This book explores the role of universities as spaces where debates around social issues get transformed into social action. It focuses on Osmania University in Hyderabad (now Telangana), India where a long battle for separate statehood was fought by student activists through a series of cultural activities and political processes. It illustrates how students mobilised, networked, and strategized on and off campus to produce creative forms of social movements. 

 
“Pathania’s book is thoughtful, compelling and incisive. He mixes historical analysis with compelling story-telling ethnography that not only opens up an understanding of ongoing students’ activism but also helps us think through many current issues dealing with the changing character of higher education institutions”.
Professor William G. Tierney
Professor Emeritus & Founding Director, Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California
“This is an important contribution to understand the changing nature of cultural politics shaping new students’ movements in contemporary India”.
Professor Ghanshyam Shah
National Fellow, Indian Council for Social Sciences
“Dr. Gaurav Pathania’s research opens up new vistas for scholars working in the area of students and youth movements in India. This book captures the changing nature of iconography, narratives and student’s organizations on the university campuses”
Professor Vivek Kumar
Chairperson, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Food Politics and Counter-Hegemonic Assertion among Marginalized Students at Indian Universities

Recently, heated debates concerning food politics have erupted at some of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in India. Students demand inclusion of beef and other meat in their hostel food menu, claiming hostel canteens represent only ‘mainstream’ Hindu culture. To boycott this culture and instil consciousness of their cosmopolitan life-world, they organise campus ‘Beef Festivals’ and publicly idolise so-called ‘demons’ of Hindu mythology. Using a Gramscian framework, this article explores the activism of marginalised students as counter- hegemonic and critically examines the ideological standpoints involved. As university spaces become significant sites to reinvent caste identities, we see that in their counter-hegemonic struggles, marginalised students employ the same tools and symbols of meat and myth as their opponents. It is argued that this strategy ultimately risks contradicting the goal of their activism and may block broader visions of an equal and just society. 

 

Chapter 8
Privatization and shrinking free space in Indian higher education: Challenges for the inclusive knowledge society

Narender Thakur, Gaurav J. Pathania

Privatization in Indian public higher education has been expanding its size and scale through three methods: de jure privatization de facto privatization and private tuition and coaching. The University Grants Commission has adopted a critical path for privatization through ‘provision of market- autonomy’ to the colleges in the University of Delhi. Apart from being charged with double taxation, teachers are being treated as contractual labour under the neo-liberal reforms, the process of contractualization is a reality of de jure privatization but it is also promoted by the public higher educational institutions as a part of de facto privatization. With increasing de jure and de facto privatization, and expanding private coaching and tuition, there are challenges for equity and access for the non-affluent population due to expanded disparities between the lower and upper socio-economic strata of students. The role of welfare state in Indian higher education has declined under the agenda of neo-liberal economics.