Friday 15 April 2016

JNU: Anti national slogans intolerable

 “You will never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race”- George Bernard Shaw.

The hue and cry raised all over the country by incidents that began in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is not just unfortunate but also raises many questions. Anti national slogans were raised at the programme which was organised in the university to mark the anniversary of the hanging of Afzal Guru. Its video clippings spread over social media like wild fire and also across every nook and corner of the country. People of all sections of the society and country felt outraged. Slogans of breaking up India and destroying India and “Pakistan Zindabad” cannot be defended by any amount of convoluted logic. Any concerned citizen of the country will react in an outraging manner.

The university has been at the centre of a heated debate on “nationalism” versus “freedom of expression” after the student union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested. Kanhaiya Kumar who heads JNU’s student union was charged with sedition for his role in an event. The campus is now witnessing a show down between those fighting for freedom of dissent and freedom of expressions, versus those who believe that people expressing anti-India sentiments should be charged with sedition. Freedom of speech is not the ability to say whatever you feel like, when you feel like, where you feel like. Protesting or propagating that you wish someone dead or are looking forward to see a group of people dead is not freedom of speech.

I am not against having people screeching at the top of their lungs like petulant children over non issues. After all, having such obnoxious people is just something we need to accept in having the right to say whatever they want in return. With that said, I do believe we need to hold people accountable whenever they spread misinformation, lies and blatant anti national statements. We simply shouldn’t ever tolerate such kind of acts even if we have the liberty of freedom of speech. Everyone should be held accountable for what one says.

The people who raised the slogans of breaking up and ruining the country and then slip into arguments of freedom of speech forgot that only if the country survives, then only will their democratic rights and freedom of speech prevail. Unity in diversity is the hallmark of a country. That is exactly why so many different thought systems have flourished here. Who will save India from these ideas or these nationalists if they have no love for the country?  They will simple have no place to stay in India.

Aaheli Ghose
( PG MEDIA 2015-2017)

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