[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he sequence of events at the Jawaharlal Nehru University have aroused strong emotions on various sides of the spectrum. This article is an exercise of introspection and a study of the sequence of events. First, protesting the oppressive actions or decisions of the state is legitimate and a part of the democracy. It is also an admitted fact that the Indian state has a history of suppression, stifling and subjugating the dissenting voices within the ‘conflict–areas’. Advocating equal rights and equal treatment of such subjugated people and assimilating them within the mainstream is a healthy initiative which has far–reaching consequences. Abject Jingoism (meaning a feeling where people of a nation–state feel that they are the best in all the spheres) on the part of the mainstream population while ignoring the interests of the marginalised (within conflict areas) shall only make citizens who are victims inside the conflict zones more insecure and resistant to the majority.
Having said that, I turn my attention to the sordid state of affairs on the campus of the JNU. The real dispute pertaining to the set of events can be analysed as being whether the students were justified in making remarks advocating secession of the Indian state? Second, whether the students, under the exercise of right to freedom of speech and expression, can glorify a person declared as a terrorist after extensive judicial scrutiny as a martyr?
Upon the first issue, wherein remarks were made advocating secession from the state, these allegations, if proved prima facie , amounts to treachery. No sane individual can be allowed to advocate demolition of a healthy and thriving nation, the formation of which is the result of intense patriotism of the natives coupled with a dawn of prudence in favour of unity amongst a plethora of warring factions.
A number of conflict theories have emerged, clouding the whole issue. To quote one of them, it has been stated by the on–campus students that certain comments advocating secession from the state were made by outsiders (we’ll call them third persons) and upon deliberate provocation from the members of ABVP who advocated their own version of nationalism! This explanation seeks to obliterate a historic wrong that has occurred at the JNU campus and it is a tacit acknowledgement of the majority opinion outside the JNU campus, of the sinful sloganeering inside the JNU campus. At best, it can be termed as a face saver for the supporting JNU student community.
India as a nation has divisions on all possible parameters requisite to form a number of small nation–states. It is a nation where after every few miles the dialect and the sense of dressing of the native people change. However, against all odds, the nation has emerged as united; for once it can be said that there is “prosperity in diversity”. Therefore, any movement, propaganda or sloganeering thereof advocating secession from the territory of this state cannot be justified under any set of circumstances.
Upon sloganeering in remembrance of a man labelled as a terrorist pursuant to extensive judicial scrutiny and glorification of such person as a ‘martyr’, I must state the fact that, historically, the dissenting communities have tended to glorify individuals exterminated by the state (for instance, glorification of Indira Gandhi’s killers by the mainstream political parties in Punjab). However, in such cases, the underlying cause that is sought to be advocated becomes the key and is open to subjective and expansive interpretations of the individual members of the community. The Bhagvadgita states that “the end can be used to justify the means”. In the case of Afzal Guru, there was absolutely no strength of the underlying cause. To cite a few facts, he, alongwith his accomplices, arrived in the state of Delhi only with a single–minded objective: to exterminate the mainstream political elite of the nation. The soldiers who died while defending the citadel of democracy are the ones worthy of martyrdom and not some misguided individuals enunciating the notions of anarchy, depravity and dastardly designs capable of spooking an entire nation. Such radical individuals do not have any acceptability in society and rightly so because, while performing such deeds, they have served the designs of the enemies of the nation as a whole.
The right to freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and it is effectively limited by the Constitution itself, which, in turn, is enforced by the government concerned. Therefore, the JNU students have transcended their right to freedom of speech and expression with their glorification of a person labelled as a terrorist, as the end sought to be achieved through such acts amounts to secession from the territory of the state. Those advocating effective means of sanction both through the force of law (formal) and through informal means of societal boycott and resistance stand vindicated in the face of such felony.
On a political note, it is an open secret that there has been considerable heartburn in the so–called secular lobby over the ascension of BJP to the corridors of power in Delhi. The said lobby consists of academicians, intellectuals, media personnel, advocates and mainstream political parties. With due respect to them, all legit and non–legit means have been adopted to stifle the functioning of a majority government elected by a popular vote. The recently orchestrated “award wapsi” programme was a vignette of the malignant propaganda machine.
The BJP is the political arm of the Sangh Parivar, which is a proud congregation of over a 40 affiliated organisations. The 2014 election victory has provided a ray of hope against the dampened spirits of this socio-political ‘family’. It is an opportunity to further the notions of nationalism, sacrifice and utilitarianism (meaning, societal benefit shall have precedence over individual welfare). The secular lobby has misguided a large section of the student community and intelligentsia through devious propaganda to devour the Sangh Parivar.
The JNU incident has exposed the muck in the system and the devious designs of the ‘secular’ lobby, which has sought to politicise the nefarious designs of a handful of delinquents through a brazen show of defiance towards the government and society. Such delinquents cannot be allowed to become opinion-makers or role models of society. This nation boasts of unity in diversity and can successfully accommodate, assimilate and possibly reform such delinquent subjects.