Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi has been in the news for the past many days due to the ongoing protests against the hostel fee hike from Rs. 10 to Rs. 300.
The reasoning behind increasing the fee is that it has been the same for around 30 years, and needs to be raised.
However, JNU students stand for a subsidised university education for all as a basic right.
JNU has students from all strata of society, including from working class backgrounds far below the poverty line.
For families that don’t have a high saving capacity and for whom repaying loans will be a laborious and potentially exploitative experience, Rs. 10 for a hostel room at a premier university in the heart of Delhi is a godsend.
EFLU Unites For JNU
The students of the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad have expressed solidarity with the students of JNU, and have been raising powerful slogans and protests on campus.
Students from all over the country have come together in support of JNU, holding placards in English as well as multiple regional languages.
However, reports state that the Hyderabad Police was called to stem the protests, students were threatened with proctorial action, and the gates of the university were locked to prevent the protest from spilling out of campus.
The JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) has addressed this in their statement released recently:
“The JNUSU condemns in the strongest possible terms the action of the Hyderabad City Police and the EFLU Administration, who on 23rd November attempted to stop democratic protests in EFLU, Hyderabad in solidarity with the movement in JNU against fee hike by calling the police into campus, threatening the protesting students with proctorial actions, and in a most shameful manner locking the gates of the university to prevent students’ protest from leaving the university.”
In their statement, the JNUSU calls for students’ solidarity against the privatisation of education, and calls for the nationwide mobilisation of students.
A Small Step Towards An Inclusive Future
It will take time before India becomes a country that can make subsidised university education a universal right.
First, let us ensure that everyone goes to school.
However, this protest is a small step towards an inclusive future where students from all economic backgrounds will be able to access a good quality university education on an equal footing.
As an exponent of EFLU Hyderabad, I can proudly say that my 2 years there were the best 2 years of my life, due to the open-minded, democratic, and secular atmosphere on campus.
Image and Video Credits: EFLU Today
Find the author online at: @samyukthanair_