Anarchists stoking campus unrest – K. G. Suresh

AISA at JNU

K. G. SureshPseudo intellectuals who have made a fortune through the liberal largesse of successive governments in the past, are finding themselves cornered today with the new regime strictly implementing academic discipline and norms. – K. G. Suresh

A planned, deliberate exercise is being undertaken by sections of frustrated, desperate and ideologically isolated faculty and students to denigrate and destabilise prestigious educational institutions, including universities, across the country. That these anarchist elements, who have enjoyed the fruits of power over the last several decades at the cost of academic discipline, accountability and standards, are becoming unnerved by the loss of their empire, is evident from the artificial protests and propaganda being unleashed from time to time ever since a new dispensation has taken over the reins at the Raisina Hill.

From Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the north and Film and Television Institute of India in the west, to Hyderabad University in the south and Jadavpur University in the east, these elements have been trying to foment trouble and orchestrate campaigns over flimsy issues to project the government and its appointees as anti-Dalit, anti-women and anti-minorities, in connivance with fellow travellers in the media.

The pattern is the same. The foot soldiers of an ideology, which carried out the inhuman purge in Russia, the ruthless cultural revolution in China, the ethnic cleansing in Tibet, the gross human rights violations in Siberia and Xinjiang, the suppression of democracy by crushing students under military tanks in Tiananmen Square, have become ironically the self-proclaimed champions of democracy and human rights in India.

From Gajendra Chauhan to Pahlaj Nihalani and B. B. Kumar, among others, all appointees of the present regime are portrayed as ‘mediocre’, agents of the RSS and accused of saffronisation. The spit-and-run tactics of these foreign-funded activists in the garb of academics and students include making wild, sweeping, unsubstantiated allegations the moment any effort is made to make them accountable or disciplined.

They are trying to build a new narrative—that students should be consulted before the appointment of any head of the institution, and administration should not take any decision without taking faculty into confidence, even on non-academic matters. Any effort to make them accountable, including insistence on biometric attendance, is outrightly rejected. Any attempt to get vacated their long-held positions or ineligible occupation of hostels are construed as undemocratic acts, and licence to abuse is touted as freedom of speech and expression.

These pseudo intellectuals, who have made a fortune through the liberal largesse of successive governments in the past, are finding themselves cornered today with the new regime strictly implementing academic discipline and norms.

Over the years, they had penetrated every institution thanks to undeserving patronage extended to them by their godfathers. In the process, they also ensured that those who disagreed with their world view were denied their due. Being a nationalist became the albatross around the neck of many deserving academics. Nobody talked about their freedom of thought and expression—their academic freedom. They were at the receiving end in academic appointments and promotions. The nation’s academia was dominated by a mafia, which determined their fate and pushed them into the netherworld with contempt and ruthlessness.

The current protests and propaganda are only acts of desperation by these so-called scholars who have realised that their time is over, their game is up and the golden days of their dominance over national institutions are no more. The crusade undertaken by institutions such as JNU to remove the scourge of political untouchability, discrimination and apartheid that have been pursued over the last several decades, must be appreciated by all right-thinking people and supported by the government. Only then can Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a New India be fully realised. – The New Indian Express, 16 July 2017

» K. G. Suresh is the Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi.

AISA anti-national protest at JNU

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Why does a particular class of people dislike Modi and Yogi? – Amrit Hallan

Amrit HallanI started taking note of Narendra Modi when he was being heavily trolled by those who identified themselves as left-liberal, and most of them pretended to be non-political. – Amrit Hallan

Ever since I started taking active interest in politics, one thing that has continuously intrigued me is what sort of intelligence people use to arrive at a particular political and ideological thinking?

What makes them decide which politician to support and whom to oppose?

What moral and ideological compromises are they ready to make to support and promote their preferred politicians?

Of course, as the title of the article suggests, when I’m writing this, my focus is going to be on Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, because otherwise a whole research paper can be written.

I chose Modi and Yogi as they face the most strident opposition from a particular class of people, and here I’m not talking about political parties because they are supposed to take a contradictory stand. I’m talking about supposedly “non-political” or “neutral” people. I remember I started taking note of Narendra Modi when he was being heavily trolled by those who identified themselves as left-liberal, and most of them pretended to be non-political.

I’m writing about Modi and Yogi because they are targeted the most by not just our own, often self-righteous, news media and the coterie of intellectuals and activists, but also by the foreign press (although the foreign press has its own reasons).

Their every move is observed, given a different version, and seeded and propagated through television, print media or the Internet, to portray them as bigoted, communal villains.

Positive news is totally ignored or it is turned into something negative.

Even if you don’t support both of them, just for the sake of objectivity, just observe the way the news media reports about Modi and Yogi and then compare this to the way the same news media reports about, say, Arvind Kejriwal, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Mamata Bannerjee, or even Sasikala in the South. If you cannot spot the difference then you shouldn’t be reading further, would be my advice.

The stunt that Sasikala pulled after Jayalalitha’s death wasn’t just a mockery of our political system, it was also a criminal activity, but no, our news media decided to be totally “objective” and report the happenings as they were. They simply say that her family is called the “Mannargudi mafia” as if they are not talking about a mafia but an RWA.

There was no outrage. The democracy didn’t come under threat. Minorites didn’t feel vulnerable. The Constitution wasn’t insulted. The foreign media didn’t put Indian on their op-ed map.

The same sense of objectivity suddenly vanishes when it comes to something that the BJP does. Take for example the anti-Romeo squads started by the new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The hatred for whatever the BJP does is so steep that a scheme launched to protect the women of the state is projected as an attack on personal freedom. Just imagine, in which country would you term the targeting of eve teasers, roadside goons, and even prospective rapists, as an attack on personal freedom?

The other day Captain Amrinder Singh was saying that he will never have anti-Romeo squads in Punjab because he believes in personal freedom. Fair enough; he is a politician and one of his jobs is to show himself different from his political opponents. But then a journalist, who should be objective and unbiased, giddily tweeted the statement as if the anti-Romeo squads were exclusively launched to mount attacks on personal freedom, not even making an effort to present an alternative view that the squads are for reining in the unsavoury elements in the society. Very few in the media explain the fact that these squads are not non-state groups of voluntary people; they are police persons.

The closure of illegal slaughterhouses was similarly reported as an attack on the eating habits of the minorities and all those who eat meat. In any other country, people would be happy that illegal establishments are shut down because they don’t follow the hygienic guidelines prescribed by the rule books, but no, not in our country. All hell broke lose. Even the so-called legal restaurants couldn’t procure meat for the legendary kebabs and people started collapsing due to malnutrition and hunger!

As this article points out, compare the liberal outrage and media coverage shutting down of illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh generated with the same about shutting down of legal liquor business in Bihar.

Why is it so? Why is the BJP in general and these two individuals in particular, are so disliked?

BJP is not the party of the “ecosystem”

The intellectual class is mostly Left dominated. In the late sixties and the early seventies, Indira Gandhi made a deal with the Left and sold her soul to secure her political position. All major educational institutions and news organizations came to be under Left-dominated intellectuals. It became a mutually-supporting system: the Left would provide political support and look the other way when her government crossed the line, and the Congress would let it have a free run at educational, literary and media institutions.

The BJP is anti-Left, or at least that’s the general perception. So the Left-leaning individuals and organizations naturally want to keep the BJP away from power centers, and for that they are even ready to partner with anti-national forces.

The Leftist ecosystem further draws material support from all political dispensations whose sole purpose is to keep the country in a constant state of turmoil by pitting one caste against other, one linguist group against other, one class against other, and so on. The BJP strives to bring all these communities together under the umbrella of nationalism, which disturbs the conventional vote-banks.

Primarily this is the reason why the Leftist intelligentsia (that consists of sundry artists, self-declared intellectuals, variety of NGO workers, activists, sundry writers, socialist economists and of course, journalists) abhors Modi and Yogi—their rise means the decline of the Left-favouring ecosystem.

Narendra Modi is someone who strengthens BJP

I can’t say anything for the BJP, because barring a few people, the party isn’t much different from other parties, with the only difference being that it pretends to represent the interests of the majority Hindu community more vocally.

Narendra Modi completely turned around the BJP, a party that was in complete doldrums after losses in 2004 and 2009 general elections. They were almost happy playing the second fiddle to the Congress after string of defeats.

Take Narendra Modi out of the picture and the party would have either receded further or would have still been in the opposition benches, and quite smug at that. The BJP was an old and rusted Ambassador car that Narendra Modi turned into a Porsche with hard work, statesmanship and political acumen.

So, whatever the position of the BJP right now is, it is all because of Narendra Modi. And this is one of the crucial reason Modi is disliked. Now Yogi Adityanath appears to be doing the same to the party in the so-called cow belt.

Modi and Yogi are workaholics

This can be upsetting for people who are not used to working very hard and for whom things have come easily through connections, serendipity and “jod-tod”.

They both seem to have an infinite supply of energy. Just imagine, ever since Narendra Modi has become the PM he has not taken a single leave. Many cannot relate to this obsession with work.

In fact, people (his supporters and admirers) have started worrying that if he doesn’t take rest it may take a big toll on his health and consequently, he won’t be able to accomplish all that he wants to accomplish.

Yogi Adityanath, after becoming the CM, took 50 major decisions in the first 150 hours. From the first day onwards he has sent an unequivocal message to the bureaucracy, the education system and the police, that he means business when he talks about improving the situation in the state. Many of the major pre-poll promises that the BJP made have already been put into motion.

Modi and Yogi work like sadhaks (who think their work is a holy mission)

So much decisiveness and hard work unnerves people who are not used to our systems working efficiently. Somehow, they have internalized the concept that we’re not supposed to have efficient systems; such systems are only for developed countries, the first world nations. The Indian masses are supposed to live in wretchedness.

There is this inferiority complex that makes them believe that the people of India do not deserve good governments and efficient political leaders.

Additionally, when you don’t like working hard, even indirectly, you don’t want to be compared with people who work hard.

Even if somehow they can come to terms with the fact that India could have such leaders, they wish that such leaders would have emerged from their own ideological and political pool rather than from a political party they despise. It would be a stuff of dreams for them if a Rahul Gandhi or an Akhilesh Yadav or even a Kejriwal could have even 10% of the motivation that Modi and Yogi have.

How come a saffron-clad monk is way too smarter than their IIT-educated Magsaysay Award-winning crusader who is featured in the list of the top 100 influencers in the world, they must think? How come the “social engineering” pioneers fail to improve the lot of people for decades and Modi and Yogi start making a positive impact from the word go?

Modi and Yogi have a vision

Most of the politicians in our country don’t have a vision, neither for their parties nor for the country. Their only vision is to get elected and form the government so that they can carry out various scams and enjoy immense power; their vision does not extend beyond that.

This is a big reason that they are constantly running like headless chickens. They have been making the same old promises for the past 50 years. The Congress has been trying to “hatao gareebi” and uplift the “gareeb kisaan” for the past 60 years and if you leave it to the party, it will go on “hatao-ing gareebi” for the next 200 years, making the country poorer.

Mayawati has been trying to uplift the Dalits for years. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been trying to improve the lot of Muslims and Yadavs, election after election. Mamata Banerjee cannot see beyond blatant Muslim appeasement. Lalu thinks that its his rustic crassness and unapologetic corruption that gets him the votes. Nitish is too opportunistic for his own good. AAP rides on the wave of sheer stupidity. Except for Chandrababu Naidu, politicians in South score no better.

Within 30 days, Yogi Adityanath has set deadlines for making the roads pothole free. Schools have been instructed to furnish fee-structure by a deadline to ascertain if complaints about over-charging is true or not. To tackle the menace of mass cheating in exams, action has been promised within 3 hours after registration of complaint. Yogi government has declared that in the next 5 years there will be 6 new AIIMS and 25 new medical college in the state.

Modi and Yogi don’t just say this should be done or that should be done. They set definitive goals with well-defined deadlines.

The haters are frustrated by the fact that the leaders of their choice don’t manifest such traits. They can’t accept the fact that a “chaiwala” and a saffron-clad monk are far smarter and hard-working than their chosen ones who converse in accented English while sipping the costliest champagne and whiskey.

Modi and Yogi are proud Hindus and flaunt their Hindu beliefs unapologetically

This can be one of the biggest reasons why people dislike Modi and Yogi. The entire leftist cabal has thrived on demeaning Hindu rituals, Hindu culture and Hindu history.

The Leftist intellectuals and people who are influenced by them or who want to carry forward the agenda, have ensured that the concept of Hinduism becomes a strange mishmash of misconceptions in our country. People are not proud of their religion. Even if they are proud, they want to view Hinduism from a Western perception rather than from an indigenous, Dharmic perception. Let alone being assertive or being protective towards their religion, they don’t mind if other religions overtake Hinduism.

Modi and Yogi on the other hand practice their religious beliefs unapologetically. Modi’s insistence during his first American visit that he won’t interrupt his upvaas (fast) attracted vicious scorn from the so-called liberal and leftist intelligentsia simply because these people are not used to mainstream politicians practicing Hindu ways of life publicly, especially when visiting Western countries.

They don’t want the Western world to look at Hinduism from a strict adherent’s point of view. They want the Western world to look at Hinduism from their own myopic and biased view. They want the Western world to look at India from their point of view and if someone else, unapologetically promotes Hindu beliefs, they scoff and raise a hue-and-cry.

There is a photo comparison that often goes viral every few months: in one photo they show Jawaharlal Nehru showing to a group of foreign dignitaries a poor, emaciated snake charmer sitting on the floor; in the adjacent photo they show a collage of photographs showing how Narendra Modi shows majestic Indian temples to foreign dignitaries and makes them participate in the grand Hindu rituals.

For example when the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited India Modi took him to participate in the aarti in Varanasi. Recently Modi took the Australian PM to Akshardham Temple.

Such activities are a strict no-no among the class that dislikes Modi and Yogi. They squirm in great discomfort when Modi promotes Hindu rituals among the visiting dignitaries.

Yes, if you take some foreign dignitary to Jama Masjid or to a church, you are being secular and inclusive, but the moment you take someone to a Hindu temple, you have crossed the line and you are pandering to the Hindutvavadi forces.

The narrative goes somewhat like this: highlight non-Hindu religious beliefs while totally neglecting Hindu religious beliefs then you are fine. But if you highlight Hindu religious beliefs  it becomes incumbent upon you  that you also highlight non-Hindu religious beliefs. If you don’t do that, that is, you highlight only Hindu religious beliefs, then you must be branded as communal.

Even common folks with no specific political affiliations have internalized such biases.

Modi and Yogi inspire the people of the country to do their best

Which other Prime Minister prompted you to keep your county clean the last time? Which Prime Minister advised you to cease defecating in the open and start building indoor toilets? A senior BBC India journalist from Uttar Pradesh commented on television that the Prime Minister of the country shouldn’t indulge in such petty things as advising people to build toilets, such is the state of our intellectuals.

Which Prime Minister said that India shouldn’t​ just manufacture products but should manufacture the best products in the world? Take your cues from Germany, not from China. Which Prime Minister said before that our population is not a problem but an opportunity?

Our intellectual class, and people who like to think that they are smarter compared to the others, find inspiration very off-putting. If someone inspires you then you are forced to work or at least show the others that you should be working. Inspiration is for losers. They are too smart and evolved to be exposed to such inspiration.

Modi and Yogi are the antithesis of the atrophying “chalta-hai” attitude

Our chalta-hai attitude has been our undoing. Chalta-hai means dismissively accepting whatever is happening around us. If the government doesn’t work, chalta-hai. If we have a dilapidated infrastructure, chalta-hai. If there is rampant corruption, chalta-hai. If there are no schools and colleges, chalta-hai. If there is no health care for the poor, chalta-hai. If people don’t want to follow rules, chalta-hai. Kya karein? Saale Indians hain hi aise.

Both Modi and Yogi challenge this chalta-hai attitude. Why should things be mediocre in our country?

Modi and Yogi have dismantled the caste-minority political formula

The rajneetik samikaran (political arithmetic involving castes and minorities, especially Muslims) mentality still refuses to go among our Leftist journalists, intellectuals and  social commentators.

A big defence against the so-called communal politics, according to the Leftist intelligentsia and its political masters, used to be the caste and religious vote-banks that were​ initially controlled by the highly corrupt Congress party and then its various regional offshoots.

In the recently concluded UP elections the BJP has broken this vicious nexus. It has proven that Muslims no longer control who gets to form the government. The backward castes have realized that their champions were actually charlatans.

The ground level caste politics was backed with pseudo-intellectual explanation of these fault-lines in the society. Alternative reading and JNU brand sociology was presented as gospel facts, but Modi and Yogi are showing how these theories are flawed and failing.

The failing class can’t digest their own failure, so now they have to hate and pray that the duo fail in their mission. – Opindia, 19 April 2017

» Amrit Hallan is a content writer. He lives in Noida.

Indian media Left dominated!

Video: Decolonizing the Indian Civil Services – Rajiv Malhotra

Rajiv Malhotra says,

“In this talk, I analyze the ridiculous syllabus which is still being followed in UPSC exams to select government officials in India. Young civil servants are chosen through this ultra-leftist ideology controlled by breaking India forces. There is a blatant lack of balanced perspective.

“No wonder this ideology governs the mindset of many Indian diplomats, IAS officers, tax, police and various organs of the government.

“How ridiculous that Sheldon Pollock, Ananya Vajpeyi and various other anti-India ideologues are being hoisted as intellectuals, and our youth are required to understand and quote them. This awareness must spread. Please make this video viral.

“I am also troubled that the new government has not changed the ideology built into the college-level humanities and social sciences. All the bombastic manthans and gatherings about ‘decolonizing’ are useless exercises in self-promotion by some activists.”

The Left and academic freedom – Balbir Punj

Marxist Flag

Balbir PunjThe bogey of free speech in danger is in fact a ruse to camouflage the real agenda to break India. The Communists had actively conspired with the departing British and Muslim League to vivisect the country and create a theocratic Pakistan. The Left has no faith in India or her democratic Constitution which mirrors the pluralistic Hindu ethos of this ancient land. – Balbur Punj

In the context of what is happening in many universities across the country, let the true upholders of academic freedom come forward to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The first thing is that violence has no place in academia. Issues have to be debated, sometimes with lot of passion. Ideological positions are quite natural, but the right to have a strong ideological stand cannot be exclusive.

The word “democratic” is being used in our country (and elsewhere too) with abundance. Our self-styled Leftist professors are seen to be admirers of such “people’s democratic” regimes like North Korea. This is simply misteaching because instead of teaching using established facts, they seek to substitute ideology for facts.

Tons of events are held in our colleges to unleash this pollution.

The problem in our academia is when someone questions this misteaching, the Left lets lose goonda raj on the honest enquirer and silences him. When increasingly large numbers of students (and teachers) begin to question substitution of facts with ideological views, left-wing goondaism claims it is being subjected to violence.

Take Delhi University itself for instance. Was it a mere coincidence that, say in the Economics Department, in the 60s, 70s and 80s, most of the leading teaching staff were of a Left-socialist ideology that eulogised planned economy, public sector ownership of most resources and industries and all other Marxist viewpoints?

There was hardly anyone who questioned basic Marxian thinking because all other viewpoints were suppressed. This despite the fact that Communist China under Deng Xiaoping had begun to eagerly turn to capitalism, even allowing Western capitalist enterprises on its soil, to lift Mao’s country from the mess left by the Cultural Revolution of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

Much the same story is seen in history teaching across the country. The lineup of Leftist professors like Irfan Habib at AMU and Romila Thapar in Delhi ensured that any learned man with a different view of history was debarred.  Doctoral theses were scanned to ensure that no other approach to Indian history prevailed in the Indian academia.

For 35 years, West Bengal was under a Marxist regime.  The academic freedom people enjoyed there is well known. Those Congress leaders who are so eager to support the Left in JNU, in Hyderabad, Jadavpur and elsewhere should recall how Naxalite student leaders had established a goonda rule in Kolkata. It was Congress leader Siddhartha Shankar Ray who sought to break this circle of violence with a counter violence under the leadership of the Congress organisation Chhatra Parishad. This is not to suggest that violence against the Left-Marxist combine is justified.

Unlike others, Marxists and Communists are committed to violence as their theory urges a proletarian dictatorship.  Marx, Lenin, Mao, Che Guevara and all other stars of the Left led through violence and the ultras who have set up their own regimes in parts of Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand  as well as in Andhra Pradesh are seeking to overthrow elected governments across the country through armed violence.

Even as the much-criticised ABVP is not willing to take the Leftist dictatorship over the Indian academia lying down and is trying to break the Left stranglehold in Delhi, a continuing battle is being fought elsewhere too. As in Bengal, in Kerala, the Leftist students union, the SFI, recently displayed its brutal intolerance against the Kerala Students Union in Law College, Trichur.  SFI activists came in a large group, got into the college classrooms even as teaching was in progress. Reports say that even teachers who sought to intervene to prevent this attack were injured. They further say the police, though immediately informed, deliberately took their own time to intervene. Kerala has a Marxist-led State government now.

There could also be intense debate whether Delhi’s policies in militancy and terror-ridden Kashmir or Manipur are right or not. But that is not the issue here. There is the foreign angle here as militancy and terror are being openly sponsored and funded with weapons supplied by a third party—Pakistan.

Can any country allow domestic groups to endorse and even hero-worship such foreign-funded and armed militants and expect to survive as a nation?  The battle is surely not for “freedom of expression”. India has a long tradition of free debate. Barring the dark period of Indira Gandhi’s emergency, Indians have enjoyed uninterrupted freedom of expression since Independence.

The bogey of free speech in danger is in fact a ruse to camouflage the real agenda to break India. The Communists had actively conspired with the departing British and Muslim League to vivisect the country and create a theocratic Pakistan. The Left has no faith in India or her democratic Constitution which mirrors the pluralistic Hindu ethos of this ancient land.

During the Second World War, the Communists collaborated with the British against freedom fighters and spied on them. After they left, the Communists waged an armed war against the newly-born Indian Republic.

When China attacked India in 1962, the Communists sided with the enemy, their ideological kin, and tried to sabotage the internal security of the country. In contrast, RSS volunteers rendered yeoman service at that time of national crisis. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had invited the RSS to join the 1963 Republic Day Parade in Delhi to recognise its contribution.

India has since come a long way. And with time, the Left has also changed its slogans and strategies. But its divisive agenda remains unchanged. – The New Indian Express, 4 March 2017

» Balbir Punj is a former Rajya Sabha member and Delhi-based commentator on social and political issues. Email: punjbalbir@gmail.com

Marxist Intellectuals

Why does the Left ignore India’s indigenous intellectual traditions? – David Frawley

Marxist Intellectuals

Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)India’s Left has long claimed that Hindus are not intellectual and are unscientific, mindlessly repeating old racist colonial and missionary propaganda. Yet the Left has not produced any original thinkers, much less sages. It hasn’t even understood India’s own vast culture, which is the saddest commentary on its endeavours. India’s leftist scholars are largely Lord Macaulay’s children, promoting Western thought, disowning India’s older and more extensive cultural heritage. – Dr David Frawley

India has one of the greatest intellectual traditions in the world and it has nothing to do with modern Indian leftist scholars and writers. It is the tradition of numerous yogis, sages and seers going back to the Vedas, extending through Vedanta, Buddhism and related dharmic traditions to their many exponents today.

Dharmic traditions teach us how to develop the mind in the highest sense of universal consciousness, not simply logic and conceptual thought. India’s great minds, centuries ago, produced the many paths of yoga and the largest variety of exalted spiritual philosophies and psychologies in the world. And their teachings remain alive and vibrant even today, spreading globally.

Yet, India’s dharmic tradition has not just addressed consciousness and spirituality, but has also produced a vast literature on art, science, medicine, mathematics and politics—all the main domains of thought and culture.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Swami Vivekananda transformed world thinking, introducing yoga, meditation and higher states of consciousness at a time before Einstein had discovered the relativity of time and space and the illusory nature of physical reality, something long taught in Vedanta and Buddhism.

Swami Dayananda & Narendra ModiSri Aurobindo unfolded the idea of a higher evolution of consciousness in humanity and produced Savitri, the longest blank verse poem in the English language, revealing transformative yogic secrets that the West had yet to conceive. Yet, many of these great Indic thinkers wrote in Sanskrit or regional languages of India and have not been properly noted, much less studied.

Vedantic teachers like Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda have guided India in recent decades, commenting on cultural as well as spiritual affairs, using English as their main language of expression, so that the modern audience can easily understand them. Ram Swarup and Sitaram Goel produced excellent critiques of communism and Western religious fundamentalism.

New Yoga teachings have come out from India’s modern gurus, too numerous to mention, and there is now a detailed modern literature on Ayurvedic medicine in English. New books on India’s past have been written by important archaeologists and historians, uncovering the depth and antiquity of India’s many-sided civilisation.

Meanwhile, there is a dynamic new generation of insightful and articulate Indic/dharmic writers with new books and articles, and active in the social media, including Sanjeev Sanyal, Hindol Sengupta, Vamsee Juluri, Tufail Ahmad, and Amish Tripathi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been an important part of this intellectual/media awakening of pro-India scholars and writers, who honour the profound traditions of the country going back to ancient times.

Thomas Babington MacaulayThe Left’s false claim to intellectual superiority

India’s Left has long claimed that Hindus are not intellectual and are unscientific, mindlessly repeating old racist colonial and missionary propaganda. Yet the Left has not produced any original thinkers, much less sages. It hasn’t even understood India’s own vast culture, which is the saddest commentary on its endeavours. India’s leftist scholars are largely Lord Macaulay’s children, promoting Western thought, disowning India’s older and more extensive cultural heritage.

India’s Left has no understanding of higher states of consciousness, as clearly explained in the dharmic traditions, or any interest in exploring them. It is wedded to gross materialism and physical reality, preferring to write about sex and politics, not anything transcendent. While traditional Hindu thought recognises seven chakras from basic human urges to the highest cosmic consciousness, leftist writers are happy to wallow in the lower one or two, as if they were contributing something exalted to the world.

While modern physics is embracing the idea of cosmic consciousness and great physicists like Oppenheimer have quoted the Bhagavad Gita, India’s Left is firmly caught in the outer world of maya, which it does not question. It has little sense of cosmology and not much vision beyond political propaganda. Yet, India’s scientists honour their own spiritual traditions like Subhash Kak and George Sudarshan, who are not products of the Left.

India’s leftists seldom learn Sanskrit or study the great philosophers, thinkers and poets of the country. While they can quote Shakespeare they deem it’s beneath their dignity to honour Kalidas. They cannot examine the Ramayana or Mahabharata except in terms of Marxist or Freudian theories. They may discuss women’s rights but have no experience of India’s powerful traditions of Goddess worship. They are like the children of the old British Raj for whom anything Indian, particularly Hindu, is primitive superstition to be frowned upon.

Indian immigrants now make up the highest strata of Western society in terms of education and affluence, comprising doctors, engineers, scientists, and software developers, most of who are respectful of India’s spiritual traditions. They are not products of the Left either.

India’s leftists, meanwhile, take academic posts both in India and the West, from which they can take potshots at their own culture and pretend to be wise while drawing comfortable salaries from the very governments they like to criticise. They would never practice yoga, mantra or meditation, as the people in the West are now doing more and more—including many thinkers and innovators. Note the example of Steve Jobs of Apple Computers, who carried Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi with him, and probably never heard of Romila Thapar, Ram Guha or Irfan Habib.

Karl Marx's Grave Highgate LondonIntellectual arrogance of the Left

The problem is that India’s leftist intellectuals are products of the ego-mind, what is called the rajasic buddhi in yogic thought, which is marked by intellectual arrogance. Without first learning deep meditation, one cannot go beyond the prejudices of the outer intellect and its attachment to name, form and personality. One needs to become silent and receptive within in order to truly know oneself and the universe. This teaching has been clearly articulated since the ancient Upanishads did so in a series of inspired dialogues and debates over 3,000 years ago.

It is time for India’s leftist intellectuals to honour their own profound dharmic traditions. Then they might be capable of something more original and transformative than to imitate the superficial views of the western leftists, which is their current state of affairs. It might give them better ethical rules of behaviour to emulate as well.

The role of India’s true intelligentsia should be to sustain India’s cultural unity, spirituality and creativity, for the nation and the world—not trying to replace their own venerable traditions with worn out leftist agendas that have failed everywhere they have been implemented. – Swarajya, 4 October 2016

» Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr David Frawley) is an author and Sanskrit scholar recognized as a Vedacharya in India. His scope of studies include Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the Rigveda. He is the Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa  Fe, New Mexico.

Will Durant Quote

 

No room for courses on Hinduism at JNU – Prakash Nanda

Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi

Prakash NandaNow, if JNU, one of India’s foremost universities, refuses to teach Indian culture and yoga with the logic that it would lead to promotion of Hinduism in a secular country, then where else can one study Hinduism in India, where 80 percent of the population happens to be Hindus? – Prakash Nanda 

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is in the news again, but this time the national media has treated the news scantily. It has not paid enough attention to the fact that those who were agitating early this year to protect their right to dissent in JNU are now the suppressors of ideas coming from others who are not their “own”. For them, the university will do or practice what they want. It is they who will decide what is to be taught and how the university should be administered. Needless to say that these “dissenters” are mostly the so-called leftists and secularists; dissent for them means that they have the exclusive right to oppose things they do not like, but they deny the same right to those who disagree with them.

Anita Singh, a JNU professor, has told DNA that she was abused and attacked inside the university campus by a group of students, instigated by the Left-dominated students union and teachers association, while she stepped out of the meeting of the university’s statutory decision-making body, the academic council (AC), late on 7 October. Abused as a “sanghi”, Singh, who is the dean, School of Law and Governance, told the paper that she earned the students’ ire because, “I had presented the proposal for introducing a disaster research programme in the university for a trans-disciplinary programme, the talks for which have been going on since 2011, and that has already been passed by five standing committees. But the JNUSU thinks that any new innovation is ‘bhagwakaran’ (saffronisation) and I was attacked as soon as I stepped out.”

Singh has spoken about the events that took place outside the AC meeting. But what happened inside the AC meeting was equally gratuitous. Here, in the name of “secularism”, the majority rejected a proposal of the University Grants Commission (UGC) of introducing three short-term courses in Indian culture and yoga. According to the UGC’s proposed draft, the course on Indian culture aimed at expounding the importance of the country’s culture as well as exploring the etymological, social, spiritual, cultural and mythological aspects and establishing Indian values in the world. “The course will contain the texts, thoughts and traditions of different cultures and include things like religious systems in Indian culture among others. Besides, it will have portions from Vedas and selections from epics and Jatakas and suggestions on readings of Hindu epics like the Ramayana,” the draft read. It was argued in the draft that Indian culture cannot be understood without the help of “Indian literature, which is generally written by sages”.

Now, if JNU, one of India’s foremost universities, refuses to teach Indian culture and yoga with the logic that it would lead to promotion of Hinduism in a secular country, then where else can one study Hinduism in India, where 80 percent of the population happens to be Hindus? And here, I came across a report in The Hindu, dated 13 July, 2013, that said that one Subadra Muthuswami, who had a Master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, hoped to pursue her interest in Hinduism when she returned to India. “Since I am in India, I decided to do research to understand why we practice rituals and rites in Hinduism. But I understand that no university offers a comprehensive course in Hinduism studies,” she told the paper.

Madras UniversitySubadra discovered that the University of Madras had programmes in Vaishnavism and Indian philosophy, but not on “Sanatan Dharma” (Hinduism) as a whole, even though the university “has separate departments for Christian and Islamic studies”. She was told by senior professors that “universities are secular places where Hinduism as a religion cannot be taught. Sources in the university said when the department wanted to offer a paper in yoga (which is also a shastra) last year, the move was opposed on the grounds that it was endorsed by a political party.”

One fails to understand that how a university that has departments on Christian and Islamic Studies considers offering a paper on yoga, let alone Hinduism, will tarnish its secular character. As a result, in India one can study Hinduism—and this was what Subadra discovered—only in private or spiritual organisations like Swami Shivananda Institute, Chinmaya Mission, Iskcon and Vedanta Academy (Mumbai).

In contrast, let us [look at] the situation abroad. I just did a Google search to find western universities offering courses on Hinduism and Indian culture. And this was what I found. The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies is a recognised “independent centre” of Oxford University. The principal aim of the Centre is “the study of Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, history, arts and society, in all periods and in all parts of the world.” Cambridge University teaches Vedanta, Vyakarana and Sanskrit philosophy along with Buddhism. London’s School of Oriental and African Studies offers courses on “Indian philosophy, especially Vyākaraṇa and Mīmāṃsā, Sanskrit philology, Sanskrit scientific literature.” In fact, many British universities such as Sussex, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh have departments on Theology and Religious Studies that teach, among others, “Sāṅkhya and Pātañjala Yoga.” Sweden’s Stockholm University has courses on Indian Philosophy, especially “Nyāya and Buddhism.” In Brussels (Belgium), “Vrije Universiteit” (Antwerp FVG: Faculty for Comparative Study of Religions) teaches Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Indian Philosophy, especially “Vedānta schools and Kaśmīr Śaivism.” University of Vienna (Institute of South Asian, Tibetology and Buddhist Studies) has programmes on “Sanskrit philosophy, Āyurveda and Sanskrit philology.” There are many universities and institutes in Germany that give special emphasis to Sanskrit, Indian philosophical texts and Indian religions, including “Veda, Pāli and Epics”.

Coming to the US, Concordia University has a chair in Hindu Studies that is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of Hinduism. There is the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University that studies Hinduism. Case Western Reserve University has a department on South Asian religions. So has also Emory University. Then there are famous professors like Wendy Doniger at the University of Chicago who has written many books on Hinduism, some of them controversial though.

Prof Wendy DonigerThe questions that emerge from the illustrated list (not exhaustive) above are this: Are these western educational institutions having departments of theology and offering courses on comparative religions communal? If not, how can the Indian institutions offering courses on Hinduism or related subjects like yoga be branded communal, that too in a country where 80 percent of the people happen to be Hindus? And thirdly, if our “secularists” consider the book on Hinduism (which has shown the religion in negative manner) by American Indologist Wendy Doniger, a Professor of “Religions” in an American university, a great scholarly work, why cannot they promote similar scholarly works in Indian universities? Is it not double standards to applaud work on Hinduism by foreign scholars in foreign universities but deny the Indian scholars to work on the same subject in Indian universities?

In fact, as the recent development in JNU has proved once again, our so-called liberals and seculars, who dominate the country’s education system, will leave no stone unturned to foil any attempt by any university in India to introduce courses on “Religions”. They will have nothing to do with the promotion of a “dead language” such as Sanskrit. Even any elective, repeat elective, course on “Vastu Sashtra” will be dismissed (as it happened in a Madhya Pradesh university some years ago) as attempts towards “saffronisation”. But minorities can pursue studies on their respective religions. As a result, what we see today is that the Muslims children learn about Islam and the Quran in madrasas and the Christian children learn the essence of Christianity and the Bible in educational institutions founded and managed by them. Under the Indian Constitution, the minorities are allowed to have their own educational institutions and the certificates or degrees thereof are recognised legally.

In contrast, the children of the majority of the Hindu community do not have such facilities. Even at the school-level, whenever there are attempts to teach the children about the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Gita, the “secular brigade” makes a lot of hue and cry. And ironically, all these elements, who dominate the Indian academia and media, will want books critical of Hinduism to flourish in India but they will advise against the circulation of anything that is critical of other religions.

Such are their double standards!

» FirstPost, 12 October 2016: Prakash Nanda is editor of Uday India, a national weekly, and Geopolitics a niche monthly devoted to defence, security and diplomacy. Previously he was a National Fellow at the Indian Council of Historical Research.  He has also been a Visiting Professor at Yonsei University, Seoul and FMSH, Paris.

JNU Students Union Polls

Some questions for Kanhaiya, Leftists and JNU – Makarand R. Paranjape

Makarand R. Paranjape at JNU

Makarand R. ParanjapeIn the on-going series of teach-in lectures on nationalism, Prof Makarand Paranjape asked if JNU was a ‘democratic space’ or a ‘Left hegemonic space’ and why Leftists had trouble accepting the ‘legitimacy of the Indian state’.

The 15th lecture, “India’s Uncivil Wars: Tagore, Gandhi … JNU and what is ‘Left’ of the nation”, in the teach-in series of lectures on nationalism, titled “What the nation really needs to know” at the Jawaharlal Nehru University administrative block since the controversy over the arrest of its Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, turned out to be quite different from the earlier 14 lectures in the series.

Makarand Paranjape, a professor of English at JNU’s Centre for English Studies since 1999, began by noting what makes the university where he teaches so special:

I think that one of the things that makes us special or important to the nation is precisely this alternative, performative platform, this stage on which we can demonstrate our ideas, our disagreements—how to think clearly in fact, rather than the other performative, which is, I would say, mesmerising.

When Kanhaiya came out of jail and gave this talk,  I was a convert: I was also swaying and dancing around with everyone. It was a great moment.

But what I am going to do today is to emphasise the other performative—where we talk about ideas, we are objective, we are critical, we do not get carried away, we are open-minded, we interrogate and critique ourselves and not just mount attacks on people we disagree with.

And, indeed, also check factually incorrect statements, the sources of our ideas and so forth. And I do hope there is an occasion to discuss some of these things.

Paranjape spent the first 40 minutes of his lecture on Tagore and Gandhi’s concept of nationalism before coming to the events at JNU since February 9.

This, incidentally, was the first lecture put up by “Stand With JNU Media Group” that, on its YouTube page, was accompanied by a caveat titled “A critical analysis of the lecture” by Anshul Trivedi who began by noting that this lecture made him “learn the difficult art of rationally listening to something which I am viscerally repulsed by.” Trivedi went on to offer his critique which can be read here.

Paranjape had recently been in news for being part of a petition calling for an “unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India” that accused those behind the “closely-linked statements” on tolerance or “award-wapsi” as being “neither intellectual nor academic.” He was also part of those who wanted Sheldon Pollock removed as mentor and general editor of the Murty Classical Library of India.

Paranjape spoke in English, interspersed with some Hindi and began with an epigraph from John Gallagher: “Revolutions devour their children, nationalism eats its parents.”

Tracing the first part, “Revolutions devour their children” to Jacques Mallet du Pan in 1793 after the French Revolution, he went on to discuss the space between the so-called “revolutionaries” and the so-called “ultra-nationalists”.

I am a student of literature and I am deeply interested in how texts are read and interpreted. And texts include so many things, including slogans.

I am deeply interested in hermeneutics and interpretation and I would like to suggest for your consideration today a certain kind of hermeneutic of mediality. And it is interesting that these words—medial, medium—go back to very old roots where they merge with words like madhyam. And for those of you who are interested in classical Indian thought, there is a very famous school of Buddhism which is called Madhyamaka.

So how to mediate? What kind of hermeneutics can we have of mediation? A medial hermeneutic. Perhaps to begin with there has to be an intermedial hermeneutic so you find a way to negotiate or stand between two opposites or two poles to see how these two sides, how these two positions can speak to one another.

But perhaps if this project of mediality really succeeds, then from being intermedial might end up being remedial and the idea of remedy really connected with what we consider our state of health. Our state of health in many ways is about restoring equilibrium really. And of course it is very difficult to do in these times. But this is what we require today. And may I mention that there is an equivalence of this in contemporary thinking and that is called a diatopical hermeneutics.

He said he wanted to go beyond the easy and reductive formulations of pitting friends against the enemies.

What follows is a rough transcript (and translation into English) of the lecture from about the 40-minute point of the video. — Scroll.in Editor

So much has been said, so much ink has been spilt—thankfully, not so much blood. When I heard the title of this series, “What the nation really needs to know”—and as my friend Kanhaiya also said, “We will tell them”—I felt we in JNU need to ask: Do we not have to listen? We only have to tell? Have we understood it all?

We too should listen to what they say. This is what I feel. This is the “diatopical intermediality” I was telling you about.

We will speak, but we will also listen.

So when we listen to them—and certainly there are misunderstandings—but it seems as if the discourse that emanates from here—the discussion and debates that come out from here—is very anti: It does not seem constructive. So people have told me, even some of those who think. Everything is very negative and destructive. So then question arises, and these are very important questions.

Someone said here, “We will fight, we will battle, we will do this, we will do that, we will increase the fellowship too….” Wonderful, if you can accomplish it, but this is our state, I mean, we have elected these people. Unless we say, “This bourgeoise democracy we don’t believe in.”

This is the rub. This is where I come to the last part of my talk.

Did you check your facts?

What’s left of the nation—“left” here has a double meaning obviously. But by left of the nation, it means “What remains?” We’ve lost the middle-ground. Only the extremes remain. What is left of the nation? But what is left of the nation also means what the leftists have been saying about nationalism.

Kanhaiya said yesterday, “Ours is the oldest organisation, and we fought for independence.” But I want to ask him: What about the flip flop that happened by the Communist Party of India when they suddenly declared that the imperialist war was a people’s war? They said to the British—the Community Party of India sent a secret letter to the British—that they “will not agitate when you are fighting, we will cooperate with you.”

So when he [Kanhaiya] said, “We fought for India’s independence”—that is the Left students associations—I want to know what the evidence is.

It is very important to ask these questions.

Similarly, I might ask my friend Kanhaiya—he is right here. He said, “[M.S.] Golwalkar met Mussolini.” [Addressing Kanhaiya]: Did you not say that? Did you check your facts? It was Moonje [B.S. Moonje—a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, and not Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] who met Mussolini.

I am not saying they [the RSS] were not impressed by the fascists—they were. They thought it is a very good idea to have an authoritarian system. Please let us agree on what is factual and what is not factual.

So, we have to check out facts, that is what I am saying.

Judicial murders

Fascism stands for anti-democratic position—and so does Stalinism. I am proud to belong to a country where one so-called “judicial murder” created such a huge ruckus.

Do you know how many judicial murders were committed from 1920 to 1950s in Stalinist USSR? 799,543. Almost a million.

And how many people were executed for criminal and civil charges? Only 34,000.

How many went to the Gulag? 14 million.

How many perished there? 1.4 million.

Now, my submission is—and where I am getting these facts from? Soviet records—Please look. Please, this too should be discussed. Fascists are anti-democratic. But we have also to look at the record of some of our friends from the Left. They were very anti-democratic—Stalin certainly was. He killed everybody who disagreed with him. He killed Trotsky as well.

Who tolerates dissent?

And this is not new in JNU. 1970s—you read the history of JNU. I think the author is somewhere here—I saw him earlier—oh, there he is. There was a very interesting Trotskyite called Jairus Banaji, and he challenged the most charismatic established Left leader who was none other than Comrade Prakash Karat. And in the following year, Anand Kumar won, defeated Karat in the JNUSU poll as a free-thinker.

So we have to look at our own history and see what has happened. So please let’s examine the details and see:

Who tolerates democracy?

Who tolerates dissent?

And who doesn’t?

Now, we have had so many statements from everywhere, but can you show me a statement from North Korea? Or even from China?

Because in China even today—I have been to China five times—and it is ruled by the Communist Party of India—but it is a capitalist state. I have met many Chinese intellectuals. In a cafe, over a drink, they can tell you whatever you like, how bad certain things were. But ask them to take out a morcha, they can’t.

You go to Tiananmen Square and take out what poster and see what happens. You will be whisked away.

Where? Who knows?

So who is democratic? Who is not democratic? It is something we have to deeply, deeply ask ourselves.

‘Ye Azadi jhooti hai’

Allow me two more things.

I have told you one instance of what happened during the Independence Movement. I will give you two more instances and then I will finish my talk and you can ask me questions.

So India became independent in 1947 and Communist Party of India, which was then not divided, was led by a man called Ranadive [B.T. Ranadive] who gave a slogan—“ye azadi jhooti hai” [This freedom is fake].

Romesh Thapar who edited a journal called Crossroads was trying to smuggle copies—“smuggle” because he was taking them to Telangana—and Nehru invoked sedition. He also invoked sedition against Organiser, let me tell you. Nehru said to both sides “Boss, what is happening?” Both sides, in different ways were saying—were attacking—independence.

So these slogans—about “fake freedom”—ye azadi jhooti hai—have persisted over time.

So the Communist line on India’s independence followed Stalin, where he said revolution in the colonies would be a two-step process: First step, you know, you will have a bourgeoise kind of revolution or a bourgeoise take-over of power and in the second step you’d have a truly communist government in place.

So, this two-step theory was followed in India.

Legitimacy of the Indian State

Another moment when China invaded India [in 1962], E.M.S. Namboodiripad [another Communist leader] said India is the aggressor.

The only thing I am trying to say is: Why is it so difficult to accept the legitimacy of the Indian State? For many people in the established Left. Forget about the Maoists.

The Maoists believe that they have to use armed revolution to dislodge this government, and take over power. And you know the DSU [Democratic Students’ Union that arrested leaders Umar Khalid and Anirban earlier belonged to] is an offshoot of this Maoist party.

And let me also tell you—please also take a look at the letters of resignation that Umar Khalid, Anirban wrote from DSU. They said, “We are resigning because there is no scope for dissent. There is no democracy in DSU.”

Look at the ironies of these situation. I want you to be alive to that. So that is another moment.

Be a critic

And the third moment, if you want to look at it, is what happens after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And you look at the New Left Review issues and it is a great crisis: What to do?

Because the only counter to imperialism—the only counter to capitalism—is now gone.

And then they said, well, within the state, within the bourgeoise state, be a critic. Which I accept, but the point I am trying to make is that different shades of the Left in India have had a great deal of trouble in accepting the legitimacy of the elected government of India, whoever the party is.

Where does the Left derive its legitimacy from?

Now the real question is this: From where does the Left—and there are all kinds of Left, you know.

There is a Congress Left, you know, the Socialists: Aruna Asaf Ali, Achyut Patwardhan, JP [Jayprakash Narayan]. Now, these were branded by the Communist Party of India—look at the dialogues.

There’s a Progressive Left. There are writers—Mulk Raj Anand was thrown out, Manto was thrown out for indecency.

So it’s a complicated story. And I don’t what to simplify it.

But all I want to do to ask you is this: When you say you will overthrow the elected government, where do you derive your legitimacy from?

Is it that all the peasants have been polled—to give you the legitimacy?

I submit for your consideration that the legitimacy that authorises violence in this case, and you know the summary executions of informants—please read what happens: If you are thought to be an informant, you are executed by these people. I can give you figures….

Anyhow, where does it derive its authorisation from?

Where does it derive its legitimacy from?

I submit to you that it derives its authorisation and legitimacy from ideology.

So it’s like a theological authorisation.

It’s not any plebiscite or vote.

So yeah, if people in JNU had voted, if the Student Union had organised an actual debate, like, say the Oxford Union on the eve of the war—World War II—when they said, “This house believes that England, Britain, should not join the war” or something.

And they voted and they won.

That was not sedition.

Debate on Kashmiri separatism

So let’s have a debate.

Let’s say: How many people on this campus support separatism on Kashmir? We can have a debate.

Let’s see how many people—there are 8,000 students in JNU, apparently, according to Professor Sopory’s statement. If you go to the website—the JNU website’s figures are not updated—these are 2009 figures, they are the latest and they say around 7,000 students.

And you know that my friend here, whom I deeply respect, Kanhaiya Kumar, was elected by a little over a thousand votes. And the second person got some 600 and some odd votes. You can correct me as to the actual figures.

And you could have a real debate—I have lived on this campus for over 16 years … and my suspicion is….

[Responds to someone who says something] That’s right, but let’s poll. How many people support Kashmiri separatism?

[People shout]: No, no, not now, let’s have a proper debate, thank you.

But with due respect to you, you will see—you are far outnumbered.

Five people raised their hands.

[At this point the crowd roars and some more—a few more people from what is visible—raise their hands.]

Even so, anyhow, let’s get back to the point: I am saying, that’s another way to do it. And that’s my point.

And then there would be a legitimacy to this kind of movement.

And why not? I mean, every form of opinion should be respected. I don’t think that is the issue.

My question was that when something is authorised, what is it that authorises it?

And to me, social contract—call it Locke, call it Rousseau—is the basis of modern democracy, where people and their rulers have a contract: we vote you and you represent our will.

Left hegemonic space?

Anyhow, I will come to the end of my talk which was simply that when we consider ourselves a democratic space, we should also ask ourselves if this is entirely true.

Isn’t it possible that this is a Left hegemonic space? Well, if you disagree, you are silenced, you are boycotted, you are brow-beaten, or—or, sometimes, you are brainwashed.

[Loud shouts of No!]

I can give you so many examples. But let me just say one thing: I love JNU too. I love JNU as much as anybody else.

[Responds to some shouts that it is not about love] Love is very important [At this point Kanhaiya Kumar intervenes and counsels Paranjape not to get into a one to one with those present as it could go on, to which Paranjape agrees.]

What makes us special, I think, is that we don’t beat the people we disagree with. We can bully them but we don’t beat them. I haven’t been beaten here—as yet. We are not like other people who offer a reward and all….

Autonomy of all institutions

I stand in solidarity of all who want to protect the autonomy, not only of JNU but all educational institutions.

I stand in solidarity of those who demand due process, who believe in the institutions—not of a university, but of a country.

I stand with all of this.

But the only thing I submit to you is that even I have been a victim of a campaign of vilification. Let me tell you there have been open letters against me, and I don’t know what someone is circulating against me today—let me tell you, I have never signed a Hindi petition so far. I don’t know what it is—the entire thing is in Hindi where my name too has been added—I have not yet read it.

The only thing I want to say is this—and this is my last point. After these things happened, you know, I was walking to the department, and I saw this person on a bicycle carrying a placard: “I am not anti-national.”

And I think we are not anti-national. I agree.

And when you hear my views which are critical of what I consider Left hegemonic practices—sometimes bordering on Left dictatorial practices—I hope I don’t have to carry a sign saying, “I am not anti-JNU”.

I am like all of you.

And if you read any book of mine, I acknowledge JNU, I acknowledge my colleagues, I acknowledge my students.

And I stand here before you because I believe that this performative is also important where we discuss ideas, we uphold the right of each other to disagree and we don’t reduce all politics to sloganeering and self-complacency but interrogate our own positions.

This is what I mean by “diatopical hermeneutics” where we acknowledge the incompleteness of our own positions and go forward.

Thank you. – Scroll.in, 8 March 2016

» Prof Dr Makarand Paranjape is an Indian poet and professor of English at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Kanhaiya Kumar

Kanhaiya Kumar