Monday, 19 December 2016

Curbing the space of dissent and debate in JNU



The idea and slogan of we dissent, we debate, we are JNU might vanish from the land of JNU and the extinction of the right to speech will in near future catch the fire. Sarcastically saying, nothing will happen but only the environment and culture will change as in other university antipathy, antagonism and regionalism prevail and never give a chance to dissent and debate on one plateform, except few. Here in JNU atleast student dissent and debate, listen and respect others’ voice, grant opportunity to speak up without considering their political or ideological affiliation. But the time has ping the mind of certain ideological group of students and administration to murder the soul of this culture and curb all the space to float only one tune of ideology.
Grilled space of freedom Square (picture source: http://images.indianexpress.com/2016/12/c1.jpg)

Recently JNU administration has issued a notice mentioning the prohibition of all forms of coercions such as gheraos, sit-in or any variation of the same and further notified that all forms of peaceful and democratic protest shall be conducted with restraints. This was just after grilling of the space of freedom square which were using by the student to discuss the issues, to held public meeting, to debate, dissent and protest but administration has curbed the space on the ground of space crunch. The administration has not only blocked the space but on the stair where students use to sit during talk, meeting or protest, ordered the gardeners to spread the flowerpot to restrict the student for sitting. To be a student of JNU, I never thought of such doltish action would be taken by the administration which has happened where we were stop to sit on the stair. The irony of the notice is, one coercive administration is asking coercively to the students not to indulge in coercive actions and even coercively notifying to conduct peaceful protest with restraints. The banning of students’ voices and exclusion of student representatives by the administrative has witnessed after the 9th February incident and it intensified after disappearance of Najeeb. The administration doesn’t feel the need to consult the students’ representatives or include them in administrative or academic decision where students’ voice should be raised. The administration has not concerned to include student union in orientation program, in jan jan jnu program and many such events where the student representatives should have present. In contrast of the inclusion of students’ voice, JNU administration is crushing the efforts of the student to avail justice and to raise their voice and curbing the space of protest.


Flowerpot on the stair (Picture Source:http://images.indianexpress.com/2016/12/pots.jpg)
Few months back Ganga dhaba was on the radar of the administration to eliminate the dhaba culture of the university where students use to sit and discuss and among few of the spaces where social interaction encounter between the students community. When students’ protested and registered their solidarity with Ganga dhaba with some other factors came into the scene, dhaba has not been harmed. But this time administration has forcefully taken away the space and swallowing the culture of dissent and debate. In result of these coercive action the campus will be polarized, the students will never get into flavor of political thought and the students politics will either became ultra coercive minded or right wing students politics will be nurtured by the administration which later became biased, one sided political activities without dissent and debate. Infact the right wing students group has very good rapport with the Vice Chancellor and administration is kind with the students except the student who has leftist ideology. The scene of the other side is also alarming for the leftist students where they themselves are dissenting over the decision for proper action against snatching of the space. The freedom square amid of these fights will lose their life and student community will lose a historical place and effective, significant and value given space. This space has uncovered their importance after administration has grilled the area where students use to sit, this indicates that the voices from the freedom square bother them even though unheard. The administration suggested the student community to protest at Kamal Complex market which is infact a place from where voices would never be heard. Need of the time is to bargain the administration for the grilled space, peaceful demand for unlock the space and ensure that the open space should not be curbed in future.

          

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