Slogans on Kashmir in JNU, blackmailing tactics against VC, stalling of academic activities expose Left’s intellectual bullying

  • We have been told, all along, that the Left-backed student ‘uprising’ in JNU is over a rise in fees.

  • However, this so-called ‘uprising’ involved boycotting classes, not allowing faculty members to enter their laboratories, blocking ambulance service for an ailing Dean.

  • The Left and its ‘liberal’ ally’s greatest sleight of hand lies in the fact that they unleash their reactionary authoritarianism while claiming to fight against it.

  • Violence by Leftists is morally justifiable and the onus for it lies on victims, while violence unleashed against them is unacceptable.

We have been told, all along, that the Left-backed student ‘uprising’ in JNU is over a rise in fees.

This so-called ‘uprising’ involved boycotting classes, not allowing faculty members to enter their laboratories, blocking ambulance service for an ailing Dean, holding a female associate Dean hostage for 30 hours, attacking the houses of wardens in the night, abusing and threatening their families, intimidating children or beating up students keen on registering themselves to continue with their studies.

There’s an argument that the entire controversy was a “manufactured” one since there has been no rise in tuition fees except a rise in charges for hostel services. VC Jagadesh Kumar has claimed in an interview that such a rise became inevitable after the UGC refused to fund the expenditure.

The administration rolled back the hike partially and gave concessions to students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds ) but the “uprising” went on. It is worth noting here that the government spends Rs 6.95 lakh per year of taxpayer’s money for each JNU student.

 Slogans on Kashmir in JNU, blackmailing tactics against VC, stalling of academic activities expose Left’s intellectual bullying

Representational image. PTI

To sum up, some students at JNU, backed by a section of teachers, have been creating continuous unrest in the university, arresting academic activities, preventing new students from getting registered and indulging in thuggery, all because of a hike that was questionable to begin with, and has since been rolled back.

At this stage, the motivation of the ‘protesting’ Leftist students and their backers become questionable. Things become a little clearer when we find president of Leftist JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) Aishe Ghosh — whose role during the recent campus violence has come under the spotlight (she was brutally injured herself) — linking the ‘protests’ in JNU (ostensibly over fee hike and then over CAA) with what “has been happening in Kashmir”.

[Translation: In this battle, we cannot forget Kashmir. What is happening to them, the government started snatching our Constitution from there].

What has been happening in Kashmir? Is it anything illegal, immoral? Does it involve breaking of international law? Has the Constitution been violated?

Abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir was a sovereign decision taken through the due parliamentary process by a democratically elected government in India’s representative democracy on an issue that is internal to India. The move thus has constitutional ratification and enjoys popular appeal. To protest against this in itself is unconstitutional, invoking the Constitution while doing so is morally perverse.

Raising slogans of ‘azadi’ on the JNU campus is one thing, connecting it to the Kashmir issue where the Indian State is fighting battles of separatism and cross-border terrorism for decades is quite another. It undermines India’s sovereign rights and legitimacy over Kashmir. This has implications for national security and places the Left leadership — that uses students as cannon fodder — squarely against the interests of Indian State.

This, however, is not unexpected from the Left which is struggling as a political force in India’s multi-party democracy but continues to carry out politics by proxy by weaponsing its hold over India’s premier academic institutions. This is not an Indian phenomenon either. The Left has proved adept worldwide at making institutions of higher education (specifically the humanities and liberal arts) their fortresses where only one kind of ideas are propagated and there is no tolerance for dissenting opinion or conservative viewpoints.

The Left and its ‘liberal’ ally’s greatest sleight of hand lies in the fact that they unleash their reactionary authoritarianism while claiming to fight against it. And an unquestioning media, where Leftist influence remains prevalent, give them a wide rope.

The JNUSU has issued a diktat that all academic activities in JNU shall remain suspended unless its demand — the removal of the V-C — is met. In other words, if the JNU administration does not give in to its blackmailing tactics, then the administration is ‘fascist’ —a term Leftists use at will. Note how the Left turns the onus of their violent behavior on the victims instead of the perpetrators.

This, as author James Lindsay has explained in Quillete, is “rooted in leftist academic social theory, which has blurred the distinction between word and action for decades. Under a prevalent view that has emerged from universities in recent years, a wrong opinion is seen as tantamount to a thrown punch or even an indication of a willingness to genocide—which invites the idea that an offended party who throws a real punch (or worse) is simply acting in self-defence.”

This is how Left distinguishes between violence. Violence by Leftists is morally justifiable and the onus for it lies on victims, while violence unleashed against them is unacceptable. This also indicates a kind of moral absolutism that is inevitable when places for learning and debates become homogenous and sanctified. Once again, India is merely mirroring the Western trend.
In the United States, a 2005 survey indicated that there was only one Republican sociology professor in the humanities for every 40 Democrat professors. This is also a denial of platform, and the Left does it meticulously to maintain its hold over academic institutions. The New York Times has quoted a study as saying that one-third of social psychologists admitted that if choosing between two equally qualified job candidates, they would be inclined to discriminate against the more conservative candidate.

The end result of this forced homogeneity is that students, exposed to only the Leftist school of thought, are imprisoned in a small, homogenous cultural universe where competing ideas have no space. This finds reflection in the students’ interaction with the wider world and they become intolerant of dissenting ideas and notions.

Swapan Dasgupta, Rajya Sabha member and noted intellectual from the Right, was recently locked up in a room for seven hours by protesting Leftist students at the Santiniketan campus of Visva Bharati University in West Bengal. The SFI members refused to allow Dasgupta to commence his lecture on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

This campus censorship is as rampant in the US as it is in India where conservative thinkers are regularly denied space for airing their views. So intolerant are these so-called progressives that they prevent the governor of a state from entering the campus during a convocation ceremony, as Bengal’s Jadavpur University did, and even “rusticate” the chancellor for holding political views different than theirs.

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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2020 21:18:25 IST