“You gave a lecture on nationalism, now give one on social justice. Right now,!” instructed some full-time ruffians and part-time over-aged students of JNU, to their professor Makarand Paranjape on February 6, while forcefully blocking him from entering his office in JNU, Delhi.
“Yes, I will do so, but not zabardasti. Just now I want to go inside” responded Paranjape, in lieu of which he received an immediate threat that, “We are 20, you are only one”. On being asked about by the professor that on what ground they were forcefully preventing him from getting inside his office and foisting their opinions on him, the answer he received was no ordinary, it was extraordinarily philosophical, unfathomable by ordinary masses of this Nation, principally strong, ideologically liberal. The replied came, ‘On the ground and ideology of social justice’. I must say, ‘Great’. This ideology deserves a courteous obeisance and a standing ovation simultaneously. Further, on being repeatedly asked by Prof. Paranjape about their students’ status in the university, they brazenly and cowardly declined to disclose their identities, most probably fearing disciplinary actions. The only word that strikes my mind, decorates the situation and suits their standard is ‘COWARDNESS’.
Before, I proceed with my socio-legal analysis of the incident, I must state the full-facts of the incident to all those who are still unaware about it in its entirety. The above conversation relates to Prof. Makarand Paranjape, the famous dissenting voice in the red citadel of Delhi and some self-stamped social justice warriors of JNU, who forcefully stopped him from entering his office and letting him discharge his official duties on February 6, 2016, which they cutely claimed was on the ground and ideology of social justice. Thereafter, the professor decided to do ‘Satyagrah’ there itself, held the feet of some of these students and pushed it, and then only he could enter the academic building.
These all happened in the galaxy of free speech, universal representative area of red democracy, in the free air of dissent, the house of self-certified subaltern sympathizers. But during all this acts of hooliganism happened, did you have the opportunity to watch ‘Loktantra Ki Hatya’ Prime Time Episode by Ravish Kumar, the same evening? Did you have the opportunity to read a 2000 long worded front page article in the Indian Express titled ‘Do Not Disagree’ as you had the occasion to go through after the ‘Bharat Tere Tukde Honge’ kind of dissent last year around the same time? Did you have the opportunity to watch live the brutal humiliation of Prof. Paranjape by some unidentified ruffians, like you had the opportunity to see Kanhaiya Kumar going live for one and a half hour, last year? Did you have the opportunity to see any sort of small protests even in the campus and unprecedented Media coverage against these hooligans for their act of goondaism, in fact; an act of crime? Did you have the opportunity to read ‘Eight reasons why India can’t speak freely’ by eminent historian Ramachandra Guha? The answer to all these questions is probably ‘NOT’.
Now, let me take you to a virtual tour of contrary circumstances having opposite characters in the like situation. You would have witnessed all these things mentioned here above, had there been some ABVP students indulging in similar acts of blocking a professor of opposite ideology from entering his office in Delhi University. There would have been ‘NO-GHOR-SANNATA’ like this. The Democracy would have been in immediate danger overnight. The era of free speech in India would have been ended with an immediate effect. There would have been multiple emergency like situations in India in a single night. The Constitution would have been on the verge of extinction. In essence, this unprecedented silence would not have been there at all. It didn’t startle me when I tried googling some Indian Express’s report on this incident but found none except a report on its group’s venture Inuth.com. Yes, the same Indian Express which had authored a front page article titled “Do Not Disagree” supportive of the “Bharat ki Barbadi tak Jung Rahegi Jaree” kind of dissent. Anyway, they have their own self-set goal and priorities and I am no one to decide what they should carry and what they should not, after all, they must be busy these days preparing for some front page exaggerated report on the upcoming Valentine Day’s expected vandalism by Bajrang Dal activists.
This deeply shameful act of forcefully preventing a professor from entering his academic building by some coward ruffians who didn’t have the guts to disclose their identities even, have once again proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are anti-democratic to the core, having no potential to tolerate the voice of dissent and engage in a decent conversation with their own ‘Guru’ otherwise what could have been the motive of asking, “You gave a lecture on nationalism, now give one on social justice. Right now!” Does it mean that out of 25 lectures-series organized by JNU last year pro-slogans-shouting episode, around 23 of which were supportive of the then what had happened in JNU, Prof. Paranjape’s lecture on Nationalism penetrated them the most? It certainly implies that it is still green in their memory the way Prof. Paranjape publically humiliated Kanhaiya for his several erroneous facts, during his Nationalism lecture, exposing the intellectual hollowness of the lot.
Now, it is also essential to discuss the legal aspects of the incident to prove that these self-acclaimed commanders of social justice are more criminals and less students by their nature and also in order to expose their blatant disregard and contempt for the law of the land. The Indian Penal Code, in its section 339 defines ‘wrongful restraint’ as, “Whoever voluntarily obstructs any person so as to prevent that person from proceeding in any direction in which that person has a right to proceed, is said wrongfully to restrain that person.” The punishment for wrongful restrain is provided in section 341 of the IPC as, “Whoever wrongfully restrains any person shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extent to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.” Though, this offence is bailable but it is still cognizable which means police have authorities to arrest the offenders without warrant.