Dear JNUites, Nirmala Sitharaman Becoming Minister is NOT Your Victory!

From Chandrashekhar Tibrewal’s Facebook Wall

One of the major developments that has attracted a lot of attention among my JNU friends is the elevation of Nirmala Sitharaman to the cabinet rank of Ministers in Government of India. She is now the Defense Minister of India – a position held by a woman in India only for the second time. Definitely, a feat that is superbly commendable! So, congratulations are due to Ms. Sitharaman!

I have seen snippets where Ms. Sitharaman attributes her successes to JNU. There seems to be an article in the Hindu which calls her a founding member of the Free Thinkers a group that I led as its Convener for a number of years. So, here are my takes:

1. It does not require a JNU degree to succeed in politics. It definitely does not require a JNU degree to rise in a BJP led government; in fact it is antithetical to JNU values.

2. Ms. Sitharaman came to JNU a whole decade after the Free Thinkers were founded (by my predecessors, Anand Kumar in particular). And she did not leave JNU as a Free Thinker. Free Thinkers had disassociated themselves from her around 1984.

3. Free Thinkers values that we espoused had no place for political leanings of the likes of her. Unfortunately, it is not only her but some other significant individuals as well (who I shall not name) who are contributing to Modi’s communal, autocratic, anti-poor and corrupt agenda.

So, Ms. Sitharaman’s commendable success has nothing to do with JNU or the Free Thinkers. She has succeeded completely on her own guided by her innate communal values for which she does deserve full credit! Congratulations, Nirmala!