The Country likes to Know:
Who Protects the VC, JNU?

Bhaskar Majumder

I understand from the news just received through electronic media that the MHRD, GoI opined that the removal of the VC, JNU (from his chair) is not the solution. This response was offered to the team of teachers of JNU who met the Ministry officials. I personally agree with the opinion – though no opinion is an argument.

What the Ministry officials might have in mind was the possibility of series of such violence. This is also for the fact that the human society is dynamic and perhaps the students are more dynamic. There are hundreds of Universities in India and JNU comes at the centre – always since it was set up. Many people have also forgotten the full name of JNU – for it has become a brand!

The protest by students in JNU is nothing new – it happened during the tenure of economist-turned Prime Minister in the Congress regime. What is new is reaction to protests. I find nothing wrong in protests – be it at home by children or by students in schools-colleges-universities. It might have been that the intensity of protests by the students in JNU were/are more dynamic.

What happens is important – what is more important is how it is projected. One way to understand is, nothing happened! Just shut your eyes – it will calm down after some hours/days. The other could be, ok, something happened – erase it from the memory of the innocent people. There are several ways and means to erase. Power projects and power erases. So it boils down to the question of power. Some of my social science students in the Heartland innocuously link all these with specific political parties for they are still incapacitated to undress or address the state.

Let me come back to the core question. On 7th January, 2020 I proposed resignation of the honourable VC from the chair and immediately. I thought as one of my young brothers he would do that for grace – his and mine. He did not do that. He was asked by the officials in the Government of India who perhaps advised otherwise.

Now I got the report that my brother has set up a high-power 5-member Committee to look into the violence that occurred in the evening of 5th January, 2020. I fail to understand if 5 is any sacrosanct number – that 5th January is to be tackled by 5 members. Whatever it is, a type of causal relation may be explored – who committed the error first and who reacted, who owned the buildings and infrastructure, who are the spoilt students and who obedient and all that. Post-juxtaposition, what? Policy-action recommendations submitted to my brother?

It was one, the VC shut his eyes for hours on the 5th – might have been for his myopic problems post-evening. The other is, he sets up the Committee, he fixes the agenda of inquiry, he receives the Report, and then he places it to another high-power Committee that he chooses to examine the Report. At the end he acts. He becomes omnipotent – he is the cause, and he is the consequence. My younger brother who had to resign on moral ground immediately reactivates him to re-start a new nefarious game.

I fail to understand what is ‘’failure of dignity’’ if he resigns. Many visionaries resigned in India and abroad in the past even if their offence was not confirmed. In this case, the occurrence of violence was visible through video and photography. So far, Nobody opined, ‘’nothing happened’’. So, something happened. It will be difficult to erase it immediately unless new bigger event occurs and implanted in the mind-brain of the innocuous people in Bharat. The bigger problem is, it has taken a civil society root-route.

One way in favour of maintaining the nefarious (to be proved) VC could be to construct new theories – new truth. Knowledge can deviate from ‘’actual truth’’ much forcefully than ignorance. If knowledge flows from power, it can do that job. So one means to the end to save my brother is constructing new knowledge where he may be projected as saviour of JNU and none else can do it better!

I may be allowed to offer a hint for that. Everybody had read Engel’s ‘’The Conditions of the Working Class in Britain’’ where he records when and why the labourers broke the machines that displaced the labourers. It was not known to many that those labourers produced those machines – for they had to produce without understanding the implications.

Though I personally stick to my earlier advice for my younger brother for resignation – time is running out – yet, I have also proposed the alternative path where he can work wonder by constructing a new story through the esteemed Committee or otherwise for what I understand he draws power from power.

Last, but not the least, I feel it obnoxious for the dogged determination of the current VC of JNU to hold on his Chair. I feel dignity is much more valuable than Chair (even if a Golden one). How can I forget my daughter got at least 15 stitches for the masked Goondas that hit her with precision in the dark evening not to be identified. I am not sure if they are really non-identifiable!     

Bhaskar Majumder, Professor of Economics, G. B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad - 211019

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Jan 10, 2020

Prof. Bhaskar Majumder

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