The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) announced the rankings on Thursday. The annual rankings are usually announced in April but had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. JNU, which has been the spot of attacks by the right-wing ecosystem has retained its spot as the second best university for the fourth consecutive year in the central government’s ranking. Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) which was the epicenter of anti-CAA protests in the national capital and was in throes of protests has risen two places to rank 10th. It has made to the top ten for the first time.
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Both the universities have been very controversial and consistently labelled “anti-national” for their views. Since 2016 when slogans deemed “anti-national” had been raised during an event on campus, JNU has been looked down by everyone scowling. It has always been the target of the right wing, whether it’s the speeches or the way the government tries to stop the protests.
Both JNU and Jamia seemed to have been targeted for political reasons. “But that cannot take away the good work done by both institutions,”
–Neshat Quaiser, retired Jamia professor
The JNU witnessed protests over a hostel fee hike for over two months with the students boycotting classes and exams. Armed people entered the university and attacked students in hostels before leaving without any resistance from police. Nobody has been arrested yet five months after the incident. As for Jamia, the NDA government has decided not to support its minority status, which enables it to admit up to 50 per cent students from among Muslims. In December 2019, Jamia students were brutally assaulted by the police who entered the campus to arrest a few alleged trouble-makers.
The students have been the sufferers and are defamed in every way, till they came out with flying colours. Neshat Quaiser, a retired Jamia professor, said both JNU and Jamia seemed to have been targeted for political reasons. “But that cannot take away the good work done by both institutions,” Quaiser said.
The NIRF accords rankings on the basis of criteria such as teaching, learning, resources, research, professional practices and graduate outcomes. Therefore, it is evident that even though they have been the punching-bag of the right wing ecosystem, they have served their purpose of studying and working diligently to prove their point.
JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh tweeted, saying, “JNU bags 2nd rank again! From being #AntiNational to #ShutDownJNU we stood strong against all our haters. JNU Study and Struggle Long Live #ProudJNUite.
For sure, students and professors of JNU and Jamia have let their work and action speak. They always raise their voice against the tyranny of the government and this is what democracy is all about.