For the Students and Faculty of JNU

By Anjum Altaf

For the Students and Faculty of JNU
(After Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s dar-e umiid ke daryuuza-gar)

Cursing, hurling vile abuse
They came to tarnish, ravish, debase
Parade the tatters of our soul
As emblems of their rule

Hordes swarm the streets
Goose-stepping, flaunting steel
Threatening, intimidating those
Who dare refuse to keel

We collect the shreds they tore
Dyed red in our blood
Sew them back in a banner
Bigger, brighter than before

Faiz’s poem can be accessed in Urdu, Hindi, and Roman here.

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  • Vikram
    Posted at 03:59h, 09 March Reply

    It appears that a romantic vision of JNU is being built up in this blog. The reality is far more nuanced, and if scrutinized thoroughly, it is apparent that JNU is no bastion of free speech.

    The dominant forces there prevented Durga Puja from being celebrated.

    “In fact, the ABVP’s biggest cultural achievement in so many years at JNU has been yearly celebration of Durga Puja. “There was great opposition by the Left in 1999. They said religious activity could not be allowed on campus. So we asked them to stop iftaar too. As the tussle went on for three years, support for us kept growing, thanks to a sizeable number of Bengali students. It is now celebrated with much fanfare every year,” said a former ABVP member.”

    And here is the commitment of your new hero to free speech:

    “What, however, stand out was that his speech was interrupted first by sloganeering by Kanhaiya Kumar and was also booed by some students in the audience, unlike other speakers who took a pro-Left position on the issue of Nationalism debate and Paranjape was also made to face questions from audience, again led by Kumar.”

    Now perhaps we know what Dipankar Gupta was talking about when he said that Nicolas Dirks and Susan Bayly would not be able to stand in front of a JNU audience …

    • Anjum Altaf
      Posted at 05:45h, 09 March

      Vikram: Professor Makarand Paranjape’s talk at the JNU teach-in is an important one and I am linking it here:

    • Vikram
      Posted at 14:04h, 27 April

      Another good intervention by Dr. Paranjape,

      “I still might have refrained had it not been for the ominous warning at the end of your letter: “History will not forget that at this critical moment, you chose not to stand with it.” I wonder if you noticed how the dire threat of Judgement Day of the Semitic faiths now reappears in your missive in the garb of damnation at the dread hand of History.”

    • Vikram
      Posted at 14:45h, 11 March

      The same JNU ‘intellectuals’ who declare India fanatic for sloppy book by Wendy Doniger (which is wrong) happily burnt books that they didnt like.

    • Anjum Altaf
      Posted at 14:31h, 13 March

      Vikram: The JNU intellectuals would have to answer to that but I am not sure how much credibility to assign to a book review on Amazon. Also, why do you consider Wendy Doniger’s book sloppy?

    • Vikram
      Posted at 23:29h, 13 March

      The review is a data point by an ex JNU alum, so I dont see why it is inadmissible. We can confirm from other sources whether this burning happened or not.

      As for Doniger, her book is full of factual inaccuracies and fantastic extrapolations.

    • Anjum Altaf
      Posted at 08:38h, 20 March

      Vikram: JNU is not a perfect place so things might have happened there that shouldn’t have. But one wrong doesn’t justify another. Each incident has to be looked at on its own merits. Can one justify doctored videos because a book was burnt some years ago.

      Doniger’s book has received some very high praise as well. One could label it controversial but I don’t believe outright rejection is warranted. Certainly suppression is not the answer. Vigorous debate seems a better way to go.

    • Vikram
      Posted at 04:04h, 15 March

      This short letter by Sufiya Pathan (part of an exchange between her, Jakub Roover and Nivedita Menon), helps clarify the problem with Doniger’s work:

      “Whether highlighting a feminist/sexual/low-caste historical perspective, the point Doniger and other scholars writing in this vein ignore is akin to this: to say that the story of Eklavya shows the position of tribals/lower castes in ancient India is like saying that the rape rate in ancient Greece is mirrored in the number of women Zeus rapes in Greek mythology. Similarly, to say that Surpanakha is the measure for how women’s sexuality was suppressed is akin to saying that Greek women were taught to give undue emphasis to virginity since Daphne preferred to be turned into a laurel tree
      than be taken by Apollo. What sounds patently absurd to us in one case does not strike us as in the least incongruous in another. Clearly, this has more to do with what passes as the ‘serious’ study of India as against what would be entertained as scholarship about the West.

      Once we understand the primarily unscientific nature of Doniger’s work, the debate around ‘free speech’ will automatically disappear. For instance, we may ‘tolerate’ publications by Christian institutions or individuals who seek to reject the theory of evolution. But we certainly don’t teach
      them at University ! And nobody writing such books is likely to get tenured positions in Universities.”

  • SouthAsian
    Posted at 18:09h, 15 March Reply

    A tribute to Professor Nivedita Menon by a former student:

  • Vikram
    Posted at 04:58h, 08 April Reply
  • Vikram
    Posted at 02:35h, 04 May Reply

    Whats official policy in Pakistan, is now also being repeated in the US, thanks to leftist academia:

    The bullying report has several key findings:

    One out of three respondents said they had been bullied for their religious beliefs

    Half of the total sample size indicated feelings of awkwardness or social isolation because of their religious identity

    More than three out of five respondents said that their schools focus on caste and Hinduism, including inaccurate claims about the religion and Indian social practice

    About one in eight respondents said their teachers made sarcastic remarks about Hinduism in front of a class

    About one out of every four respondents surveyed said she/he was put on the spot or singled out by a teacher when the section on Hinduism was discussed

    About one in four respondents said they had been bullied within the past year, with about a third saying those who bullied them were “making fun of Hindu traditions”

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