I wrote about the extreme views peddled by the Left in JNU. The article appeared in DailyO.
You can read a version of the article below:
There was a time when the political atmosphere of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was dominated by the communists. The burning question for them was, who among Lenin, Mao Zedong and Karl Marx was the best. But after the emergence of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the ideological discourse at the university transformed into one of Left versus Right.
It forced the leftists to discuss Bhagat Singh and Kabir in place of solely Lenin and Mao. While this has been an ideological victory of sorts for the nationalist forces at the campus, there is still a long and difficult road ahead.
The JNU has three leftist organisations which contest student union elections - the Students' Federation of India (SFI), All India Students' Federation (AISF) and All India Students' Association (AISA). These are the student wings of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) respectively.
The parent organisations of all the three student bodies believe in the democratic system of India and participate in elections, though their views on issues like nationalism, nationality and secessionist movements are not clear.
Besides these, the JNU has always had many small Left organisations known for their extreme views on different national issues. The programmes, seminars and campaigns organised by these organisations revolve around ways to oppose the Indian nation state and Hindu dharma.
Some organisations which come under this category are the Democratic Students' Union (DSU), New Materialists, Revolutionary Cultural Front (RCF), Campus Front of India, Krantikari Naujavan Sabha, Janrang and so on.
The most active among these is the DSU, the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), whose goal is to capture India through an armed rebellion by 2050. The Indian government, led by the UPA in 2013, came up with a report which claimed that there were 128 organisations active in urban areas which worked as frontal organisations of the CPI (Maoist) that had waged a guerrilla war against India. The DSU was one of the organisations named as being active in Delhi.
While it is beyond doubt that everyone in the JNU does not support such secessionist ideologies, except a handful of students, it is also a fact that the JNU provides the most fertile ground in the capital for such forces to flourish.
In the JNU, the DSU regularly comes up with anti-India pamphlets, abusing the army, the state and the idea of India. In 2010, when the country was mourning the killing of 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans in Dantewada, in Chhattisgarh, the DSU thought it fit to celebrate the occasion with a cultural programme. This move had led to resistance by the nationalist forces at the campus.
The programme and ideas of these small organisations are pretty clear: open and loud support to all the secessionist movements in India with special focus on the liberation of Kashmir, celebrating the martyrdom of demon Mahishasur and the portrayal of goddess Durga as a sex worker, active support to armed rebellion by the CPI (Maoist) against the Indian state (police have captured a JNU student as a conduit of the Maoists), branding the Supreme Court verdict of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's execution as judicial killing and establishing Afzal Guru, Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon, and other terrorists as martyrs.
The recent controversy at the JNU also sprang after DSU activists attempted to mark the day of Afzal Guru's hanging as martyr day. The DSU had circulated a pamphlet before the programme which said, "This is not a nation; it is a prison house of oppressed nationalities - held under duress by the use of the army jackboot... Join the cultural evening in rage against the occupation of Kashmir by the Indian state".
While the recent programme on Afzal Guru was organised by activists of the DSU, JNUSU office-bearers were also present at the programme with their supporters. They actively participated in the programme and led the march that was conducted after it.
The emergence of these anti-national forces are against the idea of India, and they get full support from secessionist forces from both inside and outside India. A thorough inquiry of the matter by intelligence agencies and heavy crackdown on these forces is the need of the hour.
Besides the DSU, several other organisations in the JNU also hold anti-India and anti-Hindu programmes. In many of these cases, the finances and funding of parent organisations are not known. Neither do they fight student union elections, nor does their core agenda include student-centric problems.
A fact that gets overlooked time and again in the flux of this debate is the difference between the Indian government and the idea of India. While criticising or abusing the Indian government is well within the bounds of dissent, abusing the idea of India is not, because we the people are the basic constituents of this idea of India.