Jatin Goraya, the vice president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in the JNU, has resigned. Goraya said he was "tired" of the ABVP\'s stand on the attacks on Dalits. He\'s the third member of the BJP\'s student wing in the JNU to have quit this year.
In his resignation letter, Goraya denounced the ABVP as a "casteist, farcical and patriarchal organisation".
Reacting to this, the ABVP\'s JNU unit president Alok Singh claimed that Goraya had quit several months ago, but he was talking about it now to "divert attention from rape charges" levelled against former AISA chief Anmol Ratan.
Catch caught up with Jatin Goraya to ask about his resignation and what really prompted him to leave the ABVP. Excerpts from the conversation:
Questions are being raised over the timing of your resignation. You have cited Rohith Vemula's suicide and the atrocities being committed by cow vigilantes on Dalits and the minorities as reasons. But you did not resign when these incidents occurred?
I was disturbed by all these happenings and raised the issues in our meetings. I tried to have pamphlets and statements issued condemning these incidents. I though leaving the organisation should not be my sole recourse. I was a member of the ABVP for three years and wanted it to come out clean on issues such as the 9 February incident in the JNU, Rohith Vemula's suicide and the Dadri lynching. I raised these issues on every platform within the organisation. I was trying to get at least a pamphlet, a poster or statement issued by the ABVP against these episodes. But I was unsuccessful.
My last protest against my organisation's policies was when some of us burned copies of Manusmriti to protest Rohith Vemula's suicide. It became difficult to remain active in the ABVP after that.
What was the reaction of your colleagues in the ABVP to the burning of Manusmriti?
Nobody said anything to my face, but many "unofficial" comments were made. There was no question of getting their support. I had demanded that the organisation publicly denounce the scripture, and Brahmanism in general. I was silenced by saying that the service of the nation was the main agenda of the ABVP, and that it was not the organisation's job to criticise Manusmriti or caste hierarchy.
Why were you associated with the ABVP in the first place?
That's a good question. See, most newcomers to the JNU are more attracted to the ABVP as compared to other student groups as it talks about the nation. Such talk entices new students just like a three-hour patriotic movie does. But a not-so-ideal and mundane world presents itself soon as you come out of the theatre.
I was a naïve youngster when I joined the ABVP. I liked its philosophy in the beginning. But as I studied more and questioned its ideology, I found this organisation to be casteist, anti-Dalit, anti-women, and one that was running from engaging with the real issues. All new members are terrorised about the leftist organisations to the extent they remain like frogs in the well for many years.
What do they teach about the leftist groups?
Outrageous things like "keep a distance from female activists of the leftist organisations". The new members are told that these girls could spoil their career and drag them to the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment.
The members are told that the female activists of leftist groups take liquor and, therefore, can't be trusted. Furthermore, the new activists are told that mingling with the leftist student leaders would mean the Intelligence Bureau would notice them, and then they can forget about getting a government job. In short, the activists are made to believe that the leftist organisations are the biggest enemies of the nation.
But the ABVP has many women members on the campus?
Hardly 25-30 ABVP members are active on the JNU campus. Of them, only two or three are girls. ABVP members tend to interfere in the personal lives of girl members. This is why most girls stay away from the organisation.
Are you going to join any leftist organisation?
I have no such plans. But I will work in the upcoming election to uproot the ABVP from the campus. I don't need the support of any other organisation for this purpose. I and some other former ABVP members will work on our level. We will support the cause of the Dalits and the deprived, women and minorities.