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The Rising Tide of Student Protests

The unleashing of masked terror in JNU has been countered with renewed spirits and solidarity.


On 5 January 2020, a masked mob brutally attacked the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were holding a peace meeting on the campus. The attack had the explicit intention of not only causing physical injuries to students and teachers, but also creating a perpetual sense of fear and terror. The images that have been pouring in from JNU and shown in the media raise many questions. These images show ransacked rooms, with a rickety wooden shelf full of books and a shelf with basic necessities here, a rudimentary heater-cum-stove there, and trampled-over mattresses and blankets spread out on the floors. Reports in the media point out that the targeted rooms were intentionally chosen for having portraits like those of B R Ambedkar on their doors, or for their occupants having a particular embattled social identity.

Clearly, the students of JNU do not live a lavish life, but JNU does provide a rich life—a life of the mind, in a culture that is liberating and encourages criticality, creativity, and flourishing of diverse world views, “leftist” being only one of these. It is a life that offers dignity and hope. It is a university that goes beyond mere “training” and believes in “educating” students, most of whom are from faraway places and underprivileged backgrounds. JNU has had a tradition of open participation in discourses and practices for generating knowledge and safeguarding values that are crucial for maintaining humanism and morality in our society. It has managed to build an enabling, free, and safe atmosphere for its residents over decades, critical for running any university.

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Updated On : 14th Jan, 2020


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