STATEMENT FROM JNU TEACHERS
We, members of the JNU faculty, are deeply shocked at the kinds of allegations and speculations being made because a faculty member’s car was vandalised a couple of nights ago. Obviously the incident in which the windshield of the car was found shattered in the morning, is worrisome, and cause for concern – yet this is not an isolated incident on an otherwise safe campus. In past months other faculty members living on campus have had similar experiences, where random acts of vandalism have occurred, in different parts of the university. However, no one, until now, has made either baseless allegations or blamed students’ groups, or levelled charges against any particular political ideology.
This is the first time that such quick, and hasty conclusions have been drawn. Instead of investigating a matter of vandalism, this is being recast as some kind of political conspiracy and vendetta. This does not reflect the spirit of JNU – which has always been collegial despite its many differences. It is only since early 2016 that we are seeing this sense of reflective engagement fraying – which ought to be a cause of concern for us all.
We would also wish to state that the untimely loss of every life is, and should be, one of great sorrow. And it is particularly so in the cases of ordinary jawans, most of whom come from impoverished families and have few opportunities, especially to study, and to make a better life for themselves. Who knows – had their families had the wherewithal for educating their children – they too could have been university professors. The baseless allegations against JNU being levelled at the moment, purportedly in support of the killing of jawans in Sukma, neither respects their lives and immense challenges, nor does it show any concern for the university and its community.
At a time when the JNU community is facing grave challenges, and its excellent academic environment is at risk, it is the duty of the faculty to maintain calm. Instead, such baseless allegations are adding to a situation of anxiety and distress, especially for students who are in the midst of examinations, other than facing an uncertain future. An attack on JNU at this moment not merely adds to existing conditions of worry, but is, in the last instance, an attack on public universities and the values they stand for. As B.R. Ambedkar famously said, “Education is something which ought to be brought within the reach of everyone… the policy therefore ought to be to make higher education as cheap to the lower classes as it can possibly be made.” JNU is one of those universities in India that has enabled students from socially and economically deprived backgrounds to achieve their dreams. No retroactive condolences will absolve us of the responsibility of killing those dreams and futures. Continue reading “JNU Teachers on allegations of motive behind car vandalism”