The country of late seems to have the tendency to rouse to hysterical enthusiasm for no rhythm or reason giving the politicians every chance to use the fabricated lies or brute force to achieve their ends. Why and when did we become so volatile regarding our ideas of nationalism that slogans by students in a university were answered through sedition charges? The alleged anti national cultural meet happened in JNU a few days back and it seems to have divided the nation into two halves the government and a section of people who call these students terrorists and the other half of teachers, students and another section of people who condemn the university crackdown.
I didn’t want to jump down the gun and take sides, so I followed the controversy throughout. I believe that this situation has been blown out of proportion for the sole purpose of deviating our attention from the key issues.
Quoting Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose name the university bears, “A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventures of ideas and the search of truth.” JNU is in fact known for its democratic space that it offers to student to engage in debates and embodies in them the spirit of rebellion and this is how the incident began.
The meeting was called by the ex-members of the Democratic Students Union (DSU) to discuss the hanging of Afzal Guru and the right of self-determination for Kashmir. They considered the hanging a judicial murder driven by political agendas. The Supreme Court judgment is final but is not infallible and they questioned capital punishment in principle and doubted his guilt as the sentence was given on circumstantial evidence alone. The meeting was a public event and students from other universities were also present there. They also discussed the right of self-determination for Kashmir and in no way supported its secession. These students read about socio political issues and have a stand about it; they carry ideas and not arms. The irresponsible language used by them however deserves the sharpest criticism and it in fact ebbed the gravity of the discussion on the political questions, be it capital punishment, human rights or self-determination.
They say an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind and the reaction received by these students from our system was worse than the act itself. Slapping sedition charges on these students, the appalling conduct of the police on the campus who went around harassing and arresting students without any proof of their involvement in the irresponsible sloganeering, the circulation of a morphed video highlighting the students as anti nationals and pro Pakistani, a trial by the media much before the judicial system could say anything about it and the lawyers hitting journalists and students in court premises on the basis of their own skewed and twisted idea of nationalism was totally uncalled for. Instead of waging a war against the university as a place of debate and dissent why don’t we counter it with deepened dialogues?
All of us already agree that the trial by the media is wrong, let’s not even get into the social media trial. This seems to be another platform for pre judicial trial whenever a controversy crops up in this country. Everyone who is even remotely aware of the situation starts taking sides and giving judgments and writing long status without knowing the true story.
The problem is that all of us think that we are the sole harbingers of Nationalism. I would be touching the raw nerve when I say that we are a bunch of twisted fanatics who keep opinionating on a controversy till another crops up, but we need to understand that there are worse things happening in the country and in the world which need to be discussed and solved but how we react to any problem is a choice that we have to make, always!!