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"The fee-hike issue, now, has crossed JNU, went beyond and is knocking at our doors," writes Ujjayita Chowdhury

It’s been over two months since the fee hike was announced at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University. Post that, the country has been divided into two lobbies- one who voiced their opinion on this matter, and two, the surprising group of unopinionated lobbyists. The question as to why the perversion in as fundamental as the right to education has still not been able to stir the masses all over the country remains a matter of dismay.

The JNU fee hike, is no longer an external affair, something that we (read, students in particular) shouldn’t be bothered about or be a part of. It’s not the time for excuses, “I don’t want to comment about political issues”  or questioning “Is JNU a university or a hub of politics?”. The issue, now, has crossed JNU, gone beyond to knock at our doors. And we can be all, but silent about it.

The fee-hike might be disguised as an internal affair of the university to us and seem like it is apt to judge and comment on the overt presence of the JNU in the newspaper headlines every day, but it is not. As a part of the New Education Policy of India, the main focus has turned to privatisation and corporatisation of higher education in India. This, in a country, like India, is going against the basic constitutional essence which denies access to the marginalised and the underprivileged, which unfortunately is a big number and a grave matter that needs immediate concern.

In the light of the JNU fee-hike, there have been several protests unlike the fee-hike in IITs for M. Tech and that’s where the missing link is. For the students coming from a privileged background, this issue is being misconstrued and all of it is thrust upon the marginalised, the underprivileged. The inability of students to pay a revised high rate of fee is seen through the past two years and the recent quarry is none other than the JNU. This turned out to be a little disadvantageous for the policymakers and it backfired, more so because, the institute, which is one of the premier ones in the country, is a place of beautiful growth of miscellany. The voices of protests resonated into one. The brightest minds of the country, coming from submissive backgrounds, alienated sections of the society get to spread their wings in such an irradiant institute. The fee-hike is completely against the very backdrop of what the JNU stands for.

The whole concept of privatisation of higher education is slowly spreading and has started to malign the soul of providing higher education in a lot of other institutes already. Media, in general and social media, in particular, has a major role to play as to why the politics surrounding the JNU protests is talked about more than the actual fee-hike and its consequences. The garbed facts and propagandized videos are playing a role in blind-folding the people to indoctrinate certain facets. The result of which is our shift of focus from what needs to be discussed, debated, opined and opposed more aggressively. The need of the hour is to speak up and also judicious intervention in the matter.

The author of this guest article, Ujjayita Chowdhury is a student studying at the department of MBBT, Tezpur University. To share feedback on the article you can email at [email protected] and we will communicate it to the author. 

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