Why JNU Does Not Need A TANK On Campus To Help Win apos;against The Left apos;
I returned to my shabby genteel JNU campus last weekend.
At the gate, http://hsprint.com/xe/index.php?mid=board_sOYk04&document_srl=487184 I saw a large signboard of the Tiranga march to celebrate Kargil Vijay Diwas on Sunday, July 23.
Among the VIPs at the function were two Union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and VK Singh, the latter himself a decorated soldier and former chief of Army Staff.
Also present were retired Major-General GD Bakshi, a familiar face on TV, the NRI civilian crusader, Rajiv Malhotra, and cricketing legend, Gautam Gambhir.
Major Gen GD Bakshi addresses JNU students at an event organized by ABVP to pay homage to soldiers killed fighting terrorists in Pampore J&K
Family members of the 23 Kargil martyrs brought in an element of pathos and poignancy.
Earlier, on May 16, the university authorities had inaugurated a 'Wall of Heroes', with framed photos of 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees.
With these innovative and unprecedented moves, the JNU administration has been striving to change the dominant, Leftist, some would even say 'anti-national', narrative of JNU.
But what really made the news was Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar's request to the ministers to help JNU procure an army tank for 'display on the campus so that students can be reminded of the sacrifices and valour of the soldiers.'
Jagadesh Kumar speaks during a media interaction at Jawaharlal Nehru University
Rajiv Malhotra was reported as saying, 'This is not only a victory of taking over Kargil in the external war, but also the victory of taking over JNU in the internal war.'
Gen Bakshi added that other gadhs or fortresses of the Left, such as Jadavpur and Central University of Hyderabad, needed to be captured as well.
With interested commentators as far away as the University of Kyoto criticising the VC, perhaps it might be worthwhile to ask whether this is a case of 'tanking up' or 'tanking out' on the patriotism overdrive on campus.
Let us not forget that 'tank' was itself the secret code word in 1915 for the British project to create an armoured landship.
The British army gave the impression that they were building a water carrier instead of a land cruising battleship.
But the short form of 'Water Carrier' would be 'WC,' the polite word for toilet.
So they used the word 'tank' instead, which was universally adopted. The point is that the idea of a tank need not be taken literally - the ideological metaphor might well be a Trojan horse or the humbler talwar (sword).
Students agitating for the release of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on the JNU campus
Simply put, we don't need a tank to capture JNU.
Just the existing rules and regulations, if properly applied, might be sufficient.
Denying registration to several miscreants, including JNUSU president Mohit Pandey and Umar Khalid, following the recommendations of duly appointed proctoral committee is an example.
To strike at the root of the JNU problem, we must understand the system of patronage and propaganda that nurtured it.
The formula was simple: keep fees ridiculously low, remove attendance requirements, fund all or as many students as possible.
Create a self-perpetuating system of state-funded dissent.
Use state money to produce anti-state cadres. Along with this, ensure that the 'true' history of communism is never taught; that way the idealism of the youth to work for the less privileged can be continuously harnessed for an anti-bourgeoisie, anti-state, and, ultimately anti-national opposition.
An Indian soldier dials in the targeting of an artillery piece 27 May 1999 in the village of Drass in Kashmir state as India staged a second day of air strikes against Islamic guerillas
ndian Soldiers Fire Artillery In The Kargil Sector Against A Pakistani Backed Armed Intrusion Into India's Side Of Kashmir
Since capitalism was a known 'evil', such indoctrination would continue to attract the not-so-innocent year after year.
The understanding, of course, was that there are other rewards on offer, fellowships, admissions to foreign universities, eventually jobs - all for toeing the Leftist line.
You could join the comfortable bourgeoisie by making a career of criticising it.
With students staying on, the near-gratis hostel space would always be inadequate, giving the agitationists a permanent cause to fight for.
Plus a never-ending catchment area of new recruits in exchange of guest-accommodation by seniors.
The subtle understanding was that as long as certain lines were not crossed, student leaders would eventually be protected and bailed out.
No one was at risk of being thrown out, rusticated, or degree-less.
Several teachers, themselves student leaders once, supported by Left-sympathetic parliamentarians, a few from JNU itself, would ensure that this convenient arrangement continued.
The Left-liberal press, of course, also played its part in promoting this parasitism in the guise of protest.
JNU students protest against the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya
To change such an ecosystem, just a heavy dose of patriotism is not enough.
Academic excellence must be restored as the top priority.
The nexus between rewards in the real world and ideological affiliation must be broken.
At the same time, the dilapidated campus, overrun by stray dogs, also need to be cleaned up.
Students, especially the physically challenged, have been bitten several times, but nothing much has been done.
The south-eastern wall, where the campus abuts into Vasant Kunj, is broken for years; anyone can come in or go out unchecked.
It needs urgent repair. The trail behind the Sanskrit Centre, leading to the garbage sorting area, is a perennially littered health and eco-hazard.
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Day-to-day functioning of the administration, including facility in spending project funds, has become increasingly difficult.
If the entire energy of the administration is devoted to winning ideological battles, what of the more crucial struggle to ensure academic excellence, administrative efficiency, and high-quality infrastructure?
Even if we attain a symbolic victory, the real battle for JNU will be lost.
We don't need a Panzer to win the latter; we have to fix the important things first.