Changing JNU with ‘Islamic Terrorism’

Don’t politicize the study of terrorism; go deeper. This is what the author argues in this perceptive piece.

Don’t politicize the study of terrorism; go deeper. This is what the author argues in this perceptive piece.

Aakash Ganguly was student of JNU from 2012 -2014. At  present, he works in Mumbai as a documentary filmmaker.

Who can tell the Vice-Chancellor.”Stop it. Enough is enough.” / Image : The New Leam Staff

With the new regime JNU is always in news–and for bad reasons. The disruption of the democratic process of decision making, the arbitrary rules imposed by the oppressive administration, the reduction of the Academic Council into a fish market, and the continual agitation of students and teachers for regaining their lost freedom–it is sad to witness the steady fall of an iconic institution. 

To retain our initiative towards free spirited and independent journalism we require your support |Pay Now

And the latest news is that the JNU administration has decided to introduce a course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’.  Anyone familiar with the politics of curriculum knows that the dominant ideologies often play a role in defining the contents of knowledge, or deciding what is worth-teaching. As militant nationalism sanctified by a discourse of Hindutva envelops our political culture, it is difficult for academic institutions to escape its devastating effect. When the ‘nation’ defines itself by identifying its ‘enemies, and classifies them as ‘tyrant Muslims’, it is not surprising that the idea of ‘Islamic terrorism’ will find its takers. And even at JNU there will be professors willing to sanctify an idea of this kind. It is nice to be friendly with the ruling establishment!

None is saying that terrorism as the reality of contemporary life should not be studied. However, we should not forget two crucial facts.

First, at this time of vulgar majoritarianism, the minorities in India are experiencing the wound of all sorts of stigmatization and physical/psychic violence. An academic attempt to relate Islam to terrorism is possibly yet another weapon to humiliate and isolate a particular community.

Second, the uneven globalization ,as we know, has also generated stereotypes about ‘Islamic terror’; and the American violence in our times is often legitimated in the name of fighting ‘Islamic terrorism’.  No wonder, at this juncture of history a course on ‘Islamic terrorism’ at JNU cannot be seen in isolation from this ugly politics. 

Yes, terrorism does exist, and scholars must study it. However, without immense honesty, intellectual integrity and deep humanism it is difficult to engage with a theme of this kind. The ugly politics of Euro-American colonialism, the onslaught of neo-liberal global capitalism, the organized attack on plurality of religious/cultural symbols, the increasing anonymity in everyday life, and a sense of meaninglessness–there are multiple politico-economic, cultural and psychic reasons for terrorism and associated violence all over the world. 

We need wisdom, not a politically motivated discourse on terrorism. We like to hope that there are still some saner voices in JNU who can tell the Vice-Chancellor.”Stop it. Enough is enough.”  


Now that you are here...
From bottled water to oxygen cans, not even the basics are free in a market-driven world. Why then, do we take free and independent journalism for granted? We find ourselves at a time when more people like you, are reading and coming out in support of The New Leam’s independent, in-depth and throughly issue based journalism than ever before. From grassroot stories and field-reports, to in-depth analysis of the pertinent political issues of our times, to news on gender, culture and educational issues- The New Leam has been dedicated to bringing out stories that speak out the soul of India and take you beyond the propaganda-filled corridors of mainstream journalism in India. We have made an important choice of keeping our journalism free of vested political interests, commercial funding and influence of partisan stakeholders, so that we can bring forward news and stories based on facts and provide a platform where readers can find information with integrity and a journalism premised on honesty. 

Your support to The New Leam is your contribution towards giving a voice to the voiceless, going to the depths of issues that others shy away from and rigorously illuminating the flame of criticality and courage in dark times. We hope that you will come forward to support The New Leam today so that we can keep delivering quality-independent journalism to you and inform public opinion in the right direction. No matter how big or small your contribution may be, it is tremendously important. It takes only a moment, Support The New Leam now!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *