On 25th March, 2020, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) professor Dr Abrar Ahmad tweeted that he failed 15 non-Muslim students in his class as they supported the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Hours after OpIndia reported it, the University administration suspeded him pending inquiry. Prof Ahmad also claimed later that his tweet was ‘parody’ and that he did not fail any non-Muslim student for supporting CAA. Even if one concedes that the particular tweet was ‘parody’, the professor’s various social media posts reveal a very problematic mindset. This raised the question that even if the tweet was ‘parody’ as Prof Ahmad claims, it could still fall under bullying tactics a professor could use his position of power to intimidate students.
OpIndia reached out to a few current and former non-Muslim JMI students who revealed a shocking scenario which pulls down their veil of ‘solidarity’ of their students and teachers’ community.
“Communal riots are not new to India. But what was different about these recent Delhi riots? Difference being the intellectual support provided by Jamia teaching community and students. Teachers deliberately try to draw communal, minority and majoritarian lines in the minds of the students and provide them an identity which is alien to India.” This victimhood implanted in them isolates them and then they easily fall prey to ideas like ‘the police is state-sponsored terrorist and that the police only carries out encounters of Muslims’, the Jamia alumni revealed.
“That is why the ‘yeh jo gundagardi hai, uske peechhe vardi hai(there are goons under the uniform)’ slogans were chanted. Not only that. Many students from places like Kupwara and Sopore from Kashmir use the same language as the separatists. They have no rationale for democracy,” another former student from JMI revealed. “Hatred is so deep-rooted that ‘radicalised’ is a mild word. More than the students, it is the teachers who are deeply hateful. Students come and go, but the banyan tree of hatred is busy growing deep roots on campus as teacher,” the alumni revealed.
Elaborating on this, the ex-student explained that under the UPA, former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram launched the Operation Green Hunt. Maoist terrorists were eliminated and terror camps were destroyed. “The professors in Jamia were also questioned by Police but they never revealed students with Maoists and Naxalite links,” a former student who studied on campus around this time revealed.
As per the alumni, these teachers are ‘handlers’. “The students are pushed in the front line. If police takes action, then they are on the receiving end of the lathis. That way, they play victimhood all the while keeping their hands clean. On the basis of this, they will write opinion pieces in international publications to show India and Indian government in bad light. Modi is their current enemy, but they dislike anyone in power. They only hate Modi a little more,” the alumni explained. “People will forget Sharjeel Imam some day, but he will be used by these teachers to write opinion pieces in international papers that freedom of speech in India is dead,” a student tells OpIndia on condition of anonymity.
Narendra Modi swore in as the Prime Minister of India for the first time in 2014. Prior to that he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. “When I was a student, UPA was in power. They still hated Modi. Why? 2002 riots. In my first year, my internal marks were great and I scored very well. But in my second year, I pointed out that the Godhra carnage preceded the riots. In my second year, my viva and internal marks were so low that if you compare my mark sheets of two years you won’t believe they belong to same person,” the alumni said.
“Dalit-Muslim unity is the biggest joke they tell. Jamia is a minority institute and hence does not have reservation for SC/ST. We had one Dalit student as a classmate and not a single Muslim student sat with him and had lunch with him. It was only us, who were anyway in a minority, who would talk to him. And forget Dalits, one of our classmates was a Shia. Jamia is a Sunni dominated university. Nobody talked to her. Nobody even acknowledged her,” said the Jamia alumni.
“Food-jihad is too strong a term but that is exactly what happens there. I dare you to take your Jagrate ka prasad and offer it to any of the Muslim student or professor there. ‘Humare mein yeh mana hai (this is forbidden for us)’, they will say. And if you say no to their sevaiyan or biryani on Eid, you will be called a ‘Sanghi’ and looked down upon,” a student currently studying in the varsity said.
A current student studying at Jamia was critical of the teacher’s political opinion. He had to pay the price with his marks. “While rest of the class got A+ or A, I got C. When I asked the professor, he asked me to be happy with this otherwise he’d fail me,” the student said. While there is no official prohibition on celebration of Hindu festivals, the students who wish to celebrate them get strong resistance from the administration. “They can’t tell us we cannot celebrate Holi or Saraswati Puja. But they will try to resist these celebrations on campus,” a student said.
There is also soft subversion of the Indian constitution. “They will never say that Sharia is above Constitution, but they will always tell you how the Middle East has a better system in place for law. They will glorify Middle East to subtly justify the Sharia. They will praise the Quran and say how the Constitution is inspired from the Quran. They will lace it with hyperbole to undermine the importance and significance of the Constitution,” a former student told OpIndia.
Speaking on the bullying by teachers and some students, another alumni explained, “If you disagree with what they say, you will be marked. They will make sure to show you your place.”