In the Mahabharata as well as of prose and poetry and even on the walls of graffiti, we saw Ekalavya, a yaksha considered as a forest dweller and lower caste and thus inaccessible to education and all forms of upholding his caste position in the mahabharata times, while cutting off his own finger in dedication to his guru who infringes ekalavyas education.
Well the story is widely known in all parts of the world and interpreted in a wide variety of ways by intellectuals and literary persons. But, the interpretation of Ekalavya is somewhat different and horrifyingly heinous in the context of Jadavpur University. Last Saturday a facebook post by a female student of Jadavpur University has gone viral and shared in huge numbers all over facebook, the post included the student’s opinion and soft copy evidence over the rescent clash of interest with the associates of the perpetrator who tormented her for over two years both harassing and assaulting physically,psychologically as well as over online social networking sites. The perpetrator and his associate have been harassing her for over two years to keep shut and self isolate herself from whistle blowing. But after the post has been on facebook for more than two days, it caught the attention of fellow jadavpurians, other students of fellow institutions, proffesors and even the mass media. After that what happened, more female students from Jadavpur itself and schools, they came up in social networking sites with screenshots of evidences and nasty messages sent to them by the perpetrator. Over thirteen women confessed on social media against the tormentor.
Now who is this perpetrator?
Ekalavya Chaudhari, the alleged molester here has been harassing women and others from school time period, belonging from an intellectual elite circuit of Kolkata, academic intelligence has its doors open to Ekalavya always with his mother presiding in the same department of the university that he belonged to which gave him some of the power dynamics to play the ‘dirty’ yet ‘avoidable’ things with women. The prime victim has even lodged complaints before in the department itself but the department behaved in a way to brush off the topic by sending the alleged molester to rehabilitation to cure his mental illness, the authority deals with molesting as ‘illness’ well. Now the victim herself took the platform of social media to expose Ekalavya Chaudhari.
The arts faculty students union(AFSU) of Jadavpur University hence decided to drop a deputation against the molester and conducted a general body meeting to decide the resolutions that need to be presented before the authority and Vice-Chancellor.
The resolutions demanded for three basic necessities-
1. Suspension of Ekalavya Chaudhari from classes untill enquiry.
2. Implementation of an independent probe in absense of a proper GSCASH(Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment) body to immediately investigate the case in an impartial way by selecting a student representative to investigate the case from students and complainants interests.
3. Mother of Ekalavya Chaudhari must not take over the post of HOD for the particular department he belongs to as the students feel there is a clash of interest and a nurturing of power dynamics.
The above resolutions met with the Vice Chancellor soon after a proper rally and he agreed to most of the demands excluding the demand to select students representative from the arts faculty but could be from any other faculty because of the position of AFSU being the complainant here.
Though the AFSU called up for a general body meeting again after seven days of the enquiry period to discuss the implementation and conduct of Saksham Guidelines with the GS CCASH body and send the feedback back to the Vice Chancellor.
After two years since #Hokkolorob and fours year since the Nirbhaya movement, the students community raised the gender question unitedly and reached the consensus to set up the movement into a bureaucratic form: GS CASH, which successfully had its beginnings at Jawaharlal Nehru University with elected students representatives expertising on gender equity and sensitisation;now this model has been hotly debated around the campuses and colleges to implement GS CASH model so that no more molestations or rapes we have to wait to raise the demand of a gender cell again and again so that the other ones don’t have to take up social media to expose tormentors.
Bipasha Mistry is a Sociology from Jadavpur University