NEW DELHI: Nearly three years after the furore over a protest, JNU students, past and present, feel the event itself was a pretext for the Right-wing groups to promote their “brand of nationalism” as seen in the ongoing poll campaigns. Students remember how the controversy was “used as a pretext” to start a movement, which is not the BJP-run government’s USP. JNU alumnus Yogendra Yadav asserts JNU “was an excuse” to create a nationwide movement.
“To my mind, many of those like Kanhaiya, Anirban, Shehla Rashid, who came out of that row...when they came on a national television, they raised the stature of JNU. They came across as people, who were very articulate, sensible,” he says. “All those who watched that must have been convinced. Those who didn’t want to look at it all or went by the propaganda, must have been influenced.”
Most students feel the JNU incident won’t have an impact on the elections, but some say the emergence of an “anti-dissent” approach, after it, could play a key role in support of the BJP.
“JNU can’t be an issue in the elections. The class of intelligentsia, which is very less small in number, won’t be in favour of the BJP just for propagating nationalism. Their votes won’t have a huge impact certainly,” said a History student.
Anirban, who has been named in a charge sheet, said the students movement in the aftermath of Rohith Vemula’s “murder” had “merged with the uprising in JNU”. “And the spring of 2016 was effectively the first counter-attack that the democratic forces launched against the Modi regime.”
“...it was the first occasion when the opposition closed ranks and challenged the rulers. It ended up being a period that battle-hardened us. And hence it was inevitable that those voices would reverberate in the elections this year as one of the clearest voices of opposition and of solidarity with the oppressed.”