By Medha Malaviya
It’s Saturday night and the country is witnessing the unfolding of gory drama in one of the most prestigious educational institutions of India. Who is ‘right’? Who is wrong? What was the purpose of the ‘cultural program’ on 9th February? Why is the limelight descending on Jawaharlal Nehru University? While we try to decode the situation in Delhi it is important to have a closer look at the facts.
Some 10-20 odd students of Democratic Students Union (DSU) orchestrated a ‘cultural Program’ where towards the end they began to protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru and raised a cry for self-determination of Kashmir. Had the protest been restricted to this, JNU would not have to face the brunt of national media , it’s alumnae or the common masses.
But they went a step too far. Slogans like “Kashmir ki Azaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi”, “India ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi”, “Pakistan Zindabad” were shouted. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad complained immediately and the police surprisingly was swift to shut the protest down or at least they tried too. Adamant students this time around 30 in number and supported by other Student political organizations – AISA, SFI and AISF stood in solidarity with DSU and continued to protest. ABVP called for a strike, College authorities termed it as an act of “indiscipline”, inquiry was asked for, Kejriwal asked for magisterial inquiry.
The Vice Chancellor will now be questioned, and administration will be re-evaluated and so the story will continue on paper miles away from ground reality.
A similar incident happened in Hyderabad about a few weeks ago and what was the outcome? (A cause-effect developing here?) But there is more to this than meets the eye.
For years the right –wingers have seen JNU as the last bastion of the left. JNU has always taken initiative to break barriers. But when did breaking ‘norms’ transcend into exploitation of fundamental rights. If this is not ‘anti-national’ then what is? The question is not merely restricted to JNU, it is to the entire country. If all parties stood in solidarity with the students what was the need to suddenly withdraw the support when the movement started drawing flak. Yechury accuses Center.
Congress vice-president, Rahul Gandhi visits college and is welcomed with black flags. Home Minister is reported to and he decides to state something already known to all. The soft target in all this become the students themselves. Blaming the students won’t be the end. Arresting their student leader Kanhaiya Kumar is not a solution. He himself could not have managed a protest this humongous in nature. What is worse is the defamation the university has to face. Top officials and Ex-Army officers have threatened to return their degrees. What was once coveted is now just a memorabilia to be returned. But the story does not end here. Hafiz Sayeed, our very own personal Satan from neighbouring country starts a hashtag ‘#supportAntinationalStudentsofJNU’ is followed by Hurraiyat doing the same. The sheer extent to which the situation is being blown is mind-boggling.
The incident has become an opaque veil which is being used by all political parties for personal gains. Media is doing what it does best-cook. The students are misled and if not that then it a shame that bright minds have stooped to this level. The fuss about Afzal Guru or Maqbool Bhatt is not for a common man to decide. A man can be opinionated but imposing such opinions can lead to the situation JNU is facing right now. If politics begins with students then, it’s about time we reviewed it too.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.