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The DU face off, duality of antillectuals & Gurmehar Kaur
In 2016 it was JNU, and now in 2017 it's DU. The confrontation between two student union bodies over so-called debate on nationalism escalated into a violent scuffle. Then again, the subject of 'freedom of speech' resurfaced at the fore and different definitions of it unfolded.

Unfortunately, once again the so called antillectuals were exposed. But before talking about antillectuals, let's focus on some serious subjects like scope of university debates, Gurmehar Kaur's controversy and political bankruptcy.

First of all, universities should hold free debates on any subject. Be it patriotism, nationalism, freedom of Kashmir or even the critical scrutiny of the Indian Constitution, all should be discussed freely but fairly. Even if some groups want to critically debate on religious issues like on Hindu Gods (Goddess Durga-Mahishasur episode) or Muslim personal law (triple talaq and polygamy) etc, my point is that there should be no limitations, no Laxman rekha for debating on any subject.

University debates always enhance intellect among the students, who could become good future citizens following an ideology that they understand fully. However, the only condition is that debates must not be violent confrontations and should not at all proliferate beyond the boundaries of the university premises. No outsider, political party or organisation should ever under any circumstance interfere or influence any debate, slogan or subject. Because if that happens, university debates lose authenticity and become rhetorical public debates.

In public discourse, some cardinal issues and subjects are beyond debate as those are barred by the Constitution or the law of the land. Also some subjects which might hurt emotions of communities or any particular section of society should also be barred as they might lead to unrest. That's why it is imperative that all university debates should be kept confined inside the university campuses.

What happened in JNU in 2016 and now in 2017 at Ramjas College were not university debates by any standards. In fact, they were more like incidents where two extremist organisations were seen standing face to face. ABVP is the students wing of RSS (the point to be noted is that BJP doesn't have a students wing) whereas SFI is the students wing of Left parties. ABVP is more Right than RSS and similarly SFI is more Left than the Left parties. You can consider that both student wings are extreme opposites of each other.

Another student organisation of Left parties is AISA, which even supports Naxalites. But as I have said before, supporting or opposing Naxal ideology, terrorist versus freedom fighter debates etc can be held inside the university premises. But once a debate comes out of the university's premises it cannot remain a university level intellectual debate at all.

India is now the youngest nation with the youth comprising of almost 67 per cent of the total population. That's why political parties nowadays are more interested in influencing students purely for selfish interests. Be it Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal or even the BJP leaders, they never think twice before jumping into student politics, making the entire atmosphere vicious. I would say that this is moral bankruptcy if the political class has to depend on student leaders. Just recall how political tourism took place at Hyderabad University or at the JNU, last year.

Now let's come to the freedom of speech. All the advocates of freedom of speech have simultaneously condemned trolling of Gurmehar Kaur. If slogans like 'destruction of India' and 'freedom from India' fall withing the realms of freedom of speech, then why trolling of Gurmehar Kaur and others like her shouldn't be considered as freedom of speech? If one can abuse the nation, the Constitution and communities in the name of freedom of speech, how can you condemn trolls for abusing any individual? Either you allow both or condemn both. Selectiveness is always a sign of being antillectual. The term `intolerance' which had vanished post Anupam Kher's strong speech again resurfaced after Rahul Gandhi tweeted in support of Gurmehar Kaur using the word.

I agree that Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal and all such politicians along with some of our great journalists (super antillectuals) condemn the trolling of Gurmehar Kaur. The threat of killing and raping is really gross and absurd. But I wonder, why Rahul Gandhi, Kejriwal and these so-called antillectuals and super antillectuals are mum towards the death fatwa issued against Tarek Fatah? You may not agree with what Tarek Fatah is saying, but that doesn't mean that you would agree with killing him. Muslim cleric Moeen Siddique, the head of the All India Faisan-e-Madina Council announced a Rs 10 lakh bounty on Tarek Fatah's, but none responded. But all responded to the trolling and threatening to Gurmehar Kaur. Aren't these antillectuals being exposed for harbouring dual standards?

Now coming to Gurmehar's case. First, she has never supported Pakistan. A year old post where she said that 'Pakistan did not kill my father, war killed him' is in fact a noble campaign for peace. She has also said that she is not part of any organisation. But even if she is part of an organisation, threatening to kill or rape her is condemnable to the core and those accused of such acts must be immediately put behind bars.

But then, Gurmehar has also committed some mistakes. You have every right to oppose violence. But when you stand against a particular body/entity/organisation etc, then you are indirectly standing with its rival party. ABVP's violence no doubt is deplorable. But at the same time SFI, AISA, NSUI are also no saints. Thus, she should have stood against any type of violence by anybody like she stood for peace. It's good that she withdrew from the protest march by rivals of ABVP. A person can be better appreciated and accepted when he or she remains neutral but opposes violence and bats for peace. Being a martyr's daughter, she is worthy of all respect and I wish that in the coming future she becomes an ambassador for peace and non-violence without being considered as pro or anti of any ideology, organisation or party.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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