Navneet N, who goes by the Twitter handle @, has been a contributor on OpIndia.com before. He co-wrote the interesting take on why Bihar deserved much more than the economic package given to it, because of the severe neglect it has faced over the years. Recently, his series called “JNU chronicles” on Indiafacts.co.in caught our eye. We decided to ask him about why he chose to suddenly speak about his college days, which were spent on the campus of JNU. Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Q. How did you end up in JNU, i.e. are you a Marxist who gave up or a Right-minded youth who ended up in a Marxist institution?
Navneet: I am not a Marxist and I never was a Marxist. Every year more than 800 new students join different courses in JNU which include Foreign Languages, Hindi, International Studies, Social Sciences and various courses in Science stream. It is true that communists occupy the teaching space of JNU. They work to create new crop of communists every year who grab teaching space in several Indian universities, jobs in media-houses and NGOs. But, JNU also has a strong presence of nationalist forces which could be possible only after continuous struggle by nationalist students who challenged the Left in their own bastion.
Q. When did you study there, and why are you only now coming up with these stories?
Navneet: I studied at JNU during 2003 to 2008 in French Center. The stories I share are from the period I spent there and many of them shall be about the incidents which happened earlier or in last few years, but they can always be corroborated with several JNU students.
The purpose of #JNUStories was to break this stereotype that every JNU student is a Marxist. The motive is not to malign any individual wrongfully. This is the reason I rarely use names of people involved in those stories. The purpose is to expose the malaise of Communism that is hidden behind the cool Ché T-Shirts and bearded faces.
Another reason these stories are getting out in public is because of emergence of the social-media as a strong tool which can be used to expose the hypocrisy of the left. I would consider it successful if 18 years old girls and boys read these stories before taking admission to JNU as it helps them understand the Communist modus-operandi in advance so that they don’t fall into the trap. This is why I ask people to share these stories as much as they can so that anyone who has a sister or a brother or someone known to them who is to get an admission to JNU shall share it with them so that they would know in advance what they can anticipate what could happen in the JNU Campus. It would help in decreasing the number of new comers who fall in the trap.
Q. How do you respond to people who say this is just college gossip?
Navneet: It is a good question as many stories may sound like gossip with no authenticity. The stories that I share are already in public space and most JNU students who have spent few years in the campus already know about them. To believe or to reject them is the reader’s choice but if they enquire of these stories, they can easily find connections which would prove the authenticity.
Q. In the age of FIRs for defamation, do you not fear retribution?
Navneet: I doubt if any of the Communists who appear in my stories would dare filing an FIR as it will give me a legal weapon through which I can dig into the old files of the sexual harassment committees where they did not follow the procedure to protect their comrades. There are so many such examples where procedures were skipped, just to recruit professors with left-leaning bias and bypassing students in interviews by checking their left-credentials. There also was rampant corruption in seminar funds and JNU infrastructure funds. This will be nothing less than stirring up the hornet’s nest. I would appreciate if someone files a defamation suit.
Just to add some perspective, the protagonist of the first story was confronted by many women on Twitter and even Kavita Krishnan confirmed about the authenticity of the story, but he never challenged me directly and I was not blocked by him as he might have calculated that blocking me may be counterproductive. He works for a humanitarian NGO based and he has enough clout to challenge it legally but he chose to remain silent.
Q. Why do you think the current situation of JNU being a communist bastion is undesirable?
Navneet: JNU was created as a gift of Congress to Communists so that they don’t create issues for them. JNU is heavily subsidized by the taxpayer’s money and it is ironical that the money is used to build an army of leftist foot-soldiers who work against Indian sovereignty. It sounds quite bizarre when JNU students invite SAR Geelani of Parliament attack case to speak on topic of independence of Kashmir and students who belong to Bengal, Kerala, UP and other states shout slogans of Azadi. JNU has got infrastructure to produce the best brains of India who can work in administration, media etc.
Q. What do you think has led to JNU becoming what it is?
Navneet: The principal reason is the well-protected system which does not allow anyone as teaching staff who does not believe in a leftist ideology. The day left control gets loosened, many so called leftist professors shall come out in open with their stories of how they were asked to take unethical steps like destroying career of students who would try to challenge the leftist control in the campus. When readers follow the hash tag of #JNUStories, they shall get a much clearer picture about how left system sustains itself and remains like a red patch in the capital of India.
Q. How do you think JNU can be salvaged from its current state?
Navneet: JNU needs continuous focus of several years to untangle the knots and make it a university which is known for its excellence rather than left hooliganism. Many JNU centers like Urdu, Persian, Arabic and Hindi have disproportionate number of seats. They hardly provide any job opportunities and students end up driving autos, running canteens in JNU and typing thesis of other PhD students of JNU to make a living. UGC should ensure that streams of other Foreign Languages, Sciences or Sanskrit etc get approval to double their seats. JNU professors should be transferrable so that they don’t spend their whole life in the comfort of JNU campus. If they are not allowed to gang up at one place, they won’t be able to maintain the hegemony.
I am sure that one day my Alma Mater shall not be known as ‘Communist Hell-Hole’ and its nationalist tradition shall get more exposure.