Thursday, February 02, 2006

An Outsider at JNU

The moment one enters Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), opposite the first bus stop, one finds a heap of trash, definitely not a good advertisement for the citadel of left-wing ideology. However, as one ventures further inside, one finds quite a beautiful campus marked by dilapidated buildings. One can't shake off the impression of being inside a loss making PSU (public sector undertaking), the kind that Mumbai based business magazines would like to get rid of.

The annual fee for any course at JNU is less than Rs. 500/-, though a technocrat would wonder why anyone with sense would opt for a course like Persian studies or the Study of Social systems. The government spends a few lakhs on educating each student, but in my opinion, a cost/benefit analysis of the spending on the various teaching and research programmes at JNU could yield a negative result. The career options at JNU are limited to NGOs and media houses, a majority of which are foreign funded, which is ironical, as foreign capital in the technology sector is taboo for a majority of the students of JNU. As a friend from the Delhi School of Economics mentioned, the red flag has always attracted the educated unemployed who are unfit for wielding either a hammer or a sickle.

Another interesting feauture of JNU is the number of posters dotting the walls of all (without exception) buildings. According to my estimates, the amount of paper spent on preparing the posters should provide enough fuel for the mid-day meal scheme of a rural school for a year. AISA, AISF, SFI, NSUI, ABVP, I'm afraid if I keep rolling out the abbreviations, all possible permuations that can be formed from the letters of the English alphabet would be exhausted.
The student unions can be broadly divided into three categories based on the three major ideological groups, the left (CPI (X), where X can be substituted for M, M-L, etc..), Indian National Congress (NSUI) and the Sangh parivar (ABVP). To be fair, the left student unions are intellectually better equipped than either the NSUI or ABVP, which favour rowdyism to rational debate.

Two popular words that attracted my attention and can be found in almost all the posters at JNU are 'demand' and 'protest'. This provides insights into the mentality of the student unions, all sound and no fury. A lot of empty vessels, all of them, unfit to produce leaders who can actually solve problems instead of creating them. But the most devastating feature of present day JNU is the ubiquitous mobile phone and a universal consumerist class that a typical Marxist textbook would exhort to exterminate. Given this background, I am convinced that JNU's capacity for rabble rousing is overestimated, anti-left intellectuals need not lose much sleep over it. Withdrawl of the government from various sectors coupled with economic reform should despatch such regressive forces to oblivion.

I am more than convinced that our political/bureaucratic/intellectual class (a product of JNU type universities) is completely bankrupt. Most of the members of the above category can't generate a single paisa. Neither are they fit to govern/guide this country. This is a golden opportunity for a lot of entrepreneurs to get into the business of politics, sidelining the criminal/intellectual type of candidates traditionally thrown up by college student unions. The future of our country may depend on it.

Tailpiece: If my memory serves me right, in an article, S. Gurumurthy, columnist for The New Indian Express, had mentioned that a condom-vending machine had been installed in the JNU campus. I had a look at the machine and it dishes out soft-drinks and biscuits as well. One shouldn't depend too much on hearsay.

14 Comments:

At 3:07 AM, Blogger Ravi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:09 AM, Blogger Ravi said...

I had a look at the machine and it dishes out soft-drinks and biscuits as well.

sharma what does this mean?

in addition to condom the machine dishes out soft drinks and biscuites?

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger MumbaiGirl said...

I spent a year there and it wasn't all student politics or for that matter just left-wing politics. The ABVP was a very strong, very vocal presence. The library was excellent and so were many of the teachers. I remeber some of my classes were so good (perhaps in subjects like philosophy that wouldn't earn me a penny, but for which I'll be eternally grateful)-better than the some I had at Cambridge.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Red said...

"though a technocrat would wonder why anyone with sense would opt for a course like Persian studies or the Study of Social systems"

Yes of course, we should all study to be engineers and join firms to develop innovative ways of selling biscuits. Otherwise we can work for a call centre.

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger Sourav said...

"The government spends a few lakhs on educating each student, but in my opinion, a cost/benefit analysis of the spending on the various teaching and research programmes at JNU could yield a negative result."

----and similarly the Government spending lakhs of rupees in educating IIT students(your much hyped "technocrats")have yielded a negative result for forty years and is still doing so now.

"The career options at JNU are limited to NGOs and media houses"

-----so what,each place has its own stereotype.the career option of most of the "sensible technocrats" is to do backend outsourced software jobs(which I assure you, requires little brains).

"This is a golden opportunity for a lot of entrepreneurs to get into the business of politics, sidelining the criminal/intellectual type of candidates traditionally thrown up by college student unions. The future of our country may depend on it."

------I am really scared of such a future!!! when politics will become another entrepreneurial venture.

 
At 11:03 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

Yes of course, we should all study to be engineers and join firms to develop innovative ways of selling biscuits. Otherwise we can work for a call centre.

so what is that you are claiming here?

tell us what you will do with studying persian.

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Ravi said...

and similarly the Government spending lakhs of rupees in educating IIT students(your much hyped "technocrats")have yielded a negative result for forty years and is still doing so now.

can you please elaborate on the negative results of investing on IIT's and compare them with investment on JNU?

 
At 9:41 PM, Blogger Charu Majumdar said...

I am surprised you think of courses
like Persian studies and the Study
of Social systems useless....
Well, courses are courses.. it's upto
the students, isn't it ? As with any other courses, if 1 out of 100 students does something useful out
of these, the investments are
recovered.
And yes, persian is THE most
beautiful lanuage in the world !
And study of social systems ??
I don't know what is
taught in it, but if it is what it
sounds like, it should be useful.

 
At 1:50 PM, Blogger Red said...

And to put things in context JNU has one of the best School for Languages in Asia. The Centre for Persian Studies is one for ten centres which include

Center of French Studies
Center of German Studies
Center of Spanish and Iberian Studies
Center of Chinese and South Asian Languages
Center of Japanese and North East Asian Studies
Center of African and Arabic Languages
Center of Russian Studies
Centre of Persian and Central Asian studies.


See here,

http://www.nyu.edu/rectors/jnu.html

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger a.g said...

hi,
am a student of jnu, of the school of language, literature and culture studies, centre of spanish.

i´ve done my m.a in spanish and am in spain on a scholarship.

i don´t agree with many things you have said.

jnu, like any other institution, has pros and cons about it.

jnu is one of the few places in delhi where a woman feels safe.

yes, the politics is sometimes exagerated.

and too much time in any place leads to stagnation and therefore it is a must that we as student one day leave jnu and move on in life.

please tell me what is the use of having so many doctors and engineers when half of them are unemployed.

i firmly believe that each one should study only what they are interested in. i find teaching one of the most challenging professions and even though there isn´t much money in it, for me what is most important is to be happy. and you don´t need a lot of money to be happy.

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Raghava_Gunti said...

"jnu is one of the few places in delhi where a woman feels safe."

on a ligher note, it says more about delhi than about jnu.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Tariq said...

We use hundreds of persian words in our everyday hindi without even knowing its actually persian. i guess the author would argue that no one should study language and literature because it wont get you a great job in USA. Hundreds of students study persian and middle east studies around the world and even in a country like japan(where i am right now) and no one writes articles like this here.
Many might say that leftist ideology is the "philosophy of poverty" but this kind of "poverty of philosophy" is what concerns me most.

 
At 4:58 AM, Blogger AJNUITE said...

TRUTH!!!!

 
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