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And They Came For Students

And They Came For Students

Mark Twain, American writer, said: Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. Victor Hugo, French novelist and poet, put it differently: He who opens a school door, closes a prison. Both mean the same. The mandarins of present regime pay little heed to such exhortations. In fact, without batting an eyelid, they embark on destroying the finest universities in the country which have produced great men and women. The recent incidents at Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University are nothing but outright bid to subjugate institutions which are unwilling to toe the line of the present dispensation. In Jamia Millia, they used brute police force to silence their voice; in JNU they allowed goons to go on a rampage to wreak havoc. The purpose behind the vicious attacks is same: Sending out a firm warning to ‘shape up, or ship out.’

Silencing the opponents with arm-twisting is the tactics of the present regime. Many politicians turned turn-coats allegedly under pressure from the government. Targeting Opposition leaders and unleashing investigation agencies on them have become a regular feature. We have seen many politicians jumping the ship apparently to save the trouble of going behind bar. Those stood the ground have paid a heavy price. After tasting success in this operation, the government has now turned their focus on students at institutions of higher learning. The devilish dance of gooligans at JNU is apparently an effort to convert one of the best universities in the country into a Hindutva haven.

What we are witnessing in JNU is outlandish and outrageous. The goons have gone scot-free; after spilling blood on the campus, they walked out as cool as they came in. On the other hand, FIRs have been registered against the victims of brutality whose heads have been cracked and limps fractured. The police facilitated the attack by remaining mute spectators as the orgy of violence continued unabated on the campus. The university administration too ‘lent a helping hand’ when the ‘saffron brigade’ came looking for their targets.

To get a better picture of the happenings at the universities, we should look at the chronology of events. First, they came for the minorities -- thrashed and lynched them on one or other excuse; next they came for Dalits -- brutally attacked and even hanged them on trees; then they came for Tribals -- passed laws to take away their land and filed false sedition cases when they fought back; later they came for historians, intellectuals, writers and artists calling them ‘urban naxals’ and ‘anti-nationals’; and now they have come for students of institutions of higher learning, especially those which are seen as ‘rebel hotspots’. 

The government seems to have miscalculated the vigour and vitality of the youth. The blood spilled on the campuses is not the blood of a few individuals. It is the blood that flows in the vein of the nation. This is becoming evident day by day as protests pick up momentum and more people from all walks of life join the fight against Hindutva forces and despotism. The government should better realise that ideological war can never be won by unleashing terror.

(Published on 13th January 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 03)