It’s a ‘liberal’ thing to argue ourselves into a corner. And to not get that in life, there are some absolutes. Saying no to violence — to the use of violence to suppress something a section of people dislikes — is one of those absolutes. See this @nilanjanaroy thread on the attack on Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
PS: The head of the ‘Karni Seva’, the outfit behind the attacks, justifies it on the grounds that Bhansali is distorting history (not to mention gunshots no one heard). The argument is not what history says or does not say. It is not ‘How do you know, have you read the script?’ The argument is a simple ‘so what?’ It is a feature film, not a documentary; that it is fiction is implicit. There is no law against reinterpreting — or even reinventing — history; there is, however, a law against assault. And in this controversy, there is only one side unequivocally in the wrong.
Which brings me to this: In the aftermath of the attack, events followed a template. Media headlines. Talk shows. Outrage on Twitter at this newest manifestation of intolerance, and the predictable whataboutery in response.
What did not happen? This: the law and order machinery in Rajasthan was not questioned; the state government did not feel the heat. Therefore the government is under no compulsion to take action against the thugs. Which in turn licenses them to continue their thuggery with impunity — and also signals to similar thugs elsewhere that as long as they cloak their acts with the fig leaf of ‘justifiable outrage’, they can do as they please with no consequences beyond some passing breeze on social media.
‘Hum leke rahenge aazadi’ — the slogan that was flashed time and again on news channels to judge, and condemn, Kanhaiya Kumar as anti-national; to charge him with sedition; to question the raison d’etre of a university and all who study there.
‘If it were so, it were a grievous sin, and grievously hath…’
If it were so.
Embedded in this story, a video worth watching. Because, you know, facts?
Taxpayers — the loyal, patriotic ones, at least — have been appalled ever since the JNU row broke out. Our tax dollars subsidising that nest of radicals, baby terrorists who may or may not have connections to shadowy Pakistan-based agencies? Maybe evem, as an outraged TV anchor suggested, even receiving covert funding from said agencies?
Intolerable. Mohandas Pai said, in words that cannot be improved upon (but have been extensively criticised): ‘We fund your education, not your politics’.
Senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta is similarly appalled. Those ‘Azadi’-loving radical baby terrorists are getting a hostel room at just Rs 219 a month!
And speaking of where my tax dollars are going — there’s this (dated 2014)
Those hard-working Rajya Sabha MPs deserve every rupee they vote themselves. Including one and a half times airfare (Wait — I get reimbursement of airfare, but why half again?). Tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. And so on. And on.
That is how it works. I am entitled. You, on the other hand, are an anti-national Pakistan-loving sack of shit.
Author and educator Amitava Kumar, who earlier listed some notable anti-nationals, takes a wide-angle view of the JNU controversy:
Yeah. Use force to control violence?! Whoever heard of such a thing.
Those are clips from the report submitted by a team of SC-mandated lawyers sent to assess the situation at Patiala House. And they say our universities are hotbeds of violence and unrest.