When there are dark clouds, there are some silver linings that give us hope that all is not lost. Similarly when there are saffron clouds of fascism hovering over the Indian sky, some red linings have emerged from the JNU, India’s number one university. THE UNITED LEFT HAS MADE A CLEAN SWEEP IN JNU STUDENTS UNION POLLS. Modi magic has failed. Marx magic lives on.
Laal Salaam has triumphed over Jai Shri Ram, the war-cry of Hindutva hotheads! JNU is the impregnable Red Fort as hate-mongering goons lay seize to it.
JNU, as everyone knows, is named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Nowadays, blaming Nehru for all ills has become a national pastime. If a fifth-grader scores a big zero in his school exam, he blames Nehru’s policies for his poor performance! And his parents and teachers echo the “honhaar baalak”. From the Kashmir problem to earthquakes and tsunamis, Nehru is blamed for everything bad. There is a saying in the rural Bengal: Jatto Dosh, Nando Ghosh, (every wrong is Nando Ghosh’s fault.) Nando Ghosh was a village simpleton who was held responsible for every problem. Nehru, thanks to the RSS vicious propaganda, has become India’s Nando Ghosh. My neighbour suffers from constipation. He routinely criticises Nehru for his misery!
But Nehru was no ordinary mortal. He was a Renaissance Man. In 1940, Gandhiji himself anointed Nehru as his successor, casting aside such stalwarts as Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Rajendra Prasad and Subhash Chandra Bose! Tagore called Nehru, Rituraj (the king of seasons/spring). These days, Hindu fanatics try to prove Sardar Patel greater than Pandit Nehru. But the Iron Man of India himself agreed to serve as Nehru’s deputy! Patel was elder to Nehru. He called Nehru, Jawahar and Nehru always addressed Patel as Sardar Saheb. Such was the bond between two giants. Pygmies like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah can’t understand how giants function!
Coming back to the JNU, the University has always attracted the best and the brightest. And rebels also. Rama Shankar Yadav Vidrohi was one of them. Vidrohi (rebel in Hindi) came to the JNU from a small town in UP. He dabbled in student politics and was rusticated from the University. Vidrohi was vidrohi. He told authorities that they could expel him from the JNU but couldn’t make him leave the JNU campus! So Vidrohi lived at the campus. He became a poet of resistance and recited his poems at the iconic Ganga Dhaba. Students gathered to hear him offering him tea and biscuits. Till he died a couple of years ago, Rama Shankar Yadav Vidrohi was a JNU icon.
The Bihari connection with the JNU goes back to decades. Chandra Shekhar, an AISA leader from Siwan, was elected the JNUSU President in the 1990s. In those days, Shahabuddin was a byword for terror in Siwan. His sharp shooters gunned down Chandra Shekhar. The entire JNU descended upon the small Bihar town. Chandra Shekhar’s frail, old mother Kaushalya Devi emerged a symbol of resistance. Now she is no more. But Shahabuddin has been serving multiple life terms in the Tihar Jail. What you sow in Bihar, you reap in Tihar!
And then came Kanhaiya Kumar, another Bihari boy from Begusarai. A great orator with an earthy wit. Kanhaiya of the AISF was also JNUSU President when he was slapped with sedition charges and put behind bars. The Delhi police commissioner Bhim Sen Bassi who got Kanhaiya arrested was made a UPSC member after his retirement! But sedition charges couldn’t break Kanhaiya’s spirit. He emerged from jail stronger and became an all India figure. The RSS conspiracy boomeranged.
Many people wrote the Left’s obituary after the Soviet Union collapsed. Communism is dead, they proclaimed gleefully from housetops. But the left ideology is here to stay. As long as hunger, poverty and injustice plague the Planet Earth, the Left will not lose its relevance. The Left will fight against poverty, hunger and injustice. Leftists don’t want to see a magnificent Ram Temple in Ayodhya, but a pucca house for every poor. No laddoos for Ganeshji but roti to every man! Nepal has shown the way. The former Hindu Rashtra is now a country where the President and the Prime Minister, both are staunch communists. Threrefore, Narendra Modiji, beware. Your tea has turned sour. The JNU has given a “red” signal. Hammer and Sickle are going to blunt Hindutva’s blood-soaked trishool!
(Mr. Amitabh Kumar Das is a 1994 batch IPS Officer. His views are personal.)