Dear television studio super heroes, leave the students of JNU alone. You called them anti-nationals and traitors, maligned them in other ways, gave a respectable university a bad name and earned your TRPs through it all. Now please allow them to breathe some fresh air. They are young people, smart enough to settle disagreements in a civilised way. And they hate your presence around them. They are polite and they still have some respect left for journalists, so they won’t call you vultures waiting for a carcass to feed on. But that’s how they feel about you at this point.
Of course, their feeling does not matter to you much. Many of you have lost empathy. Bloated by silly egos and that intriguing sense of power that the overlordship of the studio brings, you have stopped being mindful of delicate human sentiments. It won’t bother you one bit that students are still immature and they have a long way to go in their lives. It won’t occur to you that anti-national and traitors are simply very harsh words for them, and calling them ‘worse than terrorists and Maoists’ is just going too far.
Before we go any further here’s question: by what right do you call people anti-national, seditious? To make it more direct, just who the hell are you? It is never a journalist’s job to brand people as this or that. It is never a job of a journalist to distort the truth and present an alternate reality to the audience. A day after the issue of anti-national slogans hit the media, Kanhaiya Kumar was quickly termed a ‘deshdrohi’ and the overwhelming hint in the panel discussions that followed in several channels was that the varsity is indeed a den of such elements.
The impact of such irresponsible branding by you is visible now. House owners around the campus have started throwing out students, a couple of them have been beaten up and the general impression going around among the locals is everyone in the JNU is busy in anti-national activities. The respect for students is gone. Now, who has to take the blame for that? Obviously, the lot among you wearing nationalism on its sleeves. The video with Kanhaiya in it shows none of his acts was remotely seditious.
Nobody is going to pull you up; the media in the country enjoys a unique status that allows it to get away with anything. But sirs, in your over-enthusiasm for the branding business, you appear no different from the people who kill someone for eating beef or kill someone over religion or having a view different from yours. Behind those brilliant suits and the wonderful English you speak, you are uncouth people who would maim and murder with words. The issue is still the same, though it might be a bit clichéd by now: intolerance.
Blinded by your own sense of power and the grand delusion that your opinion makes the country go around, you commit acts of intolerance that are sometimes worse than those of the thugs claiming to be ideologically-driven. We know you are clever people. You kill the other opinion by loading your panels with people who would say yes to you all the time and pounce upon dissenters at the slightest hint. We know how cleverly you twist debates to support your view point and how tactfully you avoid topics that will hurt the powerful and the influential. Students are not powerful or influential, and so you think you can hurt them any way you like.
Since it’s your space and you lord over it, nobody would tell you on your face that you are intolerant or uncouth. But sirs, if you chose to call us anti-nationals for having our own independent views, then we have the right to call you and your view point anti-national too. Our voice won’t be heard far, far away, because unlike you, we don’t control the megaphone. That precisely is the reason why you should be more responsible in your conduct. The damage potential from you is much bigger. But you seem to have abandoned that responsibility.
Sirs, to raise the earlier question, just who the hell are you? Who gave you the right to play god?
First Published On : Feb 17, 2016 07:54 IST