Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Anti-Maoist wave sweeps Baburam's JNU


NEW DELHI, Aug 30 - Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai completed his doctorate from here. So did veteran diplomat Dr Lokraj Baral. Nepali Congress Democratic leader Pradip Giri also came here for further education. Other renowned pass-outs include Indian communist leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri, and journalist M.J. Akbar.
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is often described as one of Asia's best academic institutions. Students and scholars like it as much for its open, democratic, 'no-show-off' and 'anti-bourgeois' environment. Yet some in Delhi's security and defense establishments criticize it as the 'haven for left wing extremists' - and, worse, 'terrorists'.

Amidst such admirations and criticisms, meanwhile, a new anti-Naxal (Maoist) wave is sweeping JNU. On a recent evening, dozens of pro-Congress students marched through the campus streets, condemning violence and chanting anti-Naxal slogans. And a prominently displayed banner on the campus reads: "Naxalbad ko jalado, mitado [Turn Maoism to cinders and destroy it]."

And this past week, days after the southern Andhra Pradesh state government imposed a ban on Naxalites there - apparently at the behest of the central government here, the pro-Maoist students were quick to hit back. They plastered JNU walls with posters opposing the ban, one of which read, "Can you stop the rays of the sun by putting up your hands? Can you stop the surge of popular waves by putting us behind bars?"
With different political players at constant play, the JNU campus gives an impression of a haven for democracy and pluralism - in addition to academic excellence. That may be the reason why there's been no dearth of diverse groups of students here. With the new academic session commencing earlier in August, the nearly four-decade-old institution is attracting more and more students from around the world, including Nepal.

Interestingly, a few of those from Nepal also include the "victims of Feb 1" -- meaning political leaders and activists, who moved to India to rally support for Nepal's democracy.

Foreign Department Secretary of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), Rajan Bhattarai, who is enrolled for M Phil Ph D in international studies; and human rights activist Dinesh Prasain who's enrolled for M Phil Ph D in political sociology belong to this category.

In all, there are about a dozen new Nepali faces on JNU campus this summer. They also include journalist Ila Sharma, who's enrolled for M Phil Ph D in 'World Trade Organization and development aspects'.

"You can study what you want to. It's a perfect place for multi- and inter-disciplinary studies," said Sharma.

Very true, nodded Tribhuvan University lecturers Deo Kumari Gurung and Beena Rai, who are on leave and are earning their doctorate degrees from here, respectively, on International Migration and Population and Maternal Health. Another TU academic, Prabha Kaini, is also receiving her doctorate from here.

"This is that rare place for learning. Here, you learn as much from on-campus discourses on contemporary inter/national issues as from classrooms," said Hari Roka, a leftist political activist from Nepal, who is doing is doctorate in political economy.


Anonymous said...

Karat did not complete his studies at JNU hence he is not a pass out but pushed out--
It is important we stress on facts and not fiction--Karat is not a degree holder from JNU.

Anonymous said...

JNU one of the best insitutions in asia - u must be joking. i must admit that it's good in all these politics, history related topics though.