For many of us, JNU is not just a university. It is an idea that has changed several lives, making JNU a beacon of hope for young people in India. It is here that I could find the joy of learning for the first time. And this year the National Institute Ranking Framework ranked JNU as the second-best institution in the university category for its contribution to research and teaching. This is the fourth consecutive time JNU has made it to this list prepared by the Union ministry of human resource development, though it has been in the news mostly as a “hub of anti-nationals” situated just 10 km away from the Union ministry of home affairs.
I had come to JNU with a limited idea about Indian campuses. My imagination of education was limited to bookish understanding, but my teachers, comrades and classmates made me realise that it is a way of acquiring the source of knowledge. I learnt that at JNU there is no limit to learning. Quite surprised and still figuring out meanings between the lines, I later found myself hopping from a lecture on economics by Prabhat Patnaik to another by Ira Bhaskar, a professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics. Evenings and post-dinner were mostly spent rushing from listening to, say, poet and documentary film-maker Gauhar Raza at one hostel dining hall to relishing a screening at another.