New Delhi: Two brilliant nuggets have come from within the saffron ranks. The first one -- Jaise munni badnaam hui, waise hi JNU badnaam hui – came from Shri Shriniwas, national joint organising secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
The second outpouring was from none other than BJP MP Hans Raj Hans who butted in to say that the Jawaharlal Nehru University should be renamed after the ‘saintly’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While Shriniwas drew inspiration from the film Dabangg and was possibly referring to the legacy of the ‘tukde, tukde gang,’ Hans seldom needs inspiration even for his musical absurdities.
Incidentally, both were speaking to a captive saffron audience at an Independence Day event on JNU campus, euphemistically called ‘Ek shaam shaheedon ke naam’, organised by the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS. Also in attendance was Bhojpuri entertainer and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and Bhojpuri superstar Nirahua.
In no time, nationalistic fervour was subsumed by artistic endeavour and the gathering of 600-odd students was jiving to songs like ‘Jiya ho Bihar ke lala, ‘Dil tote tote ho gaya’ and ‘Jugal jodi’ — the last of which was dedicated to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The evening belonged to the music minded – even if it was a toxic mix of Bhojpuri and Punjabi; but Hans had a political medley in mind when he dropped the gem -- that the Jawaharlal Nehru University should be renamed.
It was an innocuous conversation on provisions of Article 370 when he said, "Kashmir will become a paradise now. Pray that everyone remains peaceful and no bombs are set off. We are bearing the brunt of the mistakes made by our elders."
Then, going off the tangent, he asked in zest what the ‘J’ in JNU stands for. There was predictably a ripple in the audience. Taking the hint, he elaborated: “I suggest we rename JNU and call it MNU
Modi Narendrabhai University. After all, there should be something named after PM Modi, too (Main kehta hoon iska naam MNU kar do, Modi ji ke naam pe bhi to kuch hona chahiye),” Hans said. That was the cue the die-hard Modi buffs were waiting for: Soon,
'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' took over from Dil tote tote ho gaya.’ No political greenhorn, Tiwari realised Hans had stepped in to a political minefield by raking up the rechristening of JNU; opting to err on the side of caution, he said at times we say things in sheer excitement but that does not mean one would also take a cue and do just that. "Hans Raj ji says what he feels. He said so because he admires Modi ji," said Tiwari.
The remarks elicited sharp reaction from JNU students' union president N Sai Balaji. "At a time, universities are turning into jumla (rhetoric) manufacturing centres, why not rename all universities after Modi?" he asked.
“It is unfortunate that rather than talking about the Rs 515 crore HEFA (Higher Education Financing Agency) loan, the massive hostel crisis, 80 per cent budget cut in library and other anti-students policies, this is being talked about.
He alleged that public universities are being shut in India to start foreign universities and students are not being given fellowships.
Responding to a question, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said he feared the current regime might even change the name of the country. “We fear that the name of our country would be changed (under the present regime).’’