NEW DELHI: “It will be wrong to say that a kitchen knife is used for murders, therefore you cannot put it in homes” is how M Jagadesh Kumar, vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said in his defense for wanting to install a military tank on campus to instill patriotism.
His comment comes following outbursts calling it an unworthy statement on the part of a vice-chancellor that a tank represents patriotism instead of war. Kumar called it a tank a showcase of India’s “engineering marvel” and an effort towards “bonding” with National Defence Academy students and JNU alumni. “A tank is just an example, it can be an airplane or a ship. These are objects of engineering marvel. Such symbols will strengthen our bond with our alumni,” Kumar told The Sunday Standard. He added that since Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat is an NDA graduate, in effect he and other soldiers “are our alumni”. JNU awards degrees to all NDA graduates.
With three more years to go as JNU’s administrative head, Kumar has had his share of controversies. On February 9, 2016, JNU was caught in controversy after some students raised pro-Pakistan slogans on the death anniversary of Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru. Recently, Kumar was accused of imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking students for filling JNU forms.