Cowaloosur, Postdoc Fellow at Stellenbosch University, South Africa
49. Enocent Msindo, Associate Professor of History, Rhodes University Grahamstown, South Africa
50. Naledi Nomalanga Mkhize, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
51. Shari Daya, University of Cape Town, South Africa
52. Heidi Grunebaum, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
53. Francis Cody, Associate Professor Anthropology and Asian Institute, University of Toronto
54. Jinee Lokaneeta, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Drew University, United States of America
55. Tamara Shefer, Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
56. Richard Pithouse, Professor, Rhodes University, South Africa
57. Ayesha Kidwai, Centre for Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University,
58. Mary John, Professor, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi
59. Ravi S Vasudevan, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
60. Rochelle Pinto, Academic based in Delhi
61. Tarangini Sriraman, Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
62. Vipin Kumar, Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
63. Parthasarathi Muthukaruppan, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
64. Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
65. Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Professor, Dept of Political Science, University of Delhi
66. Awadhendra Sharan, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
67. Ravikant, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
68. Udaya Kumar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
69. Rita Kothari, Professor, IIT Gandhinagar
70. Rakesh Pandey, Assistant Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
71. Shilpa Phadke, Assistant Professor, Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, TISS, Mumbai
72. Sunalini Kumar, Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
73. Priyadarshini Vijaisri, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
74. Shail Mayaram, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi
75. Satish Deshpande, Professor, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi
76. Aarti Sethi, Doctoral Researcher, Columbia University, New York
77. Abhay Kumar Dubey, Director, Indian Languages Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, De;hi
78. Manoranjan Mohanty, Professor, Centre for Social Development, Delhi
79. Yengkhom Jilangamba, Academic based in Delhi
80. Anupama Roy, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, JNU, Delhi
81. Janaki Nair, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, Delhi
82. Rukun Advani, Publisher, Permanent Black, Ranikhet
83. Anuradha Roy, Publisher, Permanent Black, Ranikhet
84. Lyla Mehta, Professor, Institute of Development Studies, UK
85. Michael Neocosmos, Professor and Director UHURU, Rhodes University, South Africa
86. Dhammamegha Annie Leatt, Research Associate, Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research Wits University, Johannesburg
87. Tarun Bhartiya, Filmmaker, Member Thma U Rangli Juki(TUR), Meghalaya
88. Rasigan Maharajh, Chief Director, Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa
89. Polo Moji, Lecturer, French and Francophone Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
90. Mathe Ntsekhe, National University of Lesotho
91. Shohini Ghosh, Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia 
92. Sabeena Gadihoke, Associate Professor, AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia 
93. Sabina Kidwai. Associate Professor,AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
94. Moinak Biswas, Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
95. Pradip K Datta, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, SIS, JNU
96. Kaushik Ghosh, Anthropologist, University of Texas at Austin, USA
97. Sarada Balagopalan, Associate Professor, Childhood Studies, Rutgers University, USA
98. Maurits van Bever Donker, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape
99. Dwaipayan Bhattacharyya, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, JNU
100. Sanjeeb Mukherjee, Professor, Dept of Political Science, University of Calcutta
101. Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker, New Delhi
102. Saroj Giri, Dept of Political Science, University of Delhi
103. Sunita Thakur, Journalist, BBC
104. Kelly Gillespie, Head, Department of Anthropology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
105. Aparna Balachandran, Department of History, University of Delhi
106. C.P.Geevan, Independent Researcher, Ahmedabad
107. Ashish Kothari, Pune
108. Sharad Chari, Professor of Anthropology, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg
109. Abhinav Kumar, Researcher, Azim Premji Foundation
110. Neema Pathak Broome, member Kalpavriksh, Pune
111. Charu Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi
112. Projit Bihari Mukharji, Assistant Professor, History & Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
113. Camalita Naicker, PhD Candidate, UHURU, Rhodes University South Africa, Former Student at JNU
114. Satadru Sen, Professor of History, Queens College & Graduate Center, City University of New York
115. Noosim Naimasiah, Makerere Institute of Social Research, Kampala, Uganda
116. Alexandra Muller, Gender Health and Justice Research Unit, University of Cape Town, South Africa
117. Rohan D' Souza, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University
118. Jonathan Gil Harris, Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of English, Ashoka University
119. Geeta Patel, Director, UVA in India Program, Associate Professor, University of Virginia
120. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Dept. of Feminist Studies University of California, Santa Cruz
121. Raka Ray Professor, Department of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
122. Maya Krishna Rao, Artiste, Delhi
123. Suvir Kaul, Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
124. Nathaniel Roberts, Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
125. David Kazanjian, Professor of English, Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania
126. Mukul Kesavan, Dept of History, Jamia Millia Islamia
127. Lakshmi Subramanian, Professor of History, Centre for the Study of Social Sciences, Kolkata
128. Rosinka Chaudhuri, Professor of Cultural Studies, CSSS, Kolkata
129. Rimli Bhattacharya, Senior Fellow in Cultural Studies, CSSS, Kolkata
130. Ritajyoti Bandyopadhyay, Assistant Professor of Sociology, CSSS, Kolkata
131. Kiran Kesavamurthy, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, CSSS, Kolkata
132. Prachi Deshpande, Associate Professor of History, CSSS, Kolkata
133. Suren Pillay, Associate Professor, Center for Humanities Research
University of the Western Cape, South Africa
134. Ranjani Mazumdar, Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU
135. Ravi Sundaram, Professor, CSDS, Delhi
136. Shirin M. Rai, Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick 
137. Madhusree Mukherjee, Writer
138. Aniket Alam, Executive Editor, Economic and Political Weekly
139. Alice Morris, Director, PeopleCan Services, Ahmedabad


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