Did students in JNU complain about “Pro Hamas” Mahabali on Onam poster?  

The JNU administration alleged that a few students complained about King Mahabali draped in the colours of the Palestinian flag; however, the JNUSU says that nothing of that sort happened 
Pic Credit: EdexLive
Pic Credit: EdexLive

Officials of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said today, Friday, November 10 that the JNU administration had received a complaint from several students regarding an Onam banner that allegedly showed King Mahabali draped in the colours of the Palestinian flag.

The complainants alleged that this depiction hurt their religious sentiments.

"Look at the political manipulation of King Mahabali who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu to support Hamas. A group of students belonging to Kerala have complained as it hurt their feelings," JNU Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, told PTI.

She further added that students have raised objections to the extended festivities of Onam, which was already celebrated in August and suggested that the upcoming festival of Diwali could have been celebrated instead.

Contradicting her, President of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) Aishe Ghosh claimed that there has been no such complaint from the students. She further alleged that the administration is lying because of the criticism it received from several politicians for cancelling the Onam celebrations at the university's Convention Centre.

She added that the Onam poster does not specifically show solidarity with Palestine and stands for several other issues happening around the world.

"No complaint has been made by the students. The administration is lying since the issue has been criticised widely in Southern India," she said.

The administration had previously allowed the holding of various religious festivals at the Convention Centre, but withheld the permission for Onam celebrations at the venue, Ghosh further says.

"JNUSU had opposed the Garbh Sanskar programme organised at the Convention Centre by an organisation affiliated to the RSS which aimed at imparting cultural and patriotic values to infants while still in the womb. Did she cancel these events?" she asked.

The JNU administration, meanwhile, claimed on Thursday, November 9 that the "politically manipulated" poster was later modified to read "food festival for Onam" and that no request for permission to host an Onam food festival had been received by the vice-chancellor.

In response to this, however, Ghosh shared an acknowledgement receipt of the booking on X (formerly Twitter).

JNU's official X handle, responding to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's post over the issue, said, "Half-truths need to be verified and condemned not glorified.” 

Tharoor had reacted to the news of an alleged ban on Onam celebrations on the campus.

"If JNU has blocked Onam celebrations by Keralite students on the campus, as some reports allege, that is a hugely retrograde step. JNU should be encouraging such celebrations, not banning them. They showcase the best of our culture rather than the bigotry and communal prejudice that masquerades as Bharatiyata these days," he wrote.

R Bindu, Kerala Minister for Higher Education also condemned the alleged ban, calling it an “RSS agenda”.

"It is most unfortunate to learn that the university authorities have imposed a ban on the Onam celebration by the Kerala students on the campus which has been an annual affair. This is nothing but a Sangh Parivar agenda against Kerala,” she said.

Students of JNU alleged on Wednesday, November 8 that the booking for Onam celebrations was cancelled by the administration citing "religiosity”.

Onam is a harvest festival commemorating the demon King Mahabali and the conclusion of the monsoon season. People say that on this day of Thiruvonam, Lord Mahavishnu, in his fifth avatar as Vamana, arrived in King Mahabali's kingdom and banished him to the netherworld.

Related Stories

No stories found.