JNU VC Wants to Display Army Tank as Reminder of ‘Great Sacrifices’ of Soldiers

“We will create a situation where people will love the nation. And if they don’t, we will force them to love it,” the head of Veterans India has said.

The JNU administrative block. Credit: Facebook

The JNU administrative block. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: Nearly a year after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) hosted a freedom run and a flag-hoisting ceremony along with a ‘patriotic’ singing competition to mark Independence Day, a fresh wave of patriotism has engulfed the university – this time with plans to display a military tank in the campus to help instil among students a “love for the army”.

According to an Indian Express report, during the July 23 celebration of Kargil Vijay Diwas – which began with a tricolour march – JNU vice chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar requested Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and V.K. Singh to help the university procure a tank to remind students of the “great sacrifices and valour of the Indian army”.

The event also featured performances by the army band and the felicitation of women family members of soldiers who died in the 1999 war.

Commending the university for the event, B.K. Mishra, head of Veterans India, which helped organise it, said: “We will create a situation where people will love the nation. And if they don’t, we will force them to love it.”

While Kumar termed the programme as “historic,” according to a Times of India report, Pradhan said he was surprised by the change in the environment of the university – which last year was the epicentre of a controversy over alleged anti-national slogans and where now slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ were being raised.

Crediting the vice chancellor for proclaiming “victory over JNU,” retired Indian army officer G.D. Bakshi added that there were several other “forts like Jadavpur and Hyderabad university which our army will capture.” 

According to Indian Express, addressing the audience, cricketer Gautam Gambhir referenced controversies surrounding freedom of expression in the university and around the human shield in Kashmir, saying that while freedom of speech was essential, there were certain things that were “absolutely non-negotiable” – like respect for the tricolour.

“People said that the decision [to tie a Kashmiri man to the front of a military vehicle to deter stone-pelters] taken by Major [Leetul] Gogoi in Kashmir was very wrong, but I always maintained that people who are in extreme conditions should have all the right to protect themselves, their men and the country,” he said.

  • alok asthana

    What a ridiculous idea to place a military tank in a university? What’s wrong with the veterans who propose such a regressive step. I too am a veteran but would like images of pen, ink and liberty seen all over the university. In any case, JNU is one of the finest univs in country – let them not turn it into a cantt or a battlefield. Tanks etc look in place only in RSS/BJP Hqs etc. Let them make place for the one planned for JNU too.

  • Ashok Akbar Gonsalves

    I suggest that the tank should be mobile, so that the VC can stand in its turret and patrol the campus checking for anti national activities. He should also be allowed to fire blank shells from the tank at suspicious campus elements.

    • Anjan Basu

      Are you sure blank shells will be enough to combat such fearsome enemies as graduate students? Please think about it again.

  • Anjan Basu

    Even as the army is exhorted by great ex-generals (themselves busy fighting shadow battles on nationalist/ patriotic television) to win JNU, Jadavpur, Hyderabad etc etc, India’s borders become more porous by the day and Kashmir fast approaches the status of a no man’s land.

  • ashok759

    Tanks and young students take one’s thoughts to Tiananmen Square. Universities are spaces of the mind, where education, enquiry, research, a little rebellion, perhaps some romance take place. The symbols that should be on display should represent not armed might but freedom and enlightenment.