Whatever we witnessed at the JNU was an attempt to divert people’s attention from Rohit Vemula’s suicide issue. It had no purpose to identify or conduct a test for the so-called ‘nationals and the anti-nationals’. There is no process by virtue of which one’s degree of patriotism can be measured or defined. Every Indian is a proud nationalist and does not need to be certified by any of the political party or an organisation.
The anti-national slogans by any notorious group are highly condemnable and there is no question to protect such an act. There is a constitutional and judicial system under the laws of the land to handle such activities. A well established process works and interrogates into the matter before reaching to a final conclusion. The JNU row became a high power drama during the last two weeks. JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested and treated as an anti-national element. Different segments of people got divided on the ground of nationalism and anti-nationalism, including media and the intelligentsia. It became a subject of day-night gossip among the common people too. Nobody knew that the entire drama was doctored.
Now, Kanhaiya has been granted interim bail. Would this bail or release from the jail return his honour and self-respect lost during the last few weeks? Our Constitution provides us the rights to express ourselves. Of course it does not allow us to raise slogans against our own nation, but the way Delhi Police and the Central government handled the issue was disastrous. The definition of law and order had gone for a toss throughout the episode. It was only in the Emergency era the Police brigade had entered the JNU campus. The way Police intervened into the matter was horrible. Kanhaiya Kumar was thrashed in Police custody. This indicates towards the real intentions of the Police Department. How can an innocent Indian be termed as an anti-national? How can you book a student for sedition or terrorise the campus without evidences? We compare Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other eco-socio issues with USA. Why don’t we learn certain good things too?
Young students all over the world in liberal universities are taught the lessons of their democratic and civil rights, and they express concern for social or national/international issues. The best example being of USA, where in many universities, during US aggression on Vietnam, or even recently, US policies in Middle East of exporting ‘democracy’, causing the disaster in Arab world or elsewhere had attracted US students wrath against their government. But, none of them was arrested, charged with ‘sedition’ or termed ‘anti-national’, which happened in JNU. The entire JNU was termed as gaddar and deshdrohi. A section of the society even protested with the banner of ‘Shut down JNU’. Imposition of ideology has no place in Democracy like India.
Difference in ideologies has a long history in India. It was only the ground of dissent on Nehru-Liaquat Pact, due to which Shri Syama Prasad Mookerjee had resigned from Nehru Cabinet in 1950. It never meant that Shri Mookerjee was an anti-national. The assassinator of Mahatma Gandhi is termed as hatyaara but a section of the people treat him as shaheed. Maqbool Bhat, a terrorist who was hanged in 1984 is treated as shaheed in J&K. The mastermind behind the Parliament attack, Afzal Guru’s hanging, which also became a key topic of the JNU controversy, was well protected by the PDP, an ally of the BJP in J&K. Where are the morals of the BJP?
The recent incident of Maharashtra is equally unfortunate. A policeman was beaten brutally for not hoisting a saffron flag. He was beaten until he agreed to hoist the flag. Such cases have become a general norm under this government. There are a number of leaders in the ruling party who are known for delivering derogatory remarks. It’s surprising that a non-BJP voter is abused and termed as ‘Pakistani’ and ‘anti-national’. These acts and elements, which weaken the homogenous Indian society, are anti-nationals in real sense.
KC Tyagi (The writer is general secretary and spokesperson of Janata Dal (United) and Member of Rajya Sabha)