Indian students have traditionally considered their teachers to be their gurus — in the Mahabharata, Eklavya hadn’t thought twice before chopping off his thumb to present to his Guru Dronacharya, and in modern times, sportspersons like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli credit much of their success to their childhood coaches. But JNU students seem to have a different take on this cherished Indian tradition.
Vandana Mishra, the JNU teacher who’d been held captive by JNU students inside a classroom for 29 hours, has finally spoken about her experience. Mishra, who’s a Professor in School of International Relations and the Associate Dean of Students, says she was teaching in her class when over a 100 students forcibly entered her classroom and held her captive.
“I was accompanied by at least five girls every time I wanted to visit a restroom, called by different names and accused of serving an ideology, which has never been the truth,” Mishra told IANS. After 29 hours in the classroom, Mishra was rescued after some students started to live broadcast her captivity, and the feed somehow reached the Vice-Chancellor of the varsity who then tweeted the video clip.
It was only after the Vice-Chancellor’s tweet that the SHO of the Vasant Kunj police station along with an ACP rank officer intervened and helped get professor get out of the classroom. Mishra’s ordeal had since gone viral, with the video clip showing how students played loud music in the classroom, and did not let her leave even as she later collapsed on the floor.
Dr. Vandana Mishra wasn’t the only teacher who was help captive by her own students. Dr Umesh Kadam, Professor of History and Dean of Students alleges that students forcibly entered the convention center and held him captive even after he repeatedly complained of health issues. He further alleged that the ambulance which was supposed to take him to a nearby health center was also stopped from moving ahead. “It took the ambulance two hours to reach the health center which is merely 15 minutes away from the convention center. I was made to suffer by the students just because I did not agree with their unjustified demand,” he said.
And JNU’s students did not even spare the families of their own teachers. Dr Nagendra Srinivas, Professor of Russian and Warden, Narmada Hostel says that over 150 students had barged into his residence in the campus at midnight, demanding that he attend the General Body Meeting of the Narmada Hostel and sign and accept a memorandum by the students against the hostel fee hike.
“But I rejected it because rules do not allow a warden to attend the GBM and above all the same memorandum was accepted by me just a day ago. All they wanted was to create a ruckus by calling me in the meeting,” he said.
Srinivas added that he was forced to attend the meeting after the students started to shout slogans in his house, which terrified his six-year-old daughter. “My daughter woke up after they started shouting and raising slogans, she was so terrified that we had to request a colleague to let her sleep in his house for the rest of the night,” Srinivas said. Fearing for the safety of his family, Srinivas had to join the GBM which concluded at 3 a.m. on November 4 after he again accepted the same memorandum which he had accepted a day ago.
JNU’s students have not only been going after their own professors, but their protests have spilled out of the JNU campus. Just this week, JNU students had harassed several women reporters, and their protests in Delhi had led to several metro stations being closed.