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JNU’s Left turn, Right turn

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The reportage of February 9 event at Jawaharlal Nehru University and its aftermath may become a turning point in student activism and campus politics. While the ‘disgraceful’ event demonized JNU as a hub of ‘Moist-secessionists’ nexus, the open-air lecture series on nationalism provided intellectual fodder and brought  many a critical issues of national importance onto spotlight, something mainstream media very rarely discuss or write about. The lecture series was the immediate positive outcome of this otherwise disturbing issue that divided public opinion vertically into us versus them. The nationalism got defined in so many ways that each opinioned person felt being a nationalist at heart. So no winners or losers on this front.
At the same time, it also became clear that left wing politics on campuses and outside on decline, received a boost with nationally televised address of JNUSU president and turned him into a momentary hero partly because of his oratory skills and party because of raising expectations of leftist thinking. While in a country like India, where issues like poverty, malnutrition, human rights and human development index are still very big, the space for left ideas and agenda remain, still extreme forms of left inspired politics is more of a danger than an acceptable way for addressing these challenges. Country is battling violent Moist extremism in several states and curiously the bunch of students implicated in JNU incident seem to represent this form of leftism though wrapped in what they called university culture.
India is historically the birthplace of university system be it Takshila or Nalanda and by that logic we must take pride in JNU and other universities raking up national conscience and taking on the system. But, in spirit, it should be based on ‘unity in diversity’ that defines India of today. The student movements must not reinvent wheel, instead these should aid in building capacity of youth to be part of nation building and not destroying it. The foreseeable challenges that humankind faces will need enablers, doers and innovators in all fields including social sciences. The research opportunities are real and fulfilling. Anti-national elements and organizations both within the country and outside are always ready with a trap to further their agenda. Students must not get into this trap as the dangers posed by radicalized ideologies can potentially finish existence of everything that all of us together stand for.

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