By Ananta Prasad
I was getting late for my morning flight so I had to leave the gathering and meeting early. I reached Gate No. 1 of JNU aka Jawaharlal Nehru University. To my surprise a huge group of media persons with cameras and booms were standing and trying to get some sneak peak of incidents happening inside the campus. Few from the crowd facing the camera to give a P2C (Piece to Camera). To my utter surprise among the few, I could recognize Rahul Kanwal of TV Today group who was standing holding the boom and mike. At this odd hour, though it was unusual I could understand the importance of the situation and the dedication of the journalist.
I spent around 3-4 hours inside the campus and tried to get the feel of the JNU heat since the controversy has started. There has been a fight within us and some of us support the ‘Anti Nationals’ being termed by a few so called ‘Nationalists’. Well, that’s a million dollar question as to who is a real Nationalist. To find an answer to this I watched more than 20 Youtube videos related to issue and also read more than 50 such most shared articles covering both the perceptions. Some people we call rightist and some leftist. But there are a large number of people who are free thinkers. Their decision is evidence based, logic based and mostly biased with first-hand information. They keep one foot on rightist philosophy and the other foot on the leftist ideology to take a stand based on their own judgement. On the same note, being liberal and logical I took another step to go into JNU and get in more details .
A fact has evolved now, the judicial authority in India being the court has now been partially transferred to people like Arnab Goswami and channels like Zee News. If the whole country is divided in the name of National and Anti-national, then this is not because we had anti national slogans chanted by a few students. Rather because the media trail led by Arnab Goswami and Zee News provoked the whole country to do so.
While walking along the deserted roads of JNU along with a few friends from JNU, I could hear the slogans from Ad block and we headed towards that. It was around 11.30 pm at night. I was trying to overhear different conversations of students discussing in different groups amidst pro- JNU slogans by JNUSU. I was trying to get the real sense of democracy and the gaps. Was it anti national and violation of democratic rights or fight against the hypocrisy?
What does our democracy teach us !! To question or to blame?
I do not buy the slogans of picturing Afzal as martyr but questioning the trial of Afzal ,won’t make anyone anti-national. But who is there to take decision of sedition charges or booking someone as Anti-national; Arnab Goswami who in a way is spreading hatred by his rudeness and biased media trial or Zee News, who produced the doctored video to get maximum TRP. Media as I have learned it from the best Media Institute of India, is ethical and it’s a service. Serving with facts and information is something media should be doing rather than putting forth the decision creating mass hatred which led to the Patiala House court incident.
Shehla Rashid started with addressing the legal complications that the JNU movement has been facing and this time her stand was much logical and was getting praised by the crowd. It should be noted that this crowd is not the crowd pulled by any political party, rather gathered suo-motto in solidarity where, I heard the ABVP crowd in the campus was having some DJ night in one of the boys hostel.
My eyes were then on Umar Khalid, who said in his speech ,”I am Umar Khalid and I am not a Terrorist”. Though a little extreme leftist, he has also put a very valid question on the media trial that without any court trial how can one be termed as anti national. I was very interested to listen to Rama Naga, the General Secretary of JNUSU from Koraput, Odisha who is also accused of being an anti-national. As he stated he is the only member in his family to go beyond matriculation. His anger and outrage got translated to his words and he started addressing Sathiyon to the gathered crowd. With confidence and in a not very loud voice, he voiced the biggest question which many were asking since the last few days. He made it clear, that they had not escaped. They were very much present in the campus rather, they were avoiding legal complications.
Again Naga addressed with the basic idea of why the fight? It is not about supporting Azal or being anti-national but it is about fighting injustice. He was worried and he was concerned about his parents and family being targeted by media and others which, he has appealed not to do so.
I believe in free thinking and liberal politics rather than biased decision making and fooling the whole country with miss-information which may harm the communal harmony in the country.
I am amazed again to see the irresponsibility of Indian Home Minister issuing false information believing on a fake social media message. The questions are boomeranging all over as to the ‘why’ about the stand of HRD Minister of putting flags all across Indian central universities to the most popular Narendra Modi being silent on the issue . Where is the country heading and how the government is responding to the whole fiasco, along with the unfair arrest of Kanheya Kumar has united the student mass. The StandwithJNU tag is now trending and leading to unite more student groups all across India against the system and government.
There are questions unsolved, the release of Kanheya and trial of other accused students . There is a challenge to be tolerant and face this issue. The social media fights have gone to a different level and the leaders are in the making. The future of India seems bright.
While writing this piece inside the flight, I could see the silver lining in the sky and could feel ‘Achhedin aa gaye’.