The students of a Kerala college are up in arms against the management for preventing them from publishing the college magazine, named after a scheduled caste in the state.
The 114-page Malayalam magazine titled “Pulayanu” (To Pulayan) is a tribute to the community, compiled by the students. The Pulayan community in Kerala traditionally worked in the fields, and is categorised as a scheduled caste in the state.
According to representatives of the magazine committee, the college has denied them permission to publish the magazine, claiming that it was illegal to use a caste name in the magazine. Though several protests were held against the college's decision, they did not bear fruit.
The college has taken objection to the title, as well as a few mentions inside the magazine.
Speaking to The News Minute, student editor Mohammad Jaseer says that the intention of naming the magazine "Pulayanu" is not to degrade or target people belonging to the caste, but the magazine is itself a tribute to them.
"There's nothing derogatory about the word Pulayan. Why are we pinning a derogatory meaning to the caste name? Why has the society come to this? Pulayan essentially means 'children of the soil', and by that definition, you and me are Pulayans. We are all children of the soil, aren't we? We are all born from the land and we eventually go back to the land," says Jaseer.
However, the college Principal told TNM that the college will not grant permission to publish the magazine unless the title is changed.
The Principal, who is also the Chief Editor of the magazine, says, "Using the caste name in the magazine is not permissible under law. I am a lawyer myself and I have taken legal advice on why there should be no caste names in the magazine. The student editor has given the title without consulting me.”
She added that if anyone outside or within the college took offence to the title, the college would later run into trouble.
"When I communicated my reasons for denying permission, the students including the student editor told me that they would seek legal help and obtain a court order granting them permission to use the name. But until they do so, there's nothing I can do about this. If the students manage to obtain the court order today, I will grant them permission the very moment," the Principal argued.