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It’s the late 1980s and Anirban Roy, fresh from the dustbowls of Inner India, arrives on an alternative planet called JNU. Here Marx rules the graffiti, the pamphlets and the suggested reading list. But Freud, at least his sex thing, rules most minds. Anirban has a fixed goal: get through the ‘civil services’. Every day he hurries through his ablutions, eats a slippery fried egg with a half-burnt toast, quickly scans The Hindu (the preferred newspaper of long-term civil services aspirants), stuffs a notebook into his jhola and sets out to attend his classes. He certainly harbours no lofty Leftist ideals nor any grand political ambitions. But JNU has other plans for him—student elections and heartbreak.
Up Campus, Down Campus is an exuberant celebration of JNU’s uniqueness. With refreshing honesty and humour, Avijit Ghosh maps the aspirations, raging hormones and moral conflicts of small-town boys like Anirban, who arrive in city campuses every year eager to build a life and, perhaps, also find love.