Why would I want JNU to be renamed? I'm not an idiot, asks a startled Hans Raj Hans - the man at the heart of a strange controversy that put him on the social media map. 'Why would I even take the name of someone as great as Pandit Nehru? He was our first Prime Minister after all,' the North West Delhi MP tells us in an agitated voice.
It was Hans' first visit to JNU on August 17 . He'd gone to there as a Chief Guest for an ABVP event, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Little did he know that a passing comment made at the event could actually make headlines, leaving him distressed. Soon after the event, there were reports that said that Hans wanted JNU to be renamed as Modi Narendra University (MNU).
'I was shocked to see the news yesterday,' Hans tells us over a phone call. He was at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, visiting former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. What exactly happened at JNU, we asked. He says, 'I'd gone there for an event where I had a very healthy conversation with the children. In fact, we laughed a lot and had a lot of fun. I was telling them to think positive and become great individuals, like the alumni.'
Hans, right after that was asked by a student, if he knows what JNU stands for. 'I said no, even though I knew the answer, just for fun and asked him for the expansion. He said it stands for Jawaharlal Nehru University, named after their hero. So, I said that my hero is MNU. They were confused. I said it stands for Modi Narendra Bhai University. We all laughed after that,' he says.
He said that his words were twisted and misinterpreted. 'This news has ruined my entire political career and all the reputation I earned. If Modiji gets to know about this, he'll definitely scold me. He wouldn't be pleased even if I'd said that JNU must be renamed as MNU. He is a strong leader. Pleasing him is no cakewalk,' he says, adding that he has never said anything controversial ever in his life. 'I'm an artist-turned-politician. I'm born to spread love. This has brought me a lot of laurels, including the Padma Shri. Why would I want to create an issue like this?' he asks.
Hans said that the students quickly went on to the next topic, which was the abrogation of Article 370, a move that Hans lauds the government for. 'Pandit Nehru is a great man, but he made a few mistakes. He was instrumental for India's partition. Also, being a Pandit, he never thought of the Kashmiri Pandits and implemented Article 370s. Even though we must respect the adults, we should also, discuss their shortcomings and correct them,' he says.
Hans concludes by saying what he loved the most about JNU. 'The children there are really smart. I loved their energy and the conversations I had there.'
This story originally appeared on Edexlive.com