Jawaharlal Nehru University popularly known as JNU is one of the most prestigious universities in the country. However, in recent years have seen JNU being home to many protests and controversies. It is a huge politically conscious campus with a life of its own. There has been a continuous attack on the universities image but it has somehow survived the ruckus and emerged as one of India’s top universities. Right from Afzal Guru’s commemoration in February last year that sparked off a debate on Azadi to the disappearance of its student Najeeb Ahmed in October, JNU has been the talk of the nation. The lively and full of life atmosphere on the campus illustrates the unity on the campus. The same unity has also addressed some of the major problems faced by the students in the university. JNUSU as an organic body has a constitution of its own. It is almost handcrafted to fit the university needs and fill the students with a sense of community.
Spread over an area of 1019.38 acres, it is notably the best education institutes for the youth of today. With more than 8000 students and 1276 administrative staff working in JNU, it is a central university situated in the capital of the country. The history of JNU goes back to 1969 when it was established as an act of parliament during Indira Gandhi’s period. JNU holds the highest rank and grade attained by any university of the country, the national assessment and accreditation council (NAAC) gave a GPA of 3.91 out of 4 to JNU. It is without a doubt one of the best places to study, learn and grow as its alumni has some of the most remarkable people of the country. The alumni list includes some of the country’s important people like Nirmala Sitaraman, Baburam Bhattarai to name a few. In a survey conducted by India today, JNU was ranked as the second-best educational institute.
What sets the institution apart?
JNU prides itself on being research-oriented, unlike most other universities that fixate on just getting degrees. Having bagged the ‘visitor’s award in March this year, JNU stands the best central university in the country. The university was judged on several parameters such as student-faculty ratio, research output, university ranking and patents filed. JNU has a very strong dynamic student body that has birthed many leaders. They say, ‘JNU thinks today that India thinks tomorrow’. It is a world of its own and has noticed a unique learning style with student-friendly faculty and a student community that has shown the utmost unity always.
JNUSU and on-campus life.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) is a student body for the maintenance of healthy political culture and conduction of open debates. With four different central panel positions namely president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary, JNUSU keep the students informed about all the events and discussions through notices. A majority of the JNUSU body is elected. The election is held through ballot paper in which 8750 students will cast their vote. Parties like the
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), All India students association(AISA), All India Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA)Students Federation (AISF), Students’ Federation of India (SFI) participate in the election held every year. Any significant development brought by any of the party members is considered a launchpad for them into Indian politics.
The recent fee hike protests.
The fee hike of hostel fee in the last few months has caused a major rift between the JNUSU and the administration. With the turmoil over the hostel fee hike, JNU still has the cheapest hostels compared to any other university in the country. JNU has decided to raise its hostel fees from Rs 20 to Rs 600 for a single occupancy room, while for double occupancy it will be Rs 300 as compared to Rs 10 charged earlier. The hostel fee is Rs 7,200 per annum for a single occupancy room with added cost for crockery and newspaper. The protesters said the fee hike was of a whopping 300%. The sudden fee hike protest might be of very less importance for the people witnessing this from outside the campus, but for someone who is enrolled there, it is a huge deal. According to a study conducted in 2018, around 40 per cent of students in JNU is with a monthly income of less than or equal to 12000. JNU has always opposed capitalist propagandas solely on the fact that it promotes inequality. The demands of the students are to get rid of this inequality in the campus through equal distribution of subsidy. For 40 years, JNU has uplifted the marginalised section of students and has been sensitive to their needs and demands. It has always catered to the voices of the weak and put them to the mainstream. Though the university protests have been ridiculed and made fun of, JNU continues to address the grievances of its marginalised students. The heterogeneous demography of the student body is what really sets the university apart.
Affect on academics.
Another major concern in the never-ending chaos has been the functioning of academic activities. The university has always been the face of strong and determined youth but with the recent allegations and protests, the academic programs have been neglected. The VC of the university M Jagadesh Kumar has appealed to the students to stop the protests. “ Persistent agitations and protests have adversely affected the universities normal academic and research activities” he added. These protests are also hampering studies of many students on campus who have their semester-end exams round the corner. A recent statement released by the administration said: “ These agitations have affected the normal life of a large number of innocent students from across India who are unable to concentrate on their studies, complete academic assignments and prepare for their examinations.” Students who are not a part of the agitations are being forced to be a part of it. This has affected the on-campus and academic life of the students. The normal academia is under threat as the agitations continue to grow every day.
The series of activities from the past couple of days in JNU have been disorderly and chaotic. This calls for an immediate discussion on India’s education policies and social justice and appropriate measures to ensure the academic and social well-functioning of the university.