The shameful anti national slogan shouting even at JNU on February 09, 2016 has been overshadowed by the rowdy and uncouth behaviour of the BJP MLA and officers of law at the Patiala courts a few days later. The role of Delhi police has been bizarre, to say the least, right from day one of this whole chain of events. From losing track of the main culprits who were at the forefront of the JNU sloganeering against the nation to allowing a free run to the goons in lawyers clothing at the Patiala courts, the police has indeed cut an extremely sorry figure, both in their conduct and in effective policing. To make matters worse, Mr Bassi, the Police Commissioner, tried to justify the role of his force by giving some very unprofessional explanations on why the police acted in the manner in which they did. He not only failed to remove the huge question mark on the role and efficiency of the police but also came a cropper in his personal capacity. In the final analysis the government suffered a loss of face despite all their good intentions in the interest of the nation.
The political opposition and most of the media had a field day once again since they had sufficient ammunition to fire at the ruling party and Mr Modi. Without exception all of them would rather discuss the loutish behaviour of some goons than the more serious matter of antinational tirade at the JNU campus by those who can only be termed as anti-national elements. Leading the pack has been Rahul Gandhi, who apart from other things stated that the Government & RSS were trying to force their views on the people and that they find terrorism everywhere, even in universities and brand anybody who do not agree with their views as terrorists. Now I wonder what that makes the Gandhi scion since everyone knows that he does not agree to the views of BJP and RSS. But then Rahul will be Rahul – who knows what he says or what he means since most of the times even he does not understand what he says. Not to be outdone, Mr Shashi Tharoor said government should not interfere much in the functioning of universities and that such educational institutions should be treated as autonomous. He implied clearly that all disciplinary and other actions should have been left to the university authorities. In principle one can agree with Mr Tharoor, but given the past record of JNU and the frequency of such events, it would be indeed very naive to believe that the university management was either capable or had the will to tackle the issue. The government had two choices, either to lump it or act and they rightly chose the latter. However, there is no doubt that this incident could have been handled in a more subtle and matured manner by the Home Minister and others involved.
Mr Prakash Karat, of CPI (M), went on to say that ever since the Modi Government came to power, universities across the country have been under siege. There have been constant attempts to impose ideological hegemony on universities. It is indeed very surprising why Mr Karat chose to keep quiet for over twenty months if he saw imposition of ideological hegemony on part of BJP on Indian universities. Is it because JNU, an institution close to his heart and ideology, has been in the news for the wrong reasons and he now wants to blame the government instead of doing some introspection since he has been one of most influential leaders in the JNU campus for decades. A host of other leaders like Nitish Kumar, Tarun Gogoi, Mayawati and others have compared the government’s handling of JNU incident with imposition of emergency in 1973 and charged the BJP with furtherance of RSS agenda. It is obvious that none of them is genuinely serious about such charges. At the best it can be dismissed as political rhetoric.
What surprises an ordinary India is the fact that most of the opposition and parts of the media are tending to dismiss this incident under the garb of freedom of speech or difference of opinion or permissible dissent. The fact that many of the protestors were wearing masks to hide their identity too does not seem to bother them in the least. In a democracy if you have a difference of opinion or want to put across a belief or genuine concern one does not have to wear a mask to hide ones identity. One wears a mask only when one knows that what he or she wants to say is anti national and against the interests of the nation and therefore one hides behind the mask so as not to reveal ones identity. It is indeed very disconcerting to see that the opposition and others do not have the courage to view the whole episode as anti-national in nature and the imperative need to come with a heavy hand on those who were directly involved in the same. Political rivalries have always existed and will continue to exist, but on matters of national integrity and security all differences have to be set aside. Those seeking to make political capital from such incidents can only be seen as vultures who will act for selfish reasons even if it is at the cost of the nation’s well being.
There can be disagreements among different people regarding the manner in which the government and police may have handled the incident and there is no bar on sharing ones concerns or views on the same since it will be a healthy criticism. But if the leadership of opposition parties, social activists and others overlook the real incident deliberately and pass it off as just dissent or freedom of speech on one hand but continue to discuss the actions of the goons at Patiala House courts till eternity, then it is certainly a matter of serious concern for the nation. There is no way that one can condone the unruly behaviour of the officers of law (lawyers) or the BJP MLA in Patiala House courts.
Without a doubt the individuals concerned have to be dealt with in a suitable manner. The Delhi police too needs to be taken to task for its failure in this regard. But making the Patiala House fracas as the only issue or the main issue at the expense of the actual anti-national event that took place at JNU is something beyond comprehension. In doing so, the opposition and parts of media have not only failed to put the entire episode in its correct perspective but also emboldened the perpetuators of the anti-national activities. This certainly does not bode well for the nation.
Saroj Chadha, an engineering professional, is a successful entrepreneur. Having retired from the Indian Army after having served for over 23 years, he has also been a consultant for leading Indian and Multinational electrical companies. He lives in New Delhi.
Did I read today that Winston Churchill said, “Nationalism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”? In our case it seems to be the ‘first refuge’!
A battery of eminent citizens of India who are not ‘anti-national’ even from a RSS standpoint, along with the-not-only-for-profit media, have voiced worry at the Government’s paranoid reaction to the JNU episode. What is intriguing is that not one BJP stalwart like LK Advani, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha or any other have dared to voice even partial agreement with these writers and legal luminaries, leave alone full agreement with them? Are they afraid of being charged with sedition?
Maybe in these times “Silence is Golden” is the best rule to follow?
A well written impartial aricle which is rare now a days