Two students sleep in the admin block of JNU. Also visible is a poster for 'Chalo Delhi'. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Students engage in various indoor games on a normal morning in JNU. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Students dot the JNU campus. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A student is busy studying in front of a statue of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on campus. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
The administration block of JNU. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A poster strewn on JNU Campus. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
Students of JNU sitting on a hunger strike after Rohit Vemula's suicide. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
A student makes her way to class. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
The wall of JNU's admin block covered in posters and paintings. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
For a campus that welcomes all kinds of programs, the stage now lies empty. Photo: Vikas Kumar/Catch News
In photos: how one scribe feels about JNU after living next to it for four years
A Ph.D scholar studying at JNU has written on his Facebook wall, "The university has nearly 8 thousand students, 500 professors (married) and over 2,000 other employees (most of which are married as well). The JNU campus has a separate Mahanadi hostel for married students.
"About 64 per cent students of JNU are pursuing M.Phil and Ph.D degrees. Their average age is around 29-30 years. Many of these research scholars have also tied the knot. Then, there are numerous other students who are not single. These also include the ones affiliated to 'cultural-nationalistic' ideologies. In short, JNU campus houses close to 11,000 people. The use of condoms is quite but natural in such a complex, not only for safe sex but also for family planning."
Needless to say, this post was in response to the controversial remarks made by BJP MLA Gyandev Ahuja. The MLA's vitriol has been widely reported in the media and it's not necessary to repeat his allegations.
My father has always held the University in high esteem. "One must study in JNU. Those who pass out from this university are highly learned in one subject or another," he would always say.
Incidentally, I never had an opportunity to be a JNU student. However, I have stayed near the university campus in rented accommodation for the past four years. The open culture of the university and the fierce debates at Ganga Dhaba have always fascinated me. Being part of this atmosphere has been a great learning experience. The democratic tradition of JNU gives freedom of expression to students from all walks of life. It is one of the few premier learning institutions where students can attain higher education at an affordable cost.
It is not like some of the other educational institutions that reduce students to virtual captives in the name of discipline. The girl students can visit the boys' hostels at any hour. They are not looked down upon for freely mingling with their male counterparts. It is one of those few places where women don't feel insecure to venture out at night. They can have a sip of tea at the Ganga Dhaba or roam around in the campus during all hours of the night.
The events of the last 9-10 days have taught me that you cannot judge a place just based on one single incident. Unfortunately, this premier institution is falling victim to such misconceptions. The mainstream media is passing its verdict on JNU from the narrow perspective of recent happenings.
One cannot just bulldoze the JNU campus. So, efforts are on to misconstrue its perception in the public mind. It is apparently a deliberate attempt to destroy the democratic spirit of JNU. Is it because the students of this university have always stood for the most oppressed classes of the country?
The political forces indulging in tirade against JNU would serve the country better by opening more such universities. India needs many more campuses like JNU.
Translated by Deepak Sharma
Edited by Sahil Bhalla
More in Catch: