Suddenly, I came across a tweet which says offices of JNU being held under siege by students, put in by a staff member of the University who is literaly pleading the students he is sick and needs assistance.
We too protested, but wenever ensured that some’s life is at stake. Trawling through the comments, it is surprising to see the level of abuse against the staff members. Is it a norm today? Or is it an exception to see that level of hate? May be I am too old for this, because we ran our show in colleges with Orkut and GPRS connections, not superfast wifi. And what offended me the most is the hashtag #NotOurVC. Is that the respect you give to your teachers?
At one point I jumped into the debate. I was not happy the way debate was going on. Actually, it seems, there are two grouses –
1. Mandatory attendance
2. Closing of dhabas in the university campus by 11 PM while as the reading goes, it used to be round the clock.
The argument plainly put forward was,
“Dikkat ye h ki koi bhi university of social science courses keliye wo bhi PhD tk attendence compulsory ni h wo hi 75%. Ye sab circulars isiliye nikal warhe taaki; jnu ka debate and discussions culture khtm hojaaega.Govt. Is using its propaganda through v.c”
“Yahan dhabas 4 baje tk khulte the.. saare dhabas. Dhaba tha hmara venue to speak and generate awareness; or discuss; till late night. Ab dhabas 11 baje band hone lga h. Social studies mai class se sirf 40% education milthi h. Baaki class ke bahar se”
For propreity, I am going to mask the names of all the participants.
But, this is how the debate went in the general direction.
JNU Student: When we are attending classes, what’s the sense in making it mandatory?
Myself: When you are already attending, what’s the problem in formalizing it?
JNU Student: Problem is, they are making it mandatory that too for people till PHD level. This will kill the debate and discussion culture.
Another person: How is attendance and debating culture interlinked?
JNU Student: Dhabas in the campus used to be open till 4 AM. Dhabas used to be our venues to speak and generate awareness. Now, orders are given to shut them by 11 PM. We get only 40% education in Social Studies. Rest is outside.
Myself: Why can’t the same debates be conducted in class rooms after college hours? Which teacher is going to oppose it?
No answer but a shift in goal post.
JNU Student: You can go and check how many Social Sciences Universities have 75% attendance for MPhil and PhD. JNU is the only college in the country which opposes any repressive government policy.
Another person: I see only selective protests – against Govt, Army, RSS but I am not seeing any protests against ISIS, Triple Talaq or some other social evils. There was not even a protest when one of your collegemate was issued rape threats but you protested loudly in favour of the one who told Pakistan didn’t kill my father, war did.
JNU Student: Protesting against ISIS in JNU, what good will it do? There are a thousand evils in the world and we won’t be protesting against all of them. The most important thing today is fascist threat against all non upper class Hindus and minorities, and mysterious disappearance of people.
Myself: Let’s see. Protesting for Kashmir or Bastar in the urban coziness of Delhi, how does it help then? When your answer is pressurize govt, you can pressurize the same govt to create a united front against ISIS. As to the other allegation, do you have stats?
JNU Student: No muslim organisations in india ever supported the bloody attacks of isis. They have only clearly stated that they are not muslims. highest no. Of victims of ISIS are also muslims. But RSS is killing with state impunity here and BJP leaders publicly support
Myself: You are a college student. How did the debate degrade to Hindu vs Muslim? Shall we talk about your college, which is the only thing needed?
Another person: There will be fascist threat only if the current demography of India changes. The current facsist threat is just imagination of you people.
Myself: Interesting to see you don’t have an answer for even one of the questions posed. Let me compile them.
1. Which Univs don’t have mandatory attendance?
2. Why is protesting against ISIS useless but protesting against Kashmir is?
3. Why didn’t you protest in favour of Shelha Rashid?
4. How is debating in classes different from debating in canteens and hotels?
These should suffice for the time being.
The usual answer.
JNU Student: m not paid by anyone to attack people using fake accounts nor endowed with ‘much time’ as u people are. So; the 4. Questions u raised can be easily found properly from internet. But if u are a sanghi; thrs no point in me debating.
This turned out to be the usual tone of the debate. I am completely flummoxed. Can any student be this irresponsible and callous? They are risking lives simply because dhabas are closed and late risers are herded into class rooms. And when they are asked why they are protesting selectively(forget everything. When their collegemate is abused online, they all stood silent) or a list of colleges which don’t enforce mandatory attendance, they don’t have any answers
and the only options available with them are shifting goalposts and blocking(yes. I got that badge of honour as well),
that too when their Vice Chancellor, Department Heads and other seniors in the administration are part of the discussion. An added thing here is blind hate towards the Indic ecosystem which is currently identified with the word Sanghi. Is this the level of general discipline in the college, I don’t see any reason why the university or the concerned department should be kept open. It should be completely fumigated to make it a more saner place.
The VC may agree or disagree or can have a better solution than me, but the reality is, the current state of things cannot continue.