After Independence, in 68 years India has won three wars against Pakistan, tested two nuclear bombs, sent umpteen numbers of satellites into space and won numerous Nobel prizes and what not if it is not for our nationalism and patriotism? On the contrary, what RSS or Right winger’s ideology has achieved other than inciting people to kill each other? We don’t need lessons on what is sedition even if somebody is going to shout anti-national slogans, because no one is supporting such slogans. Whoever said it must be identified through proper forensic investigation of the videos and dealt with appropriately (not through charges of sedition, which as per the Supreme Court, can be invoked only when there is incitement of violence). However, here it is very clear that Kanhaiya Kumar neither organised the event nor raised or supported such slogans. His arrest, the demonising of JNU through a media trial and whipped up mass hysteria, the police crackdown on the campus and open mob-rule in the Patiala House court clearly points to another agenda, that is more anti-national than any slogan raised. At least, we know the intention of the sloganeering people, they wanted to destabilize nation, by supporting their agenda, if right wingers too do mob lynching or violence, then these people are too equally dangerous for democracy.
There is no question of debating ideas, even how much inflammatory it may be. What was being raised there was not a debate. Not even a single person coming out of that movement (which caused incident) gave any satisfactory facts about their motives. The students were opposing death penalty and protesting for whatever happened in HCU to Rohith Vemula. They all were against capital punishment. They are right or wrong, let court decide but the saffron brigade is here to divide India in the name of patriotism. However, till what extent you will divide them? You have divided state by state, district by district, city by city, street by street, religion by religion and caste by caste. You are imposing your agenda in which even family may divide themselves. Whatever happened in JNU, I don’t want to comment on that as the matter is in court’s consideration. Moreover, those Kashmiri students and outsiders raised the anti-India slogans yet to be identified are actual culprits. They should be booked under law of the land. Police and administration failed to arrest them and ‘unwanted’ media trials were put on these students who did not participate in those slogans. Indeed, the present government does not want the students of any institutions of higher education to follow their path or ideology but want it mandatory to them. However, what worries me the most is use of its various outfits to generate anti-national hysteria. It’s high time, we should question them how they are branding anybody as anti-national and project themselves as true nationalists? The policy of dividing students and using the power against them should stop immediately.
On the other hand, the comparison of the present situation to Indira Gandhi’s Emergency is misleading and wrong. To propagate herself in power in the aftermath of Allahabad High Court nullifying her election, Indira Gandhi promulgated Emergency and curtailed personal liberty and imposed censorship on freedom of press, besides hounding and arresting major opposition leaders and did not declare Emergency for preserving the unity and integrity of the nation against external threats and internal sabotage as we see every day.
Again, if we are comparing Emergency imposed by Mrs. Gandhi with the current scenario, then distributing national and anti-national certificate is also not approved. Since Modi government took over, India is defined as Hindu, Hindi, and Hindurashtra. Anyone against their ideology is anti-national. If people of each state call for separate sovereign state how that can be anti-national? JNU has been a significant incubator for the task of nation-building and the instution has also been an incubator of dissenting ideas, if the dissenting ideas are against nation building it cannot be allowed. There should be self-restraint among our leaders. Students should build a concept ‘Nation First’ among the people. Let the people unite within the slogan – ‘Nation First’. And the same should be applicable to media and political parties too.
JNU students are one of the most fearless writers and speakers. They deserve praises for their bravery in the midst of human piranhas. They speak their mind; they are the voices of the poor, the helpless unheard millions in India. And there is no harm in voicing one’s opinion, freedom of speech and expression, as these are all our fundamental rights. If speaking truth is subverting, then what integrity we are talking about? What is the qualification of those people, the one who is asking the patriotism of everyone? Whenever right wingers appropriated patriotism, it has always spelled doom. History is an unforgiving teacher. It is good to know the highest court does not subscribe the parochial right winger’s idea of patriotism. By standing up for civil rights and personal liberties one must do service to the country, regardless of whether some persons shout and make noises. One of the many things that we have to learn, teach our children, the society around us is the value of listening. Every contention and contentious person brings a point to the table. Courts and justices have to prove better listeners than anybody. When there is evidence that the judge has listened then any verdict handed down will be paid attention to accordingly. Even now, I hope the truth will surface and justice would be done.
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