4 June 2016

Intolerance regarding arrival of Umar Khalid

Umar Khalid at JNU, Source: IndiaToday

On May 22nd the city of Kolkata witnessed yet another exhibition of “intolerance” (quite a raging word these days) as around thirty men blocked BB Ganguly Street and staged a protest against Umar Khalid’s arrival in the city. The purpose of Khalid's visit was for a panel discussion organized by the Bastar Solidarity Network, a group that has been protesting against the atrocities on tribal people in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh. The protest was organized by a group called Hindu Samhati and later joined by ABVP and BJP Yuva Morcha. As these people threatened to “kick out” Umar and labelled him as an ‘anti-national’ or ‘pro-Pakistani’ yet again. I wonder who are these people to pronounce judgments when the court itself granted permission to Umar to travel to Kolkata. Some people even conjectured why doesn’t this boy go and complete his Ph.D. instead of protesting against every wrong-doing of the present government. Perhaps this is what the saffron government wants, too.

Since the past few months, the fascist government has primarily been bent on shaming and defacing the biggest educational institutions of the country namely JNU, HCU, UOH and our very own JU. Any layman can well understand that the purpose of this continual and recurrent method of attacking universities. It is of course in order to resist any kind of opposition this government might face in their vehement attempts of ‘moral policing’ over the society and carrying out other atrocities in every part of the country, that it is trying with every force (often assisted by the media) to silence the voice of the youth and the educated lot who alone can unmask a party that has mostly uneducated individuals at the helm of affairs.

Source: The Hindu

The whole problem probably brewed in the JNU campus (though there are innumerable earlier instances in other institutions and places) on February 9th of this year when a radical leftist students organization called Democratic Students Union (DSU) held a cultural event to protest the ‘ judicial killing’ of Afzal Guru and support the fights of the Kashmiris. Reportedly some Kashmiri pro-separationists (who may or may not belong to JNU) raised slogans like “Bharat ki Barbadi tak Kashmir ki Aadi tak jung rahegi jung rahegi”; “Bharat ke solah tukde honge Insha'Allah Insha'Allah” which soon rented the air and echoed in every television set and overshadowed the goodwill and purpose of the event and Umar’s slogans of “Manuvad se azaadi; Bhrashtachar se azaadi”. This led to the alleged arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and seven other students including Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya and branding of a prestigious institution as ‘a hub of anti-national activities’; the point of propaganda of the fascist rulers often being that the institutions like JNU and JU financed by the national exchequer are wasting the country’s resources and harboring pro-separatism and pro-Pakistani feelings. The whole nation, specially the student community, seethed in anger ensuing the arrest of the students, the barbaric campus violence, and the tension-filled atmosphere that pervaded the campus for a considerable length of time.

The various incidents taking place across the country makes us question: "How can these problems brew altogether in four different institutes and that too, within such a short span of time? Is this really coincidental or a planned manoeuvre of the fascist government to suppress the most threatening class of society -the educated youth or the intelligentsia? (a Déjà vu feeling, resembles the British Raj, doesn’t it?) The question that torments my mind and perhaps many such minds is this “How do you define an anti-national?” and who decides if a person is anti-national? Does protesting against an atrocious government make me an anti-national or unpatriotic (nation and government are two distinctly different terms)? Or does retaliating against the ruling party goons in my campus or seeking justice against molestation of a girl makes me the “spoiled brat revolutionists” (“biplobi Jadavpur”)? Or does supporting the movements for securing human rights for Kashmiris or nullification of the AFSPA in Kashmir make me a pro-Pakistani? But let’s forget all these silly revolutions and protests and sit in peace in front of the television sets believing in all the unadulterated and unalloyed news shown, waiting for our “achhe din” to come, agreed?

-Utsa Ghosh

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