#ShutDownJNU is rubbish. RSS is the real anti-national

Sanjeev Bhatt

I’ve been seeing this very disturbing hashtag all day, and I don’t think it should be taken lying down.

Dissent is integral to the practice of democracy, and sedition provisions have immense potential for overreach and misuse. The students in the eye of the controversy sure did cross a line, calling for India’s destruction and the like, but I think it’s important to make a distinction between the causes they were supporting and the language they used to express that support. Firstly, by no means are they justified in calling for attacks on Parliament, or for “Bharat Ki Barbaadi Tak Jung Rahegi”. That is definitely a matter for concern, but what I’d like to address is the larger context in which the backlash has begun.

For one, I really don’t find anything anti-national about advocating freedom for Kashmir or talking about Afzal Guru in itself. Adherence to the principles of democracy is far more important than unquestioning obedience for a rigid, inflexible system that refuses to understand or incorporate dissent.

Who is anti-national?

People who cheer on while a possibly innocent man is convicted and sent to the gallows over a shocking attack whose antecedents that are, at best, hazy today, and point blank refuse to even try and explore alternative possibilities, after a sham of a trial where the evidence wouldn’t pass muster if the man had stolen an apple, or people who have consistently stood by the cause of the truth and advocated the sanctity of the rule of law?

Much of the Left protests Guru’s hanging not because he was guilty, but because he was most likely not.

It was a botched trial, with enough evidence to point in other, far more sinister directions, all of which were promptly ignored and drowned in ignorant jingoism.

Who is anti-national?

Governments whose agencies have run amok turning life into hell for three generations of Kashmiris, scarred entire populations after murders, disappearances, rapes and suppression, continually downplayed the damage with manipulative propaganda, steadfastly, defiantly marched on with the blood of tens of thousands of innocents on their hands, or the teenagers who’ve taken to the streets with sticks and stones to fight for the last shred of dignity the state seeks to deny them?

What’s happened in Kashmir is something that deserves brutally honest introspection, and can’t so quickly or easily swept under the carpet with that pathetic excuse some people would like to call patriotism.

As Zinn once said, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

Arnab Goswami sanctimoniously talks of ‘Maoist terrorists’ when he’s been sitting in his damn newsroom and yelling at people all his life, while the policemen and tribals fighting a war of attrition on the ground know they’re both victims of the same enemy. Big business out to mine Chattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkand to hell and back, buying out governments that have committed their forces against the very people they are supposed to protect, and a corporate-owned media feeding a gullible, largely upper-class audience half-truths and hogwash. Today’s war is just a sneak peek into what that hell promises to look like. The Maoist movement has its fair share of mistakes and wrongdoings, but what prompted some of the most isolated tribal peoples on the subcontinent to take to armed rebellion against the state?

Simple. They were pushed to the wall, denied what they were entitled to by the very state entrusted with protecting their rights. The fact remains that we’re tacitly supporting a concerted campaign to flush out and ‘exterminate’ as one home minister helpfully put it, some of the poorest and most wronged of our people.

I’m not justifying Maoist violence, but what I do know is the current response will achieve little more than further bloodshed. Especially since most of us seem determined to shut our eyes tight and promptly brand them all anti-national.

Too many people have been dragging Lance Naik Hanumantappa into this, but I think it’s more important for them to understand what led to the tragedy. Hollow assertions of pride about the army go hand in hand with not giving two hoots about demilitarizing or even exploring the possibility of doing so in Siachen. Most of these chaps won’t lift a finger or raise their voices for justice for these soldiers as human beings, but are all too willing to wave around plastic flags and proclaim their patriotism from the rooftops when another life is needlessly lost.

You can feel all the pride you want to when someone else is doing the dying for you.

Dragging in the army here is just the old attempt to project someone to idolize and someone else to demonize. People who see the world in black and white have gone hammer and tongs at the ‘left’ , ‘intellectuals’ ‘pseudo seculars’ after reading little more than the headlines from the very newspapers which on the first signs of inconvenience they don’t hesitate to call ‘Presstitutes’.

#ShutDownJNU is rubbish.

Resistance is more relevant to the intellectual tradition than it perhaps ever has been in the history of modern India, for the simple reason that it’s pitted against forces that threaten to overtake and drown our democracy in the politics of ignorance, communalism and parochialism with a pervasive influence and vengeance like never before.

The students had no business saying some of the things they did, but they’ve unwittingly provided an opening for painting all of the left with the same brush and only given a fillip to the right-wing effort to relegate a very, very relevant section of Indian intelligentsia to the rubbish-heap of history.

  • Vikas Nishal

    what an Idiotic analogy. Stealing an apple and attacking parliament killing eight brave soldiers are not the same thing you moron.

    • Arun

      It wasn’t an analogy, Vikas. It was a deliberately ludicrous comparison to make exactly the same point you seem to have in mind. The author’s only failing seems so to be that he assumed intelligence in his readers. No a safe assumption with people people whose best shot at argument stops is resorting to crude abuse.

  • ashok sharma

    Have Ever Such Scare Tantrums worked against the Youth of this country or any Other Country ? Did any Oppressions Suppression Lathi Baton Danda, or Shouting intimidation with Red Big wide Open Eyes ever worked Even since past 100 years Ago against our Freedom Fighters Youth Brigades of Bhagat Singh and Others Who raised their Voices in Protest againstBritish opression ?

    If the answer is NO and Emphatic NO -Why then the Gov think it would work now ? Did not such moves resulted in Fall of Mighty British Empire ? and more recently post independence Emergency Days ? What Happened ! Was not the Chapter Closed for India Gandhi then ?

    Ashok K Sharma
    New Delhi – India.
    13 feb 2016: 5:30am

  • Yazdy Rusi Palia

    Spot on, Sanjiv. I endorse, every word you have stated above. The students (or individuals) who chanted anti India slogans can easily be identified. Everything about them could be found out without third degree and necessary action taken against them as per the law subscribed. Charging them with sedition, is uncalled for and is the work of people who are in a frenzy because their plans are failing.
    If chanting anti India slogans amounts to sedition, what about the act of virulent groups who are building temples in the name of the first terrorist of free India? What would you call the act of the people who indulge in glorifying a cold blooded assassin who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi? If I were a savage, I would call for charging them with sedition. However, I am a civilized human being who believes in the primacy of individual rights, which neither the RSS nor BjP believe in. As an advocate of the primacy of individual rights, I aver, that savages have the right to express themselves and even spew their venom. It is up to us, those who believe in liberty and individual rights to counter them with better logic. I am sure, the educated people of India and especially the youth will understand it and put them in their places when the time comes, never to arise again, to spew their venom.

    • Agreed.
      The only difference is, you can’t reason or give logic to a fascist mind.
      They just don’t get it

  • sumit sharma

    What freedom is really these JNU wants? Being in top most college, studying and living free. They are not oppressed ones, they came here to serve the nation or their family whatever but freedom allow to chant India go back? Sanjiv bhatt is pupphet of congress, already accused modi many times in past, his co-group members(tista sitalwad) are accused for scams. Kill all Indian supporters in kashmir valley and show world that kashmiris don’t want to be part of India. Bharat ki barbaadi if they want can be honored in pakistan only so better leave India and go their dreamland, India is for Indians not for one who want to destroy India. Shame on author. #shutdownJNU

  • Ramakrishna G

    Shutdown JNU. Cleanse the University. Reopen again. The main & only objective of an University is Education and Scientific Research. GOI is using tax payer’s money and my money to subsidize the cost. I do not like my money being used for anti national issues. Stop psedo boxing. No body is opposing dissent.

    • Arpit Zanes Nayak

      Hi, again. What do you mean by ‘cleanse’? You mean like cleanse everyone who doesn’t agree with you or just put all the Jews in gas concentration camps?

      • Ramakrishna G

        Do not get confused. I mean cleanse as per dictionary meaning.

        • NARAYAN RAO

          That is meaningless ; the dictionary meaning was written before this incident took place ; if you really have anything in mind , explain clearly what you mean.

          The article clearly says that the hashtag ShutDownJNU is rubbish.

          If you disagree with the article , post your comments explaining where and why you disagree ; merely posting the word clean , and then clarifying that what you mean by it is what the dictionary says , is poor communication.

          • Ramakrishna G

            I always believe when you are in doubt go to fundamentals. The fundamentals on which JNU started is Education and Scientific Research. Where as, now I see JNU in NEWS for all wrong reasons. When I speak to people, when I go through articles on JNU, I feel the rot is not an over night phenomena. It is built over the years. Hence cleansing is required, not cleaning. Cleaning is superficial. Unlike you, I am not affiliated to any ideology. I saw some of your writings, hence the deduction. I am not a follower of any Political party. An ordinary Citizen, and concerned about my Country. I feel this article is rubbish. I know there will be a reply from you, not connected with the subject, not pertaining to the National Interest, but mud slinging. Sorry to say Mr Narayana Rao. First time I am coming into contact with people of your like. By the way what is Kannaiah Kumar aged 29 years doing at JNU. Most of us did our PG by 22 years.

          • NARAYAN RAO

            I don’t wish to reply to such dogmatic thinking.

            My sister got her Ph. D when she was 60 ; does it in any way cast aspersions on her character , her ability , her knowledge or anything else ?

            According to you , it does.

            It is clear what your education has done for you.

          • Ramakrishna G

            You do irrational analogies, drag relatives of yours in discussions, do mud slinging. Sorry. I am leaving your chain of discussion on the topic. Now I understand that is your strategy.

          • Ramakrishna G

            Tuition fee at JNU is Rs 240/-, and the total of all other fees numbering 12 is Rs 150/-. Tax Payers are subsidizing their education, including me. I contribute 45% of my salary towards taxes. These Students have no moral right to criticize the Country which gives them Education for free. I recommend to the Government three choices; 1. Cleanse 2. Close. 3. Privatize. Among the three, the first option cleanse is better.

          • NARAYAN RAO

            A totally meaningless argument ; JNU is not the only educational institution that is funded by the government.

            According to you , because the taxpayers ( of whom you are just one ) fund their education , all students should shut down their brains and not engage in any activity other than studies. Because I , as a taxpayer too , think that education is not just cramming knowledge into empty minds ; education should teach the young generation the difference between right and wrong , and , this is important , to teach them how to differentiate and distinguish between the two on their own.

            One of the most important aspects of this kind of education is the instilling of critical thinking in all students ; do not take anything as truth because an authority figure tells you it is so ; learn to read / listen / watch , understand , analyze , discriminate , learn to ask questions and search for answers , and come to conclusions. Learn to settle differences of opinion by dialogue , discussion , debate.

            This is true education.

            This is what will build a new generation of great Indians.

            Not what the fools in the present government or those even bigger fools in the RSS / VHP / Bajrang Dal /… think.

      • Ramakrishna G

        JNU, UoH and the likes have become breeding grounds for anti nationals. Time to cleanse. Students and Faculty are forgetting the purpose for which they join or run the University. Time to cleanse. I would have been happier if debates and discussions takes place for the sake of enriching ideas. Time to cleanse.

        • Arpit Zanes Nayak

          Cleanse according to what you think is clean. Cleanse so no one says anything you don’t like. You sound like a fascist.

          • Ramakrishna G

            I suggest Arpit, please refer to the dictionary for meaning of cleanse. You seem to be reading a lot about Nazi, concentration camps, Jews, Fascism. Good. Good. But do not hallucinate.

          • Arpit Zanes Nayak

            Unless you mean you want to physically dust all JNU students with a feather brush, you don’t cleanse the way the dictionary defines it. You mean to cleanse people of their beliefs and ideologies simply because it does not concur with your own. You’re being disingenuous.

          • Ramakrishna G

            I see from internet records, that you are from Fergusson College, Pune. Let JNU be like your College. I will be happy.

          • Sceptic

            According to you, students should be merely instruments of commerce. They should not think, question and learn outside the course material provided to them. They should not ask why so many people are poor and why labours are provided so low wages, why farmers are committing suicides. They should mindlessly obey what government says and believe every act of government as rightful.

          • Ramakrishna G

            You have rightly named yourself as Sceptic. Is it Sceptic or septic. Even that word also suits you. God bless you.

          • Sceptic

            Its a typical ad-hominem response (a very ill recognized form of logic)

  • Ramakrishna G

    Once again, I am saying Shutdown JNU, UoH and likes. The Universities are meant for Education & Scientific Research. We all feel sad that 80% of passing students are not employable. How do they gain knowledge if Education is not the first choice. So sad, some of the the Gurus or the Faculty are also part of this mess.

    • Arpit Zanes Nayak

      Sorry, first of all, your statistics are incorrect. 80% of students being unemployable referred to engineers and consequently, engineering colleges. Secondly, your idea of education is very limited. Education comes from debates and discussions about tortuous topics and, in fact, this is one of the only ways we progress beyond textbooks and as a society.

      • Ramakrishna G

        Agree Arpit. You have a broad idea of Education. Have debates and discussions for enhancing your Social Sciences knowledge. But why do it in Public, why do it in front of cameras. Do them in class rooms under a Moderator like Professors. I have been hearing JNU being anti National for the last 30 7 odd years from Friends, News. I will again say “Enough is enough. Shut down JNU. Cleanse it. Then only open it.” I do not want my money which is Taxpayers money being spent on your subsidized education. Instead go private.

  • Indradeb Pal

    It is better to shutdown JNU as it will save Tax Payers hard earned money. With this kind of environment at JNU where the students learn to become Anti-Nationals – it is akin to using the Income Tax Payers money to generate terrorists who work against India.

    • Ramakrishna G

      I support.

    • Bijith

      I support

  • Dushyant Sharma

    All these intellectual things you can say, just because you are in India.. Just Try the same in Syria, North Korea, etc. So, please first respect and protect your country and then say all these rubbish leftist, rightist, fasist and bla bla.

    • Ramakrishna G

      I like.

  • Sam

    Shutting down of a premier institution like JNU is not the solution to stop any kind of anti-Indian sentiments. I agree. However, the writer’s comment on RSS as anti-national organisation, I do not agree with. Do some homework before making such a bold statement. The ideology or philosophy of RSS is based on hardcore nationalism or patriotism. They may be the hardcore Hindu extremists but they cannot be anti-nationals (I personally do not like RSS).

    The constitution of India does grant us the freedom of expression, however, not to abuse it against our country. Use your mind before you write. Whilst constructive comments or criticism are always welcome but chanting anti-Indian slogans is just not done. No matter what or how intense the reasons are, you cannot justify with anti-Indian slogans. While it is allowed to criticise any political party which the media is aggressively involved since the beginning of the BJP government, that cannot be compared with whatever happened on the JNU campus.

    Sanjiv, you are talking about the issue of Afzal Guru and the issue of Kashmiris, however, you totally forgot about the genocide of Kashmiri Pundits who were forced to leave their own state and became refugee in their own country. I have my sympathy with the Kashmiris and I condemn all the things happening in Kashmir should not happen. That’s why there is a need for dialogue not anti-Indian slogans. In addition, the verdict was given by the Supreme court of India which is beyond any political reach (unless you say Afzal Guru was a patriot and should have awarded with Padmashri for his deeds).

    Being a youth, I believe that we should involve in the construction of a new India rather than discussing how to destroy it. This is a clear matter of sedition. There is no comparison between the Maoists and these people as there is a difference in ideology.

    If someone has that many issues living in India, he or she is welcomed to leave India and emigrate to other countries instead of living in India and thinking of destroying it. It will be much more easy for them and for true Indians.

  • Bijith

    Mr. Sanjeev Bhatt is from India or Pakistan…you should first decide whats wrong and whats right..donot divert to other issues..Anti national means anti national…fullstop…You say the JNU students crossed the line but its ok…U donot agree with the decision of Indian courts on Afzal Guru….You say Maoists have done lot of mistakes and wrong doings, but its ok…Dear Friend…u first decide yourself before giving such a long write up which is wrong & absurd…

  • SSM

    So the guy who was on Congress payroll and lied about the Godhra riots is going to give a clean chit to the JNU would-be terrorists, and blame RSS instead? LOL.

  • daibon Ten

    I do not like the RSS Chaddies..They are useless..running around with sticks.. and Modi is too much into “MAke in India” and the economy. Modi is too soft for these radicals..he cannot control them..it looks like these leftists communist have an upperhand over Modi and the BJP.. Get rid of the BJP.

    What we need is a real harliner secular Hindu dictator like Assad of Syria so he can call in the armed forces and kill all these anti national communists and the ISIS supporters in India. The Govt should burn down JNU and shoot them all those motherfkers.

    Time has come for a true secular Assad type to fk these Islamists and communists.,

  • daibon Ten

  • NARAYAN RAO

    Well written.