This victory is historic precisely because of the time in which it has been won. The ban on JNU Forum is not simply an issue for one particular organization. Banning is actually one of the most repressive expressions of authoritarian and anti-student policies that JNU administration keenly seeks to employ in this campus. By preventing students from screening certain films on the pretext of them being ‘anti-national’ movies; locking up the JNUSU office and not allowing public meeting in messes like in Periyar or Tapti; restricting students from entering and utilizing their own spaces; attacking and branding organizations struggling against Brahminical hegemony as ‘casteist’—the JNU administration is trying to actively intervene in and control and restrict students’ politics. JNU Forum’s victory is therefore a resounding NO to this sort of administrative crackdown. Forum’s struggle and this victory are immensely important because they have come at a juncture when Lyngdoh is threatening the very fabric of democratic space, by seeking to turn the campus into a depoliticized one. Forum’s movement reiterates the fact there is no short-cut to democracy. The history of this campus shows that the relatively democratic and progressive character is a result of sustained and uncompromising struggles. Forum’s struggle is a part of this longer history.
Being true to the class character of their parent parties, ABVP, NSUI and SFI support Operation Green hunt, and therefore did not oppose the ban on JNU Forum. True to the nature of its own parent party, AISA, once in a while still claiming to uphold Marxism-Leninism, in reality practices NGOised politics. This NGO politics of AISA is most clearly visible in its stand on Operation Green hunt—opposing Operation Green Hunt in rhetoric but legitimizing and strengthening the anti people policies of state in actual practice. By demonizing the revolutionary peoples movement, AISA tries to maintain a neutral position, knowing fully well that it thereby strengthens the state, corporate and feudal forces. In this campus, too, AISA was initially part of the JNU Forum. But the moment there was an attack on the Forum by the Administration and the right-wing, it not only distanced itself but also branded the Forum as a “Maoist” front! It thereby tried to provide more ammunition to the Administration for its crackdown. Although AISA, the trusted agent of ruling classes in this campus, participated in the hunger strike called by Forum, it did so because of its opportunistic calculations to gain the legitimacy it has lost time and again. The history of AISA in this campus is a history of compromises, betrayals and opportunism. We don’t need to go too far in the past; the student community is witness to the revisionism and opportunism of AISA, which was at its peak in this very semester. AISA and its parent party CPI [ML] Liberation endorsed and actively participated in RSS backed and corporate funded ‘movement’ against corruption. On the issue of holding JNUSU elections, AISA betrayed the three years of struggle of JNU students against the imposition of draconian Lyngdoh committee recommendations and forged an alliance with SFI, ABVP and NSUI in order to facilitate holding of JNUSU elections according to Lyngdoh guidelines with some insignificant relaxations.
Right-wing forces like NSUI, ABVP and SFI stand opposed to any real democratization that will come with genuine progressive students’ movements. They seek to reduce student politics to the mere ritual of ballots and counting. Compromising the movement against Lyngdoh in this campus, AISA, the junior partner of SFI, proactively sought to bring Lyngdoh into campus. However, in the course of Forum’s struggle, AISA sought to reinvent itself (as usual), posturing as champion of genuine students’ struggle for campus democracy. DSU would like to ask AISA: Don’t you know that Lyngdoh is the biggest threat to student politics and democracy in this campus? If so, then how can you facilitate Lyngdoh in the name of bogus ‘relaxations’ (with the most important clause of Grievance Redressal Cell, among many other undemocratic clauses, which gives the administration complete authority to monitor and control students’ Union activity, still in place)? Don’t you think that for a progressive student politics, across campuses in the country, we must uphold and continue the uncompromising struggle of the students of this campus for JNUSU election as per JNUSU constitution? The fact is simple. AISA’s presence in the recent struggle of JNU Forum has nothing to do with any solidarity for genuine students’ demands. It is their compulsion to hide their real politics of opportunism, which is servile to right-wing forces like SFI and others. They now and again need to talk about students’ rights and struggle, only so that they can betray it in due time.
AISA has joined hands with right wing forces such as SFI, ABVP, NSUI and YFE in order to pave the way for Lyngdoh in JNU. All these forces have repeatedly undermined the JNUSU constitution and betrayed the 40 years history of progressive students struggles in JNU. SFI AISA are currently shadow boxing with YFE. However, there is no difference between them. YFE, SFI and AISA are all united in their pro Lyngdoh agenda; the only difference is that SFI-AISA wish to save their faces by bringing Lyngdoh in the name of irrelevant relaxations. In the last one month, they had rounds of secret meetings with the same casteist YFE which was kept out of the anti-Lyngdoh struggle through a 2008 UGBM resolution. SFI-AISA’s shadow boxing with YFE is a compulsion to hide their degenerate and opportunist politics. The fact is: YFE’s pro-Lyngdoh position have remained constant; whereas SFI AISA have now given up all their pretensions and joined hands with YFE in order to betray the students movement. DSU appeals to the students community to be vigilant against the nefarious designs of SFI-AISA and YFE to facilitate Lyngdoh one way or the other. We need to intensify our struggle against Lyngdoh and the privatization of higher education and brahminical hegemony in knowledge production.