Published: 22nd July 2019
JNU students to create a digital archive of wall posters and graffiti
The university administration's recent move to remove all the posters and graffiti from the university's wall has created a lot of hue and cry
We dissent, we debate, we argue, we are JNU — Reads a poster which was stuck on the Jawaharlal Nehru University's wall by the student political organisation AISA. We do not know if the same wall bears this poster today. It could be crumbled up inside a trashcan anywhere on campus. Its remains may have already been burned to ash in an unknown corner of Delhi. Or maybe, it is still stuck on the wall, knowing its fate, silently waiting for the grim reaper's arrival.
The JNU's administration has been removing all the posters and graffiti from the university's walls as part of the Swacch JNU initiative, under 'The Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007'. This has created a lot of outcry among the faculty, alumni and students.
In this scenario, a few JNU students have started a Facebook page called JNU Wall Posters/Graffiti, to archive these posters. Students, faculty and alumni, who have access to high-resolution digital copies/ photographs of these posters can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload it on their google drive, from where others can download them.
"We're trying to reach out to maximum people now. We're planning to maintain a collection of these posters," says Apeksha Priyadarshini, who is one of the moderators of the page. She also talks about the reason why these posters are very dear to the students. "The poster culture is very unique to JNU. A lot of students from other universities come here to see these posters, be inspired and continue the tradition. Our idea is here is to create more awareness," she says. The page's admins and moderators also plan to conduct an exhibition of these posters sometime in the future.
This isn't the first time that someone is attempting to archive the posters in JNU. The School of Social Sciences already has an archive. But the students say that their dear posters have never faced this big a threat before. "In 2016, posters were removed from the administration block. In 2017, a poster about the Kashmir issue sparked up controversy and many wanted it to be removed. But that did not happen. I saw it on the wall two days back. But I do not know if it is there today. A large number of posters were removed over the weekend," says Apeksha.
Protesting the poster removal, the Students' Union has started a poster making competition. They'll also be sticking these posters on the walls on Tuesday. At the same time, the administration has reacted to this by issuing a circular, which said that the students who stick posters on the walls will be 'liable for action/penalty'.