JNU: the Way Ahead
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was founded to promote free exchange of ideas, limitless liberalism, and originality protecting the individual's dignity. It may be added that it duly recognized people's sovereignty as the substratum to nurture democratic values. This would necessarily pass through phases in dialogue, debate, dissension and finding consensual basis for harmonious co-existence. One could thus argue for and against a certain way of looking at things and embrace an ideology with one's own innate rationale. Offering fullest respect to individual's domains, JNU also prepared its intellectual constituency to resist any direct or indirect encroachment on shared public resource. It has kept adequate space for all hues of intellectual discourse viz. left, right and the centre. This is scientifically most tenable way of moving forward. It goes without saying that the JNU community has distinguished itself in recognizing the essential parity among all, cutting across congenital identities, colour, gender, faith and geographical locale. No wonder it has been in the focus of attention of media and people alike. Unfortunately, the media, which is technologically equipped to create colours and intensity of light of its own choice, has been showing JNU in varied light over the past three months taking a lead from some student meetings on the campus taking unforeseen directions. Suddenly JNU was projected as a den of antinational elements while the responsibility of the 'unacceptable' slogans remains to be attributed with clarity. It must be made very clear that JNU offers training to make quality citizens of tomorrow caring among others for most denied sections of humanity. Academically it remains open to question absolute value attached with nation status and with boundaries that get drawn to demarcate territories since both these entities are culmination of many events of history that include unfair dominance of a few, very asymmetrical sharing of wealth among people, wars to expand territories at the cost of lives of the common human. Ethos of JNU will augur well with one world order offering freedom to each individual (within her/his domain) to choose the place one wants to work and live in, the lifestyle one wants to lead, and the faith one may like to abide (perhaps with a provision to disobey) and so on. Manifestation of "patri-autism" in humans is a legacy of prevalent insecurity of empires and kingdoms of past. It is only slightly different in essence from the pursuits of some misguided humans in certain parts of the Middle East. It is not uncommon to find some very patriotic fellow humans to bring out their desire of 'conquest of the world' and they are accepted because they are nationalist. The very idea of conquering the world disregards freedom for all.
However, no matter how one presents there is no option but to accept the notion of territorial nation until all boundaries are erased to make one world. Each member of JNU community is in oneness with it and sees India's well being as one's own well being if it is brought in without disrespecting human values. Let us use this premise as consensual and look forward for the way people want to go ahead.
It should be clear to all that a democracy worth its name works based on participatory planning, management and administration. All constituents must feel party to these processes. Present functioning in the Universities is more like knee jerk response to unseen stimuli. The essential ingredients of harmonious co-existence viz. mutual respect and mutual confidence seem to be missing in the entire proceedings. If a confrontation is unavoidable, let it be in the form of an academic debate. Let JNU retain its originality.
Vol. 48, No. 48, Jun 5 - 11, 2016