The Battle for Campus

After the JNU, it is now the Delhi University. Spiritual descendants of the lackeys of the British rulers of India and the Nazis of Germany are now on the rampage. To them, anything that does not suit their own brand of 'nationalism' has to be suppressed by force and this nationalism is identical with Hindutva, the essence of which is hatred of a particular religious community. A concommitant of this nationalism is genuflection before the US ruling classes and corporate capital, domestic and foreign.

The facebook comment by the daughter, herself a student of the Lady Sriram Collge of Delhi, of an army captain, who had reportedly fallen to militants' bullets one month after the end of the Cargill war in 1999, that it was war, not Pakistan, that had killed her father has triggered off the new phase of reaction. For about one year, the ABVP has been preventing in Delhi any conference or seminar that might not unequivocally succumb to its own brand of nationalism. The weapon used is brute force with the passive but deliberate police connivance . The college girl, Gurmehar Kaur, taunted and intimidated by these 'nationalists', withdrew from the protest campaign against this fascistic behaviour, but supported those who rose in protest. More importantly, all her teachers in the English department of the college stepped in support of her and issued a condemnatory statement aimed at the intimidators. Then followed a 4000-strong protest march on the university campus in north Delhi. It is noteworthy that the teachers have not hesitated to decry the comment made by Virendra Sehwag, the cricket star, taunting Gurmehar. They have openly called it shameful "The threats of violence and brutality that she (Gurmehar) faces are absolutely reprehensible. Responses on social media by public figures like Virendra Sehwag and Randeeo Hooda are shameful trivialisation of the intimidation that Gurmehar faces at the hands of violent mobs whose viciousness the university has recently witnessed". This bold move by Delhi teachers has shown that the conscience of the community of college teachers, often described as a group of spineless, privileged and self-seeking creatures, have not died as yet. They have braved the risk of being called anti-national.

Gurmehar patently expressed an anti-war view. It is indeed true that ever since the formation of the state of Pakistan, both countries are in a situation of mutual hostility, causing immense material and human costs for them. Well-meaning people of both countries are against this hostility, and the apple of discord is Kashmir. It is also clear that on the Kashmir issue, the jingoistic policies pursued by the government of India have further complicated the matter. If Kashmir is called an inalienable part of India, common sense suggests Kashmir's citizens must be given the rights they are entitled to as Indian citizens. But to repress them at will means that the Indian state, although it considers Kashmir an inalienable part of India, does not consider them as bonafide citizens of this country. This attitude is bound to produce disastrous results, not only in the long run, but in the near future also.

Of course, it is futile to expect the corporate-funded champions of Hindutva and their acolytes, who know nothing and does not want to learn anything, to understand this. Now their supremo's anger is directed against Professor Amartya Sen. This is understandable, because in his various writings that do not strictly belong to the domain of economics, Professor Sen has been emphasising the diversity of India and recently has criticised the decision of demonetisation with its obvious disadvantages to the money-using common people. Professor Sen has however scornfully ignored his taunts. This only shows that the forces of communal fascism in India are not as strong as it is sometimes believed to be.

Vol. 49, No.36, Mar 12 - 18, 2017