A university as an institution represents a responsible entity which should fight against any injustice in society. It cannot be a mute spectator to the unjust and violent events that unfold in society. Certainly it cannot be a place of violence. Its aim is to build a group of knowledgeable people who can critically reflect on our society. The right wing politics in India—Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP),Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and all other right wing organizations—is engaging in a continuous effort to not only make this country a Hindu Nation but also in the process have come down with its full might to any voices that questions their idea of nation. The arrest of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar should not be treated as an isolation event. The same politics also engulfs a host of undemocratic and violent events that were being carried out in this country in the past two years or so—killing of rationalist like Dabholkar, arrests and harassment of social activists, throwing ink, Dadri, ban on particular food habits, burning historical archives and so on.
Idea of a university
The idea of a university is not just teaching a textbook or imparting disciplinary or interdisciplinary knowledge. It is a place where education is imparted. Education is a factor which can make us free from the various 'unfreedoms' of life—caste, poverty, unemployment and so on. The idea of education is to liberate human beings from their struggles of life and at the same time understand them. It the very idea of education which gives an individual the ability to reflect on who they are. One of the fundamental philosophy of education is to know who one is. Education should allow us to ask discomforting question. There is noting more truthful than a doubt. Questioning has led to many discoveries and advancements in many fields of science. This very culture of questioning has led to such insights in human psychology and economics. Such questioning should also be asked when there is injustice going on in the society. Question should be asked when there is an absolute crackdown on fundamental rights of any citizen. It should be asked when an individual is made to feel inferior. Such question should certainly exist where there is caste discrimination and lynching in the name of food. We cannot be quite when one compares a human being to a dog in the street. It is an insult even to the very animal too. And most certainly a university should not be expected to remain mute to such becomings in this country. An individual is not allowed to speak freely even on 'intolerance'. Such voices and question are instead treated as anti-national and charged with sedition.
Right-wing politics in India
We are all aware of the kind of politics the 'right' stands for. The Indian right stands for a Hindu nation and there is absolutely no regard for minorities. Since they have come to power they have decided to clear the road. In the process they are trying to eliminate any possible voice—be it an individual, an institution, a book or an idea—that have come remotely on their way. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a political wing of RSS and the ABVP is the student wing of the former. These three entities have collaborated in such numerous acts of violence and suppression that they are beyond the court of law. Their acts are hardly brought to court and instead like Armed Forces Special Powers Act, their acts are shielded by the power and might of the institutions, government, and money they control. On the other hand the police with the instruction of the above mentioned entities arrested a student from a university campus like JNU with no FIR or any reasonable charges against him. Not only certain media unit played a significant part in the defamation of the individual on false grounds our very own Arnab Goswami held his The Newshour show in Times Now and made sure that the students invited from JNU for his show be defamed by playing his yelling and shouting genre of journalism. He forced them to accept what he thought they were—anti nationals. He even went on to comment that the very leaders of JNU are a shame to the illustrious left movement in India.
Returning of awards or 'award wapsi' is also not an isolated event nor is the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula—who was a bright scholar at Hyderabad University. The ABVP and BJP had their hands very deep in the institutional murder of Rohith. The rightist organization were also responsible for incidents like Dadri. What should worry us more is that it does not stop at such incidents, they are treated as ordinary events of life by the government that is in power and those who support them religiously.
How long should be remain victim and spectator to such politics? We should not tolerate the presence of police in an universities were students study. It should be a place where there is absolute freedom. Instead of scholarships they have got police forces to educational campuses. We do not want our country to be intolerant and be ruled by the ideals of a dominant religious majority where there is no place for minority, women, dalits and tribals. We should certainly be vary of the fact that such numerous events of violence and atrocities that are carried out in the name of this nation and development are treated as normal things of life. It is time that people should think hard and utilize their vote in a meaningful manner so that we do not have to find ourselves in such dark days. Thankfully there seem to be enough light in this resounding darkness. The solidarity for Rohith and Kanhaiya gives us hope in this sea of darkness.
The writer, Suraj Gogoi, is a research scholar at Delhi University.