New Delhi | Following conclusion of a month-long series of lectures on nationalism, the teachers of JNU, which is at the centre of a row over the Afzal Guru event, have now decided to hold a string of presentations on azadi.
After a controversy erupted over the event on campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, JNU teachers had decided to hold open air nationalism classes to teach the hotly debated subject to the students.
Now that the month-long nationalism lecture series has concluded and three of our comrades who were in jail in a sedition case for raising their voices are also back on campus, we will begin the 2nd lecture series, said Ajay Patnaik, President of JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA). The title of the series will be ‘Azadi: Different Meanings of Freedom’ beginning on March 21 and the first lecture will be taken by Partha Chatterjee, he added.
Following JNU Students Union president Kanhiaya Kumar’s speech on his return to campus, an azadi anthem demanding freedom from various ills of the society including poverty, casteism, corruption and dowry harassment, has garnered huge popularity on campus.
The earlier series on nationalism saw eminent academicians including Romila Thapar, Harbans Mukhia, Tanika Sarkar, Jayati Ghosh, Prabhat Patnaik, Amit Sengupta, Mridula Mukherjee, Makaranad Paranjpe and Apporvanand, among others, delivering lectures at the administration block, which has been the protest venue for students ever since Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12.
Some of the topics for the nationalism lecture series were Gender and Nationalism, Dalits and Hindutva agenda of nation making, Worldview, University and Nation; Political culture of fascism; Sedition and Nationalism; Uncivil wars: Tagore, Gandhi, JNU and What’s left of the Nation; History and Nationalism: Then and now.
While Kanhaiya walked out of Tihar jail after getting bail on march 4, two more students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were freed later. The university, whose five-member high-level committee has found a few students, including the trio, guilty of violation of discipline norms, is expected to take a final call in the coming week on the ‘quantum of punishment’ for the students for their alleged role in the February 9 event.