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JNU Row has opened up the debate on freedom of expression verses nationalism- Comment.


Recent time has shown a very disturbing event. The event which alarmed the whole nation. Everyone started talking about it and why wouldn't they? After all it depicted the clash between right of freedom of expression and spirit of nationalism. Yes this is about the very much heated topic of JNU popularly known as The JNU incident.

How did it rise?

It was just like many active gathering of the youths of the university. This gathering was particularly on raising awareness towards detrimental condition of nation. But the main issue of protest was against the secret hanging of 2001 Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru. The Government had secretly handed the death sentence to the convict without any notice to anyone.

One would think that why are the students becoming pro-Afzal. Actually they are not becoming so. They are all highlighting the sole role of law in our country. It is that all are equal before law, but Afzal was denied the Law. How is he denied the law? It is because

  • Government secretly hanged him without informing his people. Also neither his body was shown to anyone nor was it handed to the near and dear ones. He was denied the justice.
  • Apart from this Afzal was denied a lawyer in his case. Although many would be knowing him as a cruel man, but he was a changed man. He had actually surrendered himself, knowing the consequences. Also it is clear from sources that after Parliament attack he went to Pakistan and began to lead a peaceful life. During the entire tenure he was not involved in any conspiracy.
  • Also death penalty should not have been given to him as court should see the circumstances and action of the convict during an incident. Afzal guru just provided the Ambassador car and rented room to the terrorist. So he should have been given life Imprisonment.
  • It was just clear that Afzal afterward was a reform man and punishing a reform man by taking away his life means we are defying the meaning of the punishment. It is because punishment has two objectives, one is deterrence of crime and other is reformation of criminal, but here these are completely violated.

This was the main reason why the students were raising their voice. The whole protest was alright as long as students were raising voice against injustice to Afzal Guru.

The whole situation turned up into another direction when some infuriated student started shouting anti-national slogan "Bharat ke tukde honge hazar" and "Bharat ke barbadi tak jung zare rahegi". This was all which went wrong and why wouldn't it? It was completely against the interest of the nation. How can you tell such shameful words to your country. No matter whichever country you belong to, you can't say anything bad or such that would undermine the prestige of the nation.

What was the affect in the aftermath of the situation?

The student who were doing a peaceful protest on something unjust were criticised by whole nation for their remark. They were seen as anti-national who supported terrorism and wanted the nation to perish. Everyone began to question them. It was also that the JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested.

So what does it signifies?

What the student were doing was actually good as everyone has a right. The right is the freedom of expression and so you can raise your voice against injustice, but your right has a restriction too. Your right is a right till it does not hampers the interest of the nation, of the law and of the people. But where it does so, it becomes an offence. The student became wrong on the point when they began to shout anti-national slogans. Everyone should learn from the incident that we have right of freedom of expression and so we can speak. We can raise our voice against injustice. But we can't speak against interest of others and especially when it is no person but one's nation. We should understand the simple fact that in civics, we learn about different Fundamental right and just after that we also learn fundamental duties. So respecting one nation's prestige and keeping it up is the first perquisite. We should not forget "It is from our Nation, we get our identification".

-Abhishek Kumar Ranjan