A JNU professor made a speech that questioned some of the deeply held beliefs of the Left. For his sins, he was heckled, booed, and “made to face questions from his audience”.
In all this, the current Public Enemy Number One, Kanhaiya Kumar, was the ringleader.
I got all of this from this “story” (maybe there is a reason why we call articles “stories”, after all).
I’d posted a link to this lecture in full, a couple of days ago. FWIW, here it is again:
“Made to face questions”? Every single lecture in the ongoing JNU lecture series ends with a question and answer session. At 1:40 into the lecture, Professor Paranjape says “I do hope there is an occasion to discuss some of these things later, if there is time for a question and answer”.
I guess you see what you want to see. I listened to this lecture twice — the first time start to finish, the next with frequent pauses to digest some point the professor was making, to think it through in my own mind (just as I did with every lecture in this compelling series).
This is what I saw: A young professor delivering a lecture he had obviously thought through and prepared thoroughly for.
A lecture before a sizeable group of students — many of them the possessors of strong opinions — that challenged some of their most deeply held beliefs.
A professor who questioned statements made by the university’s student leader and star of the hour, Kanhaiya Kumar, in his presence — a questioning that indicated that he was comfortable enough with the audience to be able to be honest, to have no fear of the sort of physical retribution others, outside the university’s walls, have had to endure even for comments that they never made.
I saw students who sat engaged and attentive throughout the 50-plus minutes that the lecture lasted — no one walked out in protest, no one stopped him from speaking.
I saw students who cheered and laughed at times, and at other times booed — and if you have ever been in a college/university, you know that you engage only with those professors you respect, irrespective of differing viewpoints.
I saw a young student leader — Shehla Rashid — at one point get up and call for order when a section of the audience got a bit too boisterous. At another point I saw another student leader — Kanhaiya Kumar — walk up and tell the professor that he shouldn’t get distracted with one on one responses to members of the audience, to the point where he lost sight of his lecture itself.
I saw all of this, and it felt good to know that such spirit — on the part of professors and faculty alike — exists in our educational institutions. I sat through this lecture, as I have with the other dozen-plus in this series, and I felt envious.
The Swarjya Staff, credited with this piece, saw something else.
What did you see?