TODAY -

Undeclared War And The Politically Stupid Intellectuals

Sonali *

Rally by Manipur University SC/OBC students against implementation of Reservation Amendment Act 2012 :: August 04 2014
Rally by Manipur University SC/OBC students against implementation of Reservation Amendment Act 2012 in August 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



One walk to the Manipur University and then you are all geared up for a war. No half pants, armed guards welcoming you with their smug smile (may be thinking that it's a poor choice to think the university will offer a better life than them). Well in addition to that, if you are not a student of the university, you might as well get your wits whipped by the armed uniformed guards if you think you can take your vehicle inside the university gate. Then suddenly you see a convoy of the Assam riffles all dressed up for a counterinsurgency operation; driving into the campus with their automatic machine guns. No armed guard stops them now.

In fact, sometimes a salute! Jai Hind! A wonderful display of loyalty to power! Power speaks and it speaks much louder than any knowledge inside the Manipur University. Foucault! Foucault! Had you seen our little so called "jeweled land", probably you would have thought twice before saying "the exercise of knowledge is power".

Because in Manipur, practically speaking "the exercise of the gun barrel is power" and it stands true even inside the university which is supposed to be the "fountain of knowledge", the place whose ultimate purpose is production and circulation of knowledge has no importance of knowledge or power attached to the exercise of knowledge. The jeweled land turns out to be decorated by ornaments of lead hallmarked by the state.

And, all that you can see inside the university is the translation of the power relation outside of its walls into its spaces. Although what we call the "university" is not and could not be ever an exclusive space separated from the society, university elsewhere has had some form of space free from coercion (may be even an abstract space) for thoughts formulation where intuitive minds have developed into critical minds.

So, we read theories of revolution and radical thoughts developed as a part of the university system. Although Marx formulated his ideas as an independent researcher, he would have never made it without the primary knowledge the university gave. And Mao had his readings done at Peiking University library. So, the university is an important resource for knowledge formulation and circulation for the society as a whole.

We do read and think about the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, and even get temped by the thoughts of a just society. Let us do compare Delhi University for instance (or Jawaharlal Nehru University) with Manipur University. Delhi police guards the students whenever they go for a protest or a rally (although they do occasionally crack down on them if the rally is at the parliament street). Let me just jump to the conclusion and say there is a different kind of power relation in that society. There are no armed guards, no convoys. In these universities, the exercise of knowledge is indeed, power! (Maybe that's the perk of a bourgeoisie society like Delhi).

But truth be told, there is hegemony in terms of knowledge. Power relations talk in terms of the professor and the students. The research scholars and the Masters' students, the Masters' students, and the Undergrad students. But it is the knowledge system that operates not the physical coercion or physical translation of power relation. And so somehow it seems university space and resource is being used to produce systematic and institutional knowledge(Not that critical or radical thoughts produced there at the universities in Delhi has challenged the order of the society in terms of transformation of those thoughts into powerful movements of resistance and revolution).

But it has the ability to challenge the knowledge system of the coercive Indian state. And though physically the state has been able to dominate and subjugate, however in the abstract space where knowledge formulates it has not yet achieved its supremacy. And this resistance provided by the knowledge system of these universities has somehow to do with the physical space of the universities.

Imagine what Foucault calls the "Penopticon", the physical tower of surveillance being placed right in the middle of the Universities in Delhi. There at the top of the tower you have the uniformed personnel of the state, experts in counter-insurgency, putting you under surveillance 24 by 7. At the entry of the university you have the gun barrels speaking to you the language of power, dictating to you, what or what not to wear. Now the physical picture of the university is quite clear. This physical layout will translate into thought coercion and self censorship like it does inside Manipur University.

If we are to consider Gramsci's words true that the motor of class struggle is the struggle between the intellectuals representing the exploited(organic) and the intellectuals representing exploiters(traditional), I must add that we have too many of the later intellectuals inside the Manipur University. The society's resources have been poured into the University. There's the library, with all the books to empower the mind, to make the mind skeptical. Then there are the trained minds sitting on their comfortable chairs ready to provoke thoughts, huge clean gardens to discuss thoughts and ideas; and spaces for formations of associations.

Why then, the necessity for long pants? Because, wearing long pants is more important than exercising knowledge. Because the so called intellectuals inside the university has been whipped to defend the status quo. Because lest we forget "intellectuals" are by definition "elite". By their material condition "university intellectuals" are to a minimum "petty-bourgeoisie", the rats that jump off to another boat when the boat is about to sink. Well there is not another boat to jump off to in Manipur's case.

We are all drowning in an ocean of sh%t. And their sons and daughters are going to drown in that sh%t too. So, they too are needed to grasp and make sense of their material reality quickly and question their own positions as "intellectuals". It does not matter even if you are an intellectual or a brainiac, if you are politically blind or stupid it does not count! The university intellectuals at Manipur University are politically stupid morons for not raising their mind against militarization of the campus. This marking off, of the university space as an exclusive space where there are sets of codes of conduct and dressing must be challenged. University space must be freed from the layers of physical and abstract coercion. Until the resources accumulated at the university has been successfully distributed among the people, there is need to constantly challenge its hegemony as an exclusive space for the intellectuals and "would be", "about to be" intellectuals. The knowledge system must not be exclusive. If for example there is knowledge production about the "ILP", may be critical debates and discussion.

How then, do we prevent it from being an exclusive production of the "rats"? A peasant, an auto driver, a high school teacher and so on, must have access to the knowledge and be a part of that knowledge production, the debates and discussion. So this is about breaking the barrier of exclusivity; to know and to practice the pedagogy of the oppressed. It may start with as simple an exercise as the students defying the authoritarian dictates of dress codes. And if any progressive members are left of the university employee, they are expected to support such cause. It is to say in another language that safe haven that the "rats" have created an exclusive university culture where professors wear coats and students are trained to follow their lead; to dress decently like a gentleman and a lady must be challenged.

The university space must be questioned, the space where armed guards salute the men in coats, where some privileged status is given to the rule following, decent looking students. The space where a peasant would think twice about his looks before entering it, thrice before talking to anyone inside and a thousand times before attending any of their functions. We need to break this space. We need to reclaim the university and its space. The knowledge should not be produced for the state but for the people and people must be able to take part in the knowledge formulation. Intellectual masturbation by the state has had enough. A university is much more than just classes inside the four walls. "ociety's' resources have been pooled in and the rats have an exclusive affair in it.

What is so wrong if a peasant wants to sit down there and talk about his crops or an iron smith about his work? We need to create an environment where a peasant or the newspaper hawker is able to communicate thoughts with the university students and professors. Or even to the extreme where the university goes out to the peasants like the Narodniks did in Russia. This defying of the dress code may just be the first strike of the hammer towards redistribution of university knowledge and also absorption of practical knowledge that exist outside the university walls. Who knows the peasant may show the university students and teachers class struggle better than any abstract Marxist theories. After all, the stink of the fisherman's sweat will give us a better grasp of reality than any ode to the Loktak Lake.

(Indented mostly for the morons who think an army camp inside the university campus has any justification.) The writer is a nobody; just a voice among the thousands if not lakhs, who wants all army camps in Manipur to go.


* Sonali wrote this article for e-pao.net
This article was posted on April 20, 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Relief @Kangpokpi & @Senapati: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Annual Orphanage Visit 2021 at Pune
  • Women's Film Festival @ 3 Districts, Manipur
  • Decision :: Poem
  • Women empowerment through economic..
  • Women empowerment : Nation growth
  • ADCs: Election, not undue delay..
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #19
  • COVID-19 Status 06 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Gaidingmei, Mathanmi, Wungreikhan: eMing
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Budget session & beyond
  • Launch of Cancer OPD Services at Guwahati
  • Less lipstick, more eyeliner
  • Arts Exhibition @ MU #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Women's Film Festival 2021 at MSFDS
  • Totem of natives of North East India #2
  • As I see the world in one page :: Poem
  • AMWJU Meeting Resolutions : 05 March 2021
  • Breaking down silos to look beyond exams
  • Mova Cave @ Hunpung, Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • PROMYS, a summer program in mathematics
  • Meeting of AMWJU : 05 March 2021
  • Dissecting Bird flu
  • Will Bengal vote for a poroborthon ?
  • Job @ Cobigent Technologies
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #2
  • COVID-19 Status 03 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Emergency Meeting of AMWJU : 04 March
  • Golden Jubilee of Manipuri Cinema
  • Impact of Climate Change in Agriculture
  • Paradigm shift in role of public sector
  • The God Lainingthou Thangching Koylellai
  • COVID-19 Status 02 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • When all goes wrong
  • Are we failing children in the HIV response?
  • Counter-cyclical fiscal policy
  • Where will ST demand stand in next election?
  • Ningtham Kummei: Dance Drama #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 Mar : Govt of Manipur
  • Empowered teachers for local efficiency
  • First step towards regulation of social media
  • Of resignation dramas & disqualifications
  • Today's Manipur as reflected in media
  • Bongbal Kholen, Kpi District #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Totem of natives of North East India #1
  • 5 days with Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami
  • National Science Day 2021 at Lilong
  • Themes & objectives in National Science Day
  • More teeth to war against drugs
  • Mayang Imphal Keithel #2: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Manipur COVID Vaccination Report : 26 Feb
  • March Calendar for Year 2021 : Tools
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #2: Gallery
  • Best Panel Lawyer, Best DLSA in Manipur
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Key to Food Security
  • Film : Is it a medium or an art form? #1
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Buyer Seller Meet @ Hotel Imphal: Gallery
  • Job @ Makok Technologies, Keinou
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #2
  • Colour your hair, limit the damage
  • Medical camp at Lamlaba Village, Tamenglong
  • Japan Lan: Life In Kangla Sangomshang
  • COVID-19 Status 25 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AMWJU Meeting : Resolutions [Feb 25]
  • Positions @ KIIT-Tech Business Incubator
  • 'Seeding Gampreneurs' transforming villages
  • Orchidarium at IBSD Shillong is reopened
  • Cracking down on 'errant' teachers
  • Chadong Village/Chadong Lake #1: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Folktales of Mao Maram & Poumai : Gallery
  • Guwahati Session : World Meetei Convention
  • HIV science has advanced but ...
  • I will rise :: Poem
  • Not the time to let the guards down
  • Journalism is not everybody's cup of tea
  • Foot bridges in Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • AIFF recognised Andro Girls Team : Gallery
  • Relief @ Songlung, Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • Lecture on medicinal plants at IBSD
  • Jobs @ Neopath Technologies, Imphal
  • Students on the protest path
  • Ignoring the core issues
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #18
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Implementation: Climate Change : Gallery
  • KAPU Meet: Tribute to Late Benny Khongsai
  • Career options in beauty industry
  • Meet on capacity building on energy efficiency
  • Need to establish cause of death
  • Don't break the bone
  • Shirui Lily Festival 2019 #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Nakamh-Riangsuanneic - Folklore Film Fest
  • Should Meetei belong to Minority or ST #1
  • Aspergilloma of lung
  • From wetlands to dry lands
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sit-in-protest against bomb threat : Gallery
  • Young Generation and Modernization
  • The Mansion :: Poem
  • Netaji's DNA & INA Moirang
  • Demonstration demanding to cut Price Hike
  • 'Condemn hurling grenade at Governor'
  • Fulfilling the long cherish dream
  • Churachandpur Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn the Manipuri script
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Paoyi villagers with CM : Gallery
  • Predicament of Journalists & Media Houses
  • A day of stardom for Thoiba Singh at Seoul
  • Lay off hands on the media
  • Smiles of the Emas
  • Cherry Blossom at Mao #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Basak: A dying art form
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #2
  • Meeting of AMWJU : Resolutions [Feb 18]
  • CM & Governor urged to cut down price hike
  • Union Minister for Social Justice meet CM
  • Seram Neken joins Congress party
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Meitei-Pong Relations & Conquest of Khampat
  • Dying of Yongchak: declare National Disaster
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #2
  • Is policing pandemics different... ?
  • Home remedies for winter hair problems
  • Facets of human trafficking in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Road from Imphal to Yangkhullen #1: Gallery
  • Understand prerequisits for ST tag
  • When all goes wrong
  • Centre Head @ JCRE School of Hospitality
  • Khamba Thoibi Jagoi #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Re-Opening of Ima Keithel : Gallery
  • Emergency Meeting AMWJU: Resolutions
  • ICERME-2021: Intl Conference on SDG-7
  • Law in Motion : Basics of Law
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #2
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni - Naga Seed Sowing Festival
  • Wung-Hao of Tangkhul & Chinese Counterpart
  • World War II, INA & Manipuri Literature #1
  • 3rd Jump Rope Championship : Result
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #17
  • Book: Manipur-Myanmar connections: Gallery
  • Mushroom training at Tentha Heibung
  • Workshop on GeoGebra at IISER Bhopal
  • Indian Women & Maths annual conference
  • Walking through final lap of my life :: Poem
  • Can BJP strategy win in Tamil Nadu ?
  • Granting minority status to Meitei
  • Snowfall at Shirui, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Shanti Thokchom's Life Experiences #44
  • Inspection at Kangla & Cheiraoching : Gallery
  • Protection of tribal land in Manipur #1
  • Oxford and Aatmanirbharta
  • Education in Mother Tongue will strengthen
  • Impressive shows from young MLAs
  • If it is for the people...
  • Ipudhou Pakhangba Puruksoubi #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati: Gallery
  • Restored Wetland : Yaralpat
  • Appeal: WG to monitor crime against women
  • Distress Relief at Yangkhullen, Senapati
  • Sensitization on constitutional obligation
  • ST demand for the Meiteis
  • Democratisation of Education
  • Licypriya in 'Forbes 30 Under 30' List 2021
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Sushila, Indubala selected for Asian Judo
  • RIST Talk 48 : Microplastic is everywhere
  • Productivity revolution of farmers in Manipur
  • NEC Secretary meeting with CM Manipur
  • Valentine's Day beauty tips
  • College teachers on strike!
  • Are you fooling people of Manipur Mr FM
  • RK Jhalajit's contribution in historiography
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Keibul Lamjao: today in deplorable state
  • Nadda's hailing 'War On Drugs' Campaign
  • Sachi Gurumayum called on CM
  • She really can be trusted for fiscal prudence
  • Child Marriage: Stigma for a civilized society
  • Fate of hostellers
  • Ema Gi Wari by Imphal Talkies : Review
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Projects Inauguration - Tamenglong: Gallery
  • Budget: Perspective on Gender Budget
  • NPF meeting with NSCN (K-Niki)
  • Mushroom training program at Nagamapal
  • Solace me, chap ! :: Poem
  • Active cases below 3 figure mark
  • Mother Nature is still unhappy
  • Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol #1
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Feb : Govt of Manipur
  • Packaged Organic Product launch : Gallery
  • Naga American announces Scholarship
  • Prize distribution for 9th MANIFA held
  • Range of options to prevent HIV is key
  • Paoyi village setting an example
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung : Gallery
  • Churachand Maharajgi Imung published
  • Grab the given opportunities
  • A poet :: Poem
  • Supports farmers' movement call
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #3 : Gallery
  • Financing burden of lifestyle diseases in NE
  • A budget that lays foundation for growth
  • Sports & Physical Fitness as career choice
  • Volunteers' Meet at Irong Bazar
  • Limping towards the New Normal
  • Is India prepared for Chinese aggression?
  • Re-openning of schools #2 : Gallery
  • Is Compulsive Shopping a Mental Disorder ?
  • Ex-Tempore Competition at Lilong
  • My hundred deaths :: Poem
  • Fragile - Handle with care !
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 #16
  • The ring has finally arrived!
  • Study of growing traffic congestion in Imphal
  • World Wetlands Day 2021
  • Bringing Equality for Women in Armed Forces
  • Ima Keithels: Closed since March 21
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni @ Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Understanding panic disorder
  • Life, It is ! :: Poem
  • A pinch of blessing with a tonne of a curse
  • COVID-19 combine to clobber MSME sector
  • Single digit spike of just 4 in last 24 hrs
  • Impact in India after coup in Myanmar
  • Remembering Kuki singer Benny Khongsai
  • Was Netaji really in Manipur ?
  • Environmental impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
  • Memo to CM concerning transportation
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #2 : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @ Iboyaima Shanglen #1 : Gallery
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #2 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 vaccination [Jan 16] #1 : Gallery
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar :: 2021
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2020 #6: Gallery
  • Sory Wahengbam - Actress Gallery :: eRang
  • 'Zehara' - Manipuri Movie :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS