Don’t Make JNU’s Kanhaiya A Hero Twice Over; He’ll Soon Discredit Himself

Don’t Make JNU’s Kanhaiya  A Hero Twice Over; He’ll Soon Discredit HimselfKanhaiya Kumar in JNU (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images))
Snapshot
  • It is not worth wasting time on the Kanhaiya Kumars of the world.

    They should not be made heroes twice over with the university rusticating them. A stern warning is enough.

    Give them space, and they will discredit themselves by their endless rhetoric.

A Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) inquiry committee, which investigated the anti-India sloganeering by some students on 9 February inside the campus, is understood to have found them guilty of “wilful defiance” for organising an event for which they did not ask for or receive permission from the authorities. If the verdict is ultimately upheld after giving the students time to respond, the latter could face rustication.

It is now clear, in hindsight, that this was the process that should have been followed even earlier, when the police rushed in to arrest JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar, making him a hero overnight on release.

However, the best course for the university, even assuming the students’ guilt is established beyond doubt, is to act leniently.

For two reasons.

One, but having made a mistake earlier, it is going to be difficult even for the university administration to take a harsh stand against the students now on grounds of indiscipline. It will be seen politically as a continuation of the government’s efforts to suppress the JNU students’ voice.

Two, since the students’ challenge is political in nature, it is best to deal with them politically. And Kanhaiya Kumar is happily giving them ample reasons to turn the tables against him and his Leftist cabal.

Yesterday (15 March), Kumar led a JNU students’ march and attacked everyone from Narendra Modi to the RSS to HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

His first salvo was against Irani. “People who have not gone to university are now taking decisions on our future.”

There can be two counters to this politically.

One is to point out that students who have gone to university have not even learnt the elementary decency of not urinating on campus premises, or how to behave with women students (read here about what Kanhaiya Kumar did at JNU).

The other point is fundamental to democracy: while Smriti Irani may not be the best choice for HRD Minister, the fact is neither the constitution nor any law prescribes what qualification a minister should have. It is also worth recalling that all opposition parties – from the Congress to the Left – forced an amendment to the motion of thanks to the President’s speech to the effect that panchayat posts should not have any minimal educational qualifications.

The government should use this opposition stance to nail Kumar and his arrogant stand on the qualifications needed in an HRD minister. Moreover, it is not clear what qualifies a Sonia Gandhi or a Rahul Gandhi to lead any political party, given their pedestrian educational qualifications.

Another statement of Kumar targeted the RSS, and The Times of India quoted him as saying that it took “them so many years to graduate from shorts to full pants.”

This is infantile. Shorts are not worn only by children, and it is cool for adults to move around in them even today. What is less cool is to unbutton your trouser in public places. Maybe Kanhaiya Kumar should learn something from the RSS on this bit of etiquette.

Another diatribe was to raise the Rohith Vemula suicide in the University of Hyderabad – which is sure to hurt the BJP. The clear counter here has to be through action, not words. A simple way would be to announce 5,000 Rohith Vemula scholarships for any eligible Dalit who is admitted to any central or state university. It will end the politics over his suicide.

Kumar also raised the slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, and Jai Samvidhan”, but this is the most laughable of his statements. When his campus reverberates to beats of “Bharat ki barbaadi” and professors openly claim India is an occupational force in Jammu & Kashmir, one wonders where the Jai Jawan and Jai Samvidhan bits fit in. JNU is one place where respect for the Jawan and the Samvidhan (constitution) is rare.

His criticism of Modi, that he is an “paridhan mantra” (garments PM), and that he has failed to create 10 crore jobs, may strike home since the economy is obviously not firing on all cylinders.

This is where the government has to deliver. It is not worth wasting time on the Kanhaiya Kumars of the world. They should not be made heroes twice over with the university rusticating them. A stern warning is enough. Give them space, and they will discredit themselves by their endless rhetoric – as was the case on Tuesday. All they need is a counter-blast of equally good rhetoric.

Comments

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.