JNU students protest for their right to affordable education. Privileged Indian Parliamentarians saw a peaceful protest march as a threat. How it all ends will define how India educates it’s poor and downtrodden in the future.
When you feel your pain, it means you are alive, but when you feel other’s pain, it means you are a human.
The heinous way in which forces struck down on India’s most progressive group of ‘students’ speaks at length about how humanity has degraded in these times of ideological differences.
JNU students sought to conduct a peaceful protest march to the Parliament urging the legislators to safeguard their right to affordable education. Instead, police and paramilitary forces brutally silenced them. On the Government’s order, they ‘saved’ the privileged elected representatives from the ‘unarmed’ citizens who they represent.
Abducting, mishandling, taking away JNU student’s right to education and attacking innocent students when they protest shows the real face of the Government. In spite of the privilege and stature, the government feels threatened by a peaceful demonstration by some 2,000 students. Students are not a threat, but their minds are. Conservative right always fears the progressive left.
Pro-democracy voices speaking against arbitrary rule, the authoritarian state, and corporate exploitation are being labeled as “Urban Naxals”. Moreover, young minds are being treated like criminals, attacked and questioned as “anti-national”. Above all, these are students being accused of wasting tax payer’s money on ‘education’!
Students exercising Freedom of Speech labeled Anti-Nationals
When taxpayers’ money is invested in building a think tank, it also empowers speechless citizens to raise their voices against a “demagogue” government. The disparage nature by the Indian Government and their invidious methods disrespect the integrity of an iconic educational institution. It is deplorable that today factions in the country are questioning the integrity of an institution that’s been at the forefront of movements when the constitutional rights are threatened.
Today, JNU bleeds to ensure the future of not only it’s students, but the entire future generation. They bleed so that we at least have the facility of an inexpensive and world-class education that does not depend on a person’s financial or cultural capital.
JNU students are asserting their right to acquire knowledge and also advocating it for the whole student fraternity. They are not begging. JNU is a proof that the right to education is not a privilege for the affluent few. It is a birthright for every citizen of India.
The Minimal Cost of Supporting Education vs High-Maintenance VIP Lawmakers
India indulges its parliamentarians with profligate spending apart from salary that includes allowances, travel expenses, and other entitlements. This costs Indian taxpayers around Rs 199 crores each month on 543 MPs, i.e. Rs 3 lakh per MP per month.
As per Article 106 of the Indian Constitution, members from either House of Parliament are entitled to receive such amounts determined by the Parliament by law. It also allows us to see how the Indian Parliament revises their entitlements as per their ‘whims and fancies’.
On the other side, JNU’s annual budget is around Rs 240 crore. This forms a minuscule share of India’s 2019 higher education budget of Rs 38,317.01 crore. It accounts for around Rs 3 lakh per year per student in JNU, which is approximately equal to an MP per month expenses incurred by GOI. Moreover, this also includes the JNU Professors’ salaries.
Criminal Cases against MPs vs Non-Criminal JNU Students
When criminals make laws, it is difficult for voices to come out and fight for their rights. JNU students have the courage to fight for their right to education irrespective of the odds. It’s not a war but an ideological difference between the “Fearless Tigers” from JNU vs the “Rabid Wolverines” in the Parliament. A parliament that’s filled with individuals charged with crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping, crimes against women, and the list goes on without an end.
According to an analytical report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), out of 539 winning candidates in 2019 Lok Sabha, 233 MPs have criminal cases against them. This is 43% of our elected Parliamentarians. Of the 233 MPs, 116 MPs are from the ruling BJP itself, 29 from Congress, 13 from JDU, 10 from DMK, and 9 from TMC. It’s also an alarming 26% increase as compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha.
Furthermore, the reports also identified 475 MPs out of 539 are crorepatis. This inadvertently clears the air around what deserves the taxpayer’s money more: MP’s VIP Privilege or JNU’s Right to Affordable Quality Education.
Peaceful Democratic Protest vs. Police Brutality following Arbitrary Orders
Protesting against the hostel fee hike, JNU students took to the streets with a peaceful ‘March to Parliament’. It is abnormal for the government to use paramilitary forces in an issue involving mere students living on scholarships and meager pocket money.
Delhi police and paramilitary forces brutally lathi-charged and manhandled students and teachers.
Police mishandled female students too, beating and groping them. That should not have happened. Police also detained 100 students. Sandip, a JNU student, was injured and bled for hours without any first aid.
Another student named, Shashi Bhushan Samad, a visually challenged one, was brutally beaten by Delhi Police seen stamping on his chest with boots. He remains in a critical situation in the AIIMS trauma Centre.
Later on 18th November, after sunset, when students reached Jor Bagh, Delhi Police switched off the street lights and rampantly assaulted and chased students for kilometers to disperse them.
On 19th November, Delhi Police also filed two FIRs against JNU students under IPC section 186 (obstructing public servant while discharging his duty) and 353 (assault and criminal force to deter public servant while discharging his duty).
Demanding Educational Rights from Uneducated Parliamentarians
If analyzing the educational qualification of MPs, 128 members i.e. 24% of MPs have declared their educational qualification between Class 5th to Class 12th only.
On the other hand, JNU produces researchers, professors, economists and analysts followed and admired around the world. Although many of them came from marginal families but were able to reach such heights due to the affordable and quality educational environment that JNU provides.
How Government is utilizing Tax payer’s money
The Government doesn’t have money to subsidize hostel fees? No, they have. Despite the economic slowdown, governments spend tax payer’s money recklessly more on statues then education. Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s Statue cost Rs 2,989 crore. That would cover JNU’s expenses for more than a decade. However, as per the Government, it does not have money for funding Public Higher Education institutions.
According to the CAG report of February 2019, the Secondary and Higher Education Cess (SHEC) was levied in 2006-07, so far, collected Rs 94,036 crore. Moreover, Rs 7,298 crore of Research and Development Cess is not utilized too. The funds are still under CFI but still not utilized.
Furthermore, Rs 5.7 Lakh crore of bad loans and 4 lakh of total tax rebates have been given to corporates.
Marginal Society Needs Education vs Government Ignited Recession needs Fund
JNU students protest is significantly important for 40% of the students come under the economically backward section. This means that their families’ income is only Rs 12,000. Consequently, they are not in a position to fund their children’s study in Delhi’s expensive culture.
It’s not just about the future of 40% of students in JNU. It is a war for the future generations who should not be sabotaged by the Indian Fascist.
However, an eye-catching fact reported by ADR says that the average assets of the winning MPs in 2019 are Rs 20.93 crore. The average assets of 301 MPs from BJP accounts for Rs 14.52 crore. Of 539 MPs, 475 (88%) are crorepatis.
According to Global Wealth Report 2016 (Credit Suisse Research Institute), India stands to be the 2nd most unequal country across the globe, where only 1% of the population owns nearly 60% of India’s wealth. And speaking against them terrify their hegemony.
The recent events triggered the economic slowdown across the world, which also shook the Indian population. Government employees went on strikes and protests in solidarity against the arbitrary decisions of the Modi government. Their angst encompasses Demonetization, Banks merger, lowering corporate taxes, increasing NPAs, and now selling public sector enterprises.
JNU promotes Women’s education vs. Women still fighting for reservation in the Parliament
According to the ADR report, in the 17th Lok Sabha (2019), only 77 out of 542 are women MPs accounting for 14% of the total strength. Thus, it shows the misogynist ideology among the male representatives and also their inefficacy to bring women reservation in Parliament. A so-called equal representation for women in Parliament remained a fantasized daydream for the last 72 years since Independence.
When we look at JNU, the gender ratio in admission is almost equal per year. JNU provides extra relaxation to female candidates so that they can study in a highly subsidized educational platform and independently fight against the orthodox Indian society, where girls are still not allowed to opt for higher education.
It is the society that does not want to spend money on girl’s education, and they feel it is a waste of money instead of saving money for her marriage and giving dowries.
Indian Parliament’s failure to curb dowry, a crime against women, honour killing, and also all the atrocities against the daughters of this country is an inefficacy of in itself.
JNU to become the most-expensive central university
If the revised fee hike is accepted by students, then JNU will become more expensive than other major central universities. Consequently, the hostel fee hike in room rent will increase from Rs 10 and Rs 20 to Rs 300 and Rs 600 per month for single and double occupancy rooms respectively.
Furthermore, a new service charge has also been added for the first time, i.e. Rs 1,700 per month. However, mess bill up to Rs 3,000/month, establishment charge Rs 2,200/annum and annual fees Rs 300 will remain the same.
The new fee hike will impose a burden of Rs 55,000 to Rs 61,000 as the annual hostel + mess cost to students. The mess fee will also go up from current Rs 27,600 to Rs 32,000. While in Delhi University annual hostel and mess fee is Rs 40,000 to Rs 55,000. Likewise, Jamia Millia Islamia accounts for Rs 35,000, and Allahabad University Rs 28,500.