Up to date: November 12, 2020 7:09:00 pm
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi just about unveils a life-sized statue of Swami Vivekananda on the Jawaharlal Nehru College (JNU) campus Thursday night, we inform you when and why the statue was permitted, the controversy surrounding it, and why college students of the college are protesting.
The statue’s approval
It was on June 30, 2017 that JNU’s Govt Council (EC) first gave approval for the statue. The administration stated it was putting in the statue to offer the campus a extra “pleasing look” as Vivekananda had contributed to “nation constructing”.
It was determined to erect a statue with “correct elevated platform, stone pathways, benches, lights and interconnected works together with public utilities”. Rector III Rana Pratap Singh had informed The Indian Express the suggestion for the statue had come from the engineering division of JNU.
The statue could possibly be seen as one amongst a slew of steps both taken or recommended by the administration to instill nationalist fervour in college students. Quickly after the February 2016 incident of alleged anti-national slogans being raised on the campus, the JNU Vice-Chancellor had really helpful putting in a army tank on the campus. A highway in JNU has additionally been named after Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, and the central library, too, has been renamed after B R Ambedkar.
Admin silent on funding
As soon as the information was put out within the public area, all by way of the remaining a part of 2017 and the complete 2018, the administration remained mum on who was funding the statue and the way a lot it will value. Extra particulars on the peak of the statue or the place precisely it will be constructed was additionally not revealed.
Then JNU College students’ Union president N Sai Balaji filed a number of RTIs to know concerning the funding. In January 2018, he filed an RTI looking for the full value of building of the statue in addition to the supply of its funding, however the college furnished evasive replies resembling “no JNU funds are getting used”.
In response to a different RTI software by Balaji, JNU’s Deputy Registrar (Finance) in Might 2018 stated that “no request concerning building of Vivekananda statue at Advert Block was obtained from the engineering division”.
“It’s ironical, as any building in JNU that takes place is finished by the engineering division,” the JNUSU had then stated.
A while in November-December 2018, the development of the statue started on the administrative block. On December 3, 2018, JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar, in an announcement, stated “one among its (JNU) alumni” was “voluntarily managing all of the bills concerned in making and set up of the statue”. Nevertheless, no particulars of the alumnus/alumna have been supplied until date.
In November 2019, the JNU administration filed a police criticism saying the statue, which was lined by a saffron veil, had allegedly been defaced and messages had been written “notably directed in direction of a political celebration and a gaggle of individuals donning saffron colored garments”.
The administration linked the “vandalism” with protests towards hostel payment hike led by the JNUSU, saying they’d taken an “aggressive kind the place college students having no regard or respect for JNU are indulging in unlawful and immoral acts”. The JNUSU vehemently denied the cost.
Inauguration by Modi and protests
JNU selected to ask Modi to unveil the statue of “probably the most beloved intellectuals and religious leaders” was taken as he “usually invokes” Vivekananda’s “life and mission” in his speeches, and “reminds the youth of the nation to observe his beliefs”, in line with the JNU administration. Nevertheless, the invitation to Modi, even digital, has miffed the JNUSU which is all set to protest on campus. They consider the Modi authorities “overtly supported” violence on campuses and is attacking universities with the Nationwide Schooling Coverage which is able to lead to fund cuts and privatisation of schooling.
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