Political And Religious Discrimination At JNU And How Students Are Lured 

by Surajit Dasgupta - Feb 29, 2016 06:36 PM +05:30 IST
Political And Religious Discrimination At JNU And How
Students Are Lured  JNU student protest (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images)
    • The method behind the madness of the prevailing atmosphere in JNU vividly narrated.
    • Young folks from second-tier towns are blown off their feet when they listen to the advocacy of free speech by left activists in JNU campus.
    • A coterie of left-leaning students and teachers dominate the discourse through their campus politics.

Read here:—JNU Diary Part 1: Communists Fake It All

Most of the time, it is subtle. The teacher would make snide remarks about you as you pass through a corridor and, sometimes, even while a lecture session is on — if you do not happen to share the teacher’s political ideology. It is not necessary that you are affiliated to the ABVP or the teacher owes his/her allegiance to the CPM, CPI or CPI(ML)-Revolution. The professor might have been a communist when s/he was a student in JNU years ago, or the constant company of communist colleagues has had an influence on his/her mindset.

Saying so, however, would sound no better than a right-winger’s pet theory. So, let’s study some specific cases.

There is an associate professor. who, students say, has boasted about having reached out to Parliament House attack convict Afzal Guru at the Tihar Jail when he was alive. She says she used to carry food to the criminal on death row. During a chat on the campus, a girl student pooh-poohed the associate professor’s ‘feat’. When it was this otherwise promising girl’s turn to face the oral exam for her MPhil, she got a grade of 4.7 whereas a minimum of 5 is required to move to the next year. This student is an OBC.

When questioned by the unfortunate girl’s classmates, the associate professor said that the girl’s presentation skills left a lot to be desired.

Recently, some newspapers had carried stories of caste discrimination in the JNU administration and campus which, curiously, came up juxtaposed with the Rohit Vemula story as though the same set of people were responsible for the acts of discrimination in both the varsities.

ABVP students cutting across different centres of humanities in JNU have been complaining since the NDA government took charge at the Centre that the professors openly threaten them with comments like: “Let’s see how long Modi lasts; he is not going to be around for 50 years, will he? Who will protect you then?”

JNU Poster 1
JNU Poster 1

And how brilliant are the communist students who keep passing these exams, living and overstaying in hostels till they are middle-aged? Eyewitnesses of the incident of the night of 9 February say that many young students found the demonstrations by DSU “cool”. They added to the chorus of hailing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt. While dispersing, however, they were asking one another who this goddamn Maqbool Bhatt was. He must be another unfortunate social activist whom Modi hanged recently, they presumed on their way back to their hostels. Indira Gandhi must have squirmed in her afterlife.

Our readers should know that the DSU cannot be prohibited because it is not a registered union in the first place.

How does one identify DSU in a campus then? Well, the same set of 20 odd students — including the 10 named in the poster inviting students to the 9 February event at Sabarmati Dhaba — and teachers surface again and again with Maoist agendas, under fanciful banners.

Within the DSU fold, there was an act of dissent last year for not being allowed to speak on “gender relations and patriarchal oppression” within the organisation. They registered their protest in a private website.

JNU Poster 2
JNU Poster 2

And how do these communist students manage to get into the good books of their respective professors? The most effective tool the students of AISA, AISF, SFI, DSF and the elusive DSU employ to strike a rapport with these teachers is inviting them for post-dinner talks.

In these late night talks, students shower eulogies on the scholars for their ‘brilliant’ informal lectures. A regular student attendee of these talks, unless he or she is totally dumb, never fails. In contrast, the students of the ABVP as well as those not fascinated by communism are the regular targets of derision of these professors.

Students I spoke to alleged that some of these professors were present at Umar Khalid & Co’s event at the Sabarmati Dhaba on 9 February.

Names of professors who participated in the commemoration of the first anniversary of Afzal Guru’s “martyrdom” can be seen in the following poster.

JNU poster 3
JNU poster 3

Then there are instances of religious discrimination. Blunt attacks come from the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies’ Centre for Arabic and African Studies. The teachers are expectedly all Muslim and students mostly so. The Hindu students of the discipline I spoke to said they have to constantly live with the teachers’ observation that “Arabic is Allah’s language” and, therefore, the “Hindus are not blessed” to learn it.

Two students who complained so said that they could be identified in the class if the names of these professors came out.

The department of Persian language has several non-Muslim names in the list of faculty members. But some of the Muslim professors even here have been heard saying Muslims alone “deserve” to learn Arabic, the “language of God”, while Persian and other languages spoken in Islamic countries may be made accessible to lesser mortals!

A non-Muslim student of Arabic, Persian and Urdu, which incidentally I happen to be, can vouch for the authenticity of this allegation.

Let them be deluded in madrassas. In secular institutions, shouldn’t a proper probe be initiated against these teachers and disciplinary action taken against them?

Who will bell the cat is the question. The communists of JNU are reportedly unhappy with the findings of the committee that found eight students guilty of raising anti-national slogans in the campus on 9 February and suspended them based on its report. The reason for their displeasure is that, unlike on several previous occasions, they couldn’t bulldoze their way into the committee to issue to all accused students a clean chit.

Since 12 February, when the internal committee of JNU submitted its report and action was taken against eight students, almost no teacher in the humanities discipline is holding a regular class. All the time allotted for lecture is spent on informal chats over police action on alleged anti-national students.

And what kind of justice is meted out by an inquiry committee whose composition suits the communist teachers?

One must also know how the communist students increase the strength of their tribe. This is necessary in the context of this article to get the overall picture of revulsion an apolitical student might get from the campus. Swarajya’s readers who happen to have gone to a communist-dominated university campus of West Bengal, where professors do not overtly profess their political views but SFI activists make the experience unbearable to no less an extent, can relate to it.

Initially, students from the hinterland reach JNU in an unassuming and gullible state with little or no political predilections. After living a hell lot of taboos in their villages and small towns, the JNU campus comes across to them as a sudden, overwhelming experience of freedom of al kinds.

In contrast, the ABVP looks dull, boring and anachronistic, espousing views that sound regressive even to urbane right wingers. Moving around the campus, I heard out ABVP affiliates ruing the fact that they still couldn’t master the art of political correctness that, most importantly, entails the right gender and caste mix. Unlike the Brahmins in communist parties, they are also loath to using assumed surnames that would camouflage their castes. They bemoaned the fact that no corrective measure is taken by the RSS to make their union more appealing to the college-going youth in general.

Fence sitters are wooed by another technique. The communist students offer those who fail to get hostel accommodation space in the dormitories dominated by communists. Here, demonstrations raising typically communist issues are a regular activity. An ‘indebted’ newcomer normally obliges his communist senior when urged to join the processions, sloganeering and talks.

Surajit Dasgupta is National Affairs Editor, Swarajya.
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