Decrying the new trends of campus "turbulence", Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday said the present happenings in the Jawharlal Nehru University were "really disturbing" which was bringing a bad name to the university and hurting the country.
"Nowadays, we are witnessing new trends in campus turbulence that are relatively new. To begin with, the issues that have created disturbances in campuses appear to be increasingly detached from the concerns of the wider society," he said.
Referring to prolonged agitation over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as head the Film and Television Institute of India, the beef festival in Hyderabad or the never-ending battles involving the students and administration of Jadavpur University in Kolkata, he said the themes of student unrest very rarely find reflection outside the campus.
"In short, in the centres of unrest, the gulf between town and gown is becoming extremely sharp. What is happening in JNU is really disturbing, may be a few handful are doing it, but it’s bringing bad name to the university and hurting the country," Naidu said.
In his convocation address at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHNS) here, he, however, noted that what was reassuring was that most educational institutions were remarkably disinterested in the issues that preoccupy the minds of student activists.
He said, "In the vocabulary of intellectualism, "careerism" is a pejorative term because it suggests self-centeredness and a desire for personal advancement."
It indicated a heartening sense of focus and a desire to use the years spent in the campus as a stepping-stone to a more fruitful working life, he said.
"It merely indicates that India is inching forward to becoming more and more an opportunity society and this, in turn, is focusing the mind of students." He said the expansion of private universities with strong career-centric focus has helped the process which has also sent out strong signals to policymakers that, along with spread, education in India must also focus purposefully on quality.
"Alas, this is not on the agenda of activists who are still travelling down the road of ideological and identity politics," the Minister added.