J. N. U. Debate – Crisis-cum-Agitation

By: Kishore Dere

By now almost everybody, following current affairs and world news, has become at least vaguely familiar with the ongoing controversy that erupted on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi on 9th of February 2016.

The event that sparked off this furore was ‘commemoration’/ ‘celebration'(?) or the execution or hanging/’martyrdom'(?) of a terror convict called Afzal Guru who was found guilty by judiciary of launching a terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on 13th of December 2001.

Indian judicial hierarchy at all levels had found him guilty. He had also filed a Review Petition before the Supreme Court of India which was rejected. Thereafter he had filed a Mercy petition before the President of India. That was also rejected. Thus, on 9th of February 2013, Afzal Guru was hung to death at Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

The video recording of this event in JNU was circulated which showed a group of individuals raising anti-India slogans, and chanting slogans in favour of the slain terrorist.

This act of glorification of a terrorist who felt proud of being part of those who are born and sworn enemies of India, rightly infuriated an overwhelming number of Indians and all those across the world who oppose terrorism anywhere and everywhere.

The investigations are underway and the matter is sub judice. Therefore, it may not be prudent to talk about the judicial adjudication at this stage.

One can, however, certainly ponder over the role of the university education system in India.

By the way, JNU is supposed to be the leading university of India. Its current and former students and teachers feel proud of its academic rigour and high quality of academic research.

While wholeheartedly appreciating all the good things that JNU stands for, one must not hesitate to call spade a spade.

It must be realised that nobody is infallible and sacrosanct. Most of the teachers and students of this premier university of India instead of doing any introspection over what has happened, resorted to unabashed justification of the outright pro-terrorism act as ‘right to freedom of speech and expression’, ‘right to dissent’ and ‘free thinking’.

No doubt that academic institutions must have limitless freedom to transcend all the barriers and relentlessly pursue the truth for benefit of humanity and share / produce / discover / invent knowledge even for the sake of knowledge.

There is, however, a word of caution here. There exists a clear-cut distinction between debating or discussing highly contested issues like retaining or abolishing death penalty, Kashmir dispute, India-Pakistan relations, counter-terrorism policies, national security versus individual privacy and civil liberty etc on the one hand, and chanting slogans in favour of a terrorist and his handlers.

There may be doubts about the precise names of organisers of and participants in this event. Yet one cannot argue that it was an act of innocent and ignorant people.

These are highly educated mature university youth who know what they were doing and are still doing.

The sheer fact that they themselves claimed celebrating this event for three consecutive years shows their intentions and designs.

Moreover, the fact that a number of accused students had absconded and they returned/resurfaced(?) to audaciously claim their innocence and democratic right (?), speaks volumes of their mindset.

UThey have no plans at all to surrender either to police or judiciary.

Do they really have any faith in the Constitution of India? Do they respect the rule of law and judiciary? Do they have anything constructive and positive to offer to the society?

It is indeed a pity that the university named after our first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had plunged into freedom struggle and played a vital role in nation-building has degenerated into a safe haven for those who want to break India into pieces.

They are citizens of India who have both fundamental rights as well as duties. Those who wax eloquent about their fundamental rights (Articles 12-35 of Indian Constitution) must also enjoy remembering their duties (Article 51A). They may also know that they are getting highly subsidised higher education at the cost of hundreds of millions of poor Indians.

Are these enlightened noble souls going to destroy this country?

It may be worthwhile to recall few words of wisdom from this towering personality in this hour of crisis.

The JNU which is known more for protests, demonstrations and agitations and less for academic excellence, may remember Nehru’s views on agitation:  “The purely agitational attitude is not good enough for a detailed consideration of a subject” – Jawaharlal Nehru.

Likewise, he had to say following about citizenship:”Citizenship consists in the service of the country” – Jawaharlal Nehru.

Thus, one may rightly ask, are these protesters doing any service to the cause of India or to its enemies?

No doubt, today or rather as usual, enemies of India are ecstatic. Last but not the least, Nehru – a man of practical experience and outlook – cautioned the utopians and theoreticians in these words:  “A theory must be tempered with reality” – Jawaharlal Nehru.

Is anybody from among the “freedom fighters” and their “unabshed supporters” listening to the wise words this great man who lived and died for India?

Had Nehru been alive today, he could have launched another freedom struggle against these enemies of humanity.

Let us seek inspiration from our beloved first Prime Minister and realise his ambition of making India a great nation in the world under the visionary leadership of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat, Bharat Mata Ki Jai.

Let us all – all except the enemies of India – love India, cherish the respect, prestige and progress of India. But no place for the enemies of India who “will fight till India is destroyed”.


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