Sanghis, Sex and University Students: What is it Really All About? –

Having stopped laughing at last, some thoughts.

Sanghi smut is in season again! For the authors of the Dirty Dossier, JNU nights are forever scented with musk, with couples draped on every bush, suitably fortified by free alcohol, thoughts of secession, and cash payments supplied by the Awesome Foursome. At its peak, the party can practically involve the whole university, because as per Shri Gyan Dev Ahuja’s estimates, the number of students frolicking thus will be 7000 (3000 condom users X 2, plus 500 injectable walas X 2). (Assuming of course that the few hundred left over have gone to fieldwork, have exams, or are abstemious and/or abstinent in nature.)

Laugh as we may (and must) at these feverish imaginings, it’s also important to understand that the very notion of a free university challenges not only misogyny, but also the social apartheid produced by caste and exclusionary religion. In most educational institutions, caste and religious differences and distances are studiously reproduced by caste/community based hostels (e.g. I am told Calcutta University has a hostel exclusively for Muslim men and that Patna University has one for Yadavs and another for Kurmis) and an entrenched system of discriminatory administrative and pedagogical practices. What is interesting is that even where such segregation practices is not institutionally enforced, strict hostel curfews for women, moral policing, dress codes, and a generalised heteronormativity that pervades every institutional space and practice seem to suffice to reproduce the very same social order.

What extreme threat does women students’ freedom and the free mingling of the sexes pose? Well, if sexuality and amorous choices can be freed from the borders and boundaries enforced by caste and community, the main social institution crucially involved in the reproduction of caste and exclusionary religion — the FAMILY– is in danger of being reinterpreted. If Wheatish Brahmin from Uttar Pradesh is to find love with Whitish Animist Adivasi from Arunachal Pradesh (in Sanghspeak from the ’90s you had to say Vanvasi — no one dare be more adi than the Brahmins), how can either caste or religious exclusion be reproduced? And worse, it usually doesn’t stop there, because Wheatish Brahmin could love another Wheatish Brahmin, and decide to –gasp!– procreate only Wheatishes henceforth. By not incarcerating women, by having a GSCASH, by relentlessly struggling for a gender-plural campus free of surveillance and policing, universities like JNU challenge not only patriarchy, but also its chief clients: caste and exclusionary religion.

It should therefore be no surprise to any student as to why from the Sanghistanian perspective, at least some normal young people look like they have already seceded from a nation built on the hegemonies of caste (Brahminism), religion (Hinduism) and gender (antiquated Male, size 56). And JNU students, having Kissed With Love in Jhandewalan and Married in Parliament Street P.S. for many hours, there is no reason to complain, really.

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