India’s tolerance has repeatedly been put to question since Narendra Modi, a former RSS leader, held reins of the country. He has been increasingly criticized for growing activities of RSS-backed outfits across the country. The recent award returning spree by intellectuals and artists set the whole national on the boil, until the Bihar elections when it died its natural death. Now the turn of the country’s most prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). The coming elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal cannot be overlooked! Although it is hard to gauge the possible voter swing in these elections due to the JNU controversy, it is set to impact the elections. Either party will benefit, for sure. The overwhelming interest of political parties in the incident is not surprising!
What happened in JNU cannot happen in any other country without facing any action. So, why is the hue and cry over arrest of the ‘anti-national’ elements? Why is the solidarity of all opposition political parties with the JNU students voicing concern against ‘intolerance’? No party has endorsed the anti-India slogans, but they sided with those raised such slogans and raising protest against ‘intolerance’. Will any country allow anti-national slogans such as ‘Bharat ke tukde honge’ in any leading university? Does that mean the entire protest is politically motivated? This may not be the case. JNU has been known for its ‘open’ views on issues. But this time the motley group went a little further. And who better than the Congress knows how to reap the benefit! Adding fuel to the fire is the jingoistic elements that went berserk attacking those who raised the ‘wrong slogan’.
A BJP MLA’s open assault on ‘anti-national’ students speaks volume of the maturity of a political leader belonging to the ruling dispensation. But, are the so-called patriots reacting too much? Yes, they are. There is no justification of holding protests in front of JNU gate every day, branding every professor and student as anti-national. At any cost, the image and future of hundreds of other students, teachers should not be spoiled. This is criminal!
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on February 20, 2016)