Friday, November 17, 2006

A farewell to JNU

My time at Jawaharlal Nehru University is about done. Yesterday the students in my African Nationalism class took their final exam. I headed home and graded the papers and was prepared to leave for the Thar Desert. I will miss JNU. There is a spirit of radicalism that still defines this institution (though I have read some really conservative crap penned by folks in JNU's sociology department). Still, JNU is very different than what I have come to know in academia.

I really like this quote from Nehru. It captures what I believe a university should strive to be. In this age of market capitalism this is refreshing. I hope JNU does not become a Fred Meyer (grocery store in Portland) like PSU. Unfortunately the tendency toward marketing the University is already discernible. The trajectory toward a commercialized institution may already be in place. I have had troubling conversations with folks who want JNU to look a lot like Harvard. Ouch, that would really suck.

These are three of my students who met for class outside the day after I got back from Nepal. They are remarkable young thinkers who I hope will carry the torch of Nehru into the future. I wonder where the hell the rest were! ;)

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this class even though it was somewhat scattered between my travel absences and University events. Sorry ;)

These pictures were taken after the exam. And they are smiling so they must be happy too. Sadly most of the other pictures were blurred. Sorry dudes. Now if you guys can just stop calling me "Sir" :0) Why do I feel like Sidney Poitier?

Ok, so farewell my dear students. Keep in touch and don't lose the radical inspiration that makes JNU India's premier institution. Oh yes, I don't work for Adidas, they just make really biggg tee shirts :)

Peace and Struggle.


She Gathers Rain said...

Hai Sir..Poitier..i'm confused how to address u now..u never told us ur preference too.I hope you remember me..the student in ur class who nearly missed her end sem becoz of attendance prob..m wearing a black turtle neck in the pics.Know what?Your blog's really beautiful.Touchwood.I'm trying to go thru the whole thing.I'm getting an internet connection in a few days time so maybe tht'll help.Hope u r doing gr8 there.Same here.I'll be workig on 'Indians in Malawi' under Prof.Dubey but there seems to be no materials on the topic.Still searching...It's by chance i came across ur blog n m happy i did.I hope u will stay in touch.Wish me a belated happy b'day(5th Feb)...haha...I celebrated it in Shillong with my sibblings.I'm sorry i'm making use of this space for blah blah instead of comments...not a net savvy..:(....Take care...Stay Blessed.
Kiushingliu Golmei

Ridwan Laher said...

Kiushingliu it is great to hear from you. Happy birthday my sister. Hope you had a great time with your family and friends in Shillong.

I look forward to chatting more and hope we can talk about your research as you get started.

Please pass on my best to Professor Dubey and your classmates.

I miss JNU and India. All is well with me in SA. Good to be home after so many months.

Be well and keep in contact.