Spreading confusion through JNU issue


Rohit Dhankar

Due to inaptitude and dogmatism of the government supposed to be thinking people of India—the intellectuals—have been very successful in obfuscation, spreading confusion, on certain vital issues; deliberate or otherwise. The government acted ham-handedly under the influence of its own narrow, biased, dogmatic and sectarian definition of the nation and nationalism; and perhaps also with intentions of discrediting JNU to be able to better control it. The spontaneous or manufactured attack by Patiala House Court lawyers made the matters worst and gave a potent issue to the group of people who wanted to divert public gaze away from the 9th February events in JNU. Certainly there is a possibility that the JNU teachers may be feeling that attack on autonomy of JNU, curbing dissent through arrest of Kanhaiya and dubbing JNU as anti-national are much more important threats to the democracy and the nation than shouting of a few anti-India slogans by a group of students. Therefore, they are going full steam in attacking the government on these issues nationally and internationally.

It seems to me that hallmark of an intellectual is to see the whole picture, remain unbiased, and the ability to see consequences of ideas and action, beyond one’s immediate concerns. Their resistance to the excessive use of force by the government, not allowing JNU internal processes to take their own course, maddening media campaign by some channels to dub entire university anti-national and condemnation of the Patiala house hooligans is entirely justified. And in that they are actually rendering a service to the democracy in the country and to the nation; because this nation exists only because of democracy and democratic values.

And yet, they are guilty of spreading confusion—though may not be entirely deliberate—that may come back to haunt us in future in very menacing ways. By their actions, writings and behaviour they are making light of the slogan-shouting incident and making it almost acceptable in young people’s minds as an exercise of freedom of speech. And, thereby, making the country a softer target. This needs a closer examination.

At present the entire debate is focussed on the sedition charges. I must make it clear there that I am not discussing whether Kanhaiya Kumar attracts charges of sedition or not. As far as I can understand, so far there is no evidence in public domain that established that he shouted anti-India slogans. Some TV channels are making a spacious argument that since Umar Khalid is standing next to Kanhaiya when the latter is shouting “azadi” slogans, where azadi is demanded from samant-vad, sangh-vad etc.; therefore, he should be deemed to be shouting azadi for Kashmir. This is completely illogical and unacceptable; actually deliberately malicious.

The issue I am discussing here is whether slogans like “Bharat ki barbadi tak jang rahegi” fall under sedition or not. The Article 124-A is about “the Government established by law in India”. It states: “Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.” Then it adds clarifications to the effect that disapprobation of the measures of the government with intention to bring about their alteration or disapprobation of administrative acts of the government without exiting hatred and through lawful means does not constitute an offence under this act.

The act read in itself certainly covers the slogan that were shouted, and deems them offence punishable under this law; as those slogans did excite hatred, contempt and disaffection towards the “the government established by law in India”. However, through reading recent articles by constitutional experts it seems that the Supreme Court has interpreted it more liberally. Fali Nariman in The Indian Express (17th February) states: “sedition in India is not unconstitutional, it remains an offence only if the words, spoken or written, are accompanied by disorder and violence and/ or incitement to disorder and violence.”

I personally fail to understand why declaration of “Bharat ki barbaadi tak, jang rahegi” is not “incitement to disorder and violence”? It seems to me that “sedition” as defined here, even by Nariman, remains a punishable offence by his own words.  If one raises a technical point that “sedition” in its dictionary meaning is not punishable, I can call it only obfuscation, as law defines terms for specific purposes. If one argues that the term “sedition” is not used in Article 124A, then it means nothing; call it what you like, it is not a quibble about naming. But I am not a legal expert, therefore, will wait to be enlightened through further reading etc. and suspend my judgment on this issue till then.

The point I want to raise is much more important for our future as a nation. The three slogans (Kashmir ki azadi tak, Bharat ki bardadi tak jang rahegi; and “Bharat tere tukade honge, insha Allah, insha Allah) are not, repeat not against the government alone. They are against the idea of and fact of India, Bharat. They express hatred, contempt, disaffection, abetment and intent to destroy India. The governments come and go, we may oppose and resist governments, may dislike them, may want to change them and actually do change them every five years. India remains, India gives us the space in which we create lawful governments. And these slogans are against that idea of governing ourselves democratically. Reducing this issue to technicality of disaffection with the government is obfuscation, creating confusion. It is a failure to make a distinction between the government of the time and the nation.

So what is this Bharat/India they want to destroy? It is people living in a certain demarcate geographical region who have decided to live together and govern themselves through a self-created constitution. And that includes the landmass and its territorial integrity. Because without the territorial integrity the values enshrined in the constitution cannot be realised, can be practices. It includes a multiple cultural traditions which interact with each other and constantly modify and recreate themselves. In this interaction they cooperate with each other, oppose and fight with each other, confront each other, change each other and are changed by each other. This India is aspirations of people who possess multiple identities and varied imagination of the nation and life in it. This involves confrontation of aspirations, groupings for struggle for power and control, struggle against oppression and injustice and compromises. It involves a shifting cauldron of love-hate relationships. It involves a huge turmoil and constant search for harmony and justice for all. And all this goes on within a framework of values we call constitution; and kept within limits by various structures, including the government.

These slogans express a contempt for this arrangement, these people, this structure of values, this way of life, this territorial entity; these slogans want to destroy it all. And under various kinds of spacious arguments young people are being made to believe that it is alright to want to destroy this idea, these people this entity; and it is alright to express this intention openly within this entity, and living within these people.

In this festival of spreading confusion one hears pronouncements like “Gandhi and Tilak were charged for sedition, it is a law that wants to punish all those who want freedom”. They do not know, or are incapable of understanding, the difference between a foreign power occupying a country and a country being governed by a constitution given to itself by its own people; between a colonised people and sovereign people. Their analytical capabilities are being destroyed by these fallacious argument based on half-understood facts.

There are supposed to be critical torch bear of equality who counter the charge of making heroes out terrorists by pronouncing that Bhagat Sigh and Khudiram Bose were also called terrorist. Thereby, proving to themselves that since we call Bhagat Singh and Khudiram Bose revolutionary freedom fighters Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru were also ‘freedom fighters’. They forget, or do not have enough understanding of, the difference between democratic country where alternative and peaceful means of seeking justice are available, where you can participate in government formation; and a colonised country whose government is formed by those outsiders who are not governed by it. More importantly, they forget that Indian revolutionaries rarely targeted innocent public, even innocent Britishers. They attacked government officials who were directly responsible for atrocities, of course in revolutionaries’ minds. But terror through rampant innocent killing and ‘terror’ through targeting particular perceived wrong doer are different.

Arguments are being made out to say that anti-India slogans like the ones cited above and armed struggle against a perceived unjust state are legitimate rights of the people who are oppressed.

No one can deny that the Indian democracy so far has not been just to all its citizens. There are tribles, Dalits, Nagas, Bodos, and Kashmiri people who have been wronged, even oppressed, under this regime after regime and even by the Indian state. This oppression has driven some of them to take up arms, often abated by outsiders. Having sympathy with oppressed groups and standing with them in their struggle is duty of a democratic citizen. But condoning, eulogizing, abetting and supporting armed struggle takes you to a different level.

A democratic system does have redressal systems. Theoretically it is easy to prove that unless run by angels a democracy will involve discrimination and injustice through the self-seeking of those who are in power. Practically it can be seen happening on the ground. And yet, declaration of armed struggle against it on one hand, and making the state sensitive and more just through lawful and democratic means on the other are not the same. Everyone has recourse to peaceful democratic means. And let me admit that it is possible that oppression, atrocities and injustice to a section of people may reach a level when those people come to the conclusion that the armed struggle is the only means left. (I am not going here into the many strategic used that an armed struggle can serve for those who declare it.) That is a shameful situation for a democracy, the whole nation is culprit in such a situation. And that is an unfathomable misfortune for those people. If a democracy does not take care of such situations and does not restore a just system and, thereby, the confidence of the disaffected people; it will get destroyed. In such situations there might be sympathisers of the oppressed people who want to support such armed struggles.

But they all, the oppressed as well as their supporters, should know that declaration of armed struggle is breakdown of the constitutional system and declaration of was on the nation. It is a declaration that we no more accept the constitution, that it has failed, that we are not bound by it. Once you do that, talk of ‘constitutional right for armed struggle’ is imbecile talk. Therefore, support of armed struggle and remaining within the constitutional limits is contradictory. Those who want to support armed struggle should know that they are declaring the constitution useless, they have no constitutional right to support armed struggle to break the country. And they should know that there are people who still have confidence in the democracy and the constitutions; therefore, the state has the duty to protect these citizens. Conclusion that a democracy will fight back tooth and nail does not require much brains. Declaration of war will get what it wants: a war. This situation is no good either for the people who declare armed struggle or their supports or rest of the nation. It is a bad situation, morally indefensible; and ultimately a compromise. But unfortunately humanity at this moment has no better solution. This is not a good solution; but in the current development of humanity it is the best solution. We have to live with it till we find a better one; and have to keep searching for that. We have to find a way of being sensitive to atrocities by various sections and people on other sections and people of the country; we have to fight these injustices and have to do it in a manner that the idea of India becomes stronger and not weakened.

The current debates are actually spreading these, and more, confusions; through their general tenor and kind of arguments they are building. This is an insidious way of harming the nation—as defined above, a constitutional nation—and democracy. It is preparing ground for various insurgencies, preparing an environment of false intellectualism where those who want to harm India can be respected and protected under the garb of radical ideas and seeking justice. This will haunt us, will come back to us. Confusing young students on these issues through spacious theories is dangerous and will ultimately harm all of us. Most probably this is not deliberate. But a critical citizen is called upon to be aware and responsible for unintended outcomes of his/her actions as well.

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20 Responses to Spreading confusion through JNU issue

  1. Sharad says:

    Just one query – “But condoning, eulogizing, abetting and supporting armed struggle takes you to a different level” – how does sloganeering is any of these you have mentioned?

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Sharad, depends on how you interpret a slogan. “Bharat ki barbadi tak jang rahegi” spoken in a seminar after an analysis may be a assessment of situation and a kind of forecast. The same sentence shouted as a slogan with clinched fists and determination is either an intention to support that jung or to start that jung or to warn of a jung. but since the violent jung is already there, therefore, the third possibility of warning can only be a challenge to help it continue.

    Therefore, it is incitement to violence. This is how I interpret it. I might be wrong. if someone has a more rational interpretation I would be happy to consider that.

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  3. vikashmadduri says:

    This is really a wonderful article. Thanks.

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  4. Swati Sharma says:

    Finally found a balance and unbiased view point…it really make sense..

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  5. Culprits seems to be “political mileage” & so called “TRP” of media houses has led to hysteria among the masses. As long as a democracy do not invest into its 4th pillar & create institutions of excellence in the field of journalism, it would suffer such symptoms.

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  6. Dear Rohitji, I remain unconvinced about 2 aspects of your argument: (1) that the so-called false intellectuals are actually supporting the shouting of certain slogans – in fact, if you look at any of the statements signed by these false intellectuals (including myself), it starts out by denouncing and distancing ourselves from these slogans. So, to base your entire critique of the current situation on people’s support of these slogans is misleading; (2) you discuss the wording of the sedition law quite nicely- but you don’t question whether we should, or need to, have such a law at all. It is possible that some may feel that this law itself should be questioned, especially, since, as you rightly point out, things are different in a self-governed democracy as opposed to during the time of foreign rule. This law, apparently, was framed during the time of foreign rule, and it is reasonable for citizens to question its applicability now. Perhaps, after discussion, debate and dialogue, we will conclude that we still need such a law (for the democracy to fight back tooth-and-nail) – but isn’t it reasonable to expect that self-governing citizens may wish to examine such things for themselves from time to time, and esp. under the provocative invocation of such a law? Why pre-empt this dialogue at this point?
    To make my primary point clear once again, I don’t think that the protests currently being organized are in support of anti-India sloganeering; it’s against a variety of other issues that you have identified in your piece as “justifiable reasons” for a protest of this nature. Let’s not muddy the waters with confusing what exactly is being protested at present…

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    • rdhankar says:

      Dear Shailaja ji (this ji is a return gift :)),

      1. I nowhere call the intellectuals “false-intellectuals”. Where I use the term “false” is not for people but a way of thinking “false intellectualism”; indicating a way of thinking that students might pick up.

      2. I nowhere say that the protest is to support the slogan shouting. I know everyone condemns that.

      3. I also say that the protests are very much needed and totally justified. Actually I supported them yesterday in our university with students. And I call them a service to the nation and democracy.

      4. I am not arguing for the sedition law at all. I am saying the argument being made is confusing. Why? Explained in the post.

      5. Should we discuss article 124A of IPC? Sure, why not? Should we keep it? NOT in the present form. But we will require something to act against violent attempts to over through the government or capture territory. What that should be? That will take too long for a post like this, and my knowledge for that is too limited.

      So what is my problem then?

      Well, it is that in this process there are some side effects and the protesters should organise the campaign in such a manner that those side effects can be mitigated; while keeping the sharpness intact. I have listed a few side effects: making light of the anti-India slogans what incite violence; and saying that that is a minor issue. There are such argument being made which create an environment that is tolerant to such activities and though does not condone but “ok, let it be” kind of response. I have detailed my reasons for thinking in this manner. I believe you will get my meaning better if I says: I am requesting to be careful about the hidden curriculum (hidden not in a conspiratorial sense at all, but as unknown/ un-thought through effects we may not even be aware of).

      Hope I am clearer.

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  7. siddhu28 says:

    Hello Prof. Dhankar, and thank you for a very insightful post that helps clarifies a very important issue.

    In a situation such as this, it is important that all the issues that one feels are wrong are highlighted and condemned accordingly.

    It is entirely coherent to hold that the shouting of slogans in question, the police action of arresting Kanhaiya Kumar, the thuggery at Patiala house are ALL not merely morally wrong and condemnable, but also legally wrong and hence deserve legal action. While disproportionately focusing on one while only mentioning the other in passing often seems to imply that while one illegal, the other is only morally wrong and not something that ought to be dealt with legally. This might serve to polarise people, and unfortunately, it seems to be happening now.

    Perhaps, drawing a distinction between ‘moral’ and ‘legal’ wrong/right might help one think better about these issues.

    Any act ought to be deemed legally wrong only if it is also morally wrong, but the vice versa need not be true. Freedom of expression (in the relevant cases) ought to protect people against moral wrongs that are not legal wrongs. For example, shouting slogans like “XYZ judgement by the court is wrong and unfair”, “ABC should not be hanged”, or perhaps even “I support XYZ who is a murderer” may or may not be morally wrong, but within the ambit of a person’s freedom of expression, and hence not legally wrong. However, shouting out slogans that incite or call for hatred or violence, like “We will fight till the destruction of India/Muslims/Hindus/men/women/any group”, especially when there have been violent actions against the said group in the past, is not only morally wrong, but also legally wrong. As you point out, it is not sufficient if one merely condemns these slogans while demanding strict actions against the Delhi police and Patiala house goons, for this seems to imply (even if only unintentionally) that the slogans were merely morally and not legally wrong, and hence a legitimate case of freedom of expression.

    Of course, the question of what should and shouldn’t be deemed legally wrong does not always have an easy answer. But in this case, as argued by you in this post, it is not very difficult to identify and distinguish them.

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  8. Rabi prakash says:

    Rohit, I am not convinced with your argument in this piece. There are more allusions than references to the acts of your accused- the intellectuals. Your concern that the intellectuals are indulging into underplaying the anti-India slogans and magnifying the attack on JNU and the arrest of Kanhaiya. Anti-Indian slogans need to be denounced and condemned and rightly being done so by manu individuals. The teachers association of JNU has categorically said that “guilty should be identified and punished according to the law”. (full statement available on JNU website). Beyond this, one does not know what the intellectuals and teachers of JNU should be doing with these sloganeers, I don’t think that one wants them to join the chanting clubs of BJP fringe to demand the hanging and shooting them down.
    But still you prefer to accuse them of creating confusion, and being very successful in obfuscation- in your words- “…supposed to be thinking people of India—the intellectuals—have been very successful in obfuscation, spreading confusion, on certain vital issues; deliberate or otherwise.” It clearly suggest that you are unhappy that these intellectuals have been able to resist the government and brought the mis-handling of the government at the centre-stage. The question is what was at the stake here- in your view the anti-India slogans should have remained at the stake in debate, but alas, other things came in! but for these intellectuals, the teachers, and students the very procedures of rendering justice to the accused seemed important. And I know that you would endorse the view that in a democracy, following due procedures is most important. If the state refuses to follow the duly established procedures of ’rule of law’, it can ruin the very foundation of democracy. I don’t need elaborate on this. To my mind, demand for following due procedure of law is not creating confusion rather to check the state’s misuse of power.
    On anti-India slogans, I think that the debate has largely been concerned with invocation of existing sedition law and the precedence of misuse by the different government, where any act of dissent has got slapped by sedition charges. And debating sedition laws in a democratic country, and endorsing the anti-India slogans are obviously two different things. The question is raised that why the state tends to slap sedition charges to any form of dissent and puts any innocent person, and in this case, Kanhaiya appears to be an innocent person in this entire episode of anti-India sloganeering. I am not sure that making arguments in favour of scrapping existing sedition laws is providing “spacious arguments” in favour of anti-Indian sloganeering especially when strong condemnation and punishments are sought.

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    • Dolashree Mysoor says:

      Rohitji,

      I must agree with Rabi. For me, the problem is not just the sloganeering, but the ways in which sedition laws have become the political tool of ruling parties. The Congress did the same with Aseem Trivedi. I take Shailaja’s point here that the same laws the British used to silence Indians from critiquing the state are being used in much the same manner by present governments. Now, may be this is the reason why sedition continues to exist despite PIL action for its removal.

      I understand that you clearly mentioned that you’re not going into the matter of whether or not the sloganeering amounts to sedition. Yes, this is the court’s prerogative and must remain so. However, while you have quoted the bare section from the IPC you have missed out the SC jurisprudence in the matter. There is a need to prove proximity to violence or direct incitement of violence. Lawrence Liang’s article in The Wire on the issue and whether this amounts to sedition. Merely resenting the country or raising a voice is not sufficient.

      My problem with the entire situation is based on a history of making sure Kashmir or the north east cannot be a topic of public conversation. There is a big logical jump in saying that talking about Kashmir or similarly militarised spaces is supporting extremists or terrorists. Goats in India have created a culture of fear of talking about these issues in public and it has been banned on several occasions. This bothers me deeply as it interferes with my ability to fulfill my obligations as a citizen – critiquing the state. This is not to say that the slogans were right.

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  9. Pradeep C Dimri says:

    Sir would request for Hindi versions of it and earlier one as so many colleagues requesting for it…….

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    • rdhankar says:

      Pradip ji, no time to do that. But if you can get it done by someone; please go ahead. I will check the translation for accuracy if done reasonably well.

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  10. rdhankar says:

    Dear Rabi and Dolashree,
    Thanks for your detailed comments. It will help me clarify my own thinking and remove ambiguities from articulation. This is a harried response as I notice a heap of work teasing me; so please bear with me if there is an ‘edge’ in the argumentation and smell of rural India in the language, grammar and spellings.
    A clarification right in the beginning. This article is not only about the JNU students and teachers. It is about the larger climate built around it, which is not entirely deliberate. In any such case our focus creates things and ‘airs’ that we may not want to or may not be aware of. I gave the example of ‘side effects of teaching in classrooms and curriculum, organisation of schools, and so on; which may not be known to the teachers and people running the schools. I am drawing attention to all that the environment that is created might be doing.
    Now let me deny what I don’t say and one or both of you accuse of saying.
    1. I don’t say that attack on JNU and arrest of Kanhaiya is magnified in itself. I say it has occupied the entire attention and the anti-India slogans GOT underplayed. And enhancing the urgency and dangerousness of police action and media campaign against JNU edged on certain intellectuals to see the anti-India slogans in a softer light. Too many people have said something like “shouting slogans by ten students is not going to break the country”. Salman Khursid, I have forgotten who but a professor of JNU on TV, and Rabi, you to me in a conversation. This attitude is in the air; and I consider this dangerous. It is not condoning the slogans; it is an attitude of “wrong, and I denounce it, yes. But no big deal”. I might be wrong but I do see a problem in this. Because this encourages an atmosphere where such slogans become acceptable; which leads to emboldening of the “real” people who have this agenda and helps their infiltration. AND WE MAY NOT BE EVEN AWARE OF WHAT WE ARE DONG.
    2. In your zeal to defend your fraternity Rabi, you read in my article something I did not mean, according to you I am unhappy that JNU teachers and students have been able to resist the moves of the government. This kind of interpretation does not have much room in my writing; unless someone is bent upon it. I have written that this is good, and in this they are rendering a service to the nation and democracy.
    3. I do not feel “alas! Other things have come in”. I feel “alas! An important aspect should not have been diluted in just fight against biased attacks by the government on freedom of citizens”.
    4. I am not at all arguing that the due process of law should not be followed and am not arguing in support of those who want to hang the sloganeering students without due process of the law. I even have argued in one of my earlier posts that it may not even be the best way to deal with it legally. I am saying an awareness or unacceptability, moral condemnation and social disapproval of such slogans need to be created.
    5. I am nowhere saying that the sedition law as it exists should be kept or that it should be debated. I personally think that it should go. But we will require something to try in the court of law attempts to over through a government established by law and attempts to capture territory. If they are already available, fine; if not, we need them when we throw out the present sedition law. In the sedition law, if we want one, I would also like to make a distinction between a government, a state and a nation. I know difficult distinction to make in legal terms; but they are needed.
    Now revisiting some examples of obfuscation.
    1. Dolashree is stating that the sedition law today is a colonial law. She does not note what portions of it are removed or changed right from 1948 onwards. This convenient emotional ‘it is colonial’ serves no purpose. And this is where I give my Gandhi and Tilak example. Rabi calla these things allusions. Please read again what I say there. Well, I do not have time to look at all the material now, but if you insist I will quote. Will share with you just one instance that when I was talking with students in APU this was one of the questions. In a video a JNU student is saying that Kanhaiya is being tried under the same law as Gandhi and Tilak were. This is confused thinking which makes a fit material for indoctrination out of him.
    2. The “Bhagat Singh as also called a terrorist” is no allusion. It is common enough not to require any citation. A long standing real friend (not only on FB) gives a rejoinder to someone accusing him making a hero out of a terrorist in case of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, that “Khudiram Bose was also called a terrorist”. This is spacious argument to bring in relativism in an illogical manner. And makes people tolerant to terrorist activity.
    3. Students at APU argued with me that why slogan like “bahrat ki barbaadi tak….” Should not be considered part of freedom of speech. They do not make a difference between statements of fact, a prophesy, and expression of intention. This creates confused thinking; makes them open to misguidance. Don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing that students should not ask such questions. They are absolutely right in asking them. I am worried about the answers that the intellectual atmosphere provides for them. Those answers are inadequate.
    4. I have heard it too often that an oppressed group can take up arms, and a citizen can support it morally and materially remaining within his rights. It is not mare allusion, Rabi. You know it. This is an untenable position. And the current intellectual environment (not JNU teachers, please open it up) seems to encourage this thinking. Actually, those who morally support such armed struggles are even considered more concerned with justice to all. You may disagree with me, but am saying it is logically and morally untenable and practically dangerous.
    This is the atmosphere I am arguing against. And don’t jump to the conclusions that since I find these problems with the current intellectual atmosphere I am supporting the BJP tactics and intentions. If you do, you will be in good company: Bush of America.

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    • Dolashree Mysoor says:

      Rohitji,

      Here is my discomfort with your argument-
      1. You mention that I’m not staying the changes that have taken place in sedition laws in India, my point is not on how this law has developed, but the way it has been used to silence cartoonists, professors and now students. That I cannot say anything against the government of India is deeply problematic. The law continues to be used in the same manner as the British used it. This is not an emotional argument but an observation of some sedition cases.
      2. You can’t convict on intention alone. There must be an act to wage a war against the state. Did this happen in the JNU situation? Was there violence on the day? We can’t leave out these facts or call it blind support for JNU. I have as many problems with JNU as the next person does.
      3. I never mentioned supporting violence. I merely said the way governments in India have thwarted public debates on contentious issues impedes my ability to fulfill my obligations as a citizen. Let me clarify, while I have an obligation to critique the state, I also have an obligation to follow fair and just laws. The latter would automatically bind me to an obligation not to engage in violence or condone it.

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  11. tiger says:

    Nothing on India anything or anyone who goes against it proxy or armed must be destroyed……thanks

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  12. laffaz says:

    Dear Sir, your points are thoughtful and always provoke to think more. thanks for highlighting some important issues. for me the question comes on the action of Government (whatever) and the hysteria of people (self acclaimed patriots) on such issues. its very haunting for everyone when name of country is involved in slogans “India” because perhaps a narrow meaning of Nationalism is popular among us in which death of a Army person causes too much tension (which is right) and pain but death of a farmer in field or a worker working for a government project who contributes in “nation” too by other means gets less acceptance as a martyr or even RTI or other activists. perhaps we just think that nationalsim is just related to shouting Vande Ma taram and cracking crackers on BCCI’s teams victory over pakistan or by external threats. as u have already mentioned about the real meaning of nation which is not but people living in a part of land called India (and not just a map or piece of land to which we show love but spit venom against people living on it) absolutely right but question comes when state’s officials and responsible ministers separate these two things. why m saying this because people who directly said provocative, communal speeches for destroying indian people’s peace and harmony get acceptance as not only leaders but state has also became ineffective in front of their power. the example is Bal Thackeray whose role is famous in Mumbai riots, Uma Bharti and Sadhvi Hritambhara’s speeches or even Jagdish tytler and we can find lot of examples on this. even the whole act of Babri demolition was not only illegal, unlawful but a counter to the words of Supreme court of India, even when the case was under trial. but we didn’t find too much agitation among people (such as Lawyers of Patiala house, zee news, ABVP, etc.) as right now we have seen in the case of slogans shouted by students of JNU. perhaps such selective outrage and actions create problems among many thinkers. in the case of Maqbool and Afzal also, we know what was the situation when Maqbool bhatt had been given punishment (Basharat Peer’s book Curfewed night gives a good account on it) and how our own Army gave chance to separatism because of its own irresponsible works. in case of Afzal too we have seen Supreme court’s final judgement which said that there was no direct connection of him with any group but because of satisfying collective conscience of masses he should be extinct. I don’t think that people are justifying slogans raised in JNU but the anger and outrage of people looks more in this case where slogans have not caused even violence. the idea of India will be maintained not only acting against some students who shouted some slogans but by hearing multiple voices and not spreading mistrust which is our own fault (as it has been done by us in Kashmir from 80s-90s and in Naxal effected regions too. off-course a legal work should be done under the law against slogan shouters but showing them as terrorists without trial, evidences and all is also not right as our media is doing (just on the basis of slogans. at the end I’ll say that government and people also think what issue they are looking as anti-national, only shouting against idea of India or also breaking the peace among people living in the country as it was done by several hate-politicians. after all nation is people living in a region and protecting their views and them is Nationalism.

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  13. Bharti Pandit says:

    Completly agree with the points made in the article. The so called intellectuals are avoiding the larger issue and focussing on the patty issues.

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