Saturday, 5 March 2016

About JNU

Nowadays JNU is being praised all over India and even abroad as a great centre and epitome of free thinking and freedom of speech, particularly after the recent events there.

While I am a strong votary of free thinking and freedom of speech, I beg to differ from such admirers of JNU.. I have a poor opinion of JNU. Has a single creative and scientific idea come from that institution since its inception ? At least I have not heard so.

A University is different from a school or college, in that while schools and colleges only pass on to students the knowledge already existing, a University is a place where not only the existing knowledge is passed on to students, but also the frontier of knowledge is expanded, by research. For example, Universities in USA like Harvard, Berkeley and Stanford have often half a dozen Nobel Laureates each of whom have made scientific discoveries, and have thus expanded the frontier of knowledge. What genuine research is done in JNU ( or for that matter in most of our Universities ). Most of such 'research' is worthless or plagiarism.

Yes, many JNU students know how to shout slogans like 'azadi'' and 'halla bol', but to me these sound like a fashion. Kanhaiya and his associates talk of azadi from poverty, exploitation, etc. for the Indian people, but have they ever thought scientifically how this is to be achieved ? I am not doubting their courage and sincerity, but I regard them as totally superficial
I am against levying criminal charges against these students, as I have already mentioned in my earlier post, though I personally disapprove of such slogans.

Take for instance the slogan of azadi for Kashmir. That is a wrong slogan, and the correct slogan should be reunuificatiion of India and Pakistan ( and Bangladesh ) under a secular government, which while permitting freedom of religion does not tolerate religious extremism or bigotry, whether Hindu or Muslim.

Kashmir was independent only till 1587 when the last Kashmiri ruler Yusuf Shah Chak was deposed by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar who incorporated Kashmir into the Mughal Empire. Thereafter it continued as a province of the Mughal Empire for a long time ( see the accounts of the visits to Kashmir by the Mughal Emperors in Akbarnama, Jehangirnama and Shahjehannama ). After a spell of Sikh and Dogra rule ( who too were not Kashmiris ), Kashmir again became part of India under the British. So after 1587 Kashmir was never really independent, but was part of India.

Were the Mughal gardens like Shalimar, Nishat and Chashme- Shahi built by Kashmiris ? No, they were built by the Mughals, as their summer resorts. Kashmiri labourers may have been used for building them, but the idea and architects were Mughal. And the Mughals were Indians, not Kashmiris. No doubt the founder of the Mughal rule, Babur, was a foreigner, but from the time of Akbar onwards the Mughals were thoroughly Indianized. Their capital was Agra ( and later Delhi ) which are in India not Kashmir, and the Mughals regarded themselves as Indians, not foreigners.

Do people who demand azadi from India really understand its implications ? Today in almost every town in India there are shops of Kashmiris selling carpets, shawls and handicraft products. When I went to Kovalam beach near Trivandrum in Kerala I found many shops run by Kashmiris there. The same is the situation all over India. All these Kashmiri businessmen will be ruined if Kashmir becomes independent.

I am of course against atrocities on Kashmiris, whether Pandits or Muslims, but the solution is not azadi for Kashmir bur reunification of India and Pakistan, which will automatically solve the Kashmir problem No doubt that this will take a long time to achieve ( maybe 15-20 years ), but the demand must be raised now. Have JNU students ever thought of this ? It is all very easy to speak of azadi for Kashmir, but have the students ever thought the implications ?.No they have not. All most of them know is making emotional, flowery speeches and shouting slogans, as if these make them great revolutionaries

Kanhaiya and JNU

I did not wish to comment on the JNU issue as the whole atmosphere was so emotionally surcharged thanks to our TRP driven media and certain politicians who were trying to demonstrate their 'nationalism' that it was difficult to speak coolly and rationally.

I may now say a few things about it :
1. What did the JNU students do ? They only shouted slogans of azadi, etc, and some of the videos displayed by some TV channels were allegedly morphed. Such slogans are shouted regularly in Kashmir, in the North East, by Khalistanis etc. Will all of them be charged with sedition and arrested ? And perhaps many who shouted such slogans were Kashmiri students living in Delhi. By levying sedition and other criminal charges against them the government has only made Kanhaiya and his associates heroes in the public eye. The whole government excercise has boomeranged.

But mere words break no bones. A country does not become 'barbaad' by merely shouting slogans. It is only if there is violence or incitement to immediate violence that it becomes seditiion, as the emiinent jurists Fali Nariman and Soli Sorabji said. If a section of the media had not hyped up the matter so much perhaps no one would have even noticed the incident.

2. I am told that most students across India support Kanhaiya and others, and Kanhaiya has become a national figure. But most students are only emotional. I have not heard a single scientific idea in the speeches of Kanhaiya and his associates, but only emotional words about getting azadi from exploitation etc without explaining how this will be achieved.
In all likelihood these youth will in later life become Professors, government servants, politicians ( though Kanhaiya has disclaimed it ), or end up in some corporate, etc