Monday, September 17, 2007

twice rejected...

third time lucky!

yup...made it to JNU..finally!! am about a little more than a month old...and throughly enjoying every bit this experience.

have already brought out a protest poster(on a rather flippant pun, have been called the "new poster girl of JNU")...have already walked out in protest(against sexual harassment at the freshers)...have already been dubbed the unofficial 'dalit' by my juniors in the centre who refuse to sit next to me in class, thanks to my menon's words, "have already picked up fights!" phew!!

But on a more serious note, the academic environment in JNU is nothing short of invigorating. what adds more vigour to the academic environment here is the heightened level of awareness and political activism amongst the student community. No issue escapes being discussed. Not a single issue is allowed to pass by without a relevant poster and talk on the same.

Of course, sometimes, the debates become sterile, of course, sometimes, party politics takes over and debates are reduced to mud slinging (and if we havent seen enough, am sure there's loads of it coming up in the forthcoming JNU Students' Union elections), of course there are times when posters are reflective of nothing but ideological bankruptcy, but then I believe that this too is a reflection of the times we live in. Also, what compensates for the occassional lapses is the fact that the space for debate is never reduced.

Having always been a left wing bastion, that we live in changed times is well reflected in the space that has been carved out by the Youth for Equality (who i unabashedly detest), a party devoid of any intellectual or ideological base, but still managed to to win a sizeable number of votes on a one point agenda of anti reservations. That we live in changed times is well reflected in the fact that not a single seminar here is organised without Coke or Pepsi being served. And that we live in depressingly changed times is confirmed, when a member and very vocal activist of the ultra left hurriedly makes a move to get a glass of Pepsi.

But, despite these failings and inspite of the failings, JNU is what it is only because of the level of political activism that takes place here and the integration activism with academics that prevents the latter from becoming an ivory tower. And after a very inspiring evening spent watching a film on Comrade Chandrashekhar, a former AISA activist and JNUSU president and listening to Medha Patkar, one would have to definitely and willingly stay blind or deaf to remain untouched by the strength, magnitude and the intensity of the students movement here and various issues outside the pristine walls of this campus.

This post is not meant as a paean to the institute that i feel privileged being a part of, but simply as a reflection of life here which is very different from the academic institutes that i have so far been part of. This is only the beginning for me.