JNU - from possibilities to a pathology, its hollowing by left

The furore that a left saturated Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has generated in the last few years is a matter that disconcerts many. It invited my wrath too, against an authoritarian and intrusive vice chancellor on the one hand and on the other and more, against the left academia and politics that too had violated the sanctity and possibilities, the university promised. In JNU, particularly its social science and humanities centres, we hoped for an alternative student culture and scholarship of a kind unique in a country where majority universities have ceased to be anything beyond degree awarding institutions. Even today JNU is known and to a considerable extent justifies itself by its rigorous research, exceptional faculty ushering in new models of understanding and also providing a learning environment where not just a few but a sizeable majority acquire 'skills', confidence and disposition to morph into citizens in a truer political sense. This is all the more remarkable given that the majority of its students come from very humble background, with little knowledge of English but who over just two years can parse through the dense prose of Marx or Weber. JNU still produces the finest social science academicians anywhere in India.1 While JNU purists may not like to crow about it and may possibly be embarrassed, the fact remains that JNU has also provided some excellent civil servants and conscientious members working in different Central and State departments. And several well known activists and media persons also count among its alumni.

I myself was a student of JNU twice staggered over twenty years and I can partly if not wholly, vouch for the above having known so many such people personally. Speaking for myself JNU gave me much needed confidence, dignity and an identity no less, along with a sound grasp of the discipline of history ( and later sociology). This certainly helped in my career as a school teacher and in an NGO however unglamorous, dull, uninspiring and prosaic teaching and education is seen to be. But as Seneca implied, self actualization is less about being a great achiever but being more aware and control of one's agency. So in that sense JNU helped in engendering my agency and evolving a sense of self worth. 

Issues with JNU and social science scholarship it represents
Be that as it may, this edifying story, I'm afraid does not end here. There's also a more egregious JNU, something I began to recognize in my second innings. It probably also has to do with my own greying and in hindsight. I realise how JNU even as it enables it is also disabling. Maybe not by design but practice. 

I would like to critique at two levels. One in terms of the knowledge that emerges in social sciences through certain epistemic shifts. In this JNU becomes more than a fixed place but a metaphor for contemporary social science practices. When I critique JNU bear in mind I also critique a certain kind of scholarship that has become associative with JNU. Second is the student politics that has emerged on such an account in JNU. 

The tantrums of JNU's 'erudite' student and academic elite
Let me begin by quoting this extract from one of the foremost literary scholars and thinkers, Makarand Paranjape, who worked in JNU for years in its English department. He however was harassed and humiliated by many left students group, for he often called out their shallow posturings and dogmatic positions on different issues: "JNU was dominated by a futile and deluded, not to mention negative and destructive, Leftist student politics. Shielded and protected by powerful faculty lobbies. The world may have changed, but JNU was caught in a time warp. Students stayed on for years, teachers took on more PhD students than they could handle. The tuition fees were something like Rs 250 a year; the hostel charges,bang next to Vasant Vihar, one of the poshest Delhi colonies,around Rs 10 per month. Worse, instead of a culture of excellence and competence, the prevailing ethic appeared to be parasitism and partisanship. Everything was political. Or politicized. Anti-government activists thriving at Government expense. This was what Socialism seemed to boil down to. Everywhere, on every bare wall, a poster war. With slogans frozen in time, reminiscent of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Supporting lost causes and failed hopes. Every now and then, there would be a protest march. Gathering near Ganga or Sabarmati hostels...Was this all that revolution meant? A campus march from hostels to admin building, shouting anti-this-or-that slogans. And endless hostel socials. Living cheaply, sharing rooms with any number of ‘guests’. And of course bunking classes. Attendance purely optional."2

Hubris and Condescension 
Keeping the keenly observed and felt views of Prof Paranjape, I now seek to add my thoughts on JNU more than substantating his views.

JNU's zeitgeist is Marxism. Indeed many of the faculty members and consequently the students in JNU, see Marxism and neo Marxist theory as the only possible and credible framework to understand society and critique it. Of course notwithstanding this generalisation, many faculty members don’t fall under such a category or in any neat binaries even as Marxism may serve as an useful methodological tool. Indeed JNU and the social science disciplines they represent is redeemed today by few such members. However in whatever ways Marxism props certain kind of scholarship, should not imply the lack of equally engaging frameworks to understand society in ways that may not converge with epistemic premise of Marxism or other Eurocentric theories. And it's not only Marxism that answers to questions of marginalization, oppression, power and disenfranchisement of the many, that so overwhelmingly prevails in social sciences of which JNU has become an metaphor. Theoretically it is becoming easy to single out Marxism's bugbear i.e. capitalism as the sole culpable agent increasing the divide between classes. But whether viz Marxism and it's solution for all, socialism, becomes the only alternative when it has been a disastrous experience with societies that adopted it, should be an important question bothering the Marxists. Yet these Marxist scholars who certainly wield disproportionate influence and hegemony in JNU (and social sciences in general) and the left union, continue to fancy otherwise. 

The other value, rather a fetish, JNU is seen to stand for is its fight for 'secularism'. In this the spurious practice of secularism, perfected by both the Congress and the left, only the saffron groups are culpable of violating and undermining it. In other words Hindu identity politics is wrong but Muslim identity politics is right. While Muslim faith is to be safeguarded and not to be trifled with, no such safeguard is required for Hindu faith. Of course I'm hardly vouchsafing for the wanton ways Muslims are targeted, villified in most benign of saffron actions and at its more sanguinary, brutally killed by systematic planning and operation in riots and lynching sprees. Yet it is important to understand where such hate, suspicion, prejudice has taken hold of Hindu minds, beyond highly doubtful and limited arguments of false consciousness, propoganda and historical distortions been routinely given by left-secular scholars in certain glibness and self-righteousness. Will come to delineate this matter in a bit, but the point is such phantoms, bogeys and facile arguments have been propped by left scholars and politics, which only reeks of crassness, reductionism, wanton prejudice, crude selectivity which has vitiated the sanctity of learning, disciplines of social sciences and politics in the campus.

Overreach of Marxism and its perverse use 
So predominantly Marxist theories and the ideology propels, informs the curriculum in JNU's social sciences programs and importantly pertinent here, is JNU's student politics. As Paranjape indicated, over the last 50 years left students organisations like Student Federation of India (SFI), All India Student Association (AISA) backed by CPM and CPI (M-L) respectively have dominated the students union most of the time. The independent Free Thinkers (FT) in my knowledge did get elected to helm the union on very few occasions and so did Congress backed National Students Union of India (NSUI). However in contrast to Delhi University, where Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of the BJP has always had a formidable record and presence, but it could very rarely call the shots from a position of power in the union. 

With Marxism being a dominant if not the only lens to understand the world - past and present, the JNU students union have always kept the rhetoric of socialism in play as the most scientific way to contest capitalism. For the latter is seen the sole villain par excellence which props ills like patriarchy, casteism, ecological disasters, communalism and human suffering. Even as some qualifiers are perfunctorily acknowledged, a kind of crude materialistic reductionism and determinism colours all their understanding of politics, social relationships, faith, art, culture, psychology. 

In contrast, the saffron and allegedly right wing ABVP is treated as a political paraiah by discerning students. It is a matter to be acknowledged and conceded that ABVP like its parent, does not have the kind of intellectual and scholarly heft needed to take on the more 'learned' AISA or SFI or the even more, I dare say, left virulent, DSU. That this imperative of scholarly depth is an non-negotiable value much needed to give a more firm footing to Hindutva's logic and ideology lest it truly ingresses into a dogma is something that none of the saffron groups across the country understand.3

But little discernment is ironically displayed by the left-secular group either, whose familiarity of social theory is basically a form of weaponisation to pulverize anyone who questions them. Choicest epithets at worse or some indiscernible argot at best is used in bludgeoning the saffron groups as no more than a horde of rabble-rousers, thirsting for the blood of the minorities particularly Muslims. In this, it is rhetorically stated and mostly overstated that the saffron groups are fascists, as malevolent if not more so as the Nazis, a comparison the left make as routinely and casually as remarking about the direction of sun rise and sun set. In such comparisons rarely, if ever, the genocide under Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot is even fleetingly acknowledged and indeed two of the three leaders are extolled as role models in the different posters, pamphlets, speeches and slogans of the left groups. Further and worse neither is the massacre, wanton bloodletting, conversion and destruction that Islamic rulers inflicted upon people of indigenous faith in India, let it be Hindus, Buddhist or Jains (even Christians) is acknowledged with the kind of serious inquiries and research that it warrants. Worse they are justified, contrived explanations given and never seen as something horrifying in India's medieval past.

The intoxicating mix of left politics and academia
A miasma hangs over JNU, that has vitiated student interrelationships, scholarly and disciplinary integrity and the very democratic spirit, that JNU was meant to promote and safeguard. This miasma was already hanging thick before the current government shenanigans unleashed their own version, cruder and brute, of pathologies into the muck. For
it is equally appalling to see the brazen strong arm tactics used by the university administration with the blessings of the government no less, targeting left unions and many professors who even as they are no leftist but when called out the vice chancellor for his authoritarian and whimsical style of functioning were served show cause notices. The brutal attack on left students, some months back by hoodlums affiliated to saffron groups was horrid and terrifying. Yet I'm also disgusted and appalled the way left dominated faculty in JNU and other research bodies have treated over the years those who didn't buy into their tactics, 'their technology, their line and the fraud' ( viz. Arun Shourie). 

Certain pathologies have festered in the campus over the years that skews its student politics in particular. The politics of an average JNUite as stated above, begins with a sustained rhetoric haranguing the pernicious bourgeois political economy viz. Marx, perceived inimical to egalitarian possibilities that prevents the amelioration of the exploitative social conditions of the working classes. 

But today a JNUite has moved from concerns of class to questions of subaltern identity and politics which mostly revolves around caste, particularly of Dalits. What in left-secular lingo referred as Brahmanical Hinduism is seen to be a bigger threat than class, bourgeois machinations and their hegemony. In this targeting of Brahminism, their attacks, scholarly or otherwise are directed at the seamier side of Hinduism, which often lapses into an attack on Hinduism in its entirety. Much of such excruciating scrutiny leaves most of other faiths aside, as if Hinduism exclusively is problematic as a faith. That every faith has its kinks, limitations and embarrassing histories is conveniently ignored. This harangue they say is necessary to safeguard secularism, justice and equality -  values in our constitution. ( which otherwise was always attacked as being very bourgeois till recently) Their defence of secularism is posited only viz Hindutva, an allegedly rabid strain of Hinduism but then in effect it becomes an attack on Hinduism itself. Within such a discourse in both JNU and the kind of scholarship that such view has engendered across India, a kind of perverse inversion has happened where the Hindu itself becomes the 'other'. Communalism, bigotry and insularity is effected, these left-secularists proclaim in tones of belligerence and taunt across, only by Hindu chavunist groups but not by Islamic groups even as perception and evidences patently point to the contrary. 

Little that is politically redemptive from Hinduism is possible for such left ideologues because it merely was a faith at the service of priests, warriors and traders. Hinduism is reduced to a fiction in which only schisms and conflicts were prevalent and history of Buddhism, Jainism, Bhakti saints was largely one of assertions between them and Brahmanic Hinduism where the latter triumphed due to priestly cunning and conniving. Ambedkar himself was a modern expression of such a narrative. The left politics past and present has become a refrain and tautological.

When ideology and politics coalesce and b(l)inds scholarship
In this regard I wish to make two points. 
As regards my first I quote here well known sociologist Avijit Pathak and himself member of JNU faculty for nearly three decades, "(In JNU) Politics has lost its substance; rhetoric has replaced thinking. “Competitive radicalism” has reduced protests to predictable rituals. For “radicals”, Gandhi is a taboo, Marx is a residual memory, Ambedkar is God. Whatever you don’t like is a symptom of “patriarchal Brahminism” and hunger strikes are as normal as sunrise every morning. The result is, it is no longer possible to distinguish the serious from the trivial. This politics is centred on a new practice of “untouchability”. “Ultra-leftists” don’t talk to “Brahminical” leftists; “Ambedkarites” don’t allow others to appropriate The Annihilation of Caste; (So therefore...) ABVP cadres remain perpetually sceptical about “pseudo-secular”, “pro-Kashmiri”, “anti-national” liberals."4

Secondly and ironically, at a theoretical level, in seminars and classrooms, certain nuance could surely be ascertained in understanding of society and politics past and present. So one may hear staff and students in JNU talk and wax eloquent about praxis, Gramsci and Frankfurt school who brought in great degree of nuance to the tired class war narrative. However in the political practices of SFI, AISA, nothing of such nuances, refinement, complexity, a Marcuse, Adorno or a Fromm desired to bring about, is visible and embedded into their practices and rhetoric. Also Eurocentric theory so seduces them that anything from our own equally profound, liberating, enlightening and joyful texts of Vedas, Bhatkti poetry, the poetry of the Sangam period is looked upon with disdain and as something ok not to know but one as well be caught dead if unable to quote from a Marx, Weber, Foucault or Lyotatd.  

However notwithstanding such scholarship, certain perspectives that can still determine the unity in ancient India under the rubric of Hinduism, regardless of schisms like caste, is barely taken forward in research. If one does so, such scholars and students are seen as saffron and Hindutva apologists. Again, even as studies on Hindu or Islamic state and society establish both as being anything but singular, in actual practice of left-secular politics today, the Muslims are still seen as an homogenous lot pitted against a fragmented Hinduism. Rather than also accepting the possibility of Hindutva's rise against certain kind of Islam, all Muslims and Islamists are seen to be in danger at the hands of saffron politics and policies. 

As former New York Times correspondent, K S Komireddi, no sympathizer of Hindutva and an usual Hindutva baiter otherwise, remarked, "...pick up a history textbook taught at state institutions and you will find no explanation of what happened. It was the mission of “secular” historians and public intellectuals of India to locate mundane causes for carnage by religious zealots. And when those reasons could not be found, they papered over the gruesome deeds of the invaders with nice-nellyisms and emphasised their good traits..." As Komireddi goes to explain further, the blame for the fractitous Hindu-Muslim conflict and animus is all put on the machinations of colonial British, through both their overt fanning of conflict between the two communities and covert scholarship (popularized by the concept of Orientalism on which a school of thought and scholarship has emerged which keeps peddling works to say Hinduism was a colonial creation!) which mislead Hindus (and rarely Muslims) to 'misrecognize' their own faith, its history and the supposed identities around which the whole idea of Hindu India was built. The wanton bloodletting, slaughter, conversion, destruction of Hindu temples and places of worship by medieval Islamic rulers across India is treated lightly, dismissively and explained in contrived terms. So as Komireddi adds, "Such well-intentioned sanitisation of the past was never, in the long run, going to be able to withstand the awakening of people to their history or sustain an inclusive nationalism. The encounter between “the strictest and most extreme form of monotheism” and “the richest and most varied polytheism”, Octavio Paz wrote in his luminous study of India, left a “deep wound” on the psyche of its people...The secular establishment squandered a rare opening in the early decades of the republic to heal that wound by supplying Indians a forthright accounting of their history. Had India been honest about its past – about the atrocities that were perpetrated and the heritage that was ravaged – it might have desiccated the appeal of Hindu supremacism. It might have reconciled Indians to their harrowing past, provoked a mature detachment from it and denied Hindu nationalists the opportunity to weaponise history...A thousand years of Indian history were obfuscated. The reasons were lofty; the consequences of the well-meaning distortions, alas, baleful. Secularists endangered the extraordinary religio-cultural synthesis India arrived at by airbrushing its unbeautiful genesis."5

In such a sense even the highly nuanced, abstracted , theorized elucidations of secularism by the likes of Rajeev Bhargava or Akeel Bilgrami hardly helps to resuscitate the idea of secularism which continues to have the resonance of minorityism, thanks to the ways in which the left and Congress have selectively used it.

There is thus a highly fissiparous, perverse, churlish and cynical mind emerging in students socialized in such learning and politics. The spirit behind a Marx or Foucault is forgotten and understanding is made reductive, which leads to a unique pathology in the name of radicalism and empowerment. 

So what can be done? How do we reintroduce sanctity and grace into such scholarship overdetermined by Marxist ideology (not so much Marxism as a methodological tool) and more importantly its politics in JNU veering into a caricature and the pathological?

I seek to suggest a possibility based more on a psychological and cognitive premise. This is subject to refutation but I base it on my experience in JNU as a student twice - first as an M.Phil student in history department in the early 90s and then later as a student for a doctoral program from 2010-15. While I too in my first innings was smitten by Marx and a proclaimed leftist, over the years my understanding and left sentiments was tempered by what I experienced and observed. In the course of my teaching and other professional forays, I began to question many of the glib assertions that leftists are wont to make. I experienced a major disconnect between what I felt and what my readings and more importantly my socializing with largely similar ideological groups sought to reinforce. 

Age, experience, greater confidence and importantly more reading and delayed understanding of things that I had perused earlier, all converged to help me to arrive at a position more nuanced, complex and less doctrinaire. I realised notwithstanding several offending beliefs, practices highlighted vitriolically by Ambedkar, Periyar and Phule, Hinduism also represented certain holism, transcendental and emancipatory possibilities which answers to many of the problems that a modern society is grappling with i.e. identity politics, ecological destruction, alienation, consumerism and what not. While ridiculing Hinduism for its caste, patriarchy and plethora of endless rituals, its critics leaning on just a Ambedkar or Periyar seem to have forgotten about a Raja Ramohun Roy, Keshab Chandra Sen, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, K Viresalingam, G G Agarkar, Vivekananda who were some of the finest liberals and modernist who reformed Hinduism. It's a well known historical fact and a very identifiable historical process that the trajectory of modernity commenced via nation states that pivoted around either faith or language. But to deny historicity and validity to such a possible course of history in India, reducing all memory, meta-identity to a myth or as false consciousness and recognize the freedom struggle and Gandhi's version of Hinduism as the only legitimate expression of the Indian and Hindu political desire, I realised was not a very honest reading of Indian past or even its present. The demi-god status of Gandhi or Ambedkar in public memory was no less a handiwork of select historians and scholars along with public memories' institutionalization by an allegedly secular state. To me such moves also damaged and stunted a possibility of new episteme and paradigm emerging that could be used to contest the dominant narrative on the freedom struggle. In such a framework it may also be possible to look more charitably at the ever demonized Sarvarkar, Golwalkar or Hegdewar, otherwise left-seculars favourite whipping boys. The point is not that the dominant historiography, helmed by Marxist ideologues and leftist political agendas, is entirely wrong and needs to be completely overturned, revised or what is referred, saffronised. The question is, has the Marxist-Secularist school of historiography with their hegemony in universities like JNU allowed an equally rigorous and persuasive but having different concerns, epistemically valid methodology and questions - space, support and encouragement? The short answer is No. Most of the scholars in JNU are located on the socialist-secular spectrum. Dialogue, openness and tolerance have barely been characteristic of left-secular scholarship and the institutions where they dominate suffers. Very badly. More importantly the disciplines suffer.

History, they ignore (not out of incomprehension but willing lapse or brain fade) after all moves dialectically, new possibilities develop, newer dynamics enter into social equations and therefore some seemingly undisputable facts from the past alone cannot change or delegitimize present politics, however unsavory and unedifying it may be. Such scholarship and politics, I say slightly twisting 'historicist' and 'new historicist' methods, may not be based on 'facts of history' but they still probably are vested with a 'historical' character.

In my view, serious studies in social sciences should be opened up only for those who are 25 and above who would possibly have both the cognitive and emotional capacities much evolved than what we have as a 18-23 year old. Life experience helps better to understand social sciences in ways that mere abstraction offered in PG courses in universities like JNU (HCU, Jadavpur, Jamia also have a similar curriculum) may often not suffice. A discerning and less emotional mindset is required to engage with social science scholarships that otherwise can be so 'seductive'. It can  determine our political identity so early in life because of which we become over- invested in our understanding of self and the world within a framework and in which Marxism call is most 'enticing'. Our ego gets implicated in our identities where politics and ideology inherent in these disciplines so deeply influences us in ways that most end up becoming cast in stone. Reflection on such political position is rare, for having taken such an instrumental view of a Marx, Foucault, Weber, Durkheim so early in life, can completely overwhelm. This further transpires in so short a time, that it binds us to a set ideology, methodology and politics wherein revision becomes much an embarrassment and risk. This is not of course to suggest many don't revise their politics much later in life. Probably this happens mainly to those who veer into different professions other than academia. However lot of damage is already done and JNU's less than honorable legacy of a wantonly subversive institution lives on.

I would say the same for several rituals that bind us and is supposed to be seen as a confirmation of our respective faith in the divine. So for me a Upanayanam makes no sense till we are intellectually, emotionally ready for it. Same goes for Baptism. Several Protestant groups still do not Baptize unless one genuinely feels ready for it and his/her agency has so evolved to understand issues of faith and religion in a more holistic and embedded manner. Truly what will a 10-12 year old understand about Yagnopaveetham? It demands certain cognitive, intellectual and emotive capacities - what Jean Piaget referred to as formal operational stage - which begins to emerge only when we are around 16. And from there we need to work further. So beyond mere cognition, at least 10 years and more for emotional capacities to weather and stabilize, including three-four years for a basic degree, will prepare one better to deal  cognitively and psychologically an emotionally demanding social science discipline. 

Another important point is to socialize beyond your family, neighborhood to understand the world even with its seeming flaws, warts and also some of its redemptive practices. And the best way to socialize, observe and learn, post schooling and an undergraduate degree is to work in more formal or even informal, spaces, away from family and community, as apprenticeship or interns in offices, workshops, service centres etc. And then when you are 24-25 you start thinking of higher studies - post graduation and beyond. For in many reputed management institutes too for their PG diploma, only those who have prior work experience of at least two years if not more are preferred. Your 'work' may not have been pleasant and been depressing. Yet it becomes an important and experiential learning bringing about certain realism and appreciation of the world that tempers romanticist and abstracted, disembodied idealism that academic training can engender.

Of course this too cannot be generalized and is not fool proof. Some folks have it in them. Shankaracharya had 'arrived' by the time he was 12. Bhagat Singh when he was 21. I also know of many who got into academia and research much later, well in their late twenties and early thirties, but the intoxication of critical social science theory was immediate. Much like the theatrics of mostly young and impressionable students of JNU affiliated to the left political groups, the same anarchic, dismissive, over critical, nihilistic behaviour was visible in such people supposedly more wizened with age. 

However I still wager that age and work/life experience will prepare you better for deeper and richer social science studies rather than an study of social science preparing you for work and adult life. The pursuit then may not be so much for careers or identity anxieties but mostly for discerning the disciplines epistemic beauties and also the perceptive and transformative possibilities in an otherwise mundane professions and dreary personal lives. Changes need not therefore be revolutionary.

Let's also acknowledge how the shenanigans of the left have brought so much disdain and contempt for social sciences programs in universities like JNU. For the latter is seen to produce overly critical, insensitive and brazen students who have no regard for the nation, ridicule the nations dominant faith and do so with highly subsidised fees that JNU and many other Central universities enjoy. As it is, in these days of jobs, careers and financial insecurity, social sciences is in deep crisis. One common refrain is social sciences basic value emerges most in pure research or peripherally for civil servants, media professionals and solely on Marxist understanding. How untrue is this. Probably a John Dewey, Max Weber, Levi Strauss, Karl Mannheim, Gandhi, Tagore, Martin Heidegger, Sri Aurobindo, J Krishnamurti or Emile Durkheim are more relevant in this day and age. I'm not even going back to enlightenment and post enlightenment thinkers and even classical texts of both Hindu (yes Hindu!) and Greco-Roman epochs which are as relevant as ever and can be worked upon in ways to contribute to newer understanding. How one wishes we have more members from marketing, finance, company management, engineering and medical professions taking up studies and research in social sciences. This probably  will make such professionals more complete and political i.e. as citizens bringing about qualitative shifts in their practices by addressing the lacunae of ethics, social sensitivity and social responsibility that they seem to be devoid off currently and are rightly criticized on that front.

On the other hand the left inclined students employ social science so instrumentally for its sheer and formal political value than its intrinsic epistemic and knowledge worth. This to repeat I believe is happening because of the rather infantile if not juvenile fetish and the anxiety to stand out from the hoi-polloi, rush in to take rhetorical, insensitive and half-baked, polarizing positions and indulge in activism informed by purely political and emotive readings of social science theory. Further the so called experienced and senior erudite scholars who themselves have been marinated in such thinking from their own post juvenile days and cannot course correct themselves (already too invested in their identities shaped by similar processes and arrogating to themselves a sense of exclusivity), fan these impressionable and excitable youngsters even more. 

Nevertheless, to further reiterate, one can still arrive at such polarizing positions later in life but I would still bet that such truancy would be limited, and people would be less assertive, more open, dialogic and forgiving of those from opposing camps. That I believe is the morality of social sciences.
1. JNU also has several science centres like school of physics, computer science, environmental studies etc including a management school now and an engineering college also coming up. However in contradistinction to social sciences few centres of science in my reckoning have acquired a kind of value and recognition viz. IITs, TIFR or IISc. Why this is the case in itself should be matter for further debate and understanding.
2.  However let me also add and not just as a mere perfunctory note, despite the stigma engineered against the ABVP by the left groups and union, the saffron governments' attempts over the last four years to malign, insinuate entire JNU and its left dominated students politics as anti-national was certainly unfortunate. Further the use of brute force of police, attack on students critical of them and an vindictive vice chancellor and administration targeting student leaders and professors was an obnoxious, crude and disgraceful attempt to hit back at the left dominated scholarship and student politics. As things stand saffron politics across the country are just not able to afford a scholarly and intellectual response and rebuttal to the left. Under BJP, the sanctity and integrity of each and every body and programs affiliated to the arts, humanities, literature, social science research which institutions like FTII, ICSSR, ICHR, NMML, National museum represent have been wilfully, perversely and shamelessly wrecked by posting unapologetic votaries of the saffron politics at its helm. Their ideology as we see in their politics and practice today  needless to say is problematic. It barely has much persuasiveness and nuance informed by history, philosophy and sociology and hence the saffron groups recourse to rhetoric, emotional appeal and sheer brute force to make their point. (as one looks at the image of the ABVP poster included above, their limitations come to the fore - poor English being the most obvious one!) Never mind if a clapper boy becomes a head of a film school or an astrologer heads a research body. However the possibilities of an social science curriculum based on an indigenous or professedly 'Hindu' paradigms needs to be taken seperately which I will save for another day.
3. Makarand Paranjape, Open magazine, 24 January, 2020
4. Avijit Pathak, Indian Express, 7 November 2016
5. K S Komireddi - extracts from his book The Malevolent Republic published in Scroll, May 31, 2019