Tag Archives: Kanhaiya

Rebellion as Contagion


Perhaps this is the infection, the gangrene, that Justice Pratibha Rani fears: a slogan, chanted in the streets of Srinagar as a matter of routine, finds an opening at a university campus in New Delhi. Freed from the usual suspects, unmoored from the routine skirmishes, deaths, and encounters, along the Line of Control, the slogan floats through a university corridor – distracting rows of disciplined students from their academic pursuits.

A slogan’s explosive power, it seems, is not just about what is shouted – but rather where it appears, and who takes up the call. This realisation offers us an opportunity, long sought, to think through this troubling question of “Freedom of Expression.” Read the rest of this piece here

JNU Bashing is an old pastime, but things just got much, much worse

In light of the glorious vigilantism being witnessed today, in which the lumpen lawyers at Patiala House are joining hands with Guardian of the Nation Horn-nob Go-Swamy on primetime TV A few years ago, finding myself in a heated but very enjoyable argument on why women change their surnames after marriage, somebody yelled from across the room, “What has JNU done to you?!”

I wasn’t surprised, only annoyed. Reducing my entire biography and political beliefs to an institution I attended once upon a time is a favourite pastime in India, when that institution happens to be JNU. I could have explained to the genius who shouted this that if I do have political opinions, neither were they surgically implanted in me at JNU nor will they wither away like the bourgeois state in Marxism if JNU ceases to exist. I should have been grateful that the JNU-phobia was posed through the formal courtesy of a query. Usually, it takes the form of a statement, “You JNU folk are all lunatics!”

In family settings, JNU-bashing is the preferred insult to shut down an argument, “It’s the JNU in you speaking!” At seminars, a question or a paper can be made illegitimate with the simple investigative exercise of determining if you’re from ‘a particular institution with a particular ideology’. Of course, the person asking the question has miraculously escaped institutions and ideology, remaining gloriously neutral in this fractured world.

Continue reading JNU Bashing is an old pastime, but things just got much, much worse