Anamika Misra (PhD Student Kent Law School, University of Kent) interviews Assistant Professor Asim Siddiqui during his visit to the Centre for Sexuality, Race and Gender Justice (SeRGJ) at the University of Kent, June 2019
Nationalist articulation of Decolonizing Universities: Two sides of the same coin
With the re-election of the Hindutva Nationalist regime in India, the systematic destruction of the Universities with a neoliberal and hyper-nationalist agenda is bound to take an ugly turn. Under the garb of Decolonizing Universities, the nationalist critique perpetuates the Brahminical domination of public Universities in India, a fact that Ambedkar foresaw at the time of independence and setup few constitutional provisions for making a decolonized and debrahminized society, in which higher education played one of the most important roles. Instant of deepening the Ambedkarite project, Hindutva nationalists have systematically worked towards undermining the Constitution and the Universities have been their prime target. In this talk, I would argue that nationalist critique of colonization is merely another side of the same coin and true decolonization in South Asia necessarily includes Debrahminization of the University, by drawing upon the experiences of the Ambedkarite-Feminist Collective in Azim Premji University.
Asim Siddiqui is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Azim Premji University Bangalore. In his work as a teacher, researcher and socio-cultural worker, he works towards issues of cultural and ecological justice by drawing upon various philosophical traditions from India and outside, in terms of both intellectual and embodied practices. His doctoral research and current educational experiments have been in developing an aesthetic-contemplative pedagogy for engaging with contemporary socio-political issues. Outside University, he does dramaturgy, consultancy and experiential education workshops for various art and developmental organizations. In his previous avatar, he has worked with NGOs and technology start-ups, along with getting an undergraduate degree from IIT Delhi.