From an “anti-national hub” to a “sex hub”—as shifting reputations go, this one was a quickie. A quick shift, that is.
The embattled Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has for the past two weeks been the eye of a hyper-nationalist thunderstorm. Ever since the arrest of its student union leader, self-styled patriots have dubbed it the centre of “anti-national” activities.
The “loony”, “Leftist” institution has been incessantly compared to the “smart and savvy” Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). The debauchery at the former to the diligence at the latter, the utter wastefulness of one versus the sheer wizardry of the other. #ShutDownJNU, screamed a Twitter trend. This was the endgame, some even predicted.
And then walked in Gyandev Ahuja of luxurious whiskers and brows.
On Monday (Feb. 22), the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Rajasthan legislator said this about JNU: “More than 10,000 butts of cigarettes and 4,000 pieces of beedis are found daily in the JNU campus. 50,000 big and small pieces of bones are left by those eating non-vegetarian food. They gorge on meat… these anti-nationals. 2,000 wrappers of chips and namkeen are found, as also 3,000 used condoms—the misdeeds they commit with our sisters and daughters there. And 500 used contraceptive injections are also found.”
Never mind that heady list. This journalist-turned-politician was just what the sexologist ordered for these drooping times.
For, the Twitteratti smacked that first ball of Ahuja’s for a sixer. His claims were treated with humorous disdain, with #BJPCountsCondoms trending through the day.
And, of all the people who came out in JNU’s support—or at least to condom, err, condemn Ahuja—self-styled youth icon Chetan Bhagat played some of the best shots. Besides being an IIT alumnus, this author of hugely popular books such as Five Point Someone and 2 States is also a product of another haloed Indian bastion, the Indian Institute of Management.
With this Bhagat-ian sweep, now it was the JNU-baiters who were squirming. With a hook here and a flick there, the author took them trolls head on.
Sometimes Bhagat’s cheeky singles turned icky, but he always connected the ball.
To be sure, this wasn’t the first time “India’s biggest selling English language novelist”, whose works often nonchalantly refer to casual sex on Indian campuses, had waded into sex, morality, and politics.
Perceived to have a bias for the right-wing and prime minister Narendra Modi, Bhagat recently surprised some sections with his take on the sexually deprived and crude bhakt—a derisive term for virulent, abusive Modi supporters.
“They (bhakts) are generally not good at talking to women,” Bhagat said. ”As a result, they are unlikely to know how to behave with them or woo them. They do desire women, but can’t get them. In other words, if I may say so, they are sexually frustrated with no way of getting it.”
The moustachioed Rajasthani legislator can take note.
Meanwhile, the “Lefty-loonies” at JNU can thank Ahuja. The 10,000 cigarettes, 2,000 wrappers of chips, 2,000 liquor bottles, 3,000 beer cans may just have made the institution simply irresistible to an entire new generation of “anti-national” youngsters.
There, strip dance to that!