The JNU row (Jawaharlal Nehru
University) has debased to such lows that we seriously need to ask questions -
on the whole socio-political milieu prevailing at the moment:
-- That what was and what would
be the right approach - to let the incident pass by taking strict disciplinary
action against the erring students? - or making a fuss about it to the level that
it has now escalated to the extent to threaten the academic atmosphere in many
Obviously, the sane and the
logical voices would say a disciplinary action would be enough to address the
issue - if at all it was needed - or it would be precisely in course to ignore
the event because it was not a majority view there, in fact just a handful of
students were for it, and it was not the first time in JNU.
-- Was it a case fit for police
intervention? Now, after a week of row and its spread to other universities, we
can safely say NO. In the age of being students, we all are impulsive,
reactive, susceptible to sentiments and above all, we question ethos if we
don't conform to them - even if it means airing our views about the state,
about its affairs. Being a student should be about that. We need to get
outraged and speak our mind whenever we see something wrong. That is
permissible within the democratic norms - something that is even the top
custodian of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court of India, accepts -
saying unless words incite action, it is not a fit case for imposing sedition
laws. We may be wrong, like here these 'pro Afzal Guru' protesters were, but
then there were other possible means to handle the situation than a police intervention.
-- That if the administration was
hell-bent on 'improving' the situation, sanitizing JNU of anti-national
elements? If it was so, and no problem in that, then why did the Delhi Police
act so late. Reports say the Delhi Police had information prior to event.
-- What were they waiting for? If
the Delhi Police can proactively raid a government run canteen (Kerala House
beef controversy) in the name of taking precautionary measures to prevent any
untoward incident in the name of beef politics, what didn't they do so here?
-- Since February 9, it was JNU.
Since yesterday, it is Jadavpur University. University of Hyderabad is also
delicately balanced at the moment. Now, in the name of taking tough action on
the so-called 'anti-national' elements in our university system, in our
academic institutions, aren't we risking something much more insane - something
that would vitiate the academic atmosphere by dividing students along the lines
of differing ideologies?
Universities must be the first place
in any society to inculcate a culture of debate with differing voices and
ideologies and the emphasis should be on developing in-built mechanisms to
address voices of extreme like the 'pro Afzal Guru' event of JNU. There were
just handful of students (10-15), and even that is not sure that if they all
were from JNU, and their voice would never matter in the whole group of over
7000 JNU students.
-- Aren't all political parties
culprit of adding fuel to the fire? From Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi to senior
BJP and Congress politicians to Mayawati to Nitish Kumar to Omar Abdullah and
all others including the natural claimants, the Left parties with their legacy
in JNU, who made statements or visited JNU to take sides - everyone is
responsible to make what JNU has become today - since February 9 - and what University
of Jadavpur is becoming since yesterday.
-- Aren't we all to share the
blame? Aren't we all instilling fear in minds of our students? Aren't we all
forcing our students to take extreme steps like Rohith Vemula did or like the
three students of a Villupuram allied medical college did or like a Ph.D.
scholar in Central University of Rajasthan? Incidents like JNU crackdown or
policies that make vice-chancellors excessively powerful are solely responsible
and therefore is the system that is behind such events or policies.
-- Did the police act
politically? Did the police act in haste? Did the Delhi Police make the matters
worse? Yes, in fact, it is the Delhi Police that is primarily responsible for
making this much of something that was initially nothing. And they have
continued with their charade. They found an anti-national in Kanhaiya Kumar, the
JNU Students Union president, very conveniently and arrested him but they have
conveniently ignored the goondaism and lawlessness of some of the lawyers, an
spectacle that has been on obscene display since yesterday thrashing Kanhaiya
Kumar, his supporters and journalists including women - in the name of
nationalism or patriotism. But like the ultra-leftist (DSU, the Democratic Students
Union in this case), we also don't need these ultra-nationalists. And the list
of such bravados includes a BJP MLA. Things are on tape, recorded. The BJP MLA
and the goons in the garb of lawyers are openly airing their views but the
Delhi Police is still investigating, even if the Supreme Court reacted angrily
on the lawlessness on display at the Patiala House Courts complex.