Jawaharlal Nehru University has come a long way from the controversies that once mired it in the name of student politics. February 2013 will never be forgotten, thanks to the manner in which four students brewed up a debate on Indian Nationalism and terrorism.

Kanhaiya Kumar, Umer Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Shehla Rashid Shora did plenty of damage when they raised slogans against the country and in favour of Pakistan and terrorists like Afzal Guru. It was certainly a low point for the premiere university, although opinions on the developments that followed the incident are still divided. 

Four years on, the university is still battling students' politics, only for a bigger and greater cause. Today, on Kargil Vijay Diwas, the VC has announced the fixture of a military tank within the premises so that students remember the contribution of the defence forces in the victory of Kargil.

However, that too is being dragged into a controversy by students who believe that this symbolises a varsity under a right wing siege. However, unlike the previous occasion, the university has decided to take stand of its own.


That stand included strong festivities conducted on the campus on Vijay Diwas, which included the participation of the JNU faculty and students, the kin of Kargil martyrs, members of Veteran India and ex-servicemen. The participants were seen holding a march, carrying 2,200-foot-long tricolour and paying tribute at the Wall of Heroes, which is located at JNU's convention center, where 21 portraits of Param Vir Chakra awardees were exhibited.

The program also hosted a military band and family members of the martyrs were also felicitated. While this implies the changing mood in the campus with time, it also seems to indicates the university's efforts to put the Kanhaiya episode behind them.

All said and done, Mr VC, it remains to be seen whether your students see the point that you have made - since their PhDs and MPhils did not help them understand the true value of being an Indian and respecting the Indian flag. 

Needless to say, there will be protests even now, given the fact that your scholars have not learnt to differentiate political ideology from patriotism. They have not learnt to see things straight and have always painted things with a political colour.

Even if we believe that your understanding of the installation of the tank was pretty straight, their understanding of it is that of a political siege. 

The nation now stands at the brink of a new debate: Is student activism defiant of national interests and ideologies? What is the future of student activism in India, a land where some of the greatest freedom fighters were productions of this form of activism.

Read: Kargil Vijay Diwas: Unknown Facts That You Need To Know