‘Abused, Threatened, Ostracised’: Jadavpur University Students Tell How The Left Punishes Them For Not Towing Its Line

Jaideep Mazumdar

Jan 04, 2020, 03:11 PM | Updated 03:11 PM IST

The entry to the Arts Faculty of Jadavpur University. (<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Gourav_Ghosh&amp;action=edit&amp;redlink=1">Gourav Ghosh</a>/Wikipedia)
The entry to the Arts Faculty of Jadavpur University. (<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Gourav_Ghosh&amp;action=edit&amp;redlink=1">Gourav Ghosh</a>/Wikipedia)
  • Students of Jadavpur University who owe political allegiance to the right wing face everyday discrimination and fear being wronged by the left-controlled university establishment for speaking up.
  • Even teachers are part of the left-wing conspiracy and hence, do not serve as an efficient redress mechanism.
  • It is, therefore, ironical that those who are actually intolerant from within spout liberal philosophies.
  • That the so-called ‘left-liberals’ are actually the most intolerant and prejudiced lot has been evident for quite some time now.

    The discrimination and ostracism faced by right-leaning students of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University (JU) from left-wing students who lay loud claim to the virtues of tolerance and liberalism once again exposes the hypocrisy of the left-liberal cabal.

    On 1 January, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta had posted on his Facebook timeline about the ordeal of a JU student. The post read: “Yesterday I met a BJP student of Jadavpur Univ. He said that his fellow students would not allow him to attend class because they could not be in the same class as a ‘fascist’. His professors told him that in endorsing BJP, he was being wilfully ‘provocative’. This is the grim reality of some institutions in Bengal who lecture us on democracy”.

    This report in the Kolkata edition of The Times Of India quotes a couple of JU students affiliated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who have been boycotted by their fellow left-wing students.

    That report quotes Suranjan Sarkar, a first-year student of mass communication and assistant secretary of the ABVP state unit as saying: “Whenever I tried to attend classes, they would walk out. Posters were put up telling students not to attend classes with me. Even when I sat at a back bench, they would walk out”.

    A number of other JU students owing allegiance to the ABVP who Swarajya spoke to recalled similar experiences. “Their (the left-wing students’) visceral hatred for us came to the fore after the Babul Supriyo incident in September last year. Many of us who spoke out against the heckling of the Union Minister were abused, threatened and ostracised,” said a third-year student of Humanities.

    Students who disagree with left-wing politics say that many teachers either tacitly approve or even encourage their targeting. “When I complained against my classmates boycotting me, two of my teachers told me I had brought it upon myself by subscribing to a ‘fascist’ ideology. Many teachers of JU speak out openly against the BJP and Hindutva,” said a first-year student of international relations.

    Many students who were silent supporters of the ABVP or subscribed to right-wing ideology have been forced to distance themselves or conceal their political preferences.

    “There is a climate of intense intolerance towards right-wing ideology now. It has always been there below the surface, but it is much more out in the open now. Anyone subscribing to right-wing ideology will be targeted in JU by students, a section of teachers and also the university administration,” said a student of philosophy at the JU Center For Advanced Studies.

    The persecution of students who do not toe the left-wing line ranges from the sinisterly covert to the intensely overt. “I found my classmates distancing themselves from me when I expressed my support for the BJP earlier this year. I found out they were told to avoid mingling with me by an SFI activist in my class,” said a post-graduate student pursuing history.

    An undergraduate student of comparative literature says she was slapped by one of her seniors during a discussion on politics last year.

    “That was before the Lok Sabha elections and some of us were discussing the electoral prospects of different parties. I opined that the BJP would win. My senior, who is a member of the SFI (the students’ wing of the CPM), asked me if I support the BJP”.

    “When I replied in the affirmative, she slapped me and said JU was not the place for me. I was stunned and wanted to complain against her, but was advised against doing so by my peers who said nothing would come of it since most of the teachers are also leftists,” she recalled.

    Since then, she has steered away from discussing politics or anything even remotely connected with politics.

    Another second-year undergraduate student of political science says he was targeted for an anti-left and anti-Trinamool Facebook post last year.

    “That was just after the Lok Sabha elections and I posted a few lines on my Facebook timeline making fun of the mahagathbandhan that (Bengal CM) Mamata Banerjee had tried to form and how the anti-BJP alliance had fallen flat on its face.

    “I also commented on the utter political irrelevance of the left in Indian politics and commented that the ‘left had been consigned to the dustbin of history,’” he said.

    The next day, he found printouts of his Facebook post being circulated and he was summoned by some “seniors” belonging to the SFI and the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad.

    “I was abused and heckled, and was told to delete the post right there and then. I was also warned against posting anything critical of the Left or the Trinamool and told in explicit terms that I would be forced to leave the university if I disobeyed them,” he recalled.

    When this student complained about his ordeal to a teacher of his department, he was told to listen to his seniors and avoid doing anything that may inflame passions and bring harm to himself.

    None of the students Swarajya spoke to were willing to give out their names. “If you identify us, we will be targeted. And this time, even our teachers will persecute us,” said the philosophy student.

    Though the university administration and the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) deny the discrimination against right-wing students, the fact is that such discrimination and persecution exists and has become more pronounced of late.

    Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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