To Arnab Goswami, From An IPS Officer in Kashmir: Nationalism Is Not A Marketing Tool

Dear Arnab Goswami,

JNU, my alma mater, deserves your tax money.

Partial disclosure: I studied sociology in JNU for six years.

I voted for the All India Students Association candidates in the JNUSU elections. Every time. All the time. Trust me, I’m not anti-national. My university deserves to be nurtured. I don’t hold a brief for my alma mater. That is not me and I don’t do that. Facts are more important than feelings. My university taught me. A university that deserves to be owned and supported. By the state, the government, the market and civil society. Here is why. Here are the reasons.

One, JNU has never been a waste of this nation’s limited resources. It has been a value-for-money endeavour right from the beginning. No riders. No ifs and buts. Yes, preparing for the civil services examination is a priority for a sizeable percentage of students who get admission there. Yes, most students spend a considerable part of their waking hours participating in political activities. Yes, there is too much sloganeering out there.

But, Arnab, my dear friend, what do you expect a university to be? A money-making enterprise? Like the business projects financed by NPA-laden public-sector banks and promoted by the likes of Vijay Mallya? JNU has always been one of the top two universities in the social sciences and one of the top five in the physical sciences in India. Both in the private and public sectors. Regarding its standing amongst world universities, the issue is not lack of quality in academic research in JNU. The issue is much bigger.

What is the quality of India’s R&D? What is the number of patents registered in the names of the stalwarts of India’s Brahman-Shravana research establishment in the private and public sectors? You know the answers.

What is the contribution of the university to India’s nation-building, you ask. Immense. Period. A university is not a parade ground. It is an incubation bowl. It is not about the bottom-line. It is about the aspiration-horizon. It is not worried about the market. It is concerned about the political economy of the project of state-building. State-building, I say. Not mere government-running.

Two, JNU has never been a platform for anti-India student leaders and their followers to hijack the educational space to promote their divisive agenda. I was there for six years. I should know. My professors and fellow students. True, there have been stray incidents of some students celebrating Maoist attacks on the police in Naxal-infested areas. True, some students have shouted slogans and carried posters supporting the causes of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. True, some student organisations are sympathetic to the causes of groups that are at war with the government of the day.

But Arnab, are we supposed to hold the entire university responsible for the activities of a few students who celebrate the deaths of policemen? Doesn’t your news channel differentiate between the death of an army soldier and that of a policeman? How many policemen got decorated with medals when they died undertaking rescue operations during natural disasters in the last five years?

Year after year, the issues of J&K and the Northeast have been close to the hearts of the JNU student community. Students with diametrically opposite ideas and ideologies. With unbelievable energy and unshakeable intentions. Does this fact make them anti-national as a matter of definition? As a matter of first principle? As a matter of divine imputation? No, Arnab, no. Name a place where an Indian prime minister goes to address a public rally and says that his government will do everything possible “insaniyat ke dayre mein” to wipe people’s tears. Atal Bihari Vajpayee said that to the masses in Srinagar. This phrase has changed the political discourse of our times. People are suffering in Kashmir, Arnab. They are suffering in the Northeast. When it comes to the causes behind their suffering of generations, and the broad policymaking contours of what the governments of the day should do, the students may not agree with you. Does the very act of highlighting the issues of J&K and the Northeast make the students and their leaders anti-national?

Three, JNU is not a communist bastion. Not a breeding ground for leftist organisations that do not believe in the idea of India. JNU has always been a home for all shades of ideas. The student community is as diverse as the subcontinent. Their ideologies are diverse. Their political plumage as colourful. The Brahman-Shravana RSS shakhas have been active in the university since the 1980s. You need to visit the campus to see how energetic they are. Not long ago, in 2001, the JNUSU had a president who belonged to the rightwing ABVP.

The students in JNU are as worried about India’s future as you and I. No leftist group has ever wanted the state to go away. They have been having problems with the gov-ernments of the day. That is a different point. From the leftist point of view, the
legitimacy of the “ideological state apparatus” is always to be interrogated. Some groups take public positions about wresting power from the ruling elite. But nothing like overthrowing Parliament.

Remember Comrade Chandrashekhar? He was our president when I was a student there. He was voted in twice as our leader. Of Aisa. Of Siwan. Of old-world idealism. A beautiful human being. A sweetheart. The most innocent pair of eyes I have seen in my life. He was killed. In 1997. Within two years of leaving the president’s chair. Shot dead in broad daylight. At a public meeting. Do you know the name of the venue? Jai Prakash Chowk. Was he not a patriot? Did he not love this nation? Was he a lazy slogan-shouting student leader?

Arnab, my dear friend, some students allegedly shouted anti-India slogans. Allegedly. This is the operative part. There is the law and there is the criminal justice system. The police, the evidence and the court. Why waste so many working days of so many sane people to blacken the name of my university? Nationalism is not a marketing tool. To be used by news channels chasing TRPs. To be used by political parties to prove their worth. To be used by some retired army generals who find every perceived slight as a nail to be banged on its head by an attractive and all-knowing hammer called patriotism.

Full disclosure: I’m not a communist. Never have been. I love my Nusrat Sa’ab. I love my Steve Jobs. I love my perfume bottles.

My university is yours too. It is ours. It is a part of the idea of India as a nation. A beautiful part. But a part apart. And a part apart. Arnab, my friend, it hurts. Please don’t speak ill of JNU. Don’t think ill of JNU. It hurts immensely. Comrade Chandrashekhar was Chandu for me. I was so privileged. Please don’t take away this privilege. Don’t hurt his memories. God bless you and your news channel and your co-investors.

Basant Rath, IPS

Courtesy: Valley Online

  • S. Roy

    Why give so much importance to Arnab Goswami and his crooked ideas ? Neither he nor his views are worth any discussion.

    • mohammad umair

      It is because he is spreading misinformation through his program.

  • corruption free India

    Arnab’s matenal uncle is Siddhartha Bhattacharya, former BJP President in Assam. This greatly explains his behaviour

    • guest

      So? RaGa’s grandmother was Indira Gandhi, and hence he favours congress……its not rocket science. Barkha Dutt favours a certainly ideology because of her own connections, as do students of JNU …..they bow to a certain ideology….that is how the world is…..

  • apolitical

    arnab has his own agenda…..What do you think MR,Mahroof, Bakshi and most importantly the joker Raja gopalan senior god knows in what

    • guest

      everyone –including those writing here have their own agenda….everyone does….it is just matters what is the end goal. Connecting a nation, working with it, toward its betterment, along with the elected leaders or by breaking India and blaming all ills at the current government, when clearly many of the ills were inherited from the past government, ….and by the use of foreign ideologies….

  • guest

    Two, JNU has never been a platform for anti-India student leaders and their followers to hijack the educational space to promote their divisive agenda. I was there for six years. I should know. My professors and fellow students.

    The NEVER in above sentence is contradicted by the following portion you write….

    True, there have been stray incidents of SOME students celebrating Maoist attacks on the police in Naxal-infested areas. True, SOME students have shouted slogans and carried posters supporting the causes of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. True, SOME student organisations are sympathetic to the causes of groups that are at war with the government of the day.

    • rupendra

      Science,maths, similar students everywhere have no time to waste on such activities. It is generally the arts students who have ample time for such things and this section of students/teachers are dominating the general life of JNU. Having faith in a particular ideology or being against some, is the prerogative of every person but it is acceptable only till such time it is not against the country or the person is not supporting enemies of the country. Persons who indulge in that, are definitely traitors and there must be only one punishment for a traitor. Unfortunately some JNU professors and students are indulging in anti India activities and they must be crushed.

      • guest

        Agreed and so sad that i thought that social sciences could actually help people. these people are some of the most decayed mind i have ever come across

        • rupendra

          Very true. They were expected to bring better things for the society but unfortunately the JNU and some other universities have been producing citizens who are inclined to achieve power even by hurting the motherland. The JNU is being dominated by people who have a strong communist leaning. There is nothing wrong in that but what is most unacceptable, is that in order to grab power, they are ready to stoop so low as to invite enemies of the country (Pakistan or China or both) to invade and destroy the govt. and subsequently the country. They are behaving like Jai Chand (Prithvi Raj Couhan- Muhammad Ghouri), Meer Zafar (Sirajuddaula-British) or that nephew of the chief priest of Somnath temple (Mehmood Ghaznavi) to gain power. This time they have even licked the boot of corrupt Congress but still they will not win in Bangal (TMC is said to be winning again). Such traitors have to be crushed and crushed ruthlessly. People have every right to speak against a govt., party or policies but never against their motherland and those who do that must be dealt with an iron hand. The problem with communists is that, in the heart of their heart they know that what they are preaching are not true and that they will never fulfill those things. Nature has made human being such that unlike jungle, the human has lions, elephants, bisons and deer/goats/ zebras, all in one and hence every human being can never be equal. The brilliant and powerful will always rule and weak and lesser brain/ power will always be ruled. In jungle few lion/tigers will always rule and deer/zebras will be ruled. CPM leaders are very sharp and know this but they have to fool the common man and then rule them through violence. Bengal people have to understand their gameplan.

          • guest

            I completely agree that we all have different abilities. And therefore ideals of communism seem good only on paper. The World over they have failed. Why are some idiots in India even thinking of communism as a viable means of governance?

          • rupendra

            The sad part is that those who think themselves highly knowledgeable, are becoming a prey themselves. As it is, the concept of communism, which is hardly hundred year old theory, has already failed in most of the places (disintegration of USSR), Romania, East Germany. There is a strong under current in China even. They are ruling through extreme state violence. Bengal CPM politicians, for whom China is the role model, seem to have introduced this murder culture from them only. In fact the oldest surviving system of governance is feudal system which perhaps, is few thousand years old or in other words since the human started living in communities. It used to be the tribal chief who ruled his tribe, then zamindars, rulers, small kings, sheikhs and finally emperors. It still is prevailing in many places. Even democracy is hardly three hundred years old but with many shortcomings, it still, is gaining ground. However, whatever ism one may believe and follow, murder culture have to be denounced and voters must reject those parties who favour killing opponents like in Bengal. The govt. has to be people concerning and development oriented.

          • guest

            See here is where Dharma becomes important. To know who we are and where we stand. If we believe in reincarnation, then you know that you can never klll anyone. Other than that, I read once that in communism politics was above ethics. So killing for their ideology is fine, especially now that their ideology is so hated. Yes, the government has to be concerned with people and not always coming back into power.

          • rupendra

            If an ism propagates the concept of killing for the sake of ideology, shouldn’t such ism be denounced by the mass. The naxals, maoists etc. are their murder gangs and what do they do with the young boys and girls( especially) who join them. many of the girls who somehow escape from their clutches have told about their horrendous experience. Such ism can never be people concerned. They use people and cadre only as a tool for their own advancement. That is why one finds lowly educated youth as their mainstay who are never told about the reality.

          • guest

            Very true!!

  • guest

    He was killed. In 1997. Within two years of leaving the president’s chair. Shot dead in broad daylight. At a public meeting. Do you know the name of the venue? Jai Prakash Chowk. Was he not a patriot? Did he not love this nation? Was he a lazy slogan-shouting student leader?

    What is this logic? He was a maoist first!! Maoists are not patriots, they follow only their ideology straying from which is not allowed by CP…..

    and well, again, what is this logic….???? does that one event speak for what has come out of JNU in the last 2 decades? Btw, JNU is not known outside of India….hardly a reputed university. NO new theories coming out of it, only parroting old theories….