Sonipat: Indians consider good education a crucial part of life, with a few even willing to invest a fortune to provide the same for their kids. One premier institution providing world-class education in India is former Congress MP Naveen Jindal’s O P Jindal Global University (JGU). Jindal Global Law School, a part of JGU, is ranked 1 for legal education in India according to QS World University Ranking by Subject.
However, there is a rising trend in academia where the left-liberal discourse establishes hegemony amongst India’s premier institutions, and JGU is no exception.
On February 8, JGU’s professors and students organised a screening of BBC’s two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question”, which has been banned in India. The two-part documentary has been criticised for being a propaganda piece against India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with BBC’s bias being blatantly visible.
Arindam Bagchi, MEA’s spokesperson, commenting on BBC’s documentary, said, “We think that this is a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity and continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible.” While UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reacted to a Pakistan-origin MP’s question about the BBC’s documentary and said that he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of PM Modi.
On February 14, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra took to Twitter to comment on the screening of BBC’s documentary at JGU and said, “Students & professors of @JindalGLS organised a viewing of the #BBCdocumentary. Notably, a foreign professor from Peru Fernando J. Loayza Jordán gave a rousing anti-government speech. Visa terms violation much @MEAIndia @DrSJaishankar @AmitShah?”
The Safdar Hashmi Reading Circle, a student group named after a communist playwright, released a statement in solidarity for Prof Fernando J stating that the circle stands in solidarity with Prof Fernando J and “took part in the effort to screen the BBC documentary.” The circle also urged JGU’s students to report Abhijit Iyer-Mitra’s tweet of Prof Fernando J for ‘targeted harassment.’
Prof Shruti Pandey’s Comments Against Hinduism
However, this is not the first instance of left-liberal ideologues trying to propagate their beliefs using false literature and materials. In 2021, Prof Shruti Pandey, an Associate Professor at JGLS, was caught on video during her online lecture where she said, “My professor Upendra Baxi, who taught in the law school, used to say that every Hindu practices untouchability…Initially, when he said that, I didn’t think so… But it is true, guys. Go back and look at yourself and how you practice untouchability in quiet, invisible ways that we don’t even understand.”
She further continued to state, “It is internalised like gender. So, it stayed with me that every Hindu practices untouchability.” She also alleged that Hinduism exists due to untouchability.
While she asserted that all Hindus practice untouchability, she publicly praised Islam and Islam’s acceptance of widow remarriage. She stated, “We know that this is definitely something where Hinduism has a special rule, because widow remarriage is much more acceptable in Islam. And sorry for those of you who believe that Islam is an inferior religion because this is one of the ways in which it shows that it is not.”
After Prof Shruti Pandey’s comments against Hinduism were circulated over social media, columnist Shefali Vaidya took to Twitter to ask JGU’s Chancellor Naveen Jindal whether he endorsed such views. She said in her tweet, “Hi Mr @MPNaveenJindal you seem to be a practising Hindu. As a founding chancellor of @JindalLaw do you endorse the Hindumisia of Shruti Pandey-Director of Dept of Human Rights and says that ‘If you are a Hindu, you are practising untouchability’. Do YOU practise untouchability?”
Kerala People’s Front, a legal advocacy group, filed a complaint against Prof Shruti Pandey’s comments against Hinduism with the Bar Council of India (BCI) against her hate speech. The complaint said, “…such hateful remarks will have an adverse impact on the young minds of students. The remarks amounted to microaggression against Hindu students. The remarks reflect the hate, bias, and false notions in the mind of the speaker. Such remarks stigmatise and perpetuate false stereotypes about Hindus and hurt the sentiments of Hindu students.”
The complaint was also addressed to the Ministry of Education, as JGU has been recognised as an Institution of Eminence by them. The complaint stated, “It is the duty of the Ministry of Education to ensure that hateful propaganda is not taught to students through an ‘institution of eminence’.”
However, according to sources, the JGLS administration has rewarded her with a promotion and made her a full Professor at JGLS instead of taking action against her anti-Hindu comments.
Prof Arijeet Ghosh’s Separatist Views
While Prof Shruti Pandey commented against Hinduism, in another incident, JGU’s Prof Arijeet Ghosh, the Assistant Professor at JGLS, was caught on video propagating his separatist views in his online lecture in 2021.
In Prof Arijeet Ghosh’s video, he can be seen stating that “Yes, it has never happened and that is why Kashmir always remains a contentious issue…And if you want my opinion, I call Jammu and Kashmir to be India-occupied-Kashmir although India tries to say it is Indian territory and Indian-administered-Kashmir. I’ll definitely think it is an aspect of occupation, which is what Kashmiris also say.”
He further stated, “I am not going into that, it is an emotive issue, right? We see Sunny Deol screaming on the border saying “doodh mangoge to kheer denge, Kashmir mangoge to Cheer denge” …There is a lot of emotional aspect to Kashmir, and hence I am not going into that.”
Columnist Shefali Vaidya took to Twitter, shared Prof Arijit Ghosh’s video propagating separatist views, and stated, “Why has @JindalLaw become such a den of anti-India vipers @MPNaveenJindal? This statement allegedly by Prof Arijeet Ghosh of Jindal Law is shocking. As a founder VC, do you ratify the sentiment that Kashmir has been ‘occupied’ by India?”
Kerala People’s Front filed a complaint with the BCI against Prof Arijit Ghosh’s separatist views stating that he is feeding seditious and separatist venom to young law students with impressionable minds” in their complaint. While highlighting their previous complaint against Prof Shruti Pandey’s anti-Hindu propaganda, the complainant stated that the inaction of authorities against such faculties had encouraged them to continue feeding propaganda to students.
Kerala People’s Front also took to Twitter against Prof Arijit Ghosh’s comments stating, “2nd complaint against @JindalGLS in 3 months. We are once again compelled to approach Bar Council of India & @EduMinOfIndia seeking their intervention in the matter. Students are being fed seditious propaganda. @barcouncilindia @JindalGlobalUNI @MishraManan01 @MPNaveenJindal”
On November 10, 2021, JGU’s Safdar Hashmi Reading Circle released a ‘Call to Action’ against Prof Arijit Ghosh’s criticism on social media for propagating separatist views claiming that his statements were “attempts to represent dissenting voices.” The circle also urged JGU’s students to report Shefali Vaidya’s tweet of Prof Arijit Ghosh for ‘targeted harassment.’
JGU Students Insult Indian Army
On February 14, 2019, 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack wherein a convoy of vehicles carrying CRPF personnel on the Jammu–Srinagar National Highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama District. The attack was carried out by the Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which is led by Masood Azhar, based in Bahawalpur.
On February 18, 2019, a candlelight vigil was organised at JGU’s flagpole and message stating, “As the nation is bereaved by the Pulwama attacks aimed at our CRPF Jawans, it is important that the Jindal community pay a tribute to the martyrs. It is important to stand behind the families of the martyrs and our nation. Hence, to show that the JGU community stands in solidarity in light of the recent attacks, I would be holding a 10-min silence for our beloved Jawans at the flagpole on Monday at 7 pm,” was circulated on WhatsApp groups.
However, the left-liberal ideologues used the candlelight vigil to propagate their anti-India agenda with a coordinated attack against Indian Army. The left-liberal idealogues shared a message stating, “Hi guys, some of us believe that the uncritical valorisation of the young CRPF men who died in the militant attack on 14 February 2019 as ‘martyrs’ does not behove a university space, which is supposed to make students question our intuitive assumptions about the world around us,” in a WhatsApp group “JGU-Kashmir Internship.
The message continued to say, “While we must have sympathy for these young men as individuals, the label of ‘martyr’ accepts the cause in which they were deployed by the Army in India Administered Kashmir without critical scrutiny.” The message asked the WhatsApp group members to “come out strong as collective” to JGU’s management as the left-liberal ideologues were “sending mail to management and more” against the candlelight vigil.
Later, the left-liberal ideologues at JGU came to the candlelight vigil organised to pay tribute to the martyred CRPF men in the terrorist attack to circulate an anti-India, anti-Army pamphlet. The circulated pamphlet stated, “The responses to the attacks at Pulwama have largely not been condemnation of violence in totality, but have rather taken on a nationalist fervour that appears to prioritise the lives of men in the army over everyone else.”
While the gathering was organised to pay homage to the martyred CRPF men, the left-liberal ideologues turned it into a political showdown between the two factions. The left-liberal ideologues circulating the pamphlets listed atrocities in Kashmir in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and blamed the armed forces for instigating such violence and hate. The ‘vigilante group’ picked the candlelight vigil to promote and propagate hate towards the honourable institution.
The Anti-CAA, Anti-NRC Protest
On February 27, 2020, the left-liberal ideologues at JGU organised a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) at JGU’s flagpole area, where the Indian flag is hoisted. However, while the protest was against CAA and NRC, the left-liberal ideologues gave it an anti-BJP, anti-RSS spin to the same with derogatory posters saying, “mere room me suttee hai, Modi-Shah kutte hain.”
The left-liberal ideologues called for the protest with posters and documents circulated on social media platforms. One such poster established the ideological narrative for the protest with its objective to “condemn the horrific violence that is ongoing in Delhi” and boycott “state-instigated violence.”
The protest was organised with faculty’s support, with Prof MP Singh, a Doyen of Constitutional Law, actively participating in the protest against CAA and NRC. It was also alleged that the slogans of “Azadi”, “Hum Dekhenge”, and “Laal Salaam” were heard at the protests.
The Left-Liberal Discourse Prominent in Other Institutions
Since the release of BBC’s banned documentary, there have been numerous instances of its screening at India’s educational institutions. Allegedly, the Central University of Rajasthan in Ajmer suspended 11 students for two weeks after they collectively watched BBC’s banned documentary.
It was also reported that protests erupted at Delhi University’s Arts Faculty after the police stopped certain student political groups from screening BBC’s banned documentary and detained at least 24 people. University proctor Rajni Abbi said that the screenings were planned to “disrupt universities.”