Thursday, February 18, 2016

The JNU Imbroglio

The dry and dusty landscape dotted with red brick apartment blocks greeted me as my DTC bus approached Munirka.The year was 1989. It was the year that had witnessed historic events like the ending of the Soviet-Afghan war,George.W.Bush taking over as the new President of the United States,the students protest at the Tiananmen Square etc. 
I was a young 22 year old  student of Delhi University pursuing post graduation in History and I was visiting the JNU campus to meet some friends.

Free thinking, unrestricted discussions,debates and non-judgmental attitudes has been the hall mark of this institution.The list of alumni  that had walked the steps of this pre-eminent campus lends an aura to this place.I was enthralled with the atmosphere of intellectual learning around me.

Today I am anguished that some people are hell bent on maligning this respectable institution.

What happened in JNU, on the morning of 9th February, should have stayed within JNU. It was a protest organised by the students outside the vice-chancellor's office.The university authorities should have made enquiries and taken the necessary disciplinary action. If some individuals, whether students or outside miscreants had raised certain objectionable slogans, then actions as per law, should have been taken.Why blame the whole institution and defame its esteemed reputation.This issue should not have been allowed to snowball into this massive national controversy.

 In all free societies, students have stood by and advocated all sorts of extreme demands.They must be free to do so. American students protested against their government during the Vietnam War.The Scotish,Welsh,Quebecois in Canada,Catalans in Spain demand for secession from their home land. They are not being termed by their country as "anti-nationals"?Instead their voices are being heard as legitimate democratic claims.Their right to dissent is not questioned.

Differences in thoughts is healthy.Only open societies allow the freedom of thoughts otherwise, you have the Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square incidents.

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, within limitations of course. And slogans raised at a students meet although a little reckless and volatile,can hardly be said to breach those limits.

Youth is the time of fearlessness, the age to take up challenges and the age when mistakes are committed. Is it fair to blame the whole illustrious institution for this fiasco?

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