There are 129 universities in India. Over 700 degree offering colleges. Huge brain power.
Against that canvas to assume that ‘debate and dissent’ is the prerogative of only Jawaharlal Nehru University is a conceit. Are we to conclude from the froth of excitement over the ‘left front’ wins at JNU and the shrill almost violent ‘in your face’ responses by those elected that the simultaneous success of the ABVP in Delhi University student elections is indicative that DUSU is populated by a bunch of retards and that the millions of students who attend colleges across the country have no clue about ‘dissent and debate’ and are brain dead.
That they are cerebral lambs to the slaughter and only the brave bastion of JNU has the courage to speak up about issues that might or might not be seen as anti-national or inappropriate. Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab, you name it, I am sure they would take on JNU in any debate on any issue with equal dexterity and skill, so let’s not make this election result into something more than it actually is.
Would a university in the US on this morning of the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 find it open-minded to ‘discuss and debate’ the other side of the coin and justify the attacks... after all , at JNU, or so we are constantly told, every story has two sides.
Would a JNU delegation go down to Mumbai and debate the plus side of the horrors of 26 November 2008 and stand up for their right to free speech and expression.
Of course, young people must debate and seek answers. But within the confines of your campus as part of your educational licence, for sure. Start colouring outside the lines then you have to contend with opposition to your romantic stances on issues you know nothing much about.
You haven’t seen life yet or been knocked around by the caprice of fate. You guys don’t even have to do national service. You are protected and sheltered and fed and you have a roof over your head and until you begin to work to earn to put food in your mouth you don’t count for very much in the grand scheme of things. Nor, contrary to your opinion of yourselves, have you even begun to spell achievement.
This election result is not a vindication, it is not any sort of reflection of the national mood and is certainly not to be seen as an indictment of other students in the nation who go to learn and get a job and be productive.
They know their parents are paying good money for an education and they respect that.
Free thinking, freewheeling JNU is so heavily subsidised there seems to a whiff of arrogance in the air as if this educational sojourn was an entitlement, these boys and girls given a benediction because they have been forged in a different crucible.
And that is not true.
I wonder what would happen if the subsidies were brought on par with the rest of the country. You can still be free to ‘debate and dissent’ and be leftist in a world that has lost interest in the Stalin-Lenin-Mao trinity and its teachings but at least Mum and Dad would have to pay top whack for it.
As someone who cleared college fifty years ago, I still haven’t understood the point of the subsidy.
I know Indira Gandhi probably okayed the project to lock up all the noisy leftists troublemakers and give them a steam room and spa cleverly camouflaged as the core of academia but hasn’t all this ‘free thinking’ stuff become a bit obsolete what with a hundred thousand new bloggers every day and all of us ready and willing to debate and dissent.
In fact, if anything is showing a spike beside the price of commodities it is debate and dissent.
So, enjoy your victory but don’t see it as a great blow for freedom. It is what it is... simply a campus election...and it really shouldn’t be politically fuelled in the first place.
There is no merit in that. Don’t lean to the left or the right, stand up straight. Try it.
First Published On : Sep 11, 2016 14:54 IST