The Death of the JNU Stereotype


The Death of the JNU Stereotype

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


n college, a decade or so ago, this writer and his friends owned this one really cool (for its time) device. It was quite primitive, not too advanced, and would often malfunction. It was heavy, yet we still carried it around everywhere in our backpacks, even if that meant throwing away and burning all our course books (LOL books). This was a time when the Internet hadn’t yet been invented by Steve Jobs and Barack Obama, and there was a certain hipster pride attached to the ownership of this thing since not everyone had it. It was called a Sense of Humour (SoH).

The SoH was finally rendered obsolete recently, after the shameful scenes that went down, first at JNU, and then in its aftermath. See, at the time, using certain settings on our device, we used to do this archaic thing called stereotyping. It was cheap, sometimes harmless, sometimes malicious – always a lot of fun. We would usually steer clear of religion (because that brings unnecessary drama), race/communalism (because we weren’t rightwing nutjobs), gender (because we identified as feminists, and because we were afraid of getting beaten up by feminists), and each other’s mums (because this is still Delhi I’m talking about). Everything else was fair game. So there was this holier-than-thou, full-of-itself, pompous, self-righteous pain-in-the-ass university called Jawaharlal Nehru University. We were aware of, even quite awed by, this university’s pedigree and distinction, of the far-reaching impact it had and continues to have. We even wanted to study International Relations there.