Former Nepali Prime Minister and a man who was once the ideologue of the country’s Maoist movement, Baburam Bhattarai, has said he ‘stands with JNU’, lauded its political culture of ‘tolerance and dissent’, credited the university for who he is, said he is deeply ‘pained at events’ in the university, which is being disturbed by ‘people in power’.
Bhattarai is considered among JNU’s most accomplished former students who rose up to lead an ultra left ‘revolution’, and head an elected government.
In an exclusive interview to HT, Bhattarai said, “As an alumni, I am deeply pained to hear the news from JNU. JNU is one of the best universities in the world in terms of political culture. There may be other universities in terms of academic standing but there is no institution with such a lively culture of debate, where all form of dissent is heard and respected from all over the world.”
Bhattarai said his stint in JNU - the former PM completed a PhD on the nature of underdevelopment in Nepal in the mid 80s- had ‘inspired him’. “I am now in the process of setting up a New Force, which looks beyond traditional Marxism which has become a dogma. Unfortunately, JNU which promoted this culture of independent thinking is now being disturbed by people in power.”
He added that he stood with JNU for ‘preserving its culture of tolerance and dissent, which is the idea of India and Indian democracy.”
In a sign of his emotional attachment to JNU, Bhattarai had broken down while speaking at the university during a visit to India as PM in 2011. His daughter, Manushi, is pursuing her M.Phil at JNU.