Sunday, June 16, 2024

JNU: From narrow ‘progressivism’ to broadening identity politics

Balakrishnan Padmavathi

I am not excited about JNUSU election anymore. But this election, I must say, is going to be marked in the history of JNU for the reason that the Muslim students’ organizations (though one doesn’t identify it on it name) decided to make an electoral entry to JNU’s political terrains.

Even though the mainstream left students’ organizations have failed on many occasions to adress the Muslim question in campus, the formation of a Muslim students’ organization was still an impossibility in JNU either because of the “burden of progressive politics” (because Muslim is antithetical to progressiveness in our secular hindu imaginations) or because of the largely communalised atmosphere of India’s heartlands where JNU is located. Therefore, the political and electoral coming out by the Muslim students were almost impossible than the efforts to forming a Dalit students’ organization.

Thanks to a group of visionaries, to whom I got a chance to share little bit of affectionate personal relationship during my JNU life, who have made this to happen at least in 2019. If someone is there to write the history of the Muslim politics in JNU, Najeeb Ahmad’s JNU, they could not do it without mentioning Waseem R.S and his SIO/Fraternity and YFDA. I still remember the pain and labour of that man and his comrades in making “progressive” JNU listening to the Mulism question, his efforts to place Tipu Sultan, Madani and all icons of Mulsim/Islamic politics on the political walls of JNU. If JNU believes in representation and the question of social justice, if it dare to stand against the Hindu fascism- then JNU should not hesitate to cast their valuable vote for him. Because nothing on the earth which could challenge the political commitment and conviction of such a dynamic activists like Waseem.

Another reason to remember this election would be for the decision of MSF (Muslim Students’ Federation), the student wing of Indian Union Muslim League, to take their name out and field their candidate Ihsan Ul Ihthisam for the post of school of social sciences councillor, a school claimed to be the ‘most political’ school in JNU.

Their candindatures has to be celebrated for its potential ability to broaden the narrowness of JNU’s progressive politics which is sandwiched between the brahmanical hindutva communal fascim and the secular puritanism (read Brahmanism) of the parliamentary Left.

The author is a PhD scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi


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