Having been simultaneously amused and aghast, I must admit that I was inspired to write this piece after reading a few columnists in the National English Newspaper dailies in the context of ongoing protests by a section of students in some Indian universities, particularly the Jawahar Lal University (JNU) in Delhi. They have a variety of reasons for the ongoing protests such as enhancement of students’ fee, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), alleged brutality of police on protesters, regulatory instructions in hostels, and so on. One columnist compared the present situation analogous to 1970s that led the socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayana’s call of the total revolution in the country against the then Indira Gandhi government. Yet another India born professor Gyan Prakash, currently teaching History in the Princeton University, USA, calls it analogous to Gandhi’s Khilafat Movement against the British colonizers in 1920s in a guest column for a popular English daily.
The aforesaid historian calls the protests of Muslim students of organic nature and natural reaction to the government and Hindutva organizations’ divisive agenda since 2014. He has suggested that the students have not only clearly recognized the communal meaning of CAA but also the fact that its ominous linking with NRC will make them second class citizen. Followed by this, the historian cites several reasons like anti-cow slaughter vigilantism, Gauri Lankesh murder, unimpeded communalization of educational and cultural institutions, abrogation of Article 370 with a lockdown on Kashmir, Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya dispute, meek surrender of judiciary to executive authority, brutal use of extraordinary powers to intimidate and silence critics in JNU, Jamia, and so on for this nemesis. In fact, while coming heavily on alleged Hindutva agenda of the Indian government, he has albeit mildly attempted to suggest Indira Gandhi’s imposition of emergency in 1975 as an exception and lawful suspension of the law within the provision and practices authorized by the Constitution.
All the aforesaid averments right from the isolated crime incidents to national issues like Article 370 casting aspersions on the present Indian Government have been dealt with at length in my previous essays with hard facts, and logical and rational analysis based inferences. The lopsided version on issues like anti-cow slaughter vigilantism, Gauri Lankesh murder or alleged intimidation and silencing of critics in JNU and Jamia appears illogical and irrational but the criticism of the Supreme Court verdict supposedly on recent Ayodhya dispute and alleged “meek surrender of judiciary to executive” without assigning appropriate reasons seems preposterous and inflammatory. It may be a sheer coincidence but his remarks synchronize with ideology and agenda of the grand old party, leftist media and liberals of this country who, of late, have resorted to a practice of casting aspersions on the apex judiciary in litigation cases of high stakes if the judgment is not in line with their expectations.
How Far These Analogies Are Justified!
Now let’s see what the Gandhi’s Khilafat Movement and JP’s Movement stood for in the early and late twentieth century, respectively. The Khilafat movement was a pan-Islamist political solidarity campaign launched by Indian Muslim leaders like Shaukat Ali, Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Hakim Ajmal Khan, Abul Kalam Azad and others to pressurize the British government to restore the authority of the Sunni Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam in Turkey towards the end of the First World War. In his own foresightedness, Gandhi as leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) extended his support for the cause of caliphate of Ottoman in 1919-20 much against the wishes of many Congress leaders in a sort of quid pro quo that, in turn, Muslims will support the cause of Swaraj (self-rule) in India. Needless to mention, the Khilafat movement collapsed in due course, Turkey moved towards secularism under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the caliphate was abolished by 1924. Following this fiasco, a few Muslim leaders like Maulana and Azad Hakim Ajmal Khan stayed with INC to continue the struggle for independence while majority others including Ali brothers joined the Indian Muslim League to pursue own community agenda that later grew into Pakistan movement.
Jayaprakash Narayan alias JP was an Indian independence activist and socialist leader of Bihar. The year 1974 was characterized with high inflation, unemployment and severe shortage of essential commodities in the country. It started with the agitation of the students of Patna University, Bihar for better education and food in hostels. Similar resentment was also brewing against the alleged political corruption in Gujarat and other places against the Congress state governments. Following mishandling of the agitation by the Bihar government and consequent several deaths in police action, JP decided to spearhead the students’ agitation in June 1974 giving a call for social justice and dissolution of assembly. The students' movement gradually developed into a popular people's movement in Bihar. After the Allahabad High Court delivered a verdict against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for violation of electoral laws by in her constituency but she refused to step down, JP gave a call for Prime Minister and all Congress chief ministers to resign, and the military and police to disregard allegedly unconstitutional and immoral orders. He gave it a name of “Total Revolution” and national emergency was declared by Mrs. Gandhi to tackle growing dissent and anarchy against her government.
From the aforesaid brief description, it is clear that neither Khilafat movement nor JP’s total revolution has any relevance in the current socio-political scenario of the country. In the first place, the Khilafat movement was neither Gandhi’s movement nor it had anything to do with the Indian Muslims. It was a product of the very ideology of making a common cause with all Muslims worldwide that subsequently became more explicit and pursued as the two nation theory leading to the partition of India after independence; the seeds of which were already sown way-back in 1888 in Meerut by the Islamic philosopher and educationist Sir Sayyad Ahamad Khan. Currently, India has a more populist, progressive and stable government with umpteen welfare and progress schemes for all sections of the Indian society, and least corruption in at least higher offices. While supply and distribution of commodities is uninterrupted, inflation has been continuously maintained below 5 per cent. The current agitation and instances of protests by students mostly in some Central Universities directed against the Central government appear more of politically motivated rather than for any substantive cause.
It has often baffled me that some academicians, celebrities or proclaimed intellectuals take sides to oppose or support a particular event, agenda or policy of the government having significant social, economic or political implication without properly analyzing or going into pros and cons of it. For instance, Prof. Prakash, while attacking RSS and Modi Government on various counts, has outrightly chosen to depict CAA and NRC as communal and that if they are implemented, the Muslims will become second-class citizens in India. I wish he had atleast considered remarks of the former CJI Ranjan Gogoi on CAA or NRC in Assam. Any person of common prudence, who has a rational mind and patience to go through the Ayodhya judgment comprised of 1045 pages, will not make irrational comments on judiciary. Same is the case while considering two major communities in India: when such people talk of their perceived imaginary assault on Muslims by the RSS and BJP with Hindutva agenda and criticize the government for the removal of Article 370 but never mentions the plight of lakhs of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs, who killed in Kashmir in hundreds, forced to abandon their houses and property and are still living the life of refugees in own country for the last three decades.
The academicians and intellectuals in any society have an important and crucial role as torch bearers of wisdom and learning, and thereby also showing the right path to freedom, progress and prosperity to the contemporary youth and society in any country. But it remains a million dollar question how far many of them are fulfilling these obligations in India. On the contrary, there are umpteen examples of professionals who after earning their education and degree in the apex Indian institutions, explore their opportunity in Western countries for a more cozy and comfortable living, assume the tag of expert, intellectual or liberal and take sides as per their convenience often without even knowing the subject well. They are either not aware of or consciously pretend so due to vested interests about the implications of biased, discriminatory or occasionally even bizarre approach on critical issues and the damage and disruption it could cause to the people and country. As the popular adage goes "The pen is mightier than the sword", the words of academicians and intellectuals mean a lot for the common masses.
The Nature of Current Students’ Agitation and Protests
Of late, many organized protests and agitation have been held and some are still underway in different parts of India. Some of them could be spontaneous but majority of them appear to be organized under the influence of the opposition political parties and militant organizations like Popular Front of India, particularly on issues like Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) 2019 and National Register of Citizens (NRC). The demands of students include roll back of fee hike in JNU, withdrawal of CAA, stoppage of proposed NRC, removal of Vice-Chancellor, and so on. Protests at some places have simply been for the solidarity with the JNU students. As protests on the CAA and NRC have been separately covered with reasonable details under “Unrest on Citizenship (Amendment) Act - Staged or Real” (https://www.boloji.com/articles/51359/unrest-on-citizenship-amendment-bill), hence I propose to restrict the scope of this piece largely to students’ unrest and consequent protests in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi.
The campus of JNU has remained a centre of national attention since last week of the October, 2019 in anticipation of the proposed hike in fees after several decades. Initially, for few days they organized rallies in South Delhi, indulged in loud protests, slogan shouting, road jams, occasional arson and damage to public property and even clashed with police. Occasionally, same students have also organized protest against the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, CAA and proposed NRC. These protests have mostly taken place under the aegis of students’ leftist unions such as SFI, AISA, AISF and DSU and as a part of the protest, they boycotted classes and even the final semester examination. After protests, the University partially rolled back by reducing fee for students in respect of students who do not avail any scholarship and hail from lower income group. However, to press their demand for the total rollback of the fee increase, the students union have continued their agitation, needless to mention with blessings and patronage from the political parties like the Congress, AAP and Left parties.
The registration process was started from 1st January 2020 with revised fees but some students led by JNUSU President Aishi Ghosh not only opposed registration but also constantly interrupted the online process by putting the server down and physically blocking the access to it. As evidence, numerous videos have appeared on the social media showing masked students physically blocking server room, shouting ‘Ajadi (freedom) slogans and stopping students and professors’ access of their class/lab disrupting academic process inside the campus. On 5 January, 2020, in an unprecedented and unlawful act, a group of masked vandals entered and roamed around the campus, destroyed property, intimidated and attacked several people including students and teachers with lethal arms like sticks and rods. Deeply pained and frustrated with the horrendous event, the conscientious author and scientist from JNU, Professor Anand Ranganathan expressed his anguish on vandalism created by protesters, most of whom are said to belong to the left wing ideology, as under:
“Don't know who began this violence, who gains from it; all I know is that we spent the last three harrowing hours getting two terrified girl students out from the lab they had locked themselves in because goons were roaming outside with acid, safe back home.”
While the leftist students and their supporters have accused right wing ABVP activists, the latter has blamed the former group for the alleged violence and sabotage. While the opposition politicians, rights activists and some Bollywood celebrities have opened front against the right wing students and Central Government, the latter put onus on leftist students and opposition parties. Only the detailed investigation would reveal truth but as per preliminary investigation, of the nine suspect vandals identified by the Delhi police, seven belongs to different left wing associations students including the JNUSU president and the remaining two are from the right wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthy Parishad (ABVP).
Immediately on notification of CAA on 12 December 2019, the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University undertook a protest march to the Parliament on the following day. This ultimately led to arson and damage to public property such as burning of vehicles and clash with Delhi police deployed to control mob violence. Students and their sympathizers alleged the police attacking the peaceful protesters with sticks and stones leading to injuries to many of them. However, the visuals on various news media channels narrate a different story of damage to public property and hardship and injuries that policemen faced. Then on 15 December, major protests broke out near Jamia Millia, mob including many outsiders resorted to stone pelting on police from inside the campus, private and public property was burnt and destroyed, and even nearby railway stations were vandalized. Ultimately, the police entered the campus of Jamia, used batons and tear gas to control agitators, and even some of them were taken in custody. It was later revealed that several outsiders, men and women, and political activists of a local party participated in association with the students in unlawful activities.
On the 15 December itself, protest by students against CAA also broke out in the Aligarh Muslim University, UP. When the mob of students turned violent, and started damaging public property and pelting stones, the police had to enter the campus of University and resorted to batons and teargas to disperse the violent mob besides restricting access to internet connectivity in the area. The university was closed by the administration till 5 January 2020 and the authorities ascribed the disturbances to some anti-social elements. After reopening of the University, the protests have resumed albeit at a lower intensity. Similar protests in some other universities like Nadva in Lucknow and Jadavpur in Kolkata were also reported. Ironically, both in the Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, the Vice-Chancellors have succumbed to the pressure of the students to lodge an FIR against police deployed to control law and order and maintain peace in the aforesaid university campuses.
JNU Protests – It’s Not Fee Hike Alone
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is a prestigious central university located in Delhi since 1969 spread over one thousand acre campus in posh South Delhi. It was conceptualized as a world-renowned center for teaching and research in various fields of education as also nurturing social awareness in society. Currently, it has 10 different schools including 4 special centres to achieve aforesaid objectives; many defence, R&D and business institutions are also associated with it for recognition and accreditation purposes. Ever since its establishment, it has also been a centre of students’ politics linked with mostly leftist parties though of late right-wing students have also made some dent in the campus activities. For many years now, the university has increasingly gained the reputation of an "unruly bastion of Marxist ideology" with Left and Left-Centric political leaders frequently visiting and making common cause with the students.
In fact, a sizeable number of JNU professors too are understood to have strong leaning towards the Marxist ideology and some are even tacitly supporting often unruly students. In the same context, one Professor GN Saibaba was arrested in 2014 for naxal links and prosecuted on the charges of being member of the banned terrorist organization CPI-Maoist, providing logistics and helping in recruitment for the group in a conspiracy to create violence, cause public disorder and spread disaffection towards the state. He was found guilty during the trial and sentenced life imprisonment. Recalling the background of the university, the former Professor Makarand Paranjape of humanities for almost 20 years (now Director, IIAS, Shimla) candidly spoke how during the cold war period while tangoing with the Communist Russia (then USSR), the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had created this institution principally for the sake of left liberals in a sort of quid pro quo in return of the political support from the left parties. Professor Paranjape candidly said that even some socialist dogmas were also smuggled in the JNU Act despite the fact that the socialism is not scientific or even pseudo-scientific. In subsequent years, appointments and academics were so manned that the most positions in the JNU were occupied or filled on ideological considerations, particularly in humanities. This continued for years but now thing are changing and this has also been a factor for constant conflicts within the campus.
The current protests started with the fee hike in JNU under various categories including hostel rent and utility/service charges. After the agitation, the university authorities reconsidered it and there was a partial roll back particularly for the eligible BPL categories. Here what needs to be noted is that earlier fee structure was not revised for decades and even the revised current rates are absolutely minimum; the tuition fee, hostel room rent, food and other services are highly subsidized and competitive compared to any other major institution in the country both in central and state sectors. According to current estimates, the annual government grant/subsidy per student works out to about Rs 6.88 lakh in JNU. As such annual tuition fee in various academic courses is nominal (Rs two to three hundred annually); hostel rent double and single seater rooms has been increased from Rs 10 to 150 and Rs 20 to 300 per month, respectively; utility and service charges shall be 50% of the actual; mess charges (food) are highly subsidized and newspapers are provided merely for Rs 50 per annum; all other charges have been rolled back to the original (old Rates) level. Here one needs to understand that the students are agitating against paying Rs 150 or 300 as room rent per month in an area of South Delhi where even a small single room outside campus would cost at least Rs 10,000 per month. Because of base value of Rs 10, one might feel it a high increase, but it is hard to imagine that students would be hard pressed to pay Rs 150 as room rent, when majority of them are receiving stipend/scholarship from various sources ranging from Rs two thousand to thirty-five thousand per month.
These protests are not merely restricted to fee-hike. Agitating students are also against the revised hostel manual instruction which necessitates all residents to be indoors by 11 PM at night and prohibits unauthorized stay of outsiders in the hostel rooms. The University administration wants a security audit of hostels and students are vehemently against this move. As the university administration seeks to introduce discipline and decorum in the university campus and hostels, they have demanded the removal of vice-chancellor too. Professors who do not support or speak against the unruly conduct of students and disruption of classes have also been targeted. Only few days back, they manhandled a lady professor and reportedly even attempted to tear up her clothes. Contrary to historian Prakash of Princeton University, who envisions Gandhi’s Khilfat Movement in all this, it reminds to me the nemesis of Lucknow University in May 1973: we were appearing in the annual examination as science undergraduates when unruly students ransacked the campus and put several university buildings such as Registrar Office, Cashiers Office and Tagore Library on fire. The occasion coincided with the revolt of the provincial armed constabulary, hence local army units had to be rushed to restore order and academic environment.
While the investigation by police would reveal the real players behind the ruckus created inside the university campus and hostels on 5 January, but the left wing students’ organizations and their supporters are, undoubtedly, responsible for the continued imbroglio and trouble for months now. While the majoriy professors even if not happy with the approach of students have preferred to stay quiet to avoid ire of students or remain politically correct, there few like Professor Anand Rangnathan of Molecular Medicine genuinely concerned with the future of those students who are serious about their studies and building a professional career rather than indulging in student politics to stay in news and limelight through all this pandemonium. Consequently, one could easily access news items and videos floating on social media and internet with agitating students misbehaving and stopping his passage to work or research lab. While listing out the real facts of the matter, his anger and sarcasm can be perceived from the following words:
“The protesting students have been collecting within the main building against the High Court order, but it is not fascism. Most JNU centres remain forcibly closed to professors, but it is not fascism. The admin block and Vivekananda statue have been brutally vandalized but it is not fascism…Protesting students are threatening students to not take exam, physically preventing new students from registering but it is not fascism, they have cut off WiFi in campus by vandalizing the server room but it is not fascism. For these students the right to protest is the right to prevent and they call others fascists”. Then Prof Ranganathan concludes by quoting the mentor of such protesters Paul Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolf Hitler's closest and most devoted associates, who famously said, “…the first rule of propaganda is you accuse others of what you are guilty of”.
To illustrate aforesaid averment, those who have seen visuals of Delhi policemen struggling against the emotionally charged and violent JNU students at Raisina Hills (President’s House) and elsewhere with minimum force and maximum restraints would be utterly frustrated with the stories of police atrocities on students in several blogs appearing in e-magazines and e-news grown like mushrooms in recent years, some of which are well known to publish any anti-establishment matter with missionary zeal. They justify their disruptive action in the campus as pro-poor students, who would be only too willing to peacefully and timely complete their studies to secure livelihood for self and family while students’ union leaders are eying on their futuristic opportunity in politics at the cost of common student. Some of the images and videos circulating on social media about the supposed injuries are really amazing and quite revealing to what extent people could go to garner attention by faking a victim card.
JNU - Thy Name is Controversy
The aforesaid is not a standalone incident, the history of JNU is full of paradoxes and controversies ever since its inception while it also true that it has given some of the very renowned and great leaders, administrators, economists also to the country. Rather than looking into the whole gamut of JNU history, a few significant controversial events of the last two decades are briefly given to illustrate the point.
- An Indo-Pak mushaira was organized in April 2000 at the JNU campus by the students. The recitation of poem by a Poetess of Pakistan was objected to by two Indian army officers who felt that the critical text of Urdu poem violated Indian sentiments. Enraged by the resultant altercation, the JNU students attacked and thrashed both the officers. After the matter escalated, the government had to appoint a retired judge to probe the incident.
- The Supreme Court of India stayed the JNU elections and banned the Students Union in October 2008 for refusal to implement the recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee. The committee had recommended guidelines for the Students Union election inter alia including eligibility criteria of candidates, transparency in expenditure during elections to curb display of money and muscle power as well as restrictions on candidates about re-contestation. Elections were resumed after four years following the curb imposed by the apex court.
- JNU students organized a meet in 2010 under the banner of "JNU Forum Against War on People" to oppose the Operation Green Hunt and celebrate the killing of 76 CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh. The Operation Green Hunt was the codename used for an all-out offensive against the Naxalites started by the Government of India engaging the paramilitary forces and state police forces. This meet was organized by the Democratic Students Union (DSU) and All India Students Association (AISA), both affiliated with Left parties and anti-India sentiments and slogans were raised during the meet.
- Some students under banner of All India Backward Students' Forum (AIBSF) actively supported by left wing students of JNU organized Mahishasur day during Navratra festivals in 2010 at JNU at the School of Social Sciences. The organizers reportedly distributed poster and pamphlet depicting Mahishasur as a tribal king and Goddess Durga as a sex worker. At that time some ABVP students protested and started removing obscene posters leading to physical clash with the organizers. Consequently, a disciplinary committee of JNU suspended few ABVP members and warned them to debate the issue rather than removing posters or resorting to fight. No action was taken against AIBSF and left wing students. Unfazed with the event, Goddess Durga has been repeatedly insulted by some students in the following years too.
- Government had made a proposal to include a course on Indian culture and Yoga in the university curriculum in 2015 which was opposed by the Left wing students union tooth and nail calling it an attempt at saffronisation of education.
- A cultural evening was organized by the Left wing students on 9 February, 2016 against the execution of terrorists Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, in solidarity with Kashmiri separatists. During the meet, slogans like ‘Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!’. ‘Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega!’ were raised. Some of the more provocative and slanderous slogans like ‘Bharat ke tukde honge hazaar’ (India will be broken into a thousand pieces) and ‘Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi!’ (Our fight will continue until India is destroyed) were also raised. Delhi police had filed a charge-sheet on sedition charges against students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others over a year back which is pending with the Delhi government for clearance.
Here I would like to just make two points about the religious freedom and national integrity. The Indian Constitution under Article 15 grants security to Indian citizens from any discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth as also certain rights including freedom of speech and expression under Article 19. A person is free to pursue any religion or he (or she) may even choose to remain atheist, agnostic or unbeliever as many people with leftist ideology claim so. But this does not grant any choice or liberty to ridicule, insult or indulge in any act hurting religious sentiments of others. It’s fine if some students of JNU do not subscribe to any religion or they pursue different faith but this does not sanction them liberty to demean and insult any god or goddess of Hindu religion. There are hundreds of million devotees of Goddess Durga in India and a handful of JNU students and politicians, mediapersons and intelligentsia endorsing their act has in no way served any good by hurting their religious sentiments.
Similarly, when some JNU students, or for that matter anyone elsewhere, give a call for “Bharat Ki Barbadi” or ”Bharat ke tukde honge hazaarz”, it symbolizes basically an intent to destroy the largely secular, liberal and democratic fabric of India, and pious achievements of our great leaders and revolutionaries, who laid their lives for the freedom during the war of independence. Does the much talked about progressive thoughts and reasoning of the radical left elements in JNU is what that reflects ‘anti-national sentiments’ and feeling proud of being anti-India? What sort of example of “the freedom of expression” these students and their supporter intellectuals and academicians in India and abroad exemplify when they question the conviction of the dreaded terror masterminds in a fair legal trial by India’s Supreme Court? Even if we ignore all these factors, do they really have any concern for the hundreds of innocent people died and kin suffered following the terror attacks? Self-proclaimed champions of the freedom of speech and expression forget the fact that it is not an absolute right and comes with certain riders or reasonable restrictions in the interest of the law and order and public morality. Then there is a distinction between the use of the right and the abuse of the right; and this distinction needs to be understood and respected by all including the students, academicians and intellectuals.
Role of Political Parties
Be it CAA, NRC, Article 370, civil code or students unrest and unruly conduct in some universities, these are not new developments and have conspicuously dragged on for the decades altogether unresolved. For instance, NRC is creation of a register for all citizens mandated by the Indian Citizenship Act 1955, passed by the then Congress government, but was neither implemented nor annuled by them during decades' stint. The present government undertook it in Assam after the intervention of the Supreme Court of India. So it’s like you ignite a fire, pretend to be in firefighting mode but neither allow flames to extinguish nor the fire to flare up; thereby, allow smoke and unabated low fire to let everything slowly burn over a time. This is the case of NRC and this is what has happened in case of many other contentious issues bothering the nation during the previous regimes. On Article 370, in a debate in Parliament on a private member's bill as back as in September 1964, tweleve MPs spoke in a four hours debate; of the twelve, seven MPs were from the Congress and all of them strongly favoured removal of the Article urging the government to pass the bill or assure to do it in a time bound mnner. Now they are opposing it tooth and nail supplying enough fodder to Pakistan to further interntionalize it. Even in the context of improving bilateral relationship with Pakistan, if the present government takes initiative with the ever hostile neighbour, the Congress and some others criticize them for compromising the national integrity and esteem; then leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar of the same party visit Pakistan in a tangoing act and proclaim “India cannot be a true secular nation unless it improves relationship with Pakistan”.
Professors duo, the scientist Ranganathan and historian Prakash represent two different ideologies and a sharp contrast. The former is completely students-centric and talks for the welfare of the institution where he is serving, while the latter used the same institution as a take off point in the past and now using students unrest as a lethal ammunition and salvo against the political dispensation of not his choice. He is able to see few isolated and lopsided events of crimes and relate it to the fear and intimidation inflicted by Modi government and his party since 2014 but is unable to appreciate dozens of schemes implemented during the same period at massive scale for inclusive and integrated growth and development of rural and urban masses in India. While implementing these schemes, government has not done it with consideration whether the beneficiary is a Hindu or Muslim, or for that matter any caste, community, religion or region. Even a single sustainable complaint of discrimination or bias has not appeared; on the contraty, there are instances of the state governments under the opposition rule blocking welfare schemes of Centre out of the sheer fear of losing mandate of the electorate.
A handful of students, most of them affiliated to left wing political parties and some reactionary right wingers, are responsible for constantly spoiling peace, harmony and academic environment in JNU. For some of them, it’s like internship and probation in national politics while other students get entangled for fun, excitement and adventure, and occasionally for justifiable cause. Take for instance the former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar for his solidarity and support of executed terrorists and Kashmiri separatism in 2016, and opposition politicians’ simultaneous clamouring for him; the Communist Party of India granted him a ticket from Bihar in the Parliamentary elections of April 2019 while Aam Admi Party in Delhi is sitting over the charge-sheet against him for sedition and criminal conspiracy in a hush up act for over one year now. Even more disturbing is the recent trend that any incident in the campus invariably triggers a rush of opposition politicians and celebrities to JNU campus to show solidarity with the agitating students in a hope to exploit it to strengthen own political and electoral base or fan following.
India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had coined the term “Temples of Modern India” for educational and scientific institutions and they should not be allowed to turn into hotbed or cesspool of politics by few unruly elements. Educational institutions are created to foster learning and excellence rather than doom. A chronic disease needs strong, even bitter, doses of medicine and surgical procedure to cure and prevent it to becoming cancerous. Hence beyond the ideological leanings if any student group is identified with any political party for active support and sabotage, ideological or otherwise, it needs to be derecognized. There are past precedents from JNU and other institutions; if they continue to disrupt peace and academic environment or found involved in unlawful activities, the election of students’ union should be banned for a given period. Also as the police needs a nod from the educational institution to enter its campus, barring certain contingencies, similar restrictions also need to be imposed for the media presence and coverage in the campus. Last but not the least, if things continue unabated without reform, the Central government should even consider the closure of the university for a long period or shifting it outside Delhi away from the political overshadowing.