Book Review: Up Campus, Down Campus

With posters of ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, ‘Ganga Dhaba’ and ‘Red Flags’ the left dominant culture of Jawaharlal Lal Nehru University (JNU) could never have been a more better cover for a book that describes the experiences of a small town boy in the premier university of the country. This book written by Avijit Ghosh, a senior journalist with Times of India captures the fascinations and realities of a boy named Anirban from Bihar. The descriptions of scenes of 1980’s and Anirban’s confrontations with reality is really worth taking a look at.

The plot starts with the arrival of Anirban in the JNU campus with dreams of cracking civil services, but he faces an entirely different world in JNU. Then the book moves on to briefly explain some of the incidents of his time spent at JNU and the plot advances along lines of academics, love and explorations of politics. Be it the adventure of fighting elections, craze for free thinker’s poster artist or sexual encounters amidst political rivalries, every instance the book shreds pieces of inhibitions that Anirban carries in his experience as someone from a small town, piece by piece. His experience also helps the reader to take a glance at the political landscape of JNU during 1980s when the free thinkers (FT) and Student Federation of India (SFI) were the prime political parties active in the campus.

This firsthand account of viewing the most vibrant campus through the lens of boy who arrives to JNU as a stranger, then becomes a part of the culture is going to offer the reader an insider’s view of what JNU is all about. The book is written in simple language, where the writer does not use much jargons and rather prefers to build up the tempo with simple words describing the scene.

Anyone who wishes to be a part of JNU, nevertheless JNU has a long list of aspirants despite of its limited seats and wishes to take a look into what the campus life is all about should read this book.

Image Credits: http://www.speakingtiger.com/

Srivedant Kar is the associate editor of DU Beat. A journalism student at Cluster Innovation Centre, he spends more time thinking about tomorrow than today. Having interned with United Nations, he is an avid reader, fierce debater, poet and religious follower of politics who aspires to be a diplomat some day.

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