Syed Mohammad Raghib for BeyondHeadlines
Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) Election is a unique kind of election process in India’s university student politics, it’s not only election for students of JNU but it’s a festival. JNU is famous for agenda, critique, debate, discussion, pamphlet on the national and International issues, Presidential debate is one of the unique things which decide the final turnout of voters and its left politics and social justice stand always attract students and increase their curiosity about students politics. JNU is also known for its unbiased and secular image in entire world not only by teachers, student but due to JNU administration as well. Student of JNU not only involved debate on the dhabas specially Ganga Dhaba, Nilgiri Dhaba, Sabarmati Dhaba, Mamu Dhaba and finally Brahmaputra Dhaba (Dhaba Culture is very famous in JNU) but they known for argument with logic, statistic and analytical approach about caste, class, religion, economic, political, social, policy making issue and specially national and international affairs. But after the Lyngdoh, charm of JNU’s election is no more visible in the entire campus, most of the senior students said that this is looks like worst day of JNU students politics, where hardly any engagement visible, as it was earlier, they further said that, JNUSU election was festival for us which draconian Lyngdoh recommendation makes it funeral procession. This is the second election of JNUSU this year 2012; first one was conducted in February in which AISA (All India Student Association) secured all seats.
This time JNUSU election is due to held on 14th of this month, prior to that the famous Presidential debate will be on 12th night after dinner, 13th will be the no campaign day and counting will be started from 15th of September. New JNUSU will take oath before 17th as per the Lyngdoh’s hammer. This entire thing from the notification till the declaration of result is the job of Election Commission which handled by students which are neutral and without any party or ideological affiliation. This is one of the also unique things which is only visible in JNU.
Now, when the election is so close the political parties are distributing their candidate name, agenda of party in all the corner of campus specially at dhabas and accusing each other through their daily pamphlet which is now very much visible in mess of all hostels now a days. Most of the party is accusing AISA which won the all four seats in previous election for their inaction and non fulfillment of social justice agenda, but AISA reject their allegation and said that they tried their best to boost the campus at every level with a very short five months time. They also accuses each other on the various issue like corruption, communal violence in the country (Assam, Agra, Barelly), hate campaign against North Eastern people, AFSPA, Killing of Adivasis, tribes by the security forces, Myanmar, Syria issue is also in the campus air. ABVP also raises its voice against their two candidates which disqualify by EC and they criticizing left for their sympathy towards Moist, Bangladeshi migrants and Kashmir issue. CFI is crying for implementation of Sachchar recommendation and social justice issue. Congress students wing NSUI is under tremendous attack due to its party ruling in central. But some observer within the student community surprise to see that very low voice about international issue which is hardly we have seen in the JNUSU election.
Due to Lyngdoh, public meeting is restricted during campaign period and its called violation of code of conduct; this is also one of the factors which reduce the curiosity and information sharing in the campus. Public meeting was a good tool though which JNU student gets more knowledge by delivering lectures on the various issue by the various political, social personalities since its creation of 1969. Some of the political party which always negates the Lyngdoh is SFR and DSU, both of are boycott election this time again.
The main battle seems to be with AISA and SFI-JNU (A group which was called SFI-JNU, now separated from SFI due to their support of Pranab Mukherjee candidature for President ship by one of his leader Prasanjeet Bose, later they all were expelled from the SFI by high command of CPM) now the SFI is also a separate party in the campus which is not having too much student support except some Kerala students. AISF which was part of SFI-AISF coalition since 1970 in the campus is also giving one candidate on general secretary post, Kunwar Sudhansu Lal, for this election but now this time AISF is coalition partner with SFI-JNU.
But an independent candidate Abhay Kumar is appearing to be a second runner in this election due to his an open critical approach and a very multi religious identity in the campus. His agenda is to (1) Oppose neo-liberalism, and imperialism, privatization of education (2) Uphold right to the self determination for oppressed nationalities (3) Give direct admission to Primitive Tribe in JNU (4) Extend SC status to Muslim and Christian with a separate quota for them (5) Pass communal violence bill in the parliament, Implement Sri Krishna Commission Recommendation. He is also demanding, Release immediately all Muslims youth with compensation who are jailed in the name of “terrorism” and punish erring police officers, and wanted 5 deprivation points for Muslim with sub-quota in JNU as they are excluded from other centers other than School of Language Literature and Cultural Studies (SLL&CS, As 90% Muslims are in SLL&CS specially in Arabic, Persian and in Urdu and rest of schools and centre has very low % of Muslims representation).
In Saturday press conference in front of Student Union Office every political parties distributed their agenda to medias and criticized AISA, like NSUI presidential candidate Iqbal Singh said that “this is the most unsuccessful union in the history of JNU”, but despite all these allegation Om Prasad did not responded the attack but referred their work like merit cum means scholarship, First year Gender Sensation classes etc.
Despite of all these claims, allegation by all the candidate and party including independent candidate, some fact which is still untouched like why the graph of JNU is declining day by day despite 54% increase of seats, why the productivity of JNU is going down? And why JNU students are not as social as it was earlier? Why rural candidate get less chance now a days and most of the Delhite or LSR’s student get admission in all good centers. Some student said that due to 5 marks to girl student the population of Urban crowd increasing in every year but they can enrolled in Delhi University, JNU stand for poor and rural people who hardly get chance to enroll them in Delhi University’s good college due to a 98.99% Plus criteria of marks which is really elite notion. This is the also a story of difference and non social tendency of JNU’s student. Most of JNUite stand for social justice, secularism, equal opportunity, against communal forces, against injustice despite caste, class, religion, economic, political, social discussion in the entire discourse of JNU, its stand for injustice and secularism.
Hope this election will be land mark which will again change the fabric of JNU, for which JNU known for. Student of JNU also want to revive legacy of great leader of JNU and the common students who suffers lot to create JNU better place for all people those who come from different background especially backward family, low income family, rural areas, minorities and for girls who can get equal opportunity, equality and total security in the entire campus.
(Syed Mohammad Raghib is a doctoral research scholar in Centre for West Asian Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He can be reached at [email protected] )