As writers, historians, scientists, film makers, poets, actors and others return their awards in protest against the rising intolerance and anti-rational climate in this country, we in JNU keep stocking up accolades of a different kind. These accolades are ones which are very generously gifted to us from the RSS and its affiliates. These accolades come in more than fifty shades, only highlighting the deep seated trouble that these folks have in seeing this University up to them, despite their attempts to tarnish it. A few days back the ever-so-absurd/islamophobic/irrational Subramaniam Swamy endowed JNU students with the honours of being ‘Jehadis’, ‘Naxal’ and ‘Anti-National’.
Now as we, the academic community in JNU fight back against the recent gift of the UGC and MHRD to cut back scholarships to researches, the RSS’s mouthpiece Panchjanya has in its latest issue, showered us with some more accolades. It says that JNU is a place where there is an anti-national block and gives legitimacy to anti-national forces. We in JNU welcome such a charge because we have always worn such accolades as a badge of honour because it reflects how a University of 8000 students manages to shake up the men in Khaki shorts, yielding a stick and brandishing a treasure of ignorance and prejudice. These guys are the ‘Make in India’ versions of Hitler and Mussolini’s Fascism and when they forward such arguments, it only make us strong in upholding the politics that dreams of a democratic, secular, egalitarian and socially just India.
What makes us Anti-National though, we may still ask? Is it that JNU cherishes a culture that at its roots, strives to question the old order, the old faith which garbs all kinds of oppression? Or is it the fact that this University and its Students Union (the JNUSU) stood up against Indira Gandhi and her Emergency, just as we are standing up to the undeclared Emergency that their beloved Modi is enforcing. Is it anti-national to stand up for the rights of the students in this country while the present government cuts back on each one of them? Or is it anti-national to dream of a truly democratic, socially just and egalitarian India?
If all of this makes us Anti-National, then we are proud to be Anti-Nationals because we reject the kind of Nationalism that the RSS peddles. If according to the RSS Nationalism means throwing of ink, killing minorities, manufacturing riots, throwing all dissenters to Pakistan, cutting funds in education and changing the Constitution of this country, we are sorry but we do not share your idea of Nationalism. We do not believe in the Nationalism which wears a 10 lakh suit while cutting down funds for the people of this country. We also do not believe in a nationalism which is on flight mode, selling the resources of this country to the rich and mighty abroad. We believe in the Nationalism of Babasaheb Ambedkar and dream of a nation where all prejudices are defeated, where democracy, secularism and equality is established and where each and everyone is respected; bound by dignity, self-respect and fraternity.
Finally, we the proud Anti-Nationals of JNU stand shoulder to shoulder with the Anti-Nationals across this country, whether it is the protesting students, artists, intellectuals, teachers, farmers, workers across the country or the villagers in Modi’s adopted village of Jayapur who voted against him in the recent polls. Time and again the RSS and its affiliates have tried to cast aspersions on JNU and even claimed of bombing it as Ashok Singhal had once said, but we stand tall with our head held high as does the rest of the country that stand by its democratic and secular ethos. To the RSS, probably the only way you can stop or destroy us is by bombing JNU. Until then think about how you will transfer so many of us, anti-nationals, to Pakistan.