The JNU episode: India’s growing democratic paralysis

jnu rowThe JNU episode has added a lot to our vibrant democracy and all in all, turned out to be a good result for the time lost. Here are some, 

  • The left leaning JNU has been forced to open its doors to alternate voices. Remember how they stopped Ramdev?
  • JNU students will now moderate its voices, acknowledge pluralism and not cross a line in ‘freedom of speech’.
  • The nationalists have been taught a lesson on what nationalism means to a country than a political and narrow minded party.
  • The people of this country are better informed of how a state abuses sedition to kill dissent.
  • The media was caught with its pants down when using doctored tapes.
  • The state has been checked in excessive use of force and behaving in an authoritarian way.

Where do I personally stand on the JNU episode that took over the country and left it strangled in the debate of nationalism & anti-nationalism, sedition & patriotism. I wrote this so that you know my stand in simple English.

Do I feel ashamed of the slogans at JNU – Yes.
Do I think India should charge such students with sedition – No.
Do I think police know who raised the slogans – Yes.
Do I think Kanhaiya was guilty – No.
Do I think the BJP conspired to arrest Kanhaiya to nail JNU – Yes.
Do I think the tweet from Haziz Saeed was genuine – No.
Do I think it was Rajnath’s statement that led to Delhi Police activism – Yes.
Do I think the the video telecast by Zee/TN was doctored – Yes.
Do I think Kanhaiya made those anti-India slogans – No.
Do I think JNU is anti-India – No.
Do I think Smriti Irani was using information selectively – Yes.
Do I think Smriti Irani was dramatic but lost in detail – Yes.
Do I think BJP was winning a battle and losing the war – Yes.
Do I think all JNU students should be released till proven guilty – Yes
Do I think any JNU student should be punished if found guilty -Yes, not sedition. It should be the University disciplinary committee that decides the punishment.
Do I think the police acted in haste – Yes.
Do I think it is bad for the country to get into this debate – Yes.
Do I think India has greater priorities to deal with – Yes.
Do I think there is a conspiracy against Modi Government – No.
Do I feel bad about our soldiers being martyred – Yes. Everyone who gives up his life to protect our freedom is a martyr. It can include a farmer (food security), an activist and even an NGO. Soldiers are doing a bloody good job with the support of government and farmers are doing a great service despite lack of support from government.

If anyone still thinks I am not clear, and still has an opinion about my stand, we are not meant to be on the same board. Leave me alone and walk off my board..PLEASE…

This is about our Universities – their intellect and scholarship. The National assessment and accreditation council (NAAC) is the body that assesses and grades higher education institutions in India. The assessment includes ‘Institutional Social Responsibility’. The top 3 universities in India (including both Private and Public institutions) according to NAAC are:

1. Jawaharlal National University (JNU) with a score if 3.91/4
2. Hyderabad Central University (HCU) with a score of 3.78/4
3. Jadavpur University with a score of 3.68/4

A study says that JNU contributes 11% of the total Civil services cadre. If indeed JNU is anti- national or infiltrated by sleeper cells, by extension even our government is infiltrated.

All universities also have seats reserved for the youth of J&K. It is now known that the youth shouting slogans at JNU were Kashmiri youth and hence the 3 police witnesses would not identify them. The worst thing to happen is to charge Kashmiri youth with sedition. And the fall guy is JNU and Kanhaiya.

Universities are a place for free thinking, rebellions and a questioning populace. They are taught to question every established norm. They should be allowed to flower, speak and question, without fear. While IIMs and IITs create CEOs, Universities produce administrators and leaders that run the nation. Falling in line with the state is the worst thing that can happen, especially in a university. Imagine a spineless leadership and administration that doesn’t confront but agrees and submits. Today, PM Modi may be having the right intent, but imagine if we have a bad, autocratic and dictatorial prime minister heading the country. It is not just about today.

The slogans at JNU were anti-national and I feel enraged about them. But we should not allow the freedom of universities to be a casualty in this chest beating exercise to prove nationalistic credentials. If the 3 best universities of India are raising a similar issue, we must introspect instead of punishing them or branding them anti-national.

We are dealing with the best. We are dealing with well informed. We are dealing with leaders and administrators. We are dealing with free thinkers. We are dealing with excellence. And excellence can never be anti-national.

Getting even creates more problems than solving them. And when it is a state policy, it raises more rebellions than curb them. As we speak, there are a thousand rebellions around the country. The more we acknowledge them and force ourselves on them, the more they love it. They hate being ignored. They create disturbance to be noticed. And we fell into a well laid out trap. JNU was not an incident that Smriti Irani and Rajnath should have waded into. But then these politicians were seeking as much attention as the lumpen elements, for their own survival. This is less about ‘Bharat Maa’ and more about ‘Satta Maa’. And India is paying the price!

In the last 3 decades, each time the government under-performed, the parliament discussed issues of caste and religion. From now on, it will be patriotism and nationalism.

JNU Students Union is the biggest farce played out in the name of freedom of speech and democracy. It is this abuse by these hooligans that threatens freedom of speech and democracy.

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