This post is a personal opinion piece. To know about JNU, please visit http://www.jnu.ac.in/main.asp?sendval=Introduction
In the four decades since its inception, JNU has made a mark for itself as being the nursery of politics in
The campus ‘life’ here booms only under that political mushroom, with not much
else going for it in terms of the cultural experience. The two best features of
JNU are: India
a) Members of faculty across various departments (or ‘Schools’ and ‘Centres’ in JNU parlance). The top rung everywhere is composed of celebrity academicians of their respective fields.
b) This is a woman-friendly campus. To be able to provide such safe precincts bang in the middle of the rowdy and patriarchal terrain of north
is no mean feat! India
Beyond that, there aren’t too many paeans to sing. Being one of the biggest campuses in
India (almost 900 acres), it is neither
well-curated (like the )
nor well-connected (like IIT-Bombay). There is no university bus service for
the residents and the condition of public transport is utterly dismal. There is
also no Wi-Fi connectivity in the hostels. No need to elucidate on how much
discomfort it causes to students! Benaras
This campus scores really low on the cultural activity scale. The reason for it brings us to what the campus is most famous for – students’ political activity! This sole factor has a pervasive effect on each and every thing that anyone would want to do here. New students can’t even get the admission done without affiliates of various student parties swooping down on them for providing unsolicited ‘assistance’. Further on, whatever little theatre performances happen are mostly on political issues and films screened are on those themes too. Performing arts’ concerts are barely held, which is a real shame, considering the ample space on campus.
Political hyper-activity here plays out in the form of protest rallies, wall art via huge posters, demonstrations, ‘public meetings’ and, as en vogue, hunger strikes! The issues at hand are almost always those not concerning the students actually studying on campus at that point in time. They ‘fight’ for quotas and accuse the administration of being ‘casteist’, blithely forgetting that most of the students wouldn’t be here if the administration didn’t recognize their quotas. Most protest activities are also publicity stunts with media personnel being especially invited to cover them.
This campus thrives on labels. That, I argue, is their favourite pastime! JNU has made a name for itself as being a ‘Leftist/ Communist’ campus. I still don’t know the difference between them. Though, it is these only on the surface level. Scratch this surface and one will know that these labels (including others like Marxist, Statist, Anarchist) can be afforded to criticize every single thing under the sun, because, well, it’s dirt cheap here! This is possibly one of the most inexpensive campuses in the country, despite all the hue and cry about inflation and price rise in the economy! The reason so much of 'protest' can actually take place on the campus is because they do not have to pay through their nose for everyday survival.
Capitalism may well be ridiculed, but if these so-called politically conscious ‘students’ were to walk merely 1 km. out of the campus, the sting will be out of their agenda! All that money saved from negligible expenses on the campus is spent generously on cigarettes, alcohol and other substances, none of which are officially retailed on the campus. The prices of these products are often hiked for the luxury of being made available within the gates of JNU.
It’s an open secret that the political groupings serve as a ready dating pool for its members. Any change in affiliation to one group leads to instant loss of that network and alienation from those who were your ‘friends’! Dissent in opinion within a group is not very welcome and peer pressure is liberally used to manufacture consent, toeing the respective political line of belief.
JNU is also famous for being the best place to prepare for and crack the UPSC exams in
Imagine that classic contrast where the people who viciously criticize the
state hanker to get employed by the same state! Cases abound of professed
‘Communists' happily leaving behind their affiliations after getting selected through
a highly competitive procedure for the administrative services. Clearly then,
this is a phony bunch of opportunists who use the space for sharpening their
event management skills and avail the university’s ample resources to eventually get a
prestigious government job. India
In conclusion, JNU is an example of a gated community swarmed by idealists who can afford to champion their cause only within the boundaries of this campus. Temporary occupants here go out of sync with the ways of the world, ignoring the reality of capitalism and market economy. Blessed are those souls who manage to spend most of their lives on this campus, funded by the state, which shelters them from the real struggles outside their gates.