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Left politics holds JNU campus to ransom

| | in Oped
Left politics holds JNU campus to ransom

India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru called a university a temple of learning. Unfortunately, a university established in his name is no more a temple of learning and has fallen prey to Left politics. Strikes and lockdowns by Left-wing students — covertly under the aegis of Left-leaning teachers’ association — against the mandatory 75 per cent attendance have defiled academic atmosphere at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The protests have left many stupefied as all other universities — including Banaras Hindu University, Hyderabad University and Delhi University — have successfully implemented the mandatory 75 per cent attendance for postgraduate as well as research courses. The moot point is why Left-wing students of JNU are defying the rule?

Ironically, this year NAAC praised JNU and accredited it with an A++, the highest rating. Therefore, it is expected the best university should prove its mettle. Besides, known for its academic credibility and excellence, JNU has been receiving the sufficient grants and facilities from the University Grants Commission (UGC), a statutory body under the Union Human Resource Development Ministry. Most of JNU teachers enjoy cushy academic benefits. Many of them have been to foreign trips on taxpayers’ money.

It is utter nonsense that a handful of extreme Left brigades are holding the JNU campus to ransom and not allowing smooth academic discourse on the campus.  There are many apolitical students who have no issue with the mandatory attendance; all they want is classes in peaceful ambience.  The Left faction has been trying to propagate new narrative falsely projecting that the JNU administration is working against the interest of the student community by bringing in the mandatory attendance provision.

There are fundamental questions which need to be addressed in the context of the recent unrest in JNU. Is the protest against mandatory attendance a students’ movement or an ideological food poisoning? Second, does JNU impart lesser academic lessons and focus more on how generate a mob of anarchists? Third, is there an end to this menace?

There has been deliberate attempt by the Left-wing student unions to malign the image of JNU as if the Modi Government is wilfully targeting the university. The protest is reflection of the utter frustration of the Left-wing politics. The Left dominance over the intellectual establishment has its roots in the systematic “ethnic cleansing” of all non-Left thinkers since the 1950s.

In the political sphere, Left parties have resorted to incessant violence to grind their axe. While West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura for long showcased Communist ideology and its politics, JNU became the ideological hub to provide sophisticated justification to things that went horribly wrong in these States.

Leftists are known to be the most intolerant. There are many instances when the Left-wing student union did not allow other ideologies to be heard and spoken on the campus. Arvind Gupta, Deputy National Security Adviser, was not allowed in JNU recently. In 1997, BJP veteran LK Advani was barred from the university campus. Indeed, the separatists and ultra-Leftists are speaking the same language in certain other campuses. The radicals on JNU campus demand beef in messes and worship Mahishashur. Ideas of Ambedkar and Gandhi are completely misrepresented by theses Leftist student union, as both of the leaders fought for the cultural identity of India. It is important to see why it has been happening on JNU campus. It is not only the students of a particular ideology, but a large number of JNU teachers are involved in this subversive narrative. They are desperate and frustrated with the current BJP Government at the Centre. The desperation is not merely ideological but their social and economic predominance are at risk. Over the period of time, they have carved a safe haven for their academic luxury. Ever since its inception in 1969, the university has been a breeding ground for the Leftists. The process of turning institutions of higher education into Marxist fiefdom had started under the tutelage of then Education Minister S Nurul Hasan and JNU fell in that trap.

Commenting on the recent unrest in JNU, Professor Makarand Paranjape, from the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, rightly concludes, “Nowhere in the world do a small band of disruptive students force the whole university to shut down, crashing its teaching & academic schedule.”

There has been deliberate attempt to diminish stature of JNU Vice Chancellor Prof Jagdish Kumar, who is an outstanding teacher and scholar. However, a group of teachers from different schools and background rallied behind the VC whose politeness and humility are acknowledged by all. They supported the administration’s decision for 75 per cent “compulsory” attendance. They have gathered courage to stand against JNUTA and the JNUSU, who are misleading the common students.

Fortunately the Left grip is weakening. Other ideologies are gaining strength. That is why Left leaders are desperate. Their last constituency is JNU, which is also getting out of their hand. Left-wing newspapers accused the JNU administration of irregularities in recent recruitment. Series of concocted stories were written to showcase that quality is going down.

There is need to cleanse the bad practices and retain the quality of outstanding research at the august house of learning.

(The writer is Head of the Department of Political Science, Central University of Haryana)

 
 
 
 
 
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