Ramjas College clash: Young Gurmehar Kaur had enough, but it is a war the Right is not going to win

It’s a war the Right is never going to win. Young Gurmehar Kaur may have withdrawn from the current battle but she should rest assured of this: There will be many more 20-year-olds speaking up for what they think is correct and the country is never going to run short of such spirited people.

Akshaya Mishra February 28, 2017 16:54:40 IST
Ramjas College clash: Young Gurmehar Kaur had enough, but it is a war the Right is not going to win

It’s a war the Right is never going to win. Young Gurmehar Kaur may have withdrawn from the current battle but she should rest assured of this: There will be many more 20-year-olds speaking up for what they think is correct and the country is never going to run short of such spirited people.

Ramjas College clash Young Gurmehar Kaur had enough but it is a war the Right is not going to win

Ramjas College protests. PTI

Her latest tweets suggest she had had enough. Obviously, there’s only so much a young soul can take. What she faced was orchestrated attack, with a couple of Union minister and a BJP parliamentarian weighing in against her. When a private individual like Virender Sehwag expresses his views on her Facebook post it is one thing, but when political people jump in to drive home an ideological standpoint it is quite another. One wonders why Kiren Rijiju has to get so involved in what should be a matter involving students.

As if it was not enough to mention that someone was ‘polluting’ the mind of Gurmehar, which he did yesterday, Rijiju added today that “She is a martyr’s daughter. His soul must be weeping that his daughter is being misguided by those who celebrate on the bodies of martyrs.” It’s interesting how issues can get blown up in bizarre ways. Such statements cannot be without a broader context. The context is ideology.

Ideology in itself won’t be a problem. We have faced vandalism from the Left too. The problem, however, is when ideology comes in direct conflict with freedoms the young take for granted as students. Such conflicts are getting more frequent.

It appears the Right is fighting the wrong war. Its ideological tussle with the Left appears to have taken the shape of an organised assault on free thinking and free expression. Ironically, the former was never seen to be a great promoter of either. The victims, of course, are ordinary students who love the sense of independence that campuses offer. The difference between the Left and the Right is while the ideology of the former was more of a natural fit with the idealistic spirit of the young, that of the Right is less in sync with it.

Since the acceptance is not natural, the latter has to resort to aggression, brand every dissenting view as Left, the pet enemy, and get into physical intimidation. It does not help that the Right is not intellectually robust. It’s fundamentally reactionary in character and it cannot do without finding enemies to fight with. The ABVP’s combativeness thus is not hard to understand. It cannot argue its case with preciseness; so it has to prevail through threats. For example, how do they fit a broad concept like nationalism into the narrow straitjacket of anti-Pakistanism? Not everyone may subscribe to their view entirely.

Both the Left and the Right have contributed to the decline in the culture of debates and discussions on campuses. When you stop discussing ideas and get fixated on self-limiting ideology, it is bound to happen. What you have in the end is unthinking mules following orders or habits, not enlightened minds. This would still be acceptable if free thinkers among students had the freedom to think free. The trouble is the Right is increasingly conflating this group with the Left.

If this part of some kind of a nationalist project, it is a foolhardy one. Converting students with persuasion is fine, but trying to making them fall in line through force and intimidation is bound to backfire. There are just too many young in the country with fiercely independent minds. One Gurmehar may give up but there will be others to take her place. It’s a war the Right cannot win.

Updated Date:

also read

Appropriated by fashion brands as a 'desert scarf', the keffiyeh remains powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance, solidarity
Lifestyle

Appropriated by fashion brands as a 'desert scarf', the keffiyeh remains powerful symbol of Palestinian resistance, solidarity

As much as fashion brands remove the political edge from powerful cultural symbols, the reality will not allow for it to happen. The keffiyeh will continue to be a reminder to the world that Palestine continues to be unfree. That Palestinians exist, that they resist.

Radhe movie review: A dozen Salman Khan starrers diced and tossed together in stale oil
Entertainment

Radhe movie review: A dozen Salman Khan starrers diced and tossed together in stale oil

Radhe is so generic that it would be a challenge to write down the plot from A-Z after a single viewing.