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Swami Vivekananda statue: Admin, students' union should concede space for each other


New Delhi, Dec 5: The funding for the statue of Swami Vivekananda has become the latest flashpoint between JNU student union, faculty and the administration.

Swami Vivekananda

In fact, The Executive Council had given the approval for it last year in July, following which a committee was formed. The statue will be towards the right side of the administration block, opposite the statue of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

But the recent announcement by the JNU's registrar Pramod Kumar has contained the dissent briefly. When the student union asked about the source of funding for the statue, the Registrar told PTI news agency that a former student of Jawaharlal Nehru University is "voluntarily managing" the expenses involved in the installation of a Swami Vivekananda statue in the campus in New Delhi. However, the identity of the JNU alumnus has not been disclosed.

The union asked when the varsity does not have money for library funds and for disbursal of the Merit-cum-Mean Scholarship to students and on the other hand, it is busy in constructing statues. The students have alleged that the administration has slashed funds for the library from Rs 8 crores to Rs 1.7 crores.

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The necessity of the statue on the campus will remain a moot point for a long time until both groups concede space for each other's ideological belief.

Dr. Anshuman Behera is an Assistant Professor at NIAS, "There is a commonality between the JNU administration believed to be backed by the BJP and the student wing. Everybody thinks that they are the real version of JNU. The whole idea of JNU is much more than that. If there can be Jawaharlal statue, there can be Vivekananda statue as well. If there can be a poster on Marx, there can be a poster on Vivekananda also. Both the forces are not engaging in a debate due to their rigidity."

"The idea that multiple perspectives can co-exist is negated by both administration and student union as well. The plurality of JNU campus is the prime victim, " Dr. Behera.

While justifying the proposed statue, the Registrar said that JNU will be celebrating the 'singular contribution of Swami Vivekananda to India's intellectual and philosophical heritage' by installing a statue of this great son of India.

But the 'celebration of heritage' needs treasure of books and literature on the premier educational institution, not a tall and larger than life statue. More than statue, deliberation and discussion attract thinking minds on educational campus.

Swamy Vivekananda himself despised too much faith in personality rather he preached love for 'Guru'. In The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (Volume 7), Vivekananda says, " The real Guru is the one through whom we have our spiritual descent. He is the channel through which the spiritual current flows to us, the link which joins us to the whole spiritual world. Too much faith in personality has a tendency to produce weakness and idolatry, but intense love for the Guru makes rapid growth possible, he connects us with the internal Guru. Adore your Guru if there be real truth in him; that Guru-bhakti (devotion to the teacher) will quickly lead you to the highest."

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