Guest Post by Shehla Rashid
[ Between the 9th and 1oth day of the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed from the JNU campus, the JNU Vice Chancellor, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar decided to salvage his reputation on twitter, even as he squandered it on the grounds of the campus of the university he presides over. And so he let forth a volley of tweets, while sitting inside his office and his residence, even as he refused to meet or listen to the JNU students who have grown increasingly concerned and anxious at the university administrations callous laxity about the fate of Najeeb Ahmed, the missing students.
While students marched down the campus, forming a human chain that culminated at the gates of the VC’s residence near the university’s east gate, Mamidala90 (the handle with which the VC distinguishes himself in twitsville) began getting extremely active. While the students were peacefully assembled at the gates of the VC’s residence, very much not in ‘gherao’ or ‘blockade’ mode, Mamidala90 whined about being ‘blockaded’.
Not to be outdone, the JNU students decided that they would conduct a twitter-gherao of Mamidala90 even as they declared that they were not in fact in ‘gherao’ on the ground. Shehla Rashid, a popular student activist in JNU led the charge, responding, sometimes at the rate of two sharp tweets to each one of Mamidala90’s misshapen volleys. We are offering Kafila readers a choice selection of Shehla Rashid’s responses to the backhand serves of Mamidala90.m
So here goes, the short history of a gherao that wasn’t (on the ground) and was (in the air) – in a dozen tweets from Shehla Rashid. Enjoy, and spread the word – ‘On the one hand there is this VC who spends more time on twitter than he does caring for the students under his charge. On the other hand, Najeeb Ahmed is still missing, the ABVP thugs who assailed him are still at large, basking in the protective glow of the VC’s concern and the university administration’s care. Najeeb Ahmed must come back home to JNU safe and sound. But is it time for us (and by us we don’t just mean JNU students) to start asking whether this VC should stay, or go?’ – Kafila Admin. ]
Shehla Rashid is a student activist and PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Mamidala90 functions as the current vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University when he gets time to put in a few hours in the middle tweeting his pain.