Vinay Kumar Gupta
JNU is not only a university; it is a mini India in itself and it constantly endeavors to work for India and humanity.
Since 9th February the entire JNU campus has turned into an interesting spot for media and Delhi police. Earlier many of us were concerned about the anti-national slogans on the campus but truth has surfaced now. I don’t want to comment on that. Anyone following news would understand it easily but the kind of damage JNU has suffered because of certain vested interest in the name of politics is condemnable. The environment of JNU has always promoted a feeling of nationalism among students. What could be the best example of nationalism than JNU where students from across the region, religions, believes and culture stay together and work rigorously for the downtrodden sections of the society and India at large?
To those who say “what do we do at JNU?”
Please follow the link if you want to know the achievements of the JNU. I need not to explain much about it. Recently, a list has come out in the social media showing the number of JNUites at apex level in the current government. Apart from that, JNUites are present almost everywhere in the country, holding crucial and responsible positions. The subsidies and tax payers’ money have become another burning issue. To put it into simple words “if you can bear more than 50% of the GDP of this country as black money than why are you worrying about just 240 crores and so?” I believe, we should question the bad loans of “One Lakh Crores” given to corporate, which were written off by the RBI on the instructions of government. JNU students have contributed immensely for the welfare of the society in multiple ways, and have countered the radical forces in the country. They have been indispensible part in exposing corruption and social problems. Doesn’t it amount to anything contributing to the nation? Is it not service to nation? A nation can never become progressive without education and JNU imparts education with social responsibility. Media has done unprocurable damage to the image of JNU as an institutions and all these are perhaps politically motivated but we all here would stand together and uphold the values and ethos, for which this university has been established.
What do we intend to do at JNU?
Before explaining what we do at JNU, I would quote Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru here, as he aptly defined the motto of this university:
“A University stands for humanism; for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of truth. It stands for the onward march of the human race towards ever higher objectives. If the Universities discharge their duties adequately, then it is well with the Nation and the People.”
The sense of responsibility and empathy among JNU students towards marginalized, downtrodden and needy cannot be questioned. Their care for needy and service rendered by them to the nation cannot be questioned. Their cooperation with workers; decency and humility to sit with workers and illiterate masses; and zeal to serve the society cannot be questioned. Therefore, we all respect human dignity without putting bars of any sort.
Our existence and togetherness despite myriad differences proves the kind of tolerance we practice and belive in. We don’t believe in rotten learning rather we practice and empathize with the issues and produce new knowledge. We see them in different domain and perspectives and this is what for which we are getting trained here in JNU. The beauty of the curriculum here in JNU is, we go out of the box in terms of thinking and applying the same for the upliftment of the marginalized and poor.
We as a student unearth the hidden truth through our field work during research so that we can bring it in front of the government, and government can frame better policies and programs for the poor and those who are lagging behind. Is it useless research and academic work? The contributions of JNU students in terms of coming up with unprecedented results have made this university top ranker among all Indian universities. It can be validated by the fact that NAAC have rated it 3.91 on the 4 point scale.
The above mentioned facts and points indicates that what Pandit Nehru had said is being truly observed and practiced in this university. Hence, we all JNUites are well with the Nation and with the people of this country, in this way, we are nationalist with wisdom and spirit. But we are not political opportunists and chauvinists certainly.
JNU as a mini India
The diversity and range of differences in JNU indicates that it can accommodate all sorts of difference and yet can run without rapture in its functioning. And this is the beauty of this university. A woman can see it as the safest place in Delhi. The human chain made by Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) on 14th February resembles the true democratic ethos and spirit of this country. Students cutting across believe and ideologies participated in this #SaveJNU solidarity march. I myself was one of the participants and witnessed the diversity of the people. Students from across the sates participated in the march and finally reached to the Administrative Block. Not only Indian students but also foreign students participated in huge numbers. This is what JNU represents; this is what JNU upholds; freedom to everyone; space for everyone; right to speech and dissent to everyone. I don’t think the critical thought development is against nation and people of this country.
On 13th February, Prof. Anand Kumar also termed JNU as “Mini India” but it could be experienced on 14th February. The vibrant culture and space of the JNU and brotherhood among students represents the true democratic spirit of this country. Brotherhood and fraternity are also mentioned in our preamble of the constitution. However, I don’t want to argue much in defense of JNU, I just want to say “JNU was a true democratic space and, of course, integral part of the Indian state, which represents all kinds of diversity and differences, and will remain so”. We strive hard to maintain this spirit and value, and JNU community constantly will strive to do so.
Targeting of JNU and maligning its image
Regarding the targeting of JNU and abusing its students, it would only say you keep passing filthy comments and arguments on us because we don’t mind it. We think beyond it, and we would welcome your criticism with our decent way of countering, that is, discussions and debates. One retired OSD of a CM called JNU female students worse than prostitutes. My answer to him is “Unlike you, JNU does not believe in confining its female students in the home”. It gives them space and equal rights and male students here, unlike you, are not ashamed of walking with female friends shoulder to shoulders.
Recently, students and faculty members have been attacked in Patiala Court premises by some right wing lawyers. But we are not afraid; we will resist and fight back, not with violence but with patience and wisdom. The media is divided now, some are against practicing ethical journalism and continuously trying to malign the image of JNU while some believe in ethical journalism hence working hard to unearth the truth. We salute the ethical journalism; they are the oxygen of democratic rights and just society.
The government official in the government have not found any evidence against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and Delhi Police is now baffled but we all know that the decision taken in haste can have very grab repercussions. If you try to suppress the free speech, which is our fundamental right, we will make sure that we get our rights back.
Worldwide Support to JNU
The academicians and scientists across the world have supported the JNU students. The renowned scholars like Neom Chomsky and Samuel Anderson, to name a few, have supported the cause of JNU students. They all certainly cannot be irrational and supporters of anti-national elements. Calling entire JNU community as anti-national or sympathizer of anti-national activities is certainly not acceptable in any circumstances to a JNU student. Moreover, more than 40 central universities in India have supported JNU students and faculty. I am sure; they all are not sympathizers of anti-nationals. They are scientists, poets, scholars, army men, officers, politicians and intellectuals. All of them cannot be absolutely wrong at one point of time. They have extended this support after thinking and deliberations. The JNU aluminas have supported the #SaveJNU #SatndwithJNU movements. I believe, all of them cannot be irrational, unlike our chauvinistic nationalists, who think that they have signed the agreement of remaining exclusive nationalists. These chauvinists can only make noises but our deeds define our nationalism; our contribution to humanity and welfare of the masses defines nationalism.
The struggle is on and we are fighting for our rights of speech, dissent and debate. Just because of administrative failure of this university, the entire university cannot suffer and should not suffer at any cost. We believe that this is just a phase but we all as students will withstand the test of the time and would emerged victorious eventually. This is our spirit and ethos. We are not scared of any witch hunting because we are not against the law of the land. This land is dearer to all of us than any chauvinist. We are being targeted but we are not so easy to suppress because the true Indian nation is with us, which constitutes women, poors, dalits, tribal, minorities, and many more. JNU is an “Ideology” therefore it cannot be suppressed for long. It will emerge and re-emerge again and again.
By Vinay Kumar Gupta, Research Scholar at Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU