Guest Post by Some Kashmiri Students in JNU – See the End of the Post for Names
“Jab kendra main sarkar kamzor ya undecided hogayi to aap ko pata hai ki akhri dinoon main Manmohan Singh ji kuch ni kar rahe thei. State agencies koi kaam ni kar rahi thei. … Usi period main ye sab ghusein hain, jo Kashmiri militants hain aur ye saare hain. Ye usi period main in tatvoon ka yahan par entry hogaya hai. Varna JNU ki history main kabhi bhi is qism ki naare-baazi nahin hui. … anti-national matlab aisi naare-baazi jo desh ki akhandta aur samprabuta kei upar prashan chin uthayey. Aise kabhi naare-baazi nahin hui thi.”
When the government at the centre was weak and undecided, as you recall was the case in the last days of Manmohan Singh’s rule, no state agencies were doing their work…it was at that time that all these Kashmiri militants found their way in here (to JNU). It was in that period that these elements made their entry. Otherwise, at no time in JNU’s history have we heard this kind of sloganeering – of the anti-national type, meaning the kind of sloganeering that brings the akhandta, the inviolate integrity and samprabhuta/sovereignty of the country into question. This kind of sloganeering never happened before
(An excerpt from Prof. Amita Singh’s interview to the Uttar Pradesh Patrika newspaper, transcribed from its youtube upload)
Dear Prof. Amita Singh,
The above quote is to remind you about the prejudiced, baseless, and ill-founded allegations against Kashmiri students made by you. In your clarification (through media), you claimed that “the interview was an informal one” and that you were not aware of it being put on a website.
[though when the interviewer explicitly asks whether he should switch off the recorder and have her views ‘off the record’, Prof. Singh, breezily dismisses any need to make the discussion ‘off the record’ suggesting that she would say very much the same, if asked, on a live TV programme. – Kafila. To listen to the unedited footage of the interview watch this youtube upload posted by Uttar Pradesh Patrika]
The fact of the matter is not whether it was an “informal” conversation rather it is about the views you hold. The more important question is regarding the ignominious views which you seem to uphold (regarding Kashmiri Muslims, Muslims in general and Dalits).
For some time now while the attacks from outside have continued unabated (be it the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya’s label for JNU as a “anti-national block,” Subramanyam Swami´s suggestion to establish a “Anti-Narcotics Bureau Campus Branch to raid dorms and arrest Naxals and Jehadis” or the recent Rajasthan episode where four Kashmiri students were arrested for allegedly cooking beef (read mutton) on campus).
What is more worrisome is the attacks by some from within the university especially on the Kashmiri, Muslim and Dalit students. By questioning our ability to secure admissions on the basis of merit through due processes of the University, you have insinuated that we have militant links that have been exploited to secure admissions. You blatantly make the “failure of UPA government and state agencies” as the cause of our “infiltration” into JNU, as if entrance examinations, Viva voce and interviews were beyond us to crack. You further accuse us of being the beneficiaries of monetary assistance provided by certain “agencies” who also sponsor our “whiskey parties at Pathasarthy”. Continuing with your communal branding you abruptly dismiss the seriousness of academic work that we do and accuse us of not being able to defend our work academically and rather by bullying. “viva ke liye jati hun Jamia , yeh log to galiyan martey hain.” You have also enunciated that you are scared of visiting places like Jamia because Kashmiri students are most in number there.
Dear ma’am, we would like to inform you that while we are argumentative and politically sensitive, we are also the most hospitable people you will ever meet. It would be no exaggeration to say that Kashmir is most known for its hospitality. Even if you do not want, we would force feed you kehwa and wazwan if you ever visit our houses in Delhi/Kashmir or Jamia. We insist you to actually visit these places and then confirm if your reductionist logic of branding innocent students and Kashmiri people in general as “militants” is if at all justified. While we agree that you are entitled to hold a certain political and ideological position on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, what we don´t appreciate is the furthering of stereotypical construction of entire Kashmiri student community on the basis of your parochial political ideology.
Your spate of irresponsible conjectures doesn’t end with just Kashmiris and you bring in Bijnor (which you mistakenly think is the home town of Umar Khalid) by branding it as “terrorists ka gadda”. Have you forgotten how Muslim youth have been unjustly targeted and incarcerated for decades on the mere basis of suspicion? To give you a recent example, Amir, a Muslim from Batla House, Delhi was imprisoned for fourteen years and let out when nothing was proven against him. This is a mere speck of how Muslim youth are reduced to their immediate identities through incessant media and public trials. Along with this you also attempt to demean the struggle for social justice of marginalized communities by reducing it to mere “grudges”. This undermining of the struggle against humiliation of marginalized students and their rightful demand for a life of dignity is highly condemnable and amounts to being criminally oblivious of the oppression that they have to face by both the state and the society.
We hope you understand that as an academic institution JNU needs to talk about the uncomfortable questions and extend solidarity to those who have been left out from what we commonly call the “mainstream.” We need to also work towards creating a viable and favourable academic culture where even the questions that seem provocative should be discussed and made part of our conversations, debates and dialogues. We hope that you realise the fact that propagating such views has dangerous repercussions. You should be held accountable for creating a hostile environment for Kashmiris, Muslims and Dalits who are at the receiving end of this onslaught.
Concerned Students from Kashmir in JNU
Altaf, Arshi, Fayaz, Gulzar, Khalid, Komal, Mudasir, Mudasir, Mutahar, Muzaffar, Raees, Sana, Shazia, Urfan, Zeeshan, Zoya