By Dr. Kashinath Pandit
A year ago Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), country’s prestigious” university had witnessed some turmoil among a section of its students. In the first place, is it really a prestigious university? In forty-six years of its life, it did not produce a single Nobel laureate or an intellectual of outstanding repute.
Nevertheless, it is foremost beneficiary of the HRD ministry, an institution liberally frugal to a handpicked band of students each one to pocket three lakh rupees per annum for picking up the tricks of sedition against the State. Among other facilities available to them are frequent national and international trips, accommodation in hostels at just rupees twelve per month in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi while the children of lesser Gods – the non-subsidized students – pay a rent of 5-8 thousand rupees for a small private single room in the locality of Munirka just outside JNU Campus.
It is prestigious for rousing the rabble of anti-national and pro-sectarian tamasha under the rubric of cultural programmes; it is prestigious because politicians with divisive agenda make deep inroads into its student community by brandishing the Indian brand of the ideology of Marx and Lenin.
How ironic that an institute of learning incepted in the name of the foremost among the patriots and nationalists, Jawaharlal Nehru, should become the cesspool of sedition. Can there be a bigger disservice to and defamation of the great national figure?
Little did its founders know that the institution expected to infuse the spirit of nationalism and national integration into the student community, as enjoined in its charter so as to become the lodestar for generations of patriotic Indian intellectuals, would be hijacked by elements working for disintegration of the country to the jubilation of our enemies? Nehru often used to say that India has no external threat; the real threat is from internal subversion. And today here we are face to face with the Frankenstein.
How did JNU transform from a seat of leaning into a cesspool of sedition? It is beyond one’s imagination to compute the enormous funds successive Congress governments have invested in JNU, plus the slew of facilities offered to the student and teaching community. Students and teachers in any other university in the country will not even dream of it. And what is the result at the end of the day
Around the latter half of the decade of 1930, when freedom struggle was in progress, Congress floated Muslim Mass Contact Programme with Dr. Ashraf, a Rajput Meo from Rajasthan, in the driver’s seat. He set up his work office in Anand Bhawan, adjacent to Nehru’s personal library to which he had easy access. Dr. Ashraf visited Kashmir in 1938 and again in 1939, probably on the behest of Nehru. This was the period when Kashmiri popular leader, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was having second thoughts about his camaraderie with Muslim Conference led by Jammu and Mirpur Muslim leadership with close affinity to Indian Muslim League.
Drawing support from Nehruvian ideology, Ashraf then established contact with Kashmiri students at Allahabad University, and cultivated two of them, namely Niranjannath Raina and Dwarkanath Kachru, both amenable to socialist leaning. At Nehru’s personal library the two young Kashmiri students (D.P. Dhar was junior to them) rummaged through the primary Marxist-Leninist literature. Niranjannath Raina once told this writer that he distinctly remembered the passages underlined by Nehru in pencil in various primary works of socialist ideologues.
At that time Lord Curzon’s “Great Game in Central Asia” was at its peak. Bolshevik Revolution had succeeded and Stalin formulated Soviet Union’s Central Asian policy based on Lenin’s famous 1917 “Address to the Peoples of the East”. The British Indian Government mounted vigil on Kashmir, particularly Gilgit where the northern boundary of Dogra kingdom met with that of Kyrgyzstan, the southern State of Soviet Turkestan. The British Agent in Srinagar had claimed that Soviet spies had been spotted somewhere in the area of Chitral.
As part of Great Game, British planners carved out Gilgit Agency from the territory of the Maharaja and took it into direct control in 1935. The Gilgit Commiserate was established and a local force called Gilgit Scouts was raised with British officers commanding the columns. For the British the second line of defence in Kashmir was thrown up by polarizing Kashmir politics.
After Sheikh Abdullah left Muslim Conference in 1939 and founded National Conference, he pandered to the political philosophy of Indian National Congress feigning secularism as antidote to Jinnah’s two-nation theory. Local comrades made strong dent in National Conference, and the famous NC Manifesto called Naya Kashmir scripted in the name of one BPL Bedi was actually the brain-child of Rajini Palm Dutt, the General Secretary of British Communist Party in London and actually authored by Kashmiri Left ideologue N.N. Raina borrowing ideas extensively from the constitution of Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan. The name of BPL Bedi served as cover.
Sheikh Abdullah’s fraternizing with the comrades in J&K helped him in consolidate Kashmiri peasantry as NC’s powerful rural lobby. NC’s 1944 annual convention in Sopor was attained publicity because Congress heavy weights like Nehru and Azad were present at its main session. However, Nehru did not fail to note that Sheikh Abdullah’s address to the annual convention was interspersed with self-rule cacophony. It served precursor to his Quit Kashmir slogan of 1945-46, which warmed up the hearts of India observers in London. The flag of NC (red base and symbol of plough) did more miracles for the Sheikh than his sonorous recitation of scripture from public platforms.
Yet strangely, sometime later Raina rejected Dr. Ashraf’s suggestion that he become Private Secretary to Nehru. Raina was skeptic of what he called Nehru as half-baked socialist. Kachru was Raina’s choice. Unfortunately, shortly Kachru met with his untimely death in an air crash over Banihal pass.
The minority cell in the Congress patronized by Nehru and pushed by activists like Dr. Ashraf, made inroads into small tolerant segment of Indian Muslims who gave it the name of progressive movement. It manifested vigorously in Urdu literature to be called Taraqqi Pasand Tehreek. After independence, Nehru and his progressive team among Muslim intellectuals thought that he had made a great contribution of liberating Indian Muslims from intellectual freeze of several centuries. He strongly defended his conviction, and perhaps on idealistic count, he cannot be faulted.
Nevertheless, the fault line was that Nehru treated Indian Muslims in exclusiveness, trying to delink them from the Islamic world in general and Pakistan in particular. For any astute historian, this was unrealistic and historically indefensible. Surrounded by a circle of diehard sycophants in the name of Left wing politicians, Nehru, like every half-baked socialist, began to believe in his own myth.
When Jawaharlal Nehru University was incepted in 1969, the progressive brigade among the Indian Muslim intellectuals looked at it as the custodian of their ideological metamorphosis. Aligarh Muslim University, the well-established institution was not open to socialist ideological inroads. There was no other institute in Northern India that could become the rendezvous for these progressive thinkers and coffee–house goers.
With the passage of time, this group, whether as the faculty of the JNU or as student community, came into ideological conflict with the staunch nationalists on the campus. Realizing the need to reinforce their intellectual exclusiveness, the progressive groups took quick and decisive steps to fraternize with JNU Left where, exploiting Nehruvian line, it had become a fashion to be counted among the adherents of Left ideology. Indira Gandhi had little time and less capacity to fathom academic nuances that were shaping at the JNU. For cleverer ones among the JNU alumni, chances were fair to grab sensitive bureaucratic posts in the MEA and other Ministries and organizations.
The progressives became camp followers and strong supporters of the Left in JNU student union elections. Some thought that JNU was gradually shifting from an academic institute to political battleground. Its managers stuck out their necks with pride feigning influence in the corridors of power. Actually, student community began to be exploited and used for political motives. Indian Left had made its position clear on Kashmir dispute in Adhikari theory, which supported Kashmir’s cessation from Indian Union and accession to Pakistan on the basis of two-nation theory. It was not for nothing that Pakistani “progressive” Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s commemoration function was organized in JNU and some more Indian universities with extraordinary zeal and enthusiasm and those making presentations in these seminars meticulously kept away from Faiz’s pro-Adhikari Kashmir line. Even to the diehard Islamists in India, Faiz the communist became a hero.
The rise of armed insurgency in Kashmir in later part of 1980s had nothing to do with what was brewing in JNU at that time. However, Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 had reverberations on the campus. Iranian Embassy in New Delhi became very active in overtly selling the concept of export of Iranian Islamic revolution propounded by Imam Khomeini. A couple of its propagators clandestinely visited Kashmir in early 1980s and even a bank owned by the Shia community in Mumbai opened its branch in Rajbagh, Srinagar.
However, alerted Saudi Arabia embarked on massive retaliatory campaign in Sunni dominated regions, of the world more conspicuously in Kashmir where Pakistan was already active.
After the armed insurgency of 1990 and entire Kashmir polity shifted its goal post, Indian policy in Kashmir and safeguarding the secular fabric of the valley proved to be abysmally in shambles.
Denigration of Sheikh Abdullah and NC line became a priority with Pakistan-backed militants. When the western media publicized Kashmir insurgency as freedom struggle, Pakistan felt it necessary to back up her Kashmir perfidy with making dent into Indian intellectual structure. Sections of shameless media continue to be the beneficiaries of their external funding sources.
There was no looking back for Kashmir radicals, separatists and secessionist. Enormous funds provided by the Saudi and Kashmiri Muslim Diaspora sources immensely strengthened the engines of anti-India propaganda. Externally abetted secessionists found JNU a haven for their underground seditious activities and then a vast anti-national network came to be formed. The actors were mostly sections of Indian media persons, pseudo-intellectuals, pseudo-academia and the perverted think tank. Indian polity churned Jaichands and Mir Jafars who built bastions of anti-national propaganda in prestigious educational institutes of which JNU stood at the forefront.
The progressive brigades expanded registering support from the orthodoxy as well as the rootless Leftist/lumpen camp followers, who cast aside the long sustained mask and made common cause with the Muslim world projecting itself as the victimized and vandalized segment of humanity at the hands of the blood-sucking leeches in the oil rich Gulf. For the fundamentalized Left and radicalized progressive in JNU, democratic America is the enemy and democratic India is the enemy, not the conservative monarchy of Saudi or the barbaric ISIS of the Caliphate. Therefore, raising slogans against India, disrespecting tricolor, celebrating the massacre of a hundred CRP jawans by Naxals, denigrating Indian army and attacking air base in Pathankot or many other places in J&K, all is what they claim enjoying the right to freedom of speech and action and hence permissible under Indian Constitution.