The Left in JNU isn’t Right

For the second time in its history, the university has decided to hold convocation, and the decision has stirred up a hornets’ nest of sorts

Mayank Gupta

One of India’s most prestigious universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has, since its foundation in 1969, remained in the eye of the storm. To the outside world, the university and its famed campus is a place of intellectual and issue-based discussions, which owing to its natural tendency leads to controversies. That left-aligned ideology has its stronghold in the campus is also well-known. Indeed, students and researchers of our country must devote extensive time to debate on such issues as women empowerment and betterment of economically weaker sections of society. Unless the youth of India is well-versed with key issues holding the pace of our development, the dream of a ‘new India’, which is inclusive and unprejudiced, cannot be realised.
In its pursuit to achieve a socialist society- or better said a communist India- where the balance of power isn’t tilted towards the bourgeoisie class, the university and its scholars, of course not all of them, haven’t shied away from openly challenging the establishment and propagate an insurrectionist approach. In the name (read garb) of feminism, free speech, equitable distribution of resources and equal treatment of all citizens irrespective of caste, religion or class, the fight led by left-aligned student groups in JNU has been taken to another level, a level that breaches the ethical code of conduct.
For the second time in its history, the university has decided to hold convocation, and the decision has stirred up a hornets’ nest of sorts. What circumstances led to a prolonged gap of 46 years- last convocation was held in 1972- is a topic of debate, with some claiming that the so-called ‘radical speeches’ in the first convocation by veteran actor Balraj Sahni and students’ union president V C Koshy as the reason while others citing administrative costs to conduct the ceremony as the bottleneck. The present decision has drawn criticism from student leaders and some faculty members, all subscribing to the left ideology of radicalism and anarchism, for they believe that this is an attempt by the JNU administration to ‘saffronise’ the institution by inviting outsiders to address students.
When someone finds politics in every event, that person or group is not driven by a motive to change the society for good but by a corrupt end to fetch publicity and returns. The recent sequence of events in the university campus is an indication of this. The hanging of a convicted terrorist was recklessly criticised and condemned by some student leaders who raised unethical slogans inside the campus in the name of freedom of expression. Although the due process of law, an idea enshrined in our constitution, was followed and it was established that the convicted was a threat to society, the leftists in JNU rejected the verdict of the top court and dubbed the incident as ‘judicial murder’.
Time and again, the left-aligned groups inside the campus have propagated the idea of going against the democratically elected government of India, besides undermining the reputation of Indian judiciary. What values do they intend to inculcate in the students of JNU? Of course, the country craves for innovation and new ideas, but radicalism and anti-establishment ideas will only serve as a catalyst for violence, ultimately upsetting socio-economic growth. The elements of socialism and inclusive development have been thrown out from the left ideology of today, and they have been replaced with insurrectionist and rebellious theories. And all serve the purpose of the leaders, not the mass- the regression of the Left-ruled Bengal state is a perfect example.
A few days inside the life of JNU and one would realise how left-inclined forces systematically indoctrinate incoming newcomers and drill in them revolutionary thoughts. The aim of most of the student leaders is to build a political career in later days, and this passion leads them to pick up unwarranted issues and turn them into controversies to attract the attention of media and established political parties. One student leader, who led the Afzal Guru protest, was invited by various news channels and many political leaders shared the dais with him in a bid to reap some benefits from his newfound popularity as a ‘revolutionary’. Sadly, the subsequent disciplinary action taken by the JNU administration against the perpetrators was termed by some section of media as harsh and biased.
Amidst all controversies and dramas, the very idea of establishing an eminent institution for research has been sidelined. The event planned to celebrate and applaud the academic accomplishments of students is being alleged as a ‘well-thought plan’ to undermine the democracy of JNU. How can a convocation be a threat to an educational institution is a question that if posed would only expose the corrupt political motives of the critic. The doors of JNU must be wide open to all ideologies that respect the thoughts enshrined in the Indian constitution, and needless to say, elements that hurt the well-founded and established norms of democracy must be weeded out. The left, if not right (principled), must go.