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Monday, February 22, 2016

Left Is Right. Right is Wrong?

Kanhaiya Kumar’s totally uncalled for arrest and slapping of the charges of sedition etc. have clouded the issue to  further the interest of the elements the government claims to rein in. But before we discuss the issue it would be worthwhile to recapitulate the basic facts of the story which have been told and retold and changed somewhat in every telling.  No one has come up yet with the theory that there were two editions of Kanhaiya. Otherwise every fact, every video clipping comes in two versions. You can take your pick.

It is beyond dispute that a group of students in the JNU organised a “cultural” evening to celebrate the death anniversary of the martyred Afzal Guru. To an overwhelmingly large number of Indians, he was a terrorist and enemy of the Indian state. Political leaders across the divide had endorsed this view in the immediate aftermath of the attack. The “cultural artists” chanted their determination to fight till the destruction of the Indian state, and felt ashamed that the killers of Afzal were still alive. They concluded by invoking the blessing of Allah for this project. The slogans need to be quoted in full for the enlarged meaning of “cultural activities”.

पाकिस्तान जिंदाबाद,
गो इंडिया गो बैक,

भारत की बर्बादी तक जंग रहेगी जारी,
कश्मीर की आजादी तक जंग रहेगी जारी,

अफजल हम शर्मिंदा हैं, तेरे कातिल जिन्दा हैं;
तुम कितने अफजल मारोगे, हर घर से अफजल निकलेगा:

अफजल तेरे खून से इंकलाब आएगा,

अल्लाह हो अकबर,
भारत तेरे टूकड़े होंगे इंसा अल्लाह, इंसा अल्लाह"

Kanhaiya Kumar later distanced himself from the shouting of these slogans and condemned this act. The evening, he said, was meant to commemorate Dr. Ambedkar and reaffirm faith in Indian constitution.

Afzal Guru the “martyr”, was hanged to death when the Congress government was in power, after the entire range of curative options available to an accused in a polity governed by due process of law – from the trial court to the mercy petition    before the President of India - were exhausted. Having failed to get a favourable verdict, few would dare indulge in public denunciation of the most sacred of our institutions.  Democracy is about building institutions; institutions work in tandem with other institutions and they have to be invested with authority by reposing faith in them and not wrecking them for perceived wrongs. That is our share of the democratic burden. Dr. Ambedkar must have turned in his grave to hear the public denunciation of all that we hold sacred.

 Lenin used to ask ironically: “Freedom -- yes, but for whom? To do what?”. The idea of free speech is so seductive that it seems wimpish to even suggest caution or moderation in the exercise of this sacred right, but we must wonder whether the democratic idealism provides a standpoint outside of itself to wreck and demolish its very foundational values. No law was violated in the chanting of these slogans, agreed, but are societies run by decrees alone? Are we subject to the prohibition of laws alone? There are no laws against incest. Should that then become an acceptable behaviour? Does good sense and consideration for the feelings of others not curb our freedom of action? I hear that declaring oneself to be anti-national has become the new normal for the enlightened beings, but there are people who would rather be seen dead than being dubbed anti national. If we inhabit a shared space, we have to consider each other’s sensibilities.  Kanhaiya Kumar was not unaware of this, as his subsequent condemnation of the incident shows. What was then the mainspring of his action?

 According to an apostatic ABVP member there is a hierarchy of intellectual order in the JNU; the Brahminical order consists of those from St. Stephen and Presidency College. Cerebral, articulate and fluent in the langua franca of power discourse – English –  their minds organised by the fundamentals of Marxism, they enjoyed  hegemony till the upstart ABVP types gate-crashed – perhaps riding pillion on the rise of the rightist politics. “Students in JNU’s history centre divided informally along class lines early on. Apart from a few exceptions, those from elite colleges like St Stephen’s in Delhi and Presidency in Kolkata turned left, while those from small towns were splintered among the left, the ABVP and the Congress’s student wing, the National Students’ Union of India. Apart from my background, it also seemed to me that falling in line with the left would mean acceptance of this intellectual hierarchy. Spurning the system seemed enticing.”

 Kashmir is very much on the minds of the Indian people. The ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pandits is an equally emotive issue for an overwhelming number of Indians, but it has  never seized the imagination of the progressively oriented JNU( or has it?) because it  does not command as  much traction as  liberation of Kashmir. If we argue by results they were dead right. JNU has become a global symbol of resistance and Kanhaiya Kumar, a nondescript entity from Bihar with no past to reckon with, is suddenly a martyr to the cause of  democracy. Secure in the knowledge that aggressive and institutionally entrenched national and global elite well-versed in the vernacular of law, who exert a tremendous pressure on politics will intervene on their behalf  makes  such gestures risk profitable. Prashant Bhushan has offered his services voluntarily; the likes of Arundhati Roy and Chomsky have given him the thumbs up. If the exercise of freedom of speech was this rewarding, who would flinch form murder?  The intellectually unsophisticated security personnel guarding the parliament building seemed to have laid down their lives quite gratuitously when martyrdom comes so cheap. 
 As an Egyptian poet said,
“What have we not done for our fatherland.
Some have laid down their lives , some made speeches.”


ajoyipsbhr85 said...

Sattires go a long way in carrying a message.
But for a former IPS officer, not examining the role of Kanhaiya, in his capacity as the President of JNUSU, vis-vis' his legal duty prescribed in section 39(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, does seem deliberate in furtherance of the 'objective of sattire'.

Manoje Nath said...

I look forward to your views . You always bring a fresh insight .Thanks

Anonymous said...

sir kindly do not approve or post here -

Brilliant article by a brilliant author !

It is indeed an attack on democracy !
What happened when dissent was allowed in Nalanda and Vikramshila universities in 1192 AD ?
Attack on democracy is actually by Buddhuist forces -
www .

- JNU should be closed or moved to Taxila university location.
All be alert !

Anonymous said...

Thank you Manoj and Gopal jee -
1. True wisdom is here, has always been here, will always be here. It cannot be destroyed as it's source is the source of all. Even if all books were lost if all memory was lost, it would re-appear for higher beings would take human birth to remind us this is the map of the universe this is the path of creation.
So when one awakens from the deep sleep that is living without proper wisdom and proper guidance, one realizes that there are pools of knowledge that have always been available and they are always there when one is ready.
The soul is always ready, it always remembers from where it has come and to where it will return but the mind gets clouded by overloaded highways of information feeding the senses and ultimate confusion prevails.
Ancient wisdom is here to bring clarity, the ultimate answer the full stop. The ocean of wisdom is vast but it is
one ocean, you can swim on the shore, you can dive deep you can play in the pools but the ocean is one.
-- 2. True Self discovery and social harmony is not possible without including our connection with the Higher Self.
God exists within each one of us as the Supreme Self or Paramatman, as explained in ancient teachings.
This understanding is the ideal basis for unity between all people. Any such unity must be beyond the distinctions of the physical body and its outer identity of age, sex, class, culture, race, color or country.
It is through this means by which the groundwork can be laid for true human equality and freedom.


Sudhir Kumar Jha IPS (Retd.) said...

Well done Manoj. On the mark as always. The complete indifference to the fate of displaced Kashmiri Pandits has been troubling my conscience also. I agree that there cannot and need not be laws to govern(control) all our actions. Like family norms social norms too have to have sanctity without the fear of legal punishment. Freedom does not mean licence and JNU needs to do self-introspection before it gets derailed. One thing I could not comprehend is whether you are for Kanhaiya and his likes or against.

Manoje Nath said...

I am dead against the ileks of Kanhaiya , who is nothing more than a windblown feather who has gained some height due to vagaries of political weather . I think Leave The Kids Alone makes my position even clearer. Thank you sir ,for your showing the interest .