This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Arunima Singh. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Where’s The Nationalism In Govt. Crackdown, Media Playing God And Goons Beating Up People?

More from Arunima Singh

By Arunima Singh:

jnu_1In relation to what is currently happening in Jawaharlal Nehru University, a lot of people have said a lot of things. From demonising the institution to calling university politics “a waste of taxpayers’ money,” there really isn’t much left to be said. In case you think I am exaggerating, here’s something:

“‘3,000 Beer Cans, 3,000 Used Condoms…’ BJP Lawmaker Lists JNU’s ‘Sins‘”

Here’s what I want to discuss: a small number of students hold protests against the ‘judicial killing of Afzal Guru’, slogans are raised, suspicious and even anti-India slogans. A self-proclaimed nationalist party’s youth wing ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) calls the whole thing ‘anti-national’ and demands that the students in question be punished.

Now it gets interesting. The media turns around and looks at a great opportunity to exploit the already vulnerable ‘national vs. anti-national’ debate. Without verified proof or anything substantial to go by, many news channels openly call these students ‘anti-national’. Kanhaiya, the president of the JNU Students’ Union is arrested after he repeatedly claimed that he didn’t raise slogans against the nation. Other than the allegedly doctored videos, I don’t know what the police has. I guess we will see. The court can decide that.

Some students decide to go underground. In the very few days that have passed, the media does what it does best – play God. They come to the conclusion that Umar Khalid, a known communist and atheist, has links to Pakistan, the Gulf, Kashmir and basically any place with Islamic extremists. It was also said, without even prefixing it with ‘allegedly’, that he had made 800 calls to a good number of countries in the past few days. And no one decided to question their claims. Umar was declared a terrorist.

Umar Khalid quoted Rohith Vemula’s words soon after resurfacing when he said that they were “reduced to their immediate identity.” Unfortunately, for the ‘terror’ seekers, these ‘seditionists’ are back. The video, it has turned out, was most likely doctored, and the media is back in the audience.

You ask me why I am narrating these incidents to you when most of you probably already know this? Here’s why!

A Whole University Branded Anti-National

The level of fanaticism in this country seems to be at an all-time high. People may have said things which we don’t agree with. It is dissent. And it is the right of each one of us. But I will not go there. Right to free speech has become a joke.

Anyway, after whatever happened on the 9th of February, what made me cringe was the sudden raising of slogans against JNU. How that made sense to anyone, I don’t get. Branding one of the most prestigious universities in the nation ‘anti-national’ because of a possibly doctored video, with barely any or no evidence, is as shameful as it gets.

Even if they were to be convicted, the JNU has a large body of students and teachers, and the significant part of its students don’t have any political affiliations. Putting all of them in harm’s way by portraying them as enemies of the nation, falsely blaming them for problems they aren’t responsible for, what kind of nationalism allows that?

And here, RSS predicting the future in 2015:

JNU is home to anti-national forces which aim to disintegrate India: RSS mouthpiece

Do tell me if this doesn’t reek of conspiracy, of a huge scheme to bring disrepute to an institution they can’t penetrate. What else could this be?

Assault On Kanhaiya, Some Other Students And Journalists, With No Consequences For The Perpetrators

The argument that most people give against discussing Afzal is that our Supreme Court had decided he was a terrorist, and that we shouldn’t question judicial authority.

But it is okay to disrespect that same judicial authority by assaulting people in court premises? And that too, with the tricolour in your hand, shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’? What kind of a mother wants its children to beat each other up? What kind of nationalism allows us to fight each other instead of looking out for each other?

That’s not even the worst part. The worst bit is, these goons dressed as advocates seem to be getting away with it.

This is how much they respect the court of law:

EXCLUSIVE: Kanhaiya wet his pants while we beat him up in police custody, say lawyers behind Patiala House assault

And this, is extremely shameful:

890 personnel failed to stop assault on Kanhaiya Kumar

Media Trials And Propagation Of Disastrous Lies

What perhaps we should be embarrassed about as a population, is how we allowed our media channels to call out these youngsters on TV and not allow them to speak. They put words in their mouths. Kanhaiya’s identity was brought into play. Umar Khalid, a well-known atheist was even called a Muslim ‘terrorist’ by some.

A Terrorist!

Now that he has returned, no news channel has gone back and issued apologies as forcefully as it propagated those lies, making baseless claims without evidence. No one has issued apologies for showing the doctored footage of these youngsters without verification either. It was this video which brought this madness to such a level.

Zee News producer quits: Video we shot had no Pakistan Zindabad slogan

Times Now First Denies Airing Doctored Video, Then Concedes it Did

In a democracy, where the media is not accountable to us, where they feel they can show anything, say anything and get away with it, where are we headed, really?

University Politics

I never thought I’d have to defend this one. Political awareness is a must for the citizens in a democracy. It is our responsibility to elect our government and keep a check on them. To question them and to oppose them when necessary. That’s what democracies are based on.

What exactly do our taxpayers want? History students that remember nothing but dates? Who feel nothing about the institutionalised exploitation they study about? Do the taxpayers want students of political science to not dare ask a single question about the present political situation in the nation? Do the taxpayers want humanities students who don’t care about other human beings? I pay taxes too. And that’s not what I want for my nation.

And for those who don’t understand such complex ideas, leaders such as Amit Shah started with ABVP and Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha. In fact, at one point, our Prime Minister was himself the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ‘pracharak’ in charge of the ABVP. Perhaps they should speak on this matter. I’ll leave that here.

On Afzal

Yes, they organised a march and had quite a lot to say about Kashmir. But video where slogans of ‘Bharat Murdabad’ and ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ can be heard, was most likely doctored.

While I may disagree with them on the stance they took on Afzal Guru, I refuse to accept that it was anti-national. A nation are its people. And whoever spoke, did so for a large segment of people in Kashmir. We hear such things there all the time. And in much stronger words.

In fact, an honourable mention to the BJP and the PDP forming an alliance in Kashmir is a must. It is widely known that PDP calls Afzal a martyr.

PDP: Afzal’s hanging a travesty of justice

Can BJP charge PDP with sedition for celebrating Afzal Guru?

Of Nationalism, But Not For The Nation

What I would like to conclude with, is that a very demented idea of nationalism is presently spreading like wildfire. Rabindranath Tagore had warned us of the evils of nationalism, and before you let something slip out of your mouth that you may regret, remember that it was he who wrote the ‘Jana Gana Mana’, our ‘nationalist’ national anthem!

Here I speak, not in favour of JNU. Not even in favour of our right to dissent or free speech. Here, I only speak as an Indian who is very confused. Who is it that I owe my loyalty to? The government or the people?

What is the nation? It’s people, right?

Our Constitution is built in a way that allows us to accommodate changes and revise laws with time. Our Constitution is for the people. Just like the government, and the state apparatus. And, I hope I am not jailed for this, but so is the army. They are doing a great job too, but bringing them up in every political discussion makes very little sense.

I am a patriot and proud. But I do not identify with a nation where people who ask questions, who want to know why journalists and students were assaulted in court, who want accountability from the media and who want the government to address problems rather than hoist flags everywhere, are labelled ‘anti-national’ and shamed. Shoving ideas down people’s throats is not nationalism. Call it whatever you want, it is not nationalism.

To me, a couple of students in a university who were non-violently protesting, no matter how disagreeable, can never be a matter of shame quite as much as a government misleading its people, the media acting like the God, and some ‘nationalists’ beating people up with the tricolour in hand.

Where is the nation in this nationalism?

You must be to comment.
  1. Jitender Kohli

    Dancing on the anti-national ideologies of some politicians who groom those students who claim belonging to poor families, earning not more then 3000 per month have reached these universities without getting any help from the nation as they claim means they are patronized by someone to use them as their tool. Leftists and so-called secular groups are there to use them against the nation to keep bowl burning on one or other excuses. How one justifies the anti-national slogans or questioning Apex court decision including the order of the Honourable President of the nation. Now these are questioning the coalition of BJP-PDP on the PDP ideology which is for autonomy and plebiscite etc. though their-self had coalition with them, are they endorse their ideology? CPm MLA of Kashmir valley is endorsing all separatists slogans, stands with Engineer MLA whose anti-national activities are well known to the entire national society. These leftists leaders frequently visit Kashmir valley concealing from the media meet separatists, once this was exposed when they were enjoying boat ride in Dal lake encountered the storm and were saved by the security forces whom they curse in valley. University which so ever is for to learn, discuss and chalk-out for the national development not to stand with or for the traitors, to develop void on religious, region, caste and creed basis which is being done by the politicians who replaced British with Indians with the same ideology.

More from Arunima Singh

Similar Posts

By Imran Khan

By Dr. Manish Goutam🇮🇳

By Dr. Manish Goutam🇮🇳

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below