THE HIDDEN AGENDA IN OVERT SLOGANEERING
Recent incidents in universities bear the hallmark of pilot projects aimed at derailing the Modi Government’s efforts to revitalise the economy, to punish it for distancing from the US-backed chaos in West Asia
The pro-secession-for-Kashmir meeting organised by the pro-Maoist Democratic Students Union at Jawaharlal Nehru University on February 9, could well have been an official function of Delhi University if a particular candidate had become Vice Chancellor in 2010.
Readers of this column may recall that in September 2010, the UN Information Centre in Delhi hosted an ‘India Ragdo’ (crush India) type of seminar at its official premises on September 29 (The Pioneer, October 12, 2010), where rabid Kashmiri women raised ‘azaadi‘’slogans. A leading candidate for the post of Delhi University Vice Chancellor admonished exiled Pandits to ‘stop the litany of injustices and break out of victimhood’ (she lost to Mr Dinesh Singh following protests to the Union Home Ministry).
Earlier, in May 2000, two Army Majors (both Kargil heroes) and a civilian were beaten to pulp in the presence of JNU officials and teachers for protesting against an anti-India poem recited by a Pakistani artist at its open air theatre.
Clearly, our universities have long been nurturing venomous anti-national teachers and students who thrive on state-funding but peddle alienation from the nation-state and its civilisational ethos. Intelligence agencies must monitor these intellectual militants and watch the activities of American NGOs that work closely with the US Government in sponsoring coloured revolutions in other countries.
Recent incidents in Indian universities bear the hallmarks of pilot projects aimed at derailing the Modi Government’s efforts to revitalise the economy through cooperation with friendly nations, to punish it for distancing from the US-backed chaos in West Asia, and for not kowtowing to Washington on foreign and domestic economic policy. The current turbulence in Haryana could be part of this continuum.
Recall the sudden high decibel campaign against the ‘politics of intolerance’, followed by the glorification of Yakub Menon (convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai terror attacks) at the University of Hyderabad. But this was eclipsed by the suicide of student Rohith Vemula.
To overcome this setback, a commemoration of Afzal Guru (convicted for his role in the 2001 attack on Parliament House) and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat was organised at the JNU on February 9, in the guise of a cultural event. A similar function was organised by SAR Geelani, acquitted in the Parliament House case, at the Press Club of India on February 10 (space booked on February 8).
It is a mystery why the JNU authorities permitted the DSU leader, Umar Khalid, rather than the Students Union, to host the February 9 event. It was only when the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad warned that the plan was to protest the “judicial killing” of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, and demand independence for Kashmir, that permission was cancelled. Khalid, who went underground after appearing on a television channel on February 10, is the son of SQR Ilyasi, chief of the Students Islamic Movement of India before it was banned.
After Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested (February 12) for allegedly raising seditious slogans during the meeting that was held near a campus eatery, and SAR Geelani arrested for sedition, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leader D Raja and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi rushed to JNU to support the radicals in the name of freedom of expression. Another goal was to firm up an anti-Government unity prior to the Parliament session.
Shades of a coloured revolution became visible when Kashmiri separatist Masrat Alam’s slogan, ‘Bharat ko ragda de ragda,’ reverberated in West Bengal’s Jadavpur University (February 16), where live coverage by television channels made it impossible to pretend the footage was doctored. A yawning silence followed the ‘Thank JNU’ placards, Pakistani flag and Islamic State banners that surfaced in Srinagar.
In a post to a major newspaper, a DSU supporter claimed that several Kashmiri students from inside and outside the campus attended the event, along with the JNUSU, Students Federation of India and All India Students Association. Angered by ABVP slogans, ‘Ye Kashmir Hamara hai’, they retorted, ‘Hum kya chaahte? Azaadi!’ and‘Tum kitne Afzal maaroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega’. He said the Kashmiri students from outside JNU were enraged to see the ABVP cadres and shouted, ‘Bharat ki barbadi tak, jung rahegi, jung rahegi’.
Left-liberals who rushed to defend the provocateurs in articles across the mainstream media, admitted nasty slogans were raised but argued that, somehow, ‘Bharat ko barbad karenge’ is not anti-national. Khalid’s sister told the media that her family did not subscribe to the slogans shouted by the students. By this time, it was clear that the police were looking for DSU members Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Riazul Haq and Rubina Saifee, for organising the pro-Afzal Guru event and participating in anti-India activities.
As the case against Kanhaiya Kumar is sub-judice, it would be inappropriate to comment on his alleged role at the event. But it is pertinent that while video clippings of the function surfaced soon after it began, allegations of doctoring of tapes were made only as late as February 19, one week after his arrest, by a television channel and its guest speakers.
These claims were not made at the time of the arrest; when Kanhaiya was produced before the Patiala House court for remand; or even when he approached the Supreme Court for bail. His voluble lawyers never said this in their innumerable interactions with the media, nor have they placed any such evidence before the court. This appears to be an afterthought.
Interestingly, within 48 hours of the event, 455 faculty from American universities released a statement backing the protestors. The most eminent, Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock (no 319) must understand that outside select grooves of academia, few Indians have heard of him. Those who have, wish to know his views on the US Government’s vindictiveness towards Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and the brutalised innocents of the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose wails were choked by the free press of his free country. He should recall that even fellow Americans ignored the academics’ diatribe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi last time he visited the United States.
Likewise, Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk may like to pontificate on Ankara’s oppressive policies towards the Kurd peoples and its aggression against Syria, and the continuing Baloch genocide by Pakistan. The aged Noam Chomsky is just another white man who burdens himself with every cause outside America. Grow up, guys, your eminence should make an impact inside your own countries.