Why JNU does not leave you long after you leave JNU
Abhirami Sriram | February 29, 2016
I first entered JNU in July 1997, weeks before India celebrated its fiftieth year of azaadi. Like most freshers, I was overawed by JNU’s sylvan sprawl, its honeycomb of red-brick buildings, its scruffy, jargon-spouting, jhola-toting students. A thousand miles away from home and on my own for the first time, every cliché I had ever heard about freedom suddenly rang true.
The curriculum was à la carte; the classrooms laidback; the exams, often open-book affairs. There was endless chai pe charcha at canteens by day and dhabas by night; even hostels had curfews only in name. There were no mobile phones, and the internet access was still a distant dream; instead, there were pamphlets and protest marches, public lectures and post-dinner debates. Every square inch of wall, from the mess to the canteen to the library, was blitzkrieged by posters in black and white and red that urged you to “Study and Struggle!” No wonder JNU seemed less a university than a universe unto itself.
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