/ Reforms / Dissenting Voices – The biggest protectors of Democracy

Dissenting Voices – The biggest protectors of Democracy

Peoples Voice on February 13, 2016 - 1:03 pm in Reforms

The way Delhi police under the direct order of home minister Rajnath Singh on the issue of ‘anti national’ activities being allowed inside JNU Campus is shameful to say the least. The police arrested several students and president of JNUSU Mr Kanhaiya Kumar has been charged under section 124A, the charges of sedition.

These are difficult times. Student unrest is everywhere. After the death of Rohit Vemula, the dirty casteist face of our campuses was being exposed not just nationally but internationally. The government and ruling party was on defensive on it. We know well that this government only need Muslims, Pakistan, Kashmir, Nationalism, Cows, Bharat Mata, Ganga to prove anybody as national or anti national.

It is important to understand how the campuses of those Universities are being targeted where BJP’s student wing has little presence. JNU is under the target as student there have been in the forefront of all the political movement. They have been demanding justice for Rohith Vemula and solidarity with all the students who were victims of caste oppression. While we may disagree with these diverse student groups ideologically, the police action brings back memories of emergency days. Shamelessly there is a hashtag being promoted to shut JNU. We have to understand why is that the saffronites are so disturbed with JNU, AMU and JMI. It is because these universities are considered to be having different view than that of the saffron school of thoughts. For the Sangh Parivar which only apologised to British to get out of jail and hobnobbed with Indira Gandhi during emergency supporting all the demolition of Turkmangate by Sanjay Gandhi, these campuses are the hotbed of ‘anti national’ activities.

We should understand why is this government hell bent on destroying our institutions where students have some freedom. I have said long back that our universities are becoming primary schools where students are not supposed to think independently but where Dronacharyas penalise you for being different and dissenters.

In academic discussions, there will be many who will question a certain act of state. These are healthy discussions. BJP and its allied justify the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. After the government came to power two books have remerged in the market which are Hitler’s Meinkeimpf and Nathuram Godse, the killer of Gandhi’s ‘ Why I killed Gandhi’ ? Unsurprisingly, this government did not even bother to ask its police and administration to arrest those who are glorifying the killers of our ‘father of nation’. On January 26th, this year, many of the Hindu Mahasabha volunteers observed black day as reported in the Hindu. No action has been taken against them.

The government and political parties should come out of the campuses. Let the students decide and debate in their institutions. Ofcourse, Universities and its administration has enough power to penalise and punish a student if he or she violate the law. Would it not have been proper to have appointed a team of professors to investigate the matter and work on its recommendations. I am again saying,’ are we punishing our students for having a particular view point ? Can you stop an idea ?

Yes, it is important for students to be careful in organising things. There is nothing wrong in organising debate but need too understand that only democratic voices be invited to the campuses and not those who have no faith in democracy. As we have said many time, India’s constitution is our biggest protector and we have to protect it any cost because those who do not have any faith in it are claiming its legacy now.

We have seen from FTTI, Pune and IIT Madras, how the authorities treated the student’s dissent. Is this government unable to digest diverse view points or they are highly unaware of the huge anti brahmin movement in Tamilnadu led by Periyar. If he were alive today, this government would have send him to jail.

The government has to answer why students are feeling restive. Dont try to find pretext in curtailing the freedom of students and suppressing activities in their campuses. Have they provided answer to students in University of Hyderabad as what action are they taking.
Instead, they have promoted the Vice Chancellor for his action. It clearly means that VCs will be promoted for such activities. What happened to #OccypyUGC protest ? Has the government given any direction as why the fellowships to students are not being provided ?
Why are students at Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia feeling disturbed and restive today. It is because the government want to destroy these institutions under some pretext or others. The removal of minority status of these institutions will crush the spirit behind the building of these institutions which have produced brilliant scholars and activists.

Haven’t we seen how eminent journalist Siddhartha Vardarajan was hounded out at Allahabad University when he visited there on the invite of the Student Union there. He was not allowed to speak. The ABVP leaders had earlier invited Gorakhpur’s Member of Parliament Adityanath to the campus which was met with fierce resistance from the
students.

India’s nationhood and democracy can not be handed over to the police and military. We are united not because a government want us but because there is a common will of the people to stay together. It is the people who are worried about what is happening in the country. When a citizen of the country is tortured, killed, we express our solidarity. As citizen of the country, we wish every one follow the constitutional morality which is the only way to protect India’s unity and integrity. Unity does not come by attempting to impose north Indian brahmanical values on every one. The concept of Hindi Hindu Hindustan will only threaten our national integration. This is a huge country which is actually subcontinent and differences and divergent views are bound to happen.

At the time when we should be asking question as who has stolen our money from the government banks as over one lakh fifty thousand crore bad debt now ready to crumble Indian economy. The signs of warning are already here as rupee continue to tumble further. Despite cheapest crude oil prices we still are paying hugely without any question. The elite defaulters are enjoying political protection while the farmers are committing suicide to protect their families from harassment of police and administrators.

The situation is grim yet there is no other way to fight democratically as it democracy which is seriously under threat. If campuses in universities are closed for socio political debates then where are we going to have it ? How much time Parliament is giving for constructive debates ? It means people will have to now start these debates at Jantar Mantars of their cities and villages.

During emergency we always blamed ‘sarkari media’ for projecting Indira Gandhi and ruling party while totally blacking out the news of protests and dissent. Ironically, the paid corporate brahmanical media today particularly the electronic channels have become the biggest threat to Indian democracy as not just they are twisting the news to
suit the taste of their middle class upper caste crowd to satisfy their egos but also organising media trial and trying to influence the judiciary. Press Council of India and serious journalists and I can say there are many particularly in print media should now think seriously whether they can form a group and provide guidelines to protect their institutions from mercenaries masquerading as ‘nationalists’. We know very well that once you have managed media,
controlled academic institutions the social media will be targeted which is the only frontier so far challenging the powerful status-quoists as political parties have failed to rise above petty political interests. It is time to rise above narrow confined mindset, join hand, work on a common socio-economic-political agenda to meet this threat to our freedom and liberty when our natural resources are opened for corporate loot while we are being fed with high dose of ‘nationalism’. Where is your nationalism when you sale our land and our forest for petty sum to your corporate masters ? Will the political parties and all of us who care for the country wake up and join hands to defeat hate mongering communalists ?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Radical Humanist, political analyst and human rights activist

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