Theatre of the absurd

April 15, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Ananya S Guha

A film actor refused a visa to attend a literary festival in Pakistan, now goes on the rampage. He wants to go to NIT Srinagar which is now in the midst of a controversy, the students polarized into ‘locals’ and ‘outsiders’. Thank God that it is not for once Hindus and Muslims.

But the writing on the wall is quite clear. True, what happened there, apparently some students expressed happiness after India lost in the T-20, will be unpalatable to some, if not many, but how many students did it? Was it a reflection of all ‘local’ students, and the orchestrated reaction took place leading to one event after another. Not one student could play the role of the mediator or the placator. Instead students from outside the state started demanding security, moving the Institution out, etc.

This is absurd. You cannot relocate Central Institutions like that. And to support it, especially by public figures, is reprehensible to say the least. These are national institutions, maybe located regionally, but the idea is to give affordable education to both locals and non locals. Even when they were called Regional Engineering Colleges they had a national character, students would be there from all over the country, now funding and infrastructure has improved because of Central intervention. But to say, because of this one episode an entire Instituion has to be shifted to pander to some select sentiments, abetted by intellectuals and political pretenders is taking things to the limits, driving wedges, furthering and adopting confrontationist attitudes.

‘Who is mightier?’ is the message. Why are we trying to use students as pawns to further our rabid tendencies? The double speak is that at the same time these people are saying that students should study, and now you must meet them and express solidarity with their cause? What happened all these years they were still studying there, where were the protests then?

And when the film actor is rightly denied entry for his noble crusade, our traditional media blows this out of proportion and makes it a larger than life story! What dramatic fiction this is! And the paradox – the central government is ruling there and the maverick actor’s wife is a member of that political party. I think enough is enough, politicians and para politicians should not meddle, no not with politics, but with academics and coming out with nonsensical suggestions that a Central Government institution should be shifted, creating divisions, demarcations, the vicious ‘us’ and ‘them’ syndrome – of pure animosity. How long will we be sowing seeds of hatred in our country, how long will our efforts to make fractious societies continue, and that too by educated people, who could have made vital contributions to nation building?

Many are suggesting students should ONLY study, yes very well taken, but actors should not extend their theatre outside orbits.







Ananya S Guha

Ananya S Guha was born and brought up in Shillong, North East India. He has seven collections of poetry and his poems have been published worldwide. They have also been featured in several anthologies. He is also a columnist, critic and editor. He now is a Regional Director at the Indira Gandhi National Open University and holds a doctoral degree on the novels of William Golding.


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