Skip to main content

JNU VC 'should learn' from Aishe Ghosh: Every stick, rod to be countered with debate

Aishe Ghosh
By Sandeep Pandey*
Educational Institutions are meant to be places of learning and authorities managing them are expected to provide a liberal space where diversity of ideas can exist. Of course, this ideal is present at very few places but Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), before the Modi government came to power was one such place of international standing in India. It was comparable to the best institutions in the West in terms of their academic freedom, rigour and diversity.
Campus violence is not uncommon but mostly it has to do with clashes between student groups, based on ideological grounds, right to access some privileges or simple caste lines in India. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has seen a series of violent incidents in the 1980s and before, when every time the University would have to be closed down sine die, until the University decided to discontinue holding Students’ Union elections sometime in mid-1980s. There is no problem with constituting Students Unions according to the Lyngdoh committee recommendations but not all Vice Chancellors have the confidence to handle student politics.
Compared to all the anarchy and violence which Indian campuses have seen, the State-sponsored rowdyism of the kind we saw at JNU on the evening on January 5, 2020 is a new low, as if what the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government has done since 2014 to tamper with the finest intellectual traditions of this University was already not enough.
If this is BJP’s way of controlling University campuses or the society is general then we might as well say goodbye to the idea of liberty of thought and fundamental right of freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of this country. It is inconceivable that the VC Professor M Jagadesh Kumar, would call a band of masked youth, most likely belonging to Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), rather than use his campus security or police to control students even if he was inclined to use force.
What kind of mindset is this? He has used lumpen elements to counter his students. Is he fighting some kind of gang war with his students and imagines himself to be a mafia? It is also strange that a few days back when police had to enter Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) campuses they didn’t bother to take permission of the respective VCs but at JNU they were waiting to receive VC’s permission while hoodlums were on rampage inside the campus.
Compared to all the anarchy and violence which Indian campuses have seen, state-sponsored rowdyism at JNU is a new low
It shows VC’s complicity with the criminals, not a single of whom has been arrested in times when we have CCTV cameras and all kinds of technological devices to identify people. Clearly, it is brazen use of his powers. That he comes from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus next door is a disgrace to the IIT community as well. Is this the vision of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) of how Gurus should deal with their dissenting students?
If the VC Girish Chandra Tripathi was asked to go on permanent leave after he used police to lathi charge protesting girl students at BHU main gate a few years back on an issue of sexual harassment on campus, there is no reason why Jagadesh Kumar should stay. His crime is much bigger and simply unpardonable.
The nature of violence at JNU can be linked to pattern of violence recently seen in Uttar Pradesh (UP) against the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests. Masked miscreants, unidentified youth in Lucknow probably brought from outside and BJP/RSS workers in Muzaffarnagar directed by the local Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjeev Baliyan, have indulged in arson, vandalism, etc. which was all blamed on protestors and First Information Reports were filed against innocent people.
The UP Chief Minister also declared that cost of damage to public property would be recovered from people who destroyed them. In UP it was assumed the people against whom FIRs were registered were the ones who destroyed the properties.
But in JNU it is clear who caused destruction. Should not the cost of damage to property in JNU be recovered from ABVP or the VC himself whose involvement is beyond doubt on certain counts? This will also act as a deterrence to any group in future who would think of indulging in vandalism.
Just as victims of vandalism and police atrocities were made the accused in UP, it was the JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh and her colleagues, who suffered the violence, against whom FIR has been filed. Although all government are known to do this but in BJP government’s rule it is the norm – to make the victim as accused.
Aishe Ghosh, who was specially targeted and hit very badly in the head has come out with the most mature statement in the entire controversy. She said every stick or rod will be countered with debate. The VC and BJP leaders should learn from her on what an academic campus should be like? She would have made a better VC than Jagadesh Kumar. The problem with RSS is they talk of lofty ideals but do not have competent people.
---
*Magsaysay Award winning social and political activist, Vice President, Socialist Party (India). Contact: ashaashram@yahoo.com

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.