Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | May 7, 2012

JNU – I

I did not like my two years spent in JNU that much for various reasons (primarily due to Delhi weather and my food habits). However, I cannot dispute the fact that JNU is one of the most vibrant campuses anywhere in the world. What did I not see in JNU? Ugly fights nearly leading to murder, vehicles burning in protests, armed policemen arresting harmless students, hunger strikes, torchlight processions, elections, engaging debates, politicians, ex-film stars, football matches, water crisis, are only some of them. I am sure two years of JNU can fill a relatively decent sized book. For the time being, let it be an occasional series as and when I remember some of the incidents.

As with any other residential universities, the senior students expected to be treated as “God” in JNU. Due to a regular influx of students from Calcutta, JNU had a fair share of students from Calcutta, whom we knew from our time spent in graduation. Whenever these seniors visited Calcutta, they used to tell us lot of stories about their life in the university. Those stories of course painted a heavenly picture of JNU where studies just appeared an optional extra. I know not ideal when I write this, but at that age unfortunately that is what appealed to most of us. So what exactly did they tell us about?

Insofar as studies (or related to studies) are concerned: – open book tests, students deciding their own exam schedules and routines, summer jobs, internet (a big thing in those days of 1999 India), computer packages and yes recommendation to go to the US for higher studies. The list of activities that are not remotely related to studies was much longer and included pretty objectionable attractions.

However, the fun in most of them was myths as one would find out only after reaching JNU. Here are a few examples why:

We literally forced our Mathematical Economics professor to give us our first open book test in our first semester of the first year. He warned us that it is not going to be easy as we may be thinking. We did not budge and it turned out to be a disaster for most of us. It was my last open book test, if I remember correctly.

Summer Job was a graded optional course in JNU. It was actually an internship preferably in a research organisation and one had to do that during the summer vacation (peak summer in Delhi). Trust me, not an easy thing when you see most of your friends going home for the vacations, leaving you behind. Thankfully, I did my summer job in Calcutta.

Internet was a farfetched dream in those days. I know of students who even created duplicate keys (illegally) to go the computer room just to check emails (and other web sites) at night. Those students even took mosquito repellents and a pillow in case they don’t feel like coming back to their hostel rooms after their long (and illegal) browsing sessions.

Computer packages were not easy to learn and it was really serious econometrician stuff.

Students deciding their own exam schedules and routines did not guarantee pass marks. In fact, it led to numerous fights between the diligent students and lazy ones.

Recommendation to go to the US for higher studies – ultimately not many chose this option.

A few for now, I will come back for a few hostel room related anecdotes.

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Responses

  1. Hello Tanmoy, I was waiting for more, but it’s been three weeks now. Have you lost the thread?


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