‘LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE’
Editorial Hardnews Delhi
It is obvious that the not-so-newly appointed vice chancellor of JNU, a former IIT professor, has not heard of political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli. Scientists are usually shallow on social sciences, philosophy, literature and anthropology, and there is no doubt that Prof M Jagdeesh Kumar is utterly untrained in the finer nuances of both politics and state-craft. Even as a scientist, however shallow and myopic, surely, he fully understands the consequences of Newton’s third law and does not really believe that the Apple falls from the tree due to some divine intervention. Therefore, in the case of JNU, the VC apparently takes instructions from Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, who, obviously operates the remote control with ruthless and relentless consistency. After a series of revengeful and aggressive ‘mistakes’ even while he had not even warmed his chair in JNU, at the behest of his diabolical mentors in the HRD ministry, which, in turn, is remote controlled by the Dear Leader himself, he is yet again falling into a trap of revengeful, vindictive and myopic actions, which, surely, does not behove a teacher and an elder, out to brutalise young minds he should instead cherish and nourish. First, he made the terrible mistake of calling the police inside the campus, which most former JNU vice chancellors have openly criticized, then, he has disrupted the great, inherited legacy of JNU’s internal academic and intellectual autonomy, allowing a partisan and undemocratic government to brand peaceful students as anti-nationals and traitors, and succumbing to the organised propaganda of manufactured lies, sedition charges and doctored videotapes. The least he could have done was to attend the nationalism and freedom lectures in the open-air Freedom Square next to his ‘Pink Palace’ in JNU, if not for anything, but to imbibe a bit of the knowledge systems which some of the finest minds in the world’s academia were sharing with the young, attentive and serious student-audience. The least he could have done was to take the lift and go up to the politics section in the library building, or check out the reference or text book section, and read up Machiavelli’s idea of state-craft and democracy. Machiavelli said, clearly, that even if a ‘ruler’ is not democratic, he should at least appear to be democratic. The JNU VC, obviously, myopic and revengeful as he is, has proved his utter lack of understanding the legendary ethos and essence of a great and sublime university campus, and, thereby, is missing the forest for the trees. This will only boomerang in the days to come, while pushing the campus from one crisis to another.
The insanity displayed by the utterly undemocratic high level enquiry committee in JNU, with partisan and prejudiced representation, smacks of both, a kangaroo court and a banana republic, under the auspices of a clueless vice chancellor. The harsh punishment given to students and JNUSU leaders, with its bizarre repercussions, is a terrible display of guardians trying to brutalise their own young in what is metaphorically touted as ‘Make in India’. Surely, a far-sighted and visionary VC would have tried to display a certain largeness of heart and an expressed magnanimity in the effort to restore confidence in the campus, build consensus with the faculty and students, so as to usher in a peaceful and creative academic atmosphere, after the turmoil, and the imprisonment of its students based on abject false charges with no evidence. In this case, Prof Jagdeesh seems to have become a willing puppet in a C-grade horror film which has been scripted under the untiringly vicious and negative regime in the Centre, which seems to perversely enjoy a sadistic pleasure in targeting students and youngsters across the country, from FTII, HCU, Jadavpur Univ, JNU, to NIT, Srinagar. In this morbid script, the ABVP, which is the notoriously crude and crassly uncivilized students’ wing of the great party that is BJP, is always given an honourable treatment, though, very often, it is the ABVP which has planted the original sin of the unrest in this or that campus. Surely, this regime and its stormtroopers really don’t care for good academics, good politics, or good public conduct. They don’t even care for peace, it seems. All they want is a relentless war against the young.
Thus, it will be ‘Great Expectations’ to expect them to listen to good music either. Or else, students might be tempted to put up Pink Floyd in full blast outside the ‘Pink Palace’ in JNU, so that the VC can hear loud and clear the iconic rebel song of the 1960s:
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey (VC) leave them kids alone
All in all it's just another brick in the wall…