Knock, knock! JNU is again talk of the town. Well, also popularly known as the den of anti-nationals that produces a bunch of people who only function in provoking the people against the most perfect government we ever had. Take a flash back of the fateful year 2016, when we lost a PhD scholar Rohith Vemula to suicide that resulted from an unbearable level of caste-based discrimination at the University of Hyderabad. The incident was followed by nationwide protests by students and JNU took the lead.
But, they were wrong in asking questions to the government on their inaction. They were surprisingly wrong in raising critical issues like freedom of expression and communal and caste discrimination. They were surprisingly wrong in holding discussion sessions between Kashmiri students and students of other states at the campus which was later given a face of a protest in support of a terrorist! They were wrong according to those who are in power because they were audacious enough to show where the administration was going wrong miserably.
However, if we see carefully, besides being charged with sedition, they capably shook the foundation of the government. They took the entire nation through storms of debates and decision.
It can be argued that they could not move the vote bank, but that was not the motive anyway. It was actually to raise valid questions.
The question is how can the government brand a group of well read and academically profound students as Naxalites and terrorists? Have they been found bombing places? Do they raise hate speeches against any community? Do they have custodial arms? Well, the answer to all this is is no. All these students have is a strong opinion backed by a powerful voice.
Yet, after three years, the scenario is no different. And this time the students are not fighting only against the fee hike but they are fighting for the basic right to education. It is very important for the government and people to understand that affordable quality education is not a luxury and should by no means remain available to only those who are financially well off.
The fact that JNU ranks within the top 500 universities for humanities and social sciences in the world is not unknown. We also proudly take the names of the novelists, bureaucrats and Nobel laureates that JNU has produced. So why should the students suffer due to this sudden and unjust decision of fee hike? And how is the government going to justify this move? Moreover, should they be trusted?
The current situation of governance in Maharastra is an eye opener if people still fail to understand how we are being fooled. The system of election and the substance of democracy have merely been reduced to purchase and sale business. Yes, buying and selling members of the assembly! We can vote for anybody but finally there is just one strong motivating factor, money, which at present is driving the entire governance system and sadly, we are fine with it.
We are fine with the fact that a crucial matter like this has been reduced to a show of mere ridicule. We are fine with this game of appointment and resignation and we are fine with the consequences we are going to face. So here, the same question will make the rounds: if not BJP, then who? Where is the opposition?
This is absolutely right because we need a group that puts the interest of people first. We need a group that can boldly write, speak and raise issues so assertively that the ruling body is left with not option but to answer. And these students are just doing that. They are readily enduring physical and verbal attack just for the sake of the future of many other students of this country. Even the professors have actively supported the protest.
In a democracy, the government is fully accountable on how it takes a decision or utilises the tax payer’s fund. Many argue saying that even rich students at JNU are studying at a low fee, which is unfair. But the question is: why is this unfair?
If we recall the most promising 5-trillion-dollar-economy budget, we see that ₹400 crore has been allocated towards higher education and research. So what exactly is the distribution of this fund? If the top central universities of the country have to raise the fees to this extent, then what is the point of boasting this huge sum? Or was it merely a statement made for the sake of garnering momentary praise? What is that imaginary ‘world class education’ that we wish to achieve? Is it attending a university which looks more like a lavish five-star hotel and that gives the students the facilities to roam around in expensive malls and multiplexes? These are question are supposed to be answered.
This issue is not just about JNU, it is about the future of many bright students who dream of achieving something remarkable. This issue is about the concept of social welfare and future employability. This issue is about stopping the government from taking any random decision as per their wish. This is the issue of having a strong, a very strong, opposition which I believe India’s students can be and break this unfair political monopoly.