Published: 28th August 2019
Why you must check out Facebook page JNU Bed Bugs for a snarky new spin on JNU politics
This three-month-old page has all the fodder on humourous political commentary, especially on issues that JNU is facing right now
If you're in JNU, you have to raise your voice. You have to dissent, no matter whoever you are. Even if you're a bed bug.
In case you haven't yet, you must check out the Facebook profile called JNU Bed Bugs, a spoof account which offers you a liberal amount of satire about the contemporary issues going on in and around the government-run university — all from the viewpoint of a snarky bed bug who's loitering around the campus.
For instance, picture this. When there was an outcry about how the administration decided to host the SPIC MACAY guests in the university hostels, they posted. "We have heard whispers that the JNU Admin is serving us fresh blood in the form of some beautiful SPIC MACAY guests. Our community is quite excited for the feast. We were getting bored of JNU students' intellectual blood anyway." Similarly, since then, every ongoing issue has been dealt with a whole lot of humour from the bugs' perspective.
Needless to say, the bugs are very popular.
Like everyone else, we were also curious to know more about the bed bugs' perspective on issues. More importantly, we wanted to know if the bugs would contest the upcoming JNUSU elections. Spoiler alert: The conversation wasn't very humorous, they had a lot of serious issues to raise. And no, they're not left-wingers who hate the ABVP and idolise the JNUSU.
Excerpts from our conversation with one of the admins of the profile:
Everyone is hooked on JNU Bed Bugs for their campus news fix. What led to the starting of this page?
The reason behind starting this page was a certain level of disenchantment that we as a small group had developed with the style of JNU Politics. JNUSU has suddenly become a launching pad for individual leaders after 2016. The individual's identity has become more important than the cause of political polemic and mobilisation on the basis of agendas. This has also yielded space for the coming up of identity politics in the campus.
The students have become clearly distinguished and detached from the activist figures, which signals the death of mass politics. We are dissatisfied with the response that JNUSU has developed to such moments of intrusion. There has been a failure in identifying causes and agendas, the issues of less priority have been given urgency just because it would help some individuals to emerge as leaders and images of resistance in the civil society. It is not wise for us to name the individuals but we all know who these famous faces are who have successfully transitioned from the space of Politics to the space of civil society. JNU needs to develop its independent politics outside of those few individuals.
So this page was an attempt to destabilise the inertia and wake people up from the slumber. And people have liked it, some have humorously asked us to contest the JNUSU elections because they see this page as a breath of fresh air in the stagnant politics of JNU.
Are there really so many bed bugs in JNU?
The name Bed Bugs is only metaphoric. We chose the name because bed bugs irritate and make sleeping uncomfortable, which is what we intend to do with the page.
How many admins are there? How have people reacted to the page?
We are just a small group of 4-5 active people who take collective positions and post things after discussing them. We were expecting a cold reaction but we have been overwhelmed with the responses and that has also raised our expectations about what can be achieved from this platform other than just occasional commentary.
We have received good responses from across the political spectrum. We have good reception from all the groups which are very encouraging for us because we did not want to fall into political categories, we wanted to hover outside like an alien, non-human force which influences everyone equally. And it appears to us that we have been successful in our purpose so far.
Why is humour a necessary element to tackle the issues that JNU is facing right now?
We have seen that the JNUSU and JNU activists have taken up some form of conservation tendency where they want to preserve the essence of JNU. I do not know why the left organisations would take such a position after commitment to progressive politics. They have stopped inventing new ways of communicating. The JNU Admin has been giving them distractions in the form of such hilarious actions and JNU politics has been falling for the trap. They have forgotten the art of political persuasion through polemic.
It is important to point out because we live in a post-truth age where fact and non-fact no longer remain dissimilar. At such a time, the left needs to realise that the answer to non-truth of post-truth is not "truth". It's time to develop alternative spaces of cultural communication. We no longer live in times when nukkad naatak or protest songs are appealing to the public. Why is the left sticking to dead forms of communication? They are living in some fantasy nostalgia where they are doing things to preserve a way of politics and do not understand that those ways were itself revolutionary for their times and were meant to serve a purpose. It is time to keep the innovation happening, to keep bringing new revolutionary ways of doing politics while remaining clear about the concrete agendas.