Left or Right? Polarisation apace
The highly vitiated atmosphere over the JNU incident that has divided not only the student community but also the politicians in the country is not an...
As in Vemula's case or as in Kanhaiya Kumar's (JNU), it should be noted that the more one argues that they are all basically opposing the capital punishment per se would not hold water. The other side would then ask whether terror operatives and operators should be pardoned. Such an argument would unite the majority of this country as never before against such tendencies. The BJP would only be happier to see Rahuls, Yechurys and Rajas stand by the side of the "seditionists and separatists and anti-nationals”
The highly vitiated atmosphere over the JNU incident that has divided not only the student community but also the politicians in the country is not an unforeseen development. It was just waiting to happen. Anyone who knows a bit about JNU would know what kind of politics it allows to flourish on the campus. No one had any problem with thesame. At least till 2014.
The demonstration that was purportedly held in the JNU campus the other day was also not an hitherto unforeseen event. The JNU is liberal. It has always allowed extreme views to be aired. It would have got away even now, provided there were no terrorism and related issues in the world today.
Several batches of students have come out of the university since its inception. Many of them got into the prestigious Civil Services, too, only to serve the Governments that they once vociferously criticised as students of the JNU. Many of the students who had extreme radical views have become stalwarts in several fields only to serve the country better than the non-JNU students.
But, times have changed now. Alas! the poor Left leaning students of the JNU have not realised the same. Tolerance levels have come down. This is true both in case of the Right and the Left. The former is becoming intolerant by the day due to external and internal forces. It is unable to digest the fact that the mainstream politicians and political parties have become more vocal and are hogging limelight protesting over the course-corrections that the Hindutva forces seek to apply to the society.
It is "me versus them all" for these believers. On the other hand, we have the so-called liberal, secular and modern forces which are ready to see a disaster looming large over the country. These sophisticated nuanced forces have a different world view altogether. Sometimes it makes us wonder whether they lack the perspective to understand the underlying politics of the discourse that is being deliberately imposed on us.
The Left and religious beliefs always clashed. They are clashing even in the JNU now precisely for this reason. The protest meeting or the slogans raised thereof are just an alibi for them to clash once again. The Right wing politics of the country have tried every trick up their sleeve to fight the Left even at the student levels all these days.
This time, coming under the strain of Rohith Vemula's suicide and the subsequent heat it generated amongst the universities, the ruling party had only been dying to upstage the Opposition. They just grabbed the JNU chance to turn tables on the Left and liberal forces. There would always be charges and counter charges as to who shouted the anti-national slogans, if at all, and as to who organised the same etc.
But what made eye-balls popping was the prime time shows of two leading channels in the country. These two English channels vied with each other ahead of the rest of the society in condemning the Left students of the JNU pressing for sedition charges. The judgement was delivered by them ahead of the courts and all that was left for the courts to deal with was pandemonium that we saw later at the Patiala Courts etc.
Now what made these liberal channels, too, proclaim such a verdict? There were a couple of things that the Left students too had forgotten in the milee of late. Afzal Guru's hanging was not the decision of any banana republic. That decision was made by the Judiciary and it was the Congress that was in power in the country then.
Secondly, if there were any doubts over Afzal Guru's involvement, these should have been set aside the moment a Pathankot happened. The very terror visit here happened in retaliation to Afzal Guru's hanging. Thus it was proclaimed by Sayyed Hafiz himself (now Digvijay and Salman Kurshid may get angry because I have not used the honorific suffix Saahib to describe this character).
The news channels have not forgotten this at least and hence when pro-Pakistan or anti-Indian slogans were raised in the JNU campus they were quick to go hyper on the same. The Left leaning students should also have known that any allowance given to any anti-India mood to surface in the campus either deliberately or out of ignorance (if it is from the some members owning allegiance to anti-Left forces as suggested by some) it would quickly be grabbed by the pro-government forces.
Elections may or may not be round the corner (they are in this case any way), but each day has become an electioneering day after the new government has taken over in 2014 and both the Opposition and the ruling party voices are getting shriller.
The game may be different and the players might be different. It could be the universities, the religious places or established institutions. The lines are drawn very clearly. In an era of "vaapsi," a normal day-to-day happenstance could lead to a furious debate, be it a 'U' certificate of the Censor Board to a children's film to the condition asking worshippers to wear a 'veshti' or sport a tilak at a religious place.
A suspended sentence given to a celeb in this country could quickly acquire religious overtones. Politicians of all hues jump into the debate to make it a heady concoction lending it a religious identity finally. The JNU issue should not thus be misread as a one-off incident. This is bound to happen. The eagerness of the youth to counter the established cannons and norms would keep egging them to break lose from these often and the more often they do it, the more are they going to face similar repercussions.
Sedition case would be the norm now. Those who oppose the old order have to learn how to deal with it. The Left wing students may oppose the religion. But the religion-driven terror being unleashed by the forces would only make the life of these students in Indian campus that much harder.
As in Vemula's case or as in Kanhaiya Kumar's (JNU), it should be noted that the more one argues that they are all basically opposing the capital punishment per se would not hold water. The other side would then ask whether terror operatives and operators should be pardoned. Such an argument would unite the majority of this country as never before against such tendencies. The BJP would only be happier to see Rahuls, Yechurys and Rajas stand by the side of the "seditionists and separatists and anti-nationals.”
It would be doubtful whether the liberal students and the anti-Right forces would ever support the Left student bodies and organisations in this scenario as there will always be someone around them to tell them that they must not mistake anti-India forces for liberal forces.
The Left will be wrong to underestimate the effect of such propaganda. The problem is that the commoners in this country would not like to see a disconnect between what the liberals seem to believe and how they behave. "Act against those who raised the slogans, but not these student leaders" is one such.
This is not an age of reason or empathy. The very fact that there were slogans raised would be harped more and more and everything else is bound to get drowned in it. Fear allows the process of manufacturing of consent get easier! The JNU has pushed the country to the cross roads. The Right, the Left and the silent will have to decide on the course.