I disregard what you say but I will die to defend your right to say.
So, what is Anti-national?
Uttering only violent slogans (unless it falls under sedition as per the SC verdict) doesn't result in any crime and falls under the ambit of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India. If you are telling someone "Anti-national", I assume (though it might not be a correct assumption technically) you consider yourself as a pro-national and following the interest of nation without doing any act which is against the nation's interest and against the law of the land (Nation). And so, I believe that you follow and respect the Constitution of India, Indian Penal Code and also the Supreme Court of India. Supreme Court of India in Kedarnath vs the State of Bihar, basically said, a mere utterance of Violent slogans doesn't amount to sedition and it comes within the ambit of Freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed under article 19(1) (read this blog for details: https://indconlawphil.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/what-is-sedition-i-the-kedar-nath-singh-case/). And so uttering violent slogans is not a crime under IPC, it is a right under Consitution and as per the Supreme Court Verdict. So, ironically, by regarding a person as anti-national for raising such slogans, you are yourself going against this machinery of the state and despite so you call others as anti-national.
And now let's come to "Pakistan Zindabad". So-called Patriotic (or may be pseudo- patriotic, I am no one to decide) people said raising Pakistan Zindabad slogan is anti-national and they were extremely hurt by this to my amazement. Let me tell you, India is an exceptional country and it is not every day that a nation like India is formed. India is not only a country, which has boundaries and can be defined by geographic territorial limits and locations. The word India comes from the river Indus, it signifies the prominent civilization in this world, it includes cultures, traditions, knowledge, principles which are the base of India. And so, I believe pro-national people who regard others as anti-national will follow these principles of India. India has a big heart and so from the ancient time India believes in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which means "the world is one family", and hence as per this principle we consider everyone in this world as part of our family, be it Pakistanis, Americans, Africans, Russians etc. And as a family, we can wish for the well-being of our brothers and sisters. Which means we can wish for the development, we can extend support to our brothers and sisters for noble causes even if they are non-Indians, and we can even express this wish in a form of a slogan. And so, yet again, it is ironical that people who disapprove "Pakistan Zindabad" slogan and regard it as a sin are the ones who actually violates the principle of India (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) and are calling others as anti-nationals.
Coming to JNU - no need to overlook Jadavpur
University, the origin of this word can be traced to Latin Universitas, which means 'the whole', University in its actual sense is Universal, which can't be reduced to a Nation, a Culture, a tradition, a tribe. People from all over the world can study in same University and have every right to have ideological differences with each other. University's reach has to be universal and its audience humanity, mankind, justice. A university is a stage where you can have ideological clashes, debates, presentation of views and opinions and this is how a human mind develops with a completely different and strong meaning. The idea of nationalism is itself contrary to the idea of a university. The renowned universities of the past like Taxila, Nalanda were free from such shackles of nationalism, and sentiments and laws. The best contemporary examples would be universities like Havard, Cambridge, Oxford which host several students from all over the world, from different states which may be at war with each other and sometimes even with the nations of the university's own location.
We have a habit of comparing with the west in each and everything, we start saying had this type of things being happened there these scoundrels wouldn't have been roaming freely and all such things. Imagine the students raising anti-American slogans in all the major American Universities during the Vietnam war and as a matter of fact, these were not Vietnamese students. Many such conflicts sometimes divide the Universities' campuses in America but still the campus is allowed to thrive in co-existence of diverse opinions.
Even in times of the Colonial Era, students raised slogans against the British Government (though in this case the Govt is foreign) in the campuses but they were not charged with sedition, in some extreme cases, some disciplinary actions were being taken by the University. Universities need to respect the environment where a free political debate can take place (that doesn't mean supporting violence or encouraging or being a mute spectator).
In JNU, there are students from different places, and this is of a major significance and can't be overlooked. There are students from Kashmir too, who may have a grievance against the Indian state and who may not have accepted India as their nationality.
Afzal was regarded as Martyr and there can be a possible reason to this. Probably some people may consider Afzal as a martyr. For instance, if you see a bus from the front and if you see the bus from the side you will get different views, and so the dimension matters. Maybe from some other dimension Afzal has been regarded as a Martyr. Some Kashmiri may consider him as Martyr- fighting for the Independence of Kashmir just as Tibetans are fighting against China and we fought against the British and Bangladesh against Pakistan. What makes a university unique is like United Nations it allows voices to be raised too.
And it is ridiculous to see that the protest was followed in Jadavpur with the slogan of demanding Azadi, just like blind followers they followed. This incident has already been messed up by the politicians. And the arrest of Kanhaiya is clearly not reasonable here. Arresting anyone randomly can't be justified.There should have been a proper investigation before any arrest and though most likely this is not a sedition then also the court will give its final say. In universities, they should be allowed to raise their voice but if any violence is taken off then the university must intervene to take a strict action.
By Arghya Samaddar
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