Home Campus voice An Interview With JNUSU President On Nationalism, Najeeb, Education And Other Issues!

An Interview With JNUSU President On Nationalism, Najeeb, Education And Other Issues!

JNUSU President Mohit K Pandey in conversation with The Companion on variety of issues from Nationalism, Education, forced disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed and other insights into the campus politics.

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Why JNU is being continuously targeted by right wing forces?

If we see the politics of right wing, it is mainly to destruct the education. They are cutting fellowships, reducing seats in colleges and recruiting teachers in corrupt manners. And whoever raises voice against the corrupt policies they try to muzzle their voice.

If we see the current scenario, there are issues of lynching in the country, Dalits are being attacked and whoever questions becomes the prime target of the right wing as well. The thing is every voice raised against the disagreement is being targeted. And such voices are also from our campus, there are voices of journalists, activists and of honest politicians.

How UGC Net can affect the future research in India? Why are only Social Science students targeted?

The vision to target Social Sciences is clear. Recently appointed ICSSR chairperson said that the textbooks are making students activists. This comment is very disgraceful. We should be happy if any activist is born in our society. Activists work for the change in society. The government terms this reforming spirit as anti-national. That’s why they want to end Social Sciences. The subjects give deep insight about the society and suggest changes to be brought out from time to time. For say thoughts of eradicating poverty, unemployment, solving problems of farmers, and communal violence comes from social science. But these people want these problems to continue for the sake of their politics.

On the other hand, in the issue of NET we can see how anti-research and anti-employment they are. First, they cut the seats for research and NET. Second, they made NET exam to be conducted annually rather than half-yearly. They will neither allow you to do research nor to get a job easily. Their mind is clear to destroy studies and employment. We add to this, for humor, that they want us to take jobs in BJP IT cell.

The student community seems to be worst suffering in the BJP regime. Is BJP more dangerous than Congress particularly in the education sector?

The matter is not about BJP or Congress. We students never stand with the government. The thing is that when the new government came, they said that they were well-wishers of people and would stand by the people. But then it started working against the people like people of FTII told that the government whom they elected now says that asking questions is not allowed. Then we have to do something.

Congress party also came with many policies that were protested against like FYUP. But when we protest against the policies of BJP government, they question why you didn’t do so at Congress time. Our reply is that we protested more at Congress times. But you want to end the space where protests can happen.

And I say every time that whenever bad policies and schemes of government either by BJP or Congress will come, protests will happen. The BJP government wants to play every time in the name of the nation and whenever someone protests they label them as Anti-national. But actually, they themselves are engaged in anti-national activities by destroying the future of students and declining employment level.

How you see the entire episode of nationalism with the latest development of tank issue on the campus?

Look, the actual issue is how they imagine a university? Do students studying in campuses, teachers teaching in campuses, workers working in campuses, come to their minds or not? If you see the issue of the tank, then we have the problem with how the proposal for the tank was put. While keeping the issue of the tank by Vice Chancellor on one side, people sitting were telling that they would capture JNU, would capture Jadavpur University and also HCU. From this, it is clear that you (the college administration) want to enforce/create a vision of a nation that we don’t agree with in our heart because it is your thought and it is coming from the top down approach.

Our talk should be about whether the people of JNU and other universities are contributing towards the idea of the nation, or not. Our studies at university involve the ideas towards solving the problems of the country and its prime goal is to solve the country problems and to change the status quo of the society.

Then they say that nationalism will come from tanks, and believe that they will capture JNU, fighting war here on campus. But they don’t understand that JNU is not merely a building of bricks. JNU is a group of people with rational thinking. And to engage with the campus they have to talk to the people of JNU. But they don’t want to talk and their every policy is against us and against the people residing here. They can build a big building and name it JNU, but they can’t engage with the people residing there.

What was the march called by the JNU VC? How do you see the role of VC in entire debate over JNU in last 1.5 years? And he called for the march.

Look, anyone can call for a march. People with different ideologies can call for a march with different issues in different ways. This doesn’t trouble us. In fact, we want JNU VC to join our march. What’s important is how it is treated. At the time of that march, the main gate was closed for some time. If this was done by us, we would have been fined and inquiry would have been setup. The second thing is that if JNU VC is looking positively for the march of tricolor, then he should also take our march in remembrance of Baba Saheb Ambedkar or for Bhagat Singh or against the violence across the country positively. But in the inquiry process of these marches, the role of VC is most prejudiced and biased. Because he is giving space for one type of protest while not allowing such space for other marches and voices.

But during last few days, VC had indulged in many scams in the campus. The people working with him are all closely linked to RSS or are old members of ABVP. All posts are filled with people having same ideology. The recent recruitments involved dangerous nepotism. All selected for the posts are linked with RSS or ABVP. In admissions also many scams have been reported. The reservation process is being manipulated and toppled. And likewise, many things are going on the campus. On the other hand, 800 seats are reduced in the campus.

There is also a lack of fund in college and VC wants to start new courses with low or no importance in the campus and old courses are on target. We are saying since long that if you (VC) want to understand the university then you have to engage with the university. You can’t understand our University from sitting inside the office and passing law and press release. You have to interact with students on regular basis on the issues, problems of the university and try to solve them. Vice Chancellor doesn’t want to understand this. The orders come from top leaders of government (RSS and BJP) to VC. And these orders are soon implemented in the campus just like a bomb is thrown. This is not accepted here, that’s why there is resistance against the policies and ideologies.

Why you were denied registration for the coming semester?

When Vice Chancellor was coming one after another with anti-student policies like seat cut, reservation cut, and deprivation point for girls & regional students were cut. In the issue of Najeeb, the administration acted in a prejudiced manner. In all these matters, we protested against the administration. Today we are paying for that. They are putting false fines, and when we deny paying fine they terrorise us by trying to cancel our studentship. I always ask them in letters and recently I received a letter asking why I am writing so many letters. The Fact is I only want to know about the law through which you can cancel my studentship. You can’t do that, and if you are expelling me then clearly mention that you are expelling me. But you can’t cancel my studentship. And because of standing against their authoritarian rule, I am being removed from campus.

In the case of Najeeb’s disappearance, there is no trace or development. Isn’t it leaving a question mark on the JNUSU administration and entire JNU fraternity?

Yes, it is true that anyone can be questioned. But from the very start of the case of disappearance, the thing is who is looking it with sensitive angle? And who is involved and whose role must be brought under suspicion? You know that Najeeb was attacked by ABVP. Many students complained about the issue. For five to six months, various protests were held. The punishment that I got was for Najeeb’s issue. But administration still delayed the matter. We went to court with his mother and made sure the investigation goes on. And the investigation is still pending. Whether you see things succeeding or not, we don’t want to sit quietly till he comes. We want this issue to be always alive, and the question where is Najeeb must be alive.

But we need to see whom to ask questions? Should we ask from those who are fighting with you or to those who are responsible for it? If we do a mistake here, then in coming time it will become a norm to not to ask those who are actually responsible. And this happened particularly in the case of Najeeb.

In fact, the matter is clear, the administration is taking sides, and people with Najeeb are harrassed while the culprits are not even sensitive. If you ask them about Najeeb, either they will laugh or try to justify themselves by their silly arguments. And I will add that protest for Najeeb is connected with the issues of the country. There are cases of mob lynching every day. In fact, as soon BJP assumed power in Bihar, a report of mob attack surfaced. So, it is not a different issue.