ABVP tries to teach nationalism to collegians, circulates brochures

Brochure includes ABVP’s take on the JNU controversy, brief profiles of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt and a 13-point questionnaire indirectly asking what is nationalism

Looks like the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) fire might aid the revival of the long buried tradition of campus politics across Maharashtra.

An ABVP member distributes and collects the brochures distributed at Rizvi college yesterday
An ABVP member distributes and collects the brochures distributed at Rizvi college yesterday

Starting yesterday, the Mumbai chapter of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (ABVP) undertook an initiative of distributing pamphlets across city colleges. The pamphlet includes ABVP’s take on the JNU controversy, brief profiles of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhatt and a 13-point questionnaire.

As per ABVP, this questionnaire will help students understand the promulgation of anti-national and separatist ideology in the JNU in the name of freedom of speech and expression.

Speaking to mid-day, Ravi Jaiswal, ABVP joint secretary, said, "Students need to know the reality and answer these questions before drawing conclusions. We are not giving any wrong information. We want our youngsters to be aware of the reality. We aren’t making any claims, we are just asking students to answer a few questions that will make them understand how the activities (at JNU) were indeed anti-national. Insulting our country and martyrs in the name of freedom of speech and expression won’t be tolerated. Many students don’t even know about Afzal Guru or Maqbool Bhatt. How can anyone have an unbiased opinion when other student organisations are bombarding them with big words such as freedom of expression."

Echoing Jaiswal’s sentiments, Aniket Ovhal, ABVP secretary (Mumbai region) said similar incidents in the recent past have left the collegians confused. "JNU is the burning topic across city campuses. At the same time, it is important that our friends know the reality."

When asked whether this was ABVP’s ploy to increase its membership, Ovhal said, "We do not need such activities to increase our membership. Work on membership is on simultaneously and students willingly join us."

While the ABVP is gung ho about its latest initiative, other students unions claim such moves are aimed at exploiting emotions of the collegians. Saqeeb Khan from Progressive Students Forum (PSF) said, "If they are doing something like this, then they are presenting a distorted picture to the collegians. People think emotionally while handling topics pertaining to anti-national behaviour. Only a handful will go back and review the situation after verifying facts."

Excerpt from brochure
The brochure distributed yesterday reads: On February 9 2016, when the whole nation was praying for well-being and quick recovery of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, at the same time, some students organisations (AISA, SFI, DSU) of JNU) had organised a cultural evening wherein anti-national slogans were raised. In that cultural programme, terrorist Afzal Guru and separatist Maqbool Bhatt were declared as martyrs and death sentences awarded to them termed as Judicial Killing.

They said.... we said
The pamphlet gives a separate list of a few slogans raised by JNU students and ABVP members

JNU students
- Pakistan Zindabad
- Kashmir ki Azadi tak jung rahegi

ABVP members
- Bharat mata ki jai
- Jahan hue balidan Mukherjee, who Kashmir hamara hai Tum kitne afzal maroge Ghar ghar me ghuske marenge, jis ghar se Afzal niklega

Few of the questions
>> Is it proper to raise slogan of ‘Bharat ki barbadi’ in the name of freedom of speech?
>> Kashmir and Kerala are an integral part of India, is it right to demonstrate to separate Kashmir and Kerala from India?
>> Being a citizen of India, is it correct to raise anti-national slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’?
>> Terrorist and Separatist convicted by Supreme Court of India, can they be role models of today’s generation?
>> As an Indian citizen, can we accept Afzal Guru, Yakub Memon and Maqbool Bhatt as martyrs?

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