By Harshal Kale:
Every newspaper, news channel or social media website has one major topic trending these days – JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union), the so-called ‘anti-nationalist’ students’ union. Some of its leaders are called ‘Maoists’, some are called ‘Jihadis’. Personally, I have never been to the JNU campus and I don’t even know much about their students’ union. But I read many articles and saw a number of videos online to learn more about it, including Kanhaiya Kumar’s famous speech and Gyan Dev Ahuja‘s utterly ridiculous comments.
Going through this data, I had a feeling that most people hate JNU and JNUSU because they don’t even know clearly what the protest was all about. People are given judgments by the media rather than information and facts to arrive at their own conclusions. It is the frequent denouncement of JNU by media that resulted in such a strong hatred, not only for JNUSU but for the entire university. Some have put forward the nonsensical demand of shutting JNU down while some are calling those protesters ‘terrorists’. Some of these claims may be said to have been provoked by the media which organised debates that tended to denigrate Umar Khalid or Kanhaiya. The agenda for such debates is pretty clear – Television Rating Points. You get more points by shouting as much and as loudly as you can at them (JNUSU leaders) and making them look like ‘anti-nationals’.
I think it makes sense to understand their viewpoint first and then argue based on that knowledge. It also makes sense to understand the basic question ‘why they did so’ rather than asking ‘how they dared to do so’. Counting the number of condoms and beer bottles is obviously not a way to gauge how anti-national they are. In fact, I believe no one involved in the whole affair really knows who the real ‘nationalists’ are and who are there for the sole purpose and with the self-proclaimed right to brand people with opposing ideologies as ‘anti-nationalist’.
It is even more embarrassing looking at those who are supposed to uphold law and justice busy thrashing journalists, professors and students in the presence of the Police and calling their actions a display of ‘Nationalism’. What kind of nationalism is it? It’s nothing but hypocrisy. If someone doesn’t agree with those students, it is completely fine. Everyone can put forward opinions and arguments. Yes, I, don’t support whatever slogans those protesters allegedly raised on that fateful day. But I don’t, and I will not consider it ‘anti-national’ if someone puts a question mark on a widely accepted answer. Everyone is free to think.
But, while all this was going on, the most surprising thing was the ministries’ cynical response to the issue. It seems they have more faith in fake social media posts. The Prime Minister, on the other hand, chose to remain silent on the issue.
However, many people are standing with JNU. Many oppose Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest and are against the government’s approach. Now, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya too have surrendered to the Delhi police. I don’t know how others see it, but I suggest to all those people reading this article: be unbiased, keep all differences aside and think about it with an open mind.
People, please put forward your opinions, ask questions, criticise others but please don’t criminalise abiding by an opposing ideology.