Politics

JNU: Nursery of Sedition or Center of Intellectual Enlightenment

"In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell
Written by Abhinav Pandya
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Whole nation appears to be boiling with rage and anger over the shameless glorofication of the terrorists like Afzal Guru, Maqbul Butt and Yakub Memon by JNU students. One might call it another example of India’s intolerance emanating from the perceived supernatural powers of Modi. But, I would like to mention that most certainly India including myself is, and will always be intolerant of people who are against the sovereignty of India and who are out to destroy the idea of India. I have myself studied at institutions like St. Stephen’s and Cornell University and I am a strong votary of free speech and voices of dissent. However, in this case I would like to mention that the state action has been just, proportionate and a balanced one.

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Frankly speaking, I was not surprised in the least bit to know about the event which ended with the venomous slogans like “Bharat ki baarbadi tak” and “Kashmir ki azaadi tak” because I have seen JNU and its pseudo secular and anti-national character from close quarters during my under-graduation at Delhi University.

Firstly, I would specifically mentioned that it was an act of sedition which fulfill all the criteria of sedition laid down in 124 A of IPC.  Definitely, when you say Bharat ki barbadi or India, go back, it certainly means territorial disintegration of India and this is how the common people of India will perceive it no matter how much one tries to defend it in the name of free speech. Slogans which espouse the dreams and aspirations of terrorists like Maqbool Butt, Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon can hardly be seen as an expression of revolutionary Marxist ideals.  They are like an open support to people who are at cross roads with the very existence of India. This is like supporting people who morally, intellectually and logistically and ideologically support the carnage of 26/11 in Mumbai, hijack of IC-814, Pathankot attacks and a series of bomb blasts that have occurred across the country killing thousands of innocent people. JNU students and the assortment of left wingers in India hardly wink an eye before calling their PM a mass murderer, which has not even been proved in the highest courts of India, and the killers like Yakub Memon, Butt and Afzal Guru who were found guilty in acts of terrorism after the most fair and honest judicial trial are hailed as the voice of the oppressed and martyrs killed in the most ruthless manner by India. What more is needed to bury your heads in shame when dreaded Jihadi terrorists like Hafiz Saed and Asiya Bibi who raise suicide bombers, bleed innocent Indians, support minority killings in Pakistan and the most regressive medieval laws for females are tweeting vigorously in the support of JNU students against India. Further, this act is a greatest insult to our armed forces and the real martyr who came from poor families of rural India and laid down their lives.

Secondly, the slogans were provocative and a blatant incitement to violence. One cannot expect the citizens of India to sit quiet over slogans which openly invoked support for the destruction of India. By any standards this event, the sloganeering and the causes espoused are highly inflammatory and provocative. They are as provocative as the communal speeches of Praveen Togadia and Owaisi brothers. When Kamlesh Tiwari could be framed under NSA for questioning the sexual orientations of Prophet, which I personally feel is the suppression of free speech then what is wrong is arresting Kanhaiya who is leading a group that wants the disintegration of India.  I think it is a fair legal action and they must be subjected to this legal action. Just because one comes from JNU the elitist institution of India, he or she does not become a special one deserving a special treatment.

Now, I will address the warped logic which has been used to justify the whole act. Firstly, freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Under article 19 (6), it is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of law and order and public morality. Secondly, there is a difference between the use of the right to speech and the abuse of the right to speech. It may seem logically defensible to most of the spin doctors but if one’s expression transcends the limits of reason, which in this case it certainly has by supporting terrorists who attacked India’s sovereignty, and when one’s expression hurts the sentiments, beliefs and feelings of the majority of India’s citizens in the most offensive manner for no rationally explainable reason, then it is the abuse of the right to free speech.

Secondly, the defense has quoted Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh in order to justify their acts. This comparison seems the most outrageous and frustrating one. I hardly find the argument even worth considering as it is a sheer display of a very low intellectual acumen and poor moral fiber of the people who are using it, but still I will try to clear their doubts. First of all, when you want “Bharat Ki Barbadi” you basically want the destruction of secular, liberal and democratic India and by doing this you are inflicting the most outrageous insult to Mahatma Gandhi and Bhagat Singh who sacrificed their lives to establish and secular and democratic India. Further, they were fighting against a colonial power which had curbed all kinds of freedom and illegally occupied India against all principles of Justice. It is not the case anymore. We are living in a democratic country which has free and fair election and which gives fundamental rights to its citizens. If one has objections with the nature to judicial trial of Maqbool Butt, Memon and Afzal guru, then they can be raised in a parliamentary manner. There is hardly any need to wish India’s destruction to register your protest.

Another disheartening development is the apologetic defense provided by eminent politicians of India like Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi, Yechury and Karat in a most cautiously worded language which reflects the finesse of political chicanery and spin-doctoring at its best. I must warn that this is not an occasion to spew your hatred for Hindutva and Modi. There are certain things which brook no compromise and the sovereignty of India is one such thing. These politicians are starting a very dangerous trend which began with politicization of the suicide of Rohit Vemula, giving it a cast angle. There are a plethora of divisive forces already existing in India and several religious, regional and ethnic groups have their own share of grievances against the state. If every grievance becomes an occasion for separatist sloganeering then the very idea of India and its sovereignty is under threat.

Often, I have found the intellectual giants of politically correct species of JNU on the wrong side of logic, wisdom, conscience and common-sense. Same day a Jaina temple was demolished in Lahore and no one from JNU was seen protesting.  Further, woes of Baluch people and Kashmiri pandits have never appealed to the bleeding heart liberals of JNU. When Baba Ramdev was brutally beaten along with his peaceful anti-corruption protestors there was no one from JNU to protest. Recently, Baba Ramdev was not even allowed to speak on JNU campus. JNU can celebrate the death of 100 security personnel in Dantewara but can’t register an iota of protest against the Islamic extremism witnessed in Malda and Purnea. I fail to understand the reason for this selective outrage. Is it their hatred for Hindu religion or India which is driving them to insane extremes of supporting Jehadi extremists and terrorists?

Whatever the reason for such hatred and insanity, but one thing is clear. They are giving it on the platter to Hindutva extremists exactly what they want. Such a behavior on the part of left provides the prefect alibi to the right for raising xenophobia and polarizing the society.  In this age of social media such gimmicks spread very fast and the ripple-effect can be humongous.  It does not sound very well for the future of India. It is high time that universities like JNU which provides the major supply of civil servants and academicians to India are prevented from becoming the centers of anti-nationalism. The elements that masquerade as ideological stalwarts behind the shield of politically correct causes, and are actually working for vested interests must be checked through recourse to intellectual and legal means.

 

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About the author

Abhinav Pandya

Abhinav has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Cornell University and has a specialization in international development studies. He writes on political, diplomatic, security, religious fundamentalism, Islam, Hinduism and Indo-Pak issues.

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