Tag Archives: Delhi Student Protests

Save Democracy, Release Umar, Anirban and SAR Geelani, Enact Rohith Act – JNU Marches again in Delhi

For the fourth time since the early February, students, faculty and their friends marched in Delhi. Once again, there were thousands of people, walking from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar. This time, there was focused attention on the demand for the release of the detained JNU students – Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, the DU Professor S.A.R Geelani, solidarity with JNU Prof. Nivedita Menon and the poet-scientist Gauhar Raza against their media trials, and a direct attack on the creeping fascism of the Modi regime. Here are some moments from this march.

(Thanks to Aniket Prantdarshi, Kavita Krishnan, Samim Asgor Ali and Anish Ahluwalia, ‘We are JNU’ for their photos and videos, which I have taken from their Facebook pages and Youtube Channels)

Continue reading Save Democracy, Release Umar, Anirban and SAR Geelani, Enact Rohith Act – JNU Marches again in Delhi

Long Nights of Revolution, Dancing, Music and Poetry are Ahead: Veer Vikram

[ Here are five joyous excerpts of recordings from a recent night on the JNU campus – after Kanhaiya Kumar came back –  recorded by a young person called Veer Vikram. We do not know who Veer Vikram is, but came across his Youtube Channel, and were struck by the raw freshness of the voices and of the footage. So we are sharing them with you, saluting the generosity of Veer Vikram, who recorded these and uploaded them on to Youtube for everyone to enjoy. May there be many long nights of joy, music, dancing and poetry – in campuses, factories and neighborhoods – everywhere  Think so what a beautiful sight a ‘vishaal jan jagaran’ (as distinct from a ‘bhagawati’ jagaran) can make in different corners of Delhi, and in every city and town where young people can no longer take the rubbish offered by TV channels and the Modi regime. The revolution will be danced, sang, dreamt, recorded, uploaded, downloaded, shared and enjoyed. No more words necessary ]

Wanted Students Surface in JNU: JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora and Umar Khalid Speaking to Students

[ In a dramatic new development, four students, Umar Khalid (ex-DSU), Anirban (ex-DSU), Rama Naga and Asutosh (AISA),  from amongst the list of  ‘students wanted by the police’ resurfaced on the night of Sunday, 21 February, and stayed with their fellow students till the early hours of Monday, February 22 on the JNU campus. Reportedly, they are still on campus, with their fellow students. One of them, Umar Khalid, spoke at a large gathering in front of the administration block, where all protesting students have been meeting. The gathering was also addressed by the Jawahar Lal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU) vice-president and All India Students Association (AISA) activist, Shehla Rashid Shora (against whom there are no charges made out by the police at the moment). The police, did not enter the campus at that time, given the very large number of students who had gathered in solidarity with their ‘wanted’ friends. The statements of the JNUSU vice president, Shehla Rashid Shora, and of Umar Khalid (who is one of students ‘wanted’ by the police), were recorded by a correspondent of the online portal, Catchnews.com during the early hours of Monday, 22nd February, as they addressed the gathered students. We are sharing those recordings, with thanks to Catchnews.com, with our transcript/translation of what was said by both Shehla and Umar. As is clear from both statements, the students are not in hiding, they are offering peaceful resistance, and the charges of sedition against them are utterly without foundation. Listen, and read, for yourselves.]

Continue reading Wanted Students Surface in JNU: JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora and Umar Khalid Speaking to Students

A letter to Umar Khalid: Pallavi Paul

Guest Post by Pallavi Paul

Dear Umar,

My name is Pallavi Paul and like you I am a PhD student at JNU.

I write this letter to apologize to you. What thoughts must be crossing your mind and that of your family, friends and comrades- as bloodthirsty, jingoist goons are on a shameless head hunt for you and your friends. I apologize to you for the poverty of imagination of a state that brands you as anti-national, while continues to trample on the rights and bodies of those living within its borders from Pulwama to New Delhi to Hyderabad. I apologize to you that you find yourself in a society where to echo the feelings of thousands of Kashmiris, to think of yourself as first devoted to the idea of justice before any arbitrary construct of the nation, to be moved by suffering, to critique capital punishment – is considered an act of terrorism. In a beautiful post on Facebook your sister lovingly called you a “communist paagal”. I apologize to you that this current oppressive climate is too cramped for your magical madness. The imagination of a beautiful world which has place not only for sangh certified, brahminically privileged, self- affirming ‘Indian-ness’, but for everyone who has found themselves left outside of this fold- the landless, the stateless, those without the protections of caste, class, religion, gender or nation.

What a wonderful name you chose for the event on the 9th of February – Country Without A Post Office. After, one of Agha Shahid Ali’s most haunting works, which references a time in the 1990s when no letters were delivered to Kashmir. There was no way for people to talk to or hear one another. You chose to think about the punishment accorded to Afsal Guru, along with this history. Your efforts to create a conversation, a debate on what it means to take a human life, is today being branded as evidence of your anti-nationalism. I apologize to you for the amnesia and the fragile ego of this country, which is unable to revisit its history without a shred of doubt or criticality. Where the only way to serve the cause of the country is by mouthing its praises and letting it rot in its own status quo and not by bringing to it newer questions, possibilities and challenges.

Many television channels like Times Now, News X, Zee have been ruthless and vicious in trying to establish links between you and terrorist organizations like the Jaish- e- Mohammad. I am sorry that you are living in a country where your name makes it so easy for this connection to be made. While comrade Kanhaiya is still in Police Custody fighting the preposterous charge of sedition, even as I write this to you- he has at the very minimum the assurance that he will not be linked to an Islamist Terrorist Organization. You, dear Umar do not even have that. Even that you are a self proclaimed atheist is not guarantee against prejudiced links being made between the religion you were born into and your political beliefs. That you made a choice outside of religion and the various forms of violence that its fundamentalist interpretations throw up, has been drowned in the noise being whipped up by vigilante, self proclaimed ‘nationalists’.

Like every storm this too will pass. The arrogance of this regime will be its undoing. Today there is a report in the Hindu, where the Central Government has denied receiving any report linking you to terrorist outfits. It is being widely shared on social media with the hashtag #weareumarkhalid. We know that your social media account has been hacked , but be assured that many voices are also rising in your support. I do not know when or whether you will be able to read this letter, but I hope that whenever we meet we will be able to celebrate freedom, justice and the spirit of critique. The seasons will change and the breeze will blow more merrily.

Take care of yourself dear comrade, the struggle is on.

Lal Salaam!

Pallavi Paul is a filmmaker and a PhD candidate at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Break Down the Barriers: Reading Robin T, Bhimrao and the Nation State in JNU

Jai Bhim, Joy Guru, Lal Salaam

Two of the greatest, crazies, most beautiful minds produced by the Indian subcontinent in the Twentieth Century would have been arrested by the police and attacked by the RSS, as ‘Anti-Nationals’, perhaps rightly so, had they been alive today.After all, they never stopped being young.


The Young Ambedkar
The Young Ambedkar

One of them was tall, you know him – the big guy, with  glasses, always dressed to the nines, (no itchy khadi or scratchy khaki would do for him) .

The Young Tagore

The other had long hair and a beard, and even became a contemporary artist in his old age.

The cops, or thugs-in-law of the RSS might even have said “saala JNU ka lagta hai” (looks like this ***** is from JNU).

So, here they are – Bhimrao Ambedkar (Baba Saheb), and Rabindranath Tagore.

Once again, Jai Bhim, Joy Guru. And pass the ammunition.

Continue reading Break Down the Barriers: Reading Robin T, Bhimrao and the Nation State in JNU

Statement of Solidarity with Student Protests in India : Students of the University of Chicago

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions of the BJP/RSS/ABVP/Delhi Police continuum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students, as well as an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with Student Protests in India : Students of the University of Chicago

Some thoughts on love in times of hate – from a JNU student : Pallavi Paul

Guest Post by Pallavi Paul

As I comb through the deluge of responses and opinions  that have been circulating on television, social media, newspapers and conversations  over the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, there is one particular fear that sticks out repeatedly. The fear  of JNU being a ‘transformative’ space. Where young and innocent minds are changed. The question that follows then is- changed into what? Even as we see ABVP students vociferously defending police action on all media platforms, the Sanskrit department continuing with classes in spite of the call for strike in support of Kanhaiya and faculty members like Hari Ram Mishra (CSS) issuing media statements against the student agitation currently underway- the simple formula that JNU transforms its students into ‘anti-national’ elements (going by the current interpretation of the term) begins to appear erroneous. In addition to having a culture of critical thinking, debate, questioning and radical left politics – JNU has also had an equally dynamic history of Hindutva and Brahaminical politics. For every protest on Afsal Guru there is a Guru Dakhshina Karyakram, for every Sitaram Yechury addressing students there is an Ashok Singhal (who visited the campus in 2002 even amidst intense protests). This fear then, if seen clearly begins to appear more and more abstract. It bases itself on a ‘sense’ of the campus- rather than its actual political fiber. Infact if one hears carefully it is the larger fear of things changing, things changing irreversibly.

Continue reading Some thoughts on love in times of hate – from a JNU student : Pallavi Paul