Some of us have far better credibility and firsthand knowledge about the JNU affairs, than many of the commentators, who have appeared on the TV ‘debates’ on the recent episode at JNU. We joined SIS (then ISIS) as Ph.D. students, sometime before JNU took shape, and some of us (my husband included) became members of the JNU faculty after obtaining PhD and stayed there until retirement.
The recent incident of 9th February, 2016 that began with a ‘tribute’ to the convicted terrorist Afzal Guru under the façade of a ‘cultural’ programme was not the first incident in the campus resulting in violence and Police intervention. In 1983, I recall when I was a direct victim of ‘leftist’ student violence like many others who were not ‘leftists’ My husband rejoined his post at SIS after two years. One evening, we decided to pay a visit to one of our Professors at Dakshinapuram in JNU campus. While we were engaged in conversation, unexpectedly, a large group of hooligan ‘students’ targeted the professor’s house by pelting stones on the doors and windows. I was eight months pregnant then. Seeing that a stream of stones started entering the drawing room, my hosts were concerned about my condition, managed to lead me to one of the bedrooms and pushed me under the cot, although stones continued to enter that room as well. We were at first puzzled on why such a senior, well-respected and apolitical professor‘s house was targeted, but our puzzlement soon disappeared when we heard the slogans of Lal Salaam. It was a nightmare for me. I felt safe only after reaching home. This incident which led to the arrest of more than 300 students and a month’s closure of the University, see the detailed report: http://indiatoday.intoday. in/story/hostel-transfer-of-student-leads-to-violence-in-jawaharlal-nehru-university/1/371660.html.
Can Mr. Yechury, Prof. Chenoy and the like deny the above
Initially, the JNU student politics were divided between two camps – leftists and ‘free-thinkers. Prof. Chenoy is palpably wrong when he castigates ABVP for all the violence in JNU. It is our experience that so long as the top echelons of JNU were occupied by the ‘leftists’, others not belonging to that camp found the goings-on difficult for them. Those who claimed to be leftist teachers, benefited with higher salaries and specious quarters in the campus. This certainly led many teachers turning ‘leftists’ overnight. (Now they are in the forefront of the ‘freedom of expression campaign’!). With four years of teaching experience and a PhD, my husband was kept on ad hoc for three years, and then even when he was confirmed, he was paid the basic salary without any increment. Do you need more evidence of ‘leftist’ partisanship? Teachers who did not ‘fall in line’ particularly in 1970’s were scandalised with false allegations and their lives made miserable. It was common knowledge that a large number of ‘party workers’ unauthorisedly stayed in the hostels at the connivance of the ‘lefitist’ higher ups in the University.
Need I dwell upon the ‘reddification’ of the entire educational establishment at Delhi, during those days? Why do they now complain of “saffronisation” of education?
Dr (Mrs) Vathsala (The Writer is PhD in International Trade and Economics from JNU)