For stingy Indian taxpayers, subsidised JNU students are parasites, but IIT ones are idols


Diksha Madhok in Quartz:

Indian taxpayers seem to be a self-righteous lot. Beneficiaries of subsidies, according to them, must display adequate gratitude and the right colour of patriotism. Else, they go for the jugular. These days, a vocal section of them wants India to stop funding Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), one of South Asia’s top-ranked institutions of higher learning. The reason for their outrage is an alleged anti-India protest that took place on the campus in Delhi on Tuesday (Feb. 09).

At the event, some students chanted divisive slogans and questioned the execution of Afzal Guru, who was hanged for the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

Since Tuesday, the police have raided university hostels and arrested the president of the students union, charging him with sedition—even though he did not raise any controversial slogans. This is the first time that a JNU president has been arrested since the Emergency of 1975-77.

But this grossly disproportionate and high-handed response by the state to an alleged offence caused by a tiny section of the university’s students has not stopped the taxpayers’ sanctimonious blustering and thundering on Twitter.

Even the voluble TV anchor Arnab Goswami upbraided a JNU student for not exhibiting proper patriotism, despite being a “beneficiary of a subsidized Indian education.”

“Parasite” is a word frequently thrown at JNU students over the last two days.

“It is an institution that has produced some of the most famous economists, lawyers and politicians in India, including the current commerce minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) and the Intelligence Bureau chief till recently (Syed Asif Ibrahim),” Dipankar Gupta, director, Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, told Quartz.

“Such vilification will only prove to be counter-productive,” Gupta, a sociologist, said.
The sheer hypocrisy

Such resentment, though, is not new. It surfaces every time students of liberal universities such as JNU or the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII) go against what is perceived as mainstream opinion.
Yet, most Indians have no problems with the government funding the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) or the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), even though many of their graduates end up on greener foreign shores. These IIT-NRIs are often put on a pedestal and worshipped as real Indian role models.

More here.