As yet another election in the Republic of JNU concludes with a huge victory for the Communists, the ‘right’ can continue with the air of arrogance (myself included) and downplay these developments as “light entertainment”. We can roll our eyes and choose to laugh at the doomed soldiers of the last red battalion holding fort on an ever shrinking island in a rapidly modernising society. After all, JNU is the punchline to so many jokes. The political landscape is somber enough. Do we really want another source of humor to go away?
Or we can be humble and choose to learn. The JNU student union may not be a huge focal point in the right-wing/BJP scheme of things, but it is the nerve center of the Indian left. With the BJP’s ever expanding footprint finally coming into direct conflict with red pockets in Bengal, Kerala and even Tripura, understanding what goes on at JNU can help size up the enemy.
Let me point this out very clearly: JNU takes in students from all across the country. The electorate in a university students body changes heavily every single year. In a scenario like this, the chances of having “permanent vote banks” and “legacy voters” are extremely slim. Now considering the fact that the extreme leftists make up a vanishingly small percentage of the overall Indian population, the chances of JNU students every year coming from this microscopic percentage are very slim.
But the extreme left has been winning in JNU for decades. This seems highly implausible without outright intimidation of incoming students by faculty or worse, some kind of funny business happening in the admissions process. This deserves a full investigation. That’s what makes the ABVP folks at JNU into heroes. The least we can do for them is learn from their experiences. Can you imagine what it must be like to put your entire career on the line and go into open revolt against the faculty at your university?
However, for me, the most interesting aspect of the JNUSU polls this year was the rise of a new student union called BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association). It’s an extreme left wing group, but it differs crucially from the “mainstream extreme left” in that it is led by Tribals and Dalits. The BAPSA made a scintillating debut, which had earlier pushed AISA and SFI to put up a joint fight to defeat the new entrant. No surprise that the extreme left winger who won the president post is one Mohit Pande, yet another ‘communist’ Brahmin who continues the tradition of upper caste males showing Dalits and Tribals the way of the light. For the record, no Dalit has become a member of the Communist Politburo in 50+ years. No Dalit is allowed to enter the temple of ‘progressive’ values.
But BAPSA exposed (again) a fatal weakness of the Communists and their cheerleaders in media and academia. The Dalits and Tribals that the Communists are fighting for are simply absent within their so called movement. They are absent, but not conspicuously absent. It is the job of the right wing to make that absence conspicuous. It is the job of the right wing to point out to the Dalits and Tribals that the Communists will accept them only as cannon fodder but never as Generals. The onus is on the right to offer a vibrant political platform and change the game of “Dalit politics” in the country.
Babasaheb Ambedkar was not a Communist, not even remotely so. He was neither a war criminal like Che Guevara nor a mass murderer like Stalin or Mao. Babasaheb was a brilliant economist and thinker. The onus is on the right to give Ambedkar the stature he truly deserves.
I cannot end this article without a comment on the intellectual bankruptcy of the left and Indian pseudo-secularism in general. Is there anyone who recognizes this person (image below)?
That’s Kavita Krishnan. The year is 1997. The documentary is “ek minute ka maun” (one minute of silence) in memory of a former JNUSU President called Chandrasekhar Prasad (Chandu). You can see the documentary here. I have never been to JNU, but being a political junkie, I have heard about “Chandu”. And what is Kavita Krishnan doing here in this video? Well, she has come to Bihar Niwas in Delhi along with a large group of students to protest against the murder of Chandu in Siwan in Bihar. Who is the man accused of the murder? It’s none other than Lalu’s infamous gangster MP Shahabuddin, who is now out on bail.
Their own “Chandu” belonged to AISF (the same union to which Kanhaiya belongs) and later to AISA (Kavita Krishnan’s group). And what were these shameless Communists doing when the same Shahabuddin was all set to walk out of jail inspecting a guard of honor by 400 SUVs? Well, the Communists were doing this:
There you have it folks. In two photographs you can see the intellectual bankruptcy of the Indian left. And don’t blame the Communists alone. There’s Lalu Yadav, the child of Emergency, who is allied with Congress. Every single one of the Janata factions (with exception of BJP, of course) is currently allied with Congress. Born of opposition to Indira, united in support to Sonia.
One of the first acts of Nitish Kumar after being sworn in last year was to expunge from the Bihar government website the references to ill-treatment of Jai Prakash Narayan by Indira Gandhi. The Congress ordered it, Nitish carried it out. No eminent historian protested. A grand total of ZERO awards were returned in protest. The same Nitish Kumar, whose mentor George Fernandes had removed Sonia Gandhi’s photograph at the Constitution club. He would not stand to see the “lootera Nehru-Gandhi dynasty” (his words, not mine) celebrated.
This is where the left and the allied forces are exposed – they have not only compromised on their own self-respect, but they have failed to provide self-respect to the Dalits and Tribals. And that’s where the opportunity for the right lies.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.