Watching cricket in India can be a greatly emotional business. Watching a World T20 semi-final in big groups, even more so. Add to it a location with a history of conflict, and the intensity escalates and how!
This was pretty much how the NIT Srinagar row began.
India lost the WT20 clash to West Indies. A group of Kashmiri students indulged in a celebration of sorts which offended the outstation students. One thing led to another and a clash of a different, more heated kind broke out the next day.
On April 1, the outstation students started raising slogans of ‘Hindustan Zindabad’, ‘Pakistan Murdabad’, and well, ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. The local students retaliated with ‘Hum Kya Chahte, Aazadi’. Where have we seen this before?
Rings a bell? Read on.
Once again, tear gas shells and baton charge had to be used to disperse the crowd by the police within the periphery of an educational institution.
That being said, we were silently hoping NIT Srinagar be spared the political propaganda.
While the situation in Srinagar kept going out of hand with each passing day, interesting statements from politicians (of course) kept the (social) media abuzz.
Classes are being boycotted, demands are being raised, statements and counter-statements are being noted, the CRPF and police are on duty – everything is happening.
Let’s not come to a judgment of right or wrong, unless we’re actually, factually, in the situation.
But basically, the same ‘practical’ steps are being taken towards an amicable situation and everything, but there’s something, some observation that we’re probably missing out on.
The people, even though from behind their screens, are realising what educational institutions stand for – everyone gets to ask their questions and everyone gets to demand their answers, of course, minus the violent part, but essentially that.
Okay, let’s not generalise even here. There still is a beyond huge section just entertaining themselves over the ‘bhakt vs liberal’ mess, knowing fully well that this doesn’t even concern the bhakt-ness.
If we’re looking for opinions to form one of our own, people like ours truly Chetan Bhagat have made their reactions public, some of them drawing parallels and crosses between JNU and NIT (please to note that the treatment of JNU in most of these is deeply disturbing).
Dear Media, you made Kanhaiya into a hero.You know the real heroes? The #NITSrinagar students who stood up for India and were beaten for it.
Dear BJP, no alliance,no state-govt worth it if u can’t defend Indian students standing up for India in India.Do the right thing.#NITSrinagar
Salute to brave students who held India’s flag high in #NITSrinagar despite security fears. Hope govt does everything to keep them safe.
Chetan Bhagat makes almost complete sense here. Instead of focussing on the ordeal of the students at NIT Srinagar, who stood up to probably protect just their own interests, everyone – yes, most of media from family groups on WhatsApp to the kind that trends on Facebook Newsfeed – is busy pitting NIT against JNU. Stuff like, “Who’s the real hero, Kanhaiya or NIT Srinagar students?” is doing the rounds. There’s too much chaos to even think about it in peace.
And we know we are yet to reach our equilibrium – if we have one, that is.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.