[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Dussehra, the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), burned the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in their campus. BJP took this event as an opportunity for publicity advantage as usual without realising the fact that this has been happening since ages against every government by different groups. Moreover, we Indians burn effigies of demon king Ravana and immerse idols of goddess Durga. This is not new thing for JNU, earlier also students from ABVP students, an affiliated student wing of BJP, set on fire the effigy of then PM Manmohan Singh in the same campus. Burning putla is a sign of protest or expressing the anger. The students of JNU were always against Modi government and especially after the Kanhaiya episode. This year, they expressed their anger by burning all those faces which they are finding as demons.
Protest and effigy burning are not new trends in India. India is a democratic country and people have their way of expressing anger. Some governments are really corrupt that they hardly allow people to succeed. However, even with high corruption, some people achieve success. Some people have messed up lives and as a result they want to blame others for their mistake. After all, passing the buck towards government is easy instead of showing their own incompetency. There are two types of revolutionaries, one who joins the revolution when it is initiated and make it successful with their contributions whereas there are people who wait for the final result and then open up. University officials did not grant permission for the event, the organisers claimed that effigy burning was a “routine” thing on the campus and it does not require any approval from the administration. This practice is followed every year, whichever issue has gone against students they become the burning demon for them. This year, BJP took it as an EGO issue because they are always against the JNU.
Besides Modi and Shah, the effigy had faces of Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Nathuram Godse, Asaram Bapu and the Vice-Chancellor. The students also carried placards with the slogan, ‘Truth shall prevail over evil.’ Sources say the ministry has asked the police to submit a detailed report on the effigy-burning by a section of students on Dussehra, which is celebrated with the symbolic burning of the demon king Ravana to depict his defeat by Lord Ram and the victory of good over evil. The protest was allegedly organized by members of the Congress’s student wing NSUI. The effigy-burning was to symbolise their dissatisfaction with the current government. The idea is to root out the evil from governance and bring about a system that is pro-student and pro-people.
The central government and students at the prestigious university clashed earlier this year over another controversial event, to mark the hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru. Former student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and a few others were charged with sedition over the on-campus event in which anti-national slogans were raised. Last week, the university had ordered another inquiry into a similar effigy burning exercise by some students targeting the Gujarat government and ‘gau-rakshaks’ or cow vigilantes.
An effigy is a representation of a specific person in the form of sculpture or some other three-dimensional medium. It is common to burn an effigy of a person as an act of protest. Government should ignore such events rather than act on it seriously with such vehemence. All right winged political leaders, including PM, must expect criticism as this is a democratic country and have freedom of expression as fundamental rights. However, this government doesn’t want to leave any stone unturned to take JNU students’ protests. They are not above criticism. BJP should remember that ABVP also had done the same with Manmohan Singh’s effigy but then Congress government knows that it was their right. It is High Court order that burning an effigy can’t be treated as an offence.
Ravan was a learned scholar, king and a good ruler with lots of wisdom. Abducting Sita was in revenge to his sister Shurpankha’s humiliation caused by Laxman. Though, the Ramayana says Ravan never looked at Sita above her feet and he respected her always like a Mother goddess. His only anger was to teach lesson to those people who had mocked and disfigured his sister. Still, not that I advocate this act, but in the broad frame if we see, what Laxman did to Shurpankha was very wrong of which Sita always warned Rama for repercussions. Anyway, these are mythological stories and Hindu beliefs for teaching us certain values.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that, in a democratic country like ours, we smother every means of expression. BJP is not realising that how overboard they are going in terms of their reactions.
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