Matters have been compounded by the attempt by the ruling party at the centre to force a narrow conception of nationalism down the throats of the people and this has also been reinforced in recent times by the Supreme Court ordering that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls before the screening of movies and the viewers should stand in reverence for this. Since students in universities generally stick out for fringe causes which challenge this narrow conception of nationality this has led to escalating conflict in campuses between those upholding the values of free speech and diversity and the fascists. Even though the happenings in the universities in Delhi where the clash has primarily been between leftists and the fascists have hogged the attention of the media, elsewhere too across the country campuses are on fire. Like in Parliament, so also in the university campuses debate has taken a back seat and physical attack and disruption has become the order of the day.
As is to be expected in a country which now has an independent democratic tradition of seven decades, such high handedness on the part of the fascists has met with resistance both at the level of debate and also at the level of physical engagement!! Despite a clear State hand in support of the fascist students they have been finding it difficult to establish their writ in the universities. Individual students on social media and organisations of students on the streets have come out against this attempt to muzzle free speech. This is a welcome sign. Students are risking their careers to stand up and fight for their rights against the oppressive thrust of fascist forces. Let us hope that this will in time extend to questioning the present centralised capitalist system also as without that the current wave of fascism will not subside in the long run. The last great student mobilisation was way back in 1974 and it snowballed into such strength that it culminated in the emergency and the curtailing of fundamental freedoms by the State. Democracy is much deeper now in this country but there is still a long way to go.