Posted on February 18, 2016
JNU and we, the nationalists
Much has been said and written about the JNU sloganeering and incidents that followed in the courts of Delhi. While it is important to speak and stand up to those who challenge the integrity of a nation, it is equally important to respect the rights of those accused.
Let’s not forget, this is all politics and we, the people are mere spectators of the show that repeats every times there are elections, or a deviation required by one or the other political parties. What is funny is that we allow it to happen and be manipulated, again and again.
In the case of JNU, I have particularly observed the apparent nationalists faction being very abusive to those who have been accused as well those who have any doubts about that. “Jaan se mar dena chaiye”, “joote marne chaiye”, “haramkhoron ko desh se bahar kar dena chaiye…”, “kaminon ko pakistan bhej dena chaise”, “kaat daalna chaiye…” are some of the abuses hurled at those accused or even those supporting the JNU in this moment.
Imagine these words coming from the people you closely know; will not that make you wonder what kind of society you live in? Suddenly, we wake up one day to such a strong opinion of nationalism and surge in impatience that we do not even care about who we are speaking to, be it colleagues, friends or even relatives. What we believe has become the truth and is of utmost importance to us and is undeniable and unquestionable. If you do have guts to counter, then you are in for an abuse.
So much so was my reluctance after what I have experienced these past days that as I read a post from a colleague’s Facebook wall, it took me well above 30 minutes to decide whether to comment on it or not. I did finally, but it makes me wonder if this is the kind of society I want to live where our opinions can have such damaging consequences as to ruined relationships? And that is not the first time I have been so reluctant but is a trend from the last few months as we as a society have grown intolerant and oppressive of others’ opinions.
I do not claim that I am right, nor do I claim that those students did not indulge in sloganeering that is against the national integrity but I simply and humbly reiterate that I do not know. Nor do you, and that is a fact.
Why do we then – as citizens of the largest and most vibrant democracy of the world – forget that everyone has a right to go through due process of judicial review? More so, who are we to judge – sitting on our couches – feeding purely on the news channels to know what is happening around? Are not we the lot that was concerned about the paid media issues a few years ago? Or have we forgotten the acquisitions of media houses by powerful barons to manipulate the information that reaches us as “news”?
What you see in a TV channel news, the breaking-news, the Facebook posts and even the online articles may or may not be true. Use your judgement and gather enough information that makes sense before you take a side.
How many of us were there when the sloganeering took place and can confidently identify the accused? Be fair. You and I only see what is being shown to us and to get to the broader picture, and the truth, you and I need to make efforts. It will not come to us naturally sitting in our homes. And if we choose to do that – for whatever reasons – let’s be decent in our reactions.
Have you wondered that while you and I are so confident about those anti-nationalists and the crime they committed, the police themselves are running shy of course of action. Why is that? Think about it for a minute.
What is Delhi police basing their actions upon is not known to you and I – and they are not going to go public about it any time soon while the matter is subjudice- so why and who are we to judge just because there has been an accusation? Do we not know the biases that political landscape of Delhi brings to the situation? Or do we not know how the politicians manipulate the system? Let the magistrates and the court of law do their job.
And while we let the law run its course, let’s pledge to be decent in our languages and communications. Be respectful of our fellow citizens; we do not want to ruin our relationships because an incident that ultimately turns out to be a political game-plan of some random politician or a political party.
And while we are it, let’s be more responsible and keep our eyes open to what and how others react to the situation. You will find it amazing that none of the so called clippings depict the accused sloganeering against the nation while we do have a notorious lawmaker of the ruling party indulging in actions that are nothing but deplorable. Again, this is not to say anti-national sloganeering did not happen, let’s leave it to judge to decide upon. But can we justify a lawmaker taking law in his hands and thrashing anyone in public and then audaciously appearing on the TV channels to declare “main toh aisa he soon..”? Why you and I have not been raking up this issue as responsible citizens if the integrity is so important to us? Does this not amounts to dividing the people on the basis of perceived opinions as well spreading hatred? Or are we so dumb that we do not see through this?
What is scary is that this kind of hooliganism has been indulged upon as well allowed to be tolerated. Imagine, if these people really get through, what kind of life you and I will live?
If you and I can recall correctly, are not we the lot that spoke vehemently against the lack of security for the women when rape after rape were being reported in the capital? Will you and I like to live in a state that is governed by such lawmakers who thrash people publicly at their whims? Do you support the actions of the lawmaker? Will you and your daughters feel safe from the men whose fathers are like these?
Tell me, if your daughter is eve-teased and stalked and the accused turns out to be one such lawmaker or their kin, what will you do and how will you feel? Being in such situations is one thing and being unable to demand justice for your loved one is another. You and I have also noticed that no action has been taken by the Delhi Police against the lawmaker. Is not that the indication of the treatment you and I will receive if we ever are in a situation opposite to such lawmakers?
What I have learned from readings “and observed” is that JNU stands for its idols and that reflects in the response and reaction of the students and the faculty. It is undeniable. There is hardly any university in this country which comes any close and I have not heard or read it somewhere, the JNU community has proved it with their actions.
More than those few words of the apparent anti-nationalism what is heartbreaking to see that we are so blind to our political inclinations and opinions and so impatient that we do not want to wait for the law to run it’s course to give a fair opportunity to an accused and leave no stone to humiliate and bring down those who are of different opinion than ours, regardless of what our relationship is with those people.
More than those accused, we, the people of this nation have shamed it with our behavior and reaction to this situation.
Hopefully, you and I will see through this, be patient and let the law run its course, and at the same time, be open to healthy discussions allowing everyone to respectfully express their opinions.
We can make this democracy proud again.