In a world where politicians deal with consumerism and corruption with the same sense of banality, what is happening in JNU must come as a puzzle to them. The supreme court has stated that chanting slogans is not seditious and it’s enquiry committees have discovered that partisan channels have doctored videos. The general assumption for right wing incendiary campaigns including shouting at Faculty Members and banging on their doors at dead of night is to be subsumed under the category of “Students can be indisciplined, and shout all sorts of things." So where do we go from here? "Ghar Ghar Ghus Ke Mareinge" , their favourite slogan frightened some students and teachers inordinately. Maybe, we thought they really meant it.
The Vice Chancellor has alienated his working groups, and whether these be students or teachers, he cannot do anything to solve the problem. The teachers no longer see dialogue as possible, since the error lies in Administration, not in the stars of a dozen students. A committee that takes a decision without meeting the students is illegitimate in its jurisdiction, if it is unable to call the defendants together, or the support of the University community. To go against the wise council of the Supreme Court is itself slander to democratic institutions. The Vice Chancellor was sent in by the President, now the President must take a decision on how he sees the fate of what was once India’s premier institution, with the highest NAAC accreditation in the country last year.
The JNUTA President, in the middle of the struggle for justice, came out with a new book from Routledge. So, just as classes continued, and evaluation process is now in place, the institutional work of the JNU remained stable. It takes a lot of effort to work in situations where the crisis of academia is part of a state pogrom against intellectuals. The BJP RSS functionaries in the JNU were placed when the right wing was in power the last time round. As two of the Rectors were RSS affiliated, their appointments of clerical and administrative staff were also politically biased. In the 80s and 90s, the Law Faculty in Delhi University was crammed with right wing students, and we see now that the Bar Council has a right wing partisanship. The silence of people was the expected location of the legitimation of rule and plunder, but Rohit Vamula’s suicide put a stop to that. Young people saw the annihilation of the universities as the extinction of their own hopes for a normative future, and have moved substantially to protect their ideals. "Occupy UGC" and now the present JNU struggle is part of that larger movement, with students on indefinite fast, and teachers in solidarity on relay hunger strikes.
JNUTA has to believe that institutional mechanisms can be retrieved, and with the citizenry now moving into JNU since 4th May 2016, for providing the support that the students and teachers need, with hunger strikes and relay groups, the momentum is now in place. Vice Chancellor has a reputation for silence, for treating JNU as if it was IIT with its extreme suicide rates, and lack of empathy, and now, is seen as a dummy set up by the RSS to destroy the university. What is the RSS dream? If the Gujerati experience is to be relayed, it has meant hierarchy, ritual, power, death without reason. When forty percent of the country voted Mr Modi into power, they must have thought that genocidal impulses would rid the country of the extras, minorities, left, secular, what have you, women, dalits, handicapped, the hungry. Now is the time for the remaining sixty percent to respond, through writing, demonstrations, fasts, hartals, strikes, whatever it takes before the age set that now demonises the law courts as RSS lawyers become judges themselves.
Indiscipline on campus has it’s routine punishments, if the committees are not known to be partisan. By choosing a majority of the members for their right wing or Youth for Equality representatives, the JNU Administration has alienated itself from the students and teachers. The ABVP has been known to create its own ruckus whenever given a chance. The fact that two crowds met in the night, and there was a conflagration has to be handled by the University. That the VC only hears the ABVP side of the disruption is really unethical, and its members who went to the Paschimabad flats to terroise teachers, cannot be identified according to Adminsitration. Who will call VC to book for this absenteeism from his role as mediator and catalyst for regular functioning? We can only punish students for indiscipline, how can we punish them for their political views? The RSS does not maintain the demeanour of free citizens nor does it provide an atmosphere of equality, conviviality and freedom. It frightens people, it is contemptuous to women, dalits and minorities. Why would we want to be ruled by them?