By Rohit Kumar:
Jawaharlal Nehru University has been named after the first Prime Minister of Independent India. Therefore, in light of the ongoing controversy in JNU relating to ‘anti-India’ and ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans shouted by a few students after a programme to commemorate the death anniversary of the executed terrorist Afzal Guru, it is imperative to discuss what views Pt. Nehru held about India’s unity, sovereignty and integrity.
Pt. Nehru, while writing the introduction to Sanskriti Ke Char Adhyay the magnum opus of the poet Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’, on September 30, 1955, had opined, “…there are two opposing and competing forces that we see operating in India’s history. One force is that which assimilates outside influences, creating integrity and harmony, and the other that encourages division; that which reinforces the tendency to separate one from another. In a different context, we are still facing the same problem even today. There are many powerful forces today that are trying to create not just national unity but a cultural unity as well. But there are those forces also that create a rupture in our lives; that encourage discrimination between people.”
It is indeed extremely unfortunate that what Pt. Nehru had warned against in 1955 seems to have come about. In fact, the situation has reached a dangerous pitch. The way a few students in JNU allegedly shouted ‘anti-India’ and ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans, openly inside the campus justifying their actions by claiming the right to ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’ and declared the executed terrorist Afzal Guru, convicted in the Parliament attack case, a ‘martyr’ is not merely bothersome. It is an alarm bell for the nation’s unity, integrity and sovereignty.
There is no reason to tolerate such ‘anti-national’ activities inside the JNU campus in the name of ideology and dissent. Nor should this kind of ideology be permitted to flourish. No ideology has the licence to strike at the root of India’s cultural unity and integrity, by permitting it to go against the nation’s interest and chanting ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans.
This nation has provided opportunities for various ideologies to flourish on its soil. But today, some ideologies have become so venomous that their proponents are openly and brazenly chanting ‘anti-India’ and ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans and pledging to break the nation into pieces and to continue their battle till its downfall? What kind of ideology is this? In my opinion, such ideologies can only be categorised as ‘stagnancy of thought’.
This sort of ‘anti-national’ activity in a university which runs on the ‘hard-earned’ money of taxpayers is not only ignominious but criminal as well. I heard some of these participating students including Umar Khalid, on a television debate, claiming that they had organised the event for commemorating Afzal Guru because they are ideologically opposed to the idea of capital punishment. Well, as per valid statistics of the leading human rights group Amnesty International, one hundred and forty countries of the world have abolished death penalty till now. Therefore, having such a demand is not problematic per se. But, the point is that this demand for the abolition of the death penalty must be kept within reason and there is little need to chant ‘anti-India’ and ‘pro-Pakistan’ slogans, or to remember a convicted terrorist as a ‘martyr’.
However, in my opinion, organising this ‘anti-national’ event had no express or implied connection in any way with their demand for the abolition of the death penalty. What relation can there be between the demand for the abolition of the death penalty and shouting of ‘Pakistan Zindabad‘ and ‘India Go-back’? I mean, is there any logic behind this? Has Pakistan abolished death penalty that they felt like shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’? Have all those countries which have abolished the death penalty done so because some students in one of their central universities swore to break the country into pieces? The answer is a resounding ‘No’.
This shows that these ‘anti-nationals’ wearing an ideological camouflage are interested in the destruction of India’s sovereignty, unity and integrity. Their motive is to destroy the country and break it into pieces.
The French philosopher Voltaire had once said, “God, save me from my friend and I can defend myself from my enemies.” I understand, that this is quite a relevant statement in this context. These ‘anti-India’ elements are traitors camouflaging themselves as Indian citizens. We need to be extremely cautious of them and they must be dealt with severely and without mercy. Doing so is proper and essential from numerous perspectives because non-action may lead to the perception, internationally, that if India is not able to fight ‘anti-India forces’ within its own territory, how could it fight its enemy nations? This perception, if created, shall certainly enhance the confidence of our ‘enemy nations’ which is obviously inimical to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The right to freedom of speech and expression emanates from our Constitution and our country is also run by the same Constitution. But isn’t it an extreme paradox that some people vow to destroy the nation, and seek protection in the name of the nation’s Constitution itself? What can be more treacherous than this? Shall all those not be categorised as the renegades who bite the hand that feeds them?
So, finally, I come to ‘My Pledge’ in response to their pledge of breaking India into pieces and continuing their battle till the downfall of the Indian state. Since my childhood, I have seen my mother paying obeisance to the ‘Motherland’ immediately after waking up, but I had not understood the ‘sacred secret’ behind her doing so. But now, the ‘anti-India’ slogans allegedly shouted by some ‘anti-India elements’ of the so called reputed university JNU, and the misuse of the ‘Freedom of Speech and Expression’, has offered me a “blinding glimpse of the obvious” and has immensely helped me understand the salience and significance of my Motherland.
Therefore, in protest against the ‘anti-India’ slogans shouted by some ‘anti-India elements’, I swear in the name of my Motherland to emulate my mother’s routine activity of paying obeisance to my Motherland immediately after getting out of bed every day. Let us all take a similar pledge.
“Jai Hind-Jai Bharat!”