Stand with JNU : The war on JNU is nothing a war against intellectualism

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

Stand
with JNU : The war on JNU is nothing a war against intellectualism

The issues
raised by the students and teaching fraternity of JNU are highly important and
need to be understood in the right spirit, at the time when there is a sinister
campaign going on to discredit the University and shut its door for the poorest
of the poor of the country.

Why is there
so much of hatred towards JNU in India’s rich urban savarna class and the root
lies in that whatever me the fault line inside JNU and I have said it many time
that caste supremacy of the elite remain intact in the JNU, yet it has also
provided space to a huge number of groups which would not have got it in any
other university.

In the last
few years, organisations like Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student Association (BAPSA)
has emerged a powerful tool to mobilise the students from the marginalised
sections and they have challenged the main power groups. There are other groups
too. Of course, it remains the only place where the left student unions still hold
their impressive influence over the students and the reason is the huge
diversity and representation of wider sections in JNU, a unique point of the
University.

But this
uniqueness is under the challenge now.

As JNU
provided these spaces and now a large number of the scholars from deprived
sections are emerging and challenging the popular narrative and questioning the
authorities as well as building alternative narratives and ideas, the dominant
forces remain afraid of these new emerging ideas. Basically, it is not a war on
JNU but frankly war on India’s Dalit Bahujan classes and their scholars to
ensure quality education remain out of their reach.

I don’t
blame the police for what happens.

It is the
easiest way to target them who are deep distress. The real villain is the JNU
administration as well as those ‘minds’ who are working overtime to deny
India’s Bahujan communities right to quality education. Police just follow the
orders and they can’t say no to the orders of the high command therefore, we
must focus on the real issues as what is the priority of the government. Why a
narrative is being built around JNU that is the ‘den’ of ‘freeloaders’. It is
an easy target and WhatsApp universities are in action to carry such
disinformation.

Freeloaders
are much better the looters of the country.

Freeloaders
is a term used by the looters of the nation who remain quiet when State Bank of
India write off debt of 1,63,934 crore rupees in the last five years. Who are
these looters and why are they not behind the bar? Whose money is this? You are
penalising the poor for their saving accounts but unable to take these looters
head on. Some of them have run away London and New York, with active
cooperation of the netas and power connectors. Look at the freebies that the
netas provide to them with cheapest food at the canteen of India’s parliament.
When each minister or MP has crores of rupees yet when they fell ill, they use
the state apparatus but they are not the freeloaders.

We are
often told about the ‘taxpayers’.
I want to ask as who does not pay tax in India.

Even a poor
beggar pay tax when he buys anything. You have made India, a tax state. What is
that without tax? Even walking on the road has tax. Each product that we buy
has tax, any place that we visit has a tax. so, what is that which can be said
to be without tax. When you collect tax from us, then you have duty to provide
us services. What are the services that we are being provided? As per report in
a news portal Government of India has collected over Two lakh Eighteen Thousand
crore rupees till March 2018, as education, sanitation and other cesses that it
imposes on people but when the question of distribution of it comes, Primary
Education was not paid Rs 1,977 crore rupees while for Secondary and Higher
Education, 94,000 crore rupees remained unpaid. The Research and Development
department did not receive Rs 7,298. That shows our priority. You collect funds
from people and these are cess which means paid by all, including rich and poor
as it is from the item that we buy.

Will we
ever ask question about how much wasting money in funding the TV channels who
are now fake news industry?

Will we
question the amount of money that we waste in luxuries of our political leaders’
particularly those in power? Somebody want to buy a new jet plane, other wants
special tiles for his building, so many of us are fantasizing with millions of
rupees of statues, other want temples of trillions of rupees but that is not
questioned by us which will only befit the power elite and their false
narratives.

JNU’s fee
structure is being talked about too much but it is very much similar to other
universities.

There may be
some minor differences but the fact is Hyderabad Central University and other
universities in the South are much cheaper. Even Aligarh Muslim University and
Banaras Hindu University, student fee and hostel-mess charges are cheaper.
Question is not that. The thing is that JNU is providing a qualitative
education, it changes your horizon, your outlook. It makes you question the
power. It is a unique institution but the government and its paid media feel
that it is making student ‘awara’.

The
campaign that is being run by the goons masquerading as anchors. It is more
than shocking.

Students don’t
come as they wish but they qualify the entrance examination unlike Delhi
University where you only go through your percentage of your marks. Over 40%
students hail from extremely poor family backgrounds and if the current fee
hike continues, most of them will have to leave JNU. It means most of the
Dalit, Adivasi, OBC students who are in JNU in large number will have to leave
education or quality education if the fee structure is allowed to go
unchallenged.

The
government has already made the IITs, IIMs, medical institutions, Charted
accountancy and other beyond the reach of the common people. Just by a few
fellowships you can’t hide the fact that a majority of people will find it
extremely difficult to enter into these institutions. The Dalit Adivasi OBC
students in these ‘specialised’ zones are facing the tyranny of the
administration as well as caste Hindu students, who suffer from various
complexes.

The issue
of JNU is not merely hostel and mess charges.

The broader
question is that it is the issue of free and qualitative education for all. We
need more and more JNUs and Navodaya Vidyalaya to that to have space for rural
poor and other marginalised in our education. Once they are in education, they
will find their way out. JNU provides them opportunity to grow, to feel the
freedom, enjoy the power of free thought and rational thinking.

JNU does not
ask its students to touch the feets of their teachers, here the teachers and
students sit and discuss, sip tea together which is highly impossible at the
Hindutva University of Varanasi. JNU give a kind of freedom to students which
we don’t find elsewhere, it gives them ideas to stand on their own and power to
question.

The war
on JNU is nothing a war against intellectualism
, free thinking and access to
education to all the students who hail from the most marginalised sections.
Like every other institutions, JNU too might have its problems and I am not
among those who call it a ‘Jannat’ but it is the duty of the administration to
sit with students and teachers to take a decision in the best interest of
University and education so that those shortcomings can be rectified but it
will serve no purpose if administration behave like a martial law dictator and
criminalise the students. Peaceful demonstrations and sitting are part of
democratic processes and cannot be termed as in-disciplinary activity. The
government can show its good intention by winning the heart of the students and
meeting their demands. Any hike in the fee structure has to happen in negotiations
with teachers and student leaders as such exorbitant hike will prove death
knell for the dreams of many students hailing from absolutely poor background.
JNU administration and government must act responsibly and negotiate to bring
normalcy and stop the situation from deteriorating further.

Vidya
Bhushan Rawat

November 20th, 2019

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