New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has decided to host a wide range of âpatrioticâ and ânationalistâ activities to celebrate Independence Day following directives from the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), Indian express reported.
The ministry, along with the University Grants Commission, has published a list of guidelines for all universities on how to celebrate the country’s 70th independence anniversary, including fancy dress contests, a ” freedom â, patriotic songs, morning walks and more.
âIn accordance with the advice received from MHRD and UGC, we are organizing these activities for the first timeâ¦ Indian express said Dean of Students Rana P. Singh. The administration has organized a variety of events to celebrate âFreedom Fortnightâ as outlined in the guidelines.
On Independence Day, the university will hold a freedom race and flag-raising ceremony.
Earlier this year, the BJP government at the Center and media sections accused large numbers of students of being “anti-national” after an event on Afzal Guru. The president of the students’ union, Kanhaiya Kumar, along with two other students, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, were arrested for sedition and then released on bail. Five other students also face charges of sedition.
Azad 70, Yaad Karo Kurbani
On Tuesday August 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the âAzaad 70, Yaad Karo Kurbaniâ campaign. The launch took place in Bhabhra in Madhya Pradesh, the hometown of Chandrasekhar Azad.
A song was published for the occasion.
Schools also have directives received on how to celebrate Independence Day this year as part of this campaign. In addition to the mandatory mass chanting of the national anthem on August 23, the guidelines recommend that programs continue from August 9 to 23, including activities like the ability to send greeting cards to jaws posted at the border and a patriotic song contest.
According to Indian express report, MHRD and UGC have also asked schools and universities to submit reports on their âFreedom Fortnightâ celebrations.
This is not the first time that universities have issued guidelines designed to “instill nationalism” and trust in government.
In February this year, as the University of Hyderabad (after the suicide of Rohith Vemula) and the JNU witnessed large-scale student protests after students from both universities were accused of “anti-nationalism,” the then Minister of Human Resources Smriti Irani decreed that all universities must hoist a 207-foot national flag on campus. Not surprisingly at the time, JNU was the first university where this was implemented. The move was seen as an attempt to counter months of protests seen at various universities across the country. Talk to Indian express, JNU Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar said at the time: âIt is a matter of pride for JNU to install the national flag on our campus. We will identify a suitable location and work there.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of many unimpressed by the move. He tweeted: âIf it was enough to raise the flag to combat feelings of alienation, the problems in Kashmir and the North East would have been solved decades ago. “
The government has also tried other means to extend its influence directly to students. On Teacher’s Day in the past two years, Modi addressed the schoolchildren across the country in a live TV show. In 2014, the first year this was done, questions were raised from many sides about the government’s motives. The prime minister and his regime were also accused of forcing schools and students to attend the live broadcast, describing the event as compulsory.
The Directive 2014 said: âAll government, government-assisted, unaided (and) MCD (corporations) school heads should arrange to round up the children in order from 2:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. on that day so that children (can) see the Prime Minister’s speech.
Likewise, on Teachers’ Day in 2015, the Department of Human Resources issued a directive to all schools asking them to make adequate arrangements for live streaming, stating that it would review the number and the specificities of the schools and students who attended the broadcast. However, he did not explicitly state that attendance or broadcast of the speech was mandatory.