Tag Archives: jnusu

Remembering Chandu, Friend and Comrade: Kavita Krishnan

Chandrashekhar (Comrade Chandu)

Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan

It’s been twenty years since the assassin’s bullets took Chandu away from us, at 4 pm on 31 March 1997.

I still recall my sheer disbelief when a phone call from my party office at my hostel that evening informed me ‘Chandu has been killed.’ Chandrashekhar as well as youth leader Shyam Narayan Yadav had been shot dead while addressing a street corner meeting in Siwan – ironically at a Chowk named after JP – Jaiprakash Narayan, icon of the movement for democracy against the Emergency. A rickshaw puller Bhuteli Mian also fell to a stray bullet fired by the assassins – all known to be henchmen of the RJD MP and mafia don Mohd. Shahabuddin.

In the spring of 1997, as JNU began to burst into the riotous colours of amaltas and bougainvillea, Chandu bid us goodbye. He had served two terms as JNUSU President (I was Joint Secretary during his second stint) and had decided to return to his hometown Siwan, as a whole-time activist of the CPI(ML) Liberation. He had made the decision to be a whole-time activist a long time ago. Chandu’s friends know that for him, the decision to be an activist rather than pursue a salaried career was no ‘sacrifice.’ It was a decision to do what he loved doing and felt he owed to society.

Continue reading Remembering Chandu, Friend and Comrade: Kavita Krishnan

2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid.

Video and Photo Inputs from Naushad MK, Samim Asgor Ali and Amit Kumar

[ This post was written shortly after JNU students gathered in front of Vasant Vihar Police Station to articulate their concern and anger at the lax attitude taken so far by the Delhi Police and other concerned authorities in relation to the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed almost two weeks ago. In this text, (originally uploaded as a note on Facebook and then sent to us to be posted at Kafila) Shehla Rashid, thinks aloud about what has happened so far and looks ahead at the possible way forward for the students of JNU and their supporters to focus on making sure that Najeeb Ahmed, wherever he is, returns safe and sound to the JNU campus. We hope that it will be widely read, and discussed to evolve strategies for the evolving future of the campaign to give justice to Najeeb. Kafila]

Shehla Rashid and Others Being Confronted by Delhi Police at the Vasant Vihar Chakka Jam on Oc. 26, 2016


First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to all the students who joined the Chakka Jam at Vasant Vihar police station, where the ACP refused to even accept the paper with our demands and, instead, ordered a lathi-charge on us. Students marched as one and stayed together till the end, despite all differences, for one goal- justice for Najeeb, and his safe return to campus life. I salute this spirit of JNU students. Having said that, I must say that we need to do more. Students need to come out in even greater numbers, as the attack on us is of immense magnitude.

Continue reading 2 Weeks No #JusticeForNajeeb – A Few Thoughts on Yesterday’s March and the Way Forward: Shehla Rashid

Who will take responsibility if the threat to “storm JNU” and kill students is carried out?

One Amit Jani has received considerable media attention with his threats to JNU students, promising a ‘shoot-out’ if JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, do not meet the ‘deadline’ he has given for them to leave campus.
Almost immediately as this came to the attention of the JNU community, students and teachers took steps to bring this threat to the attention of Facebook, where the threat was initially posted; of Delhi Police and of JNU Administration.
These steps are listed below, so that later, nobody should be able to say We Did Not Know. The media, which covers every petty letter written to the police by ABVP with great alacrity, has not seen fit to recognize the steps being taken by an increasingly anxious JNU community over clear and specific threats to the life of our students, and indeed to everyone on JNU campus.
1. JNUSU wrote to the VC, bringing this time-bound threat to his attention. JNUSU also filed a complaint at the Vasant Kunj North Police Station to take appropriate action against those indulging in intimidation and threat to students. Students also met the SHO personally and requested him to take the issue seriously and file an FIR. A Complaint has also been sent to Commissioner of Police by JNUSU, with a copy of the complaint to LG and CM.
There has been no response from the police so far.

JNU Students in Solidarity with Students in Hyderabad

Students across universities in India are standing together against the extraordinary assaults unleashed on them by the Modi regime. Students in Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi have been having regular meetings, ever since 22nd March on the situation in Hyderabad. There have also been marches in Kolkata and meetings in TISS, Mumbai. Reports are just coming in of a police lathi (cane) charge on left youth and student activists in Mumbai. Again, the mainstream media is NOT reporting the fact that young people are being attacked and that seventeen of them have detained by the police in Mumbai for coming out in support of the students in Hyderabad. Kafila welcomes accounts from the participants of these gatherings, so that the students in Hyderabad get to know that they are not alone.

Profile Picture graphic of the 'Stand With JNU' Facebook Page that inserts the JNU Logo on to the UoH (University of Hyderabad) Acronym.
Profile Picture graphic of the ‘Stand With JNU’ Facebook Page that inserts the JNU Logo on to the UoH (University of Hyderabad) Acronym.

Some JNU students also took out a  protest march to the Ministry of Human Resources Development to register their strong protest against the police action in Hyderabad University on the 23rd of March. A big march is being planned in Delhi soon, which will have participation of many student organizations cutting across different universities in Delhi.

Call from BAPSA-JNU for solidarity march with Hyderabad Students on the 'Stand with JNU' Facebook Page
Call from BAPSA and JNUSU for solidarity march with Hyderabad Students on the ‘Stand with JNU’ Facebook Page

One effect of the media blackout on the Hyderabad situation is a silencing of the different voices of support and solidarity for the Hyderabad students from their comrades in Delhi, especially from JNU and other places. This is a tactic of the regime to make students in Hyderabad think that their struggle is not being supported and echoed in other places, such as in JNU, and in Delhi generally.

This is totally untrue. This is moment for even greater co-ordination and solidarity. Do not let yourself be distracted by those who want to divide the student movement at this critical juncture.

Watch the videos below, they have statements by Rama Naga, General Secretary of JNUSU, Anirban Bhattacharya (who was recently released from police custody together with Umar Khalid) and Shehla Rashid, vice president of JNUSU.

Thanks to the ‘We are JNU’ youtube channel and the ‘Stand with JNU’ Facebook page for the videos.

‘Feeling Seditious’: March on Parliament to #StandwithJNU

For the third time within a span of two weeks since the middle of February, thousands of people came out on the streets of Delhi to express their solidarity with the detained students of JNU (Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban) and to voice their anger with the venal Modi regime.

Protest demonstrations (at least in northern India) tend to have something of the monotonous in them, the same cadence, the same rhythm and the same wailing, complaining tone. They tend to have an air of events staged by the defeated, for the defeated. But if we take the last three big protests in the city, and the many gatherings in JNU in the last two weeks or so,  as any indicator of what the pulse of our time is, we will have to agree that there has been a qualitative transformation in the language, vocabulary and  affect of protests. This afternoon, like the afternoon of the 18th (the first big JNU solidarity march), and of the 23rd of February (the Justice for Rohith Vemula March), was as much about the joy of togetherness and friendship as it was about rage and anger.

Continue reading ‘Feeling Seditious’: March on Parliament to #StandwithJNU

JNUSU Statement of Thanks for Global Support and Call for International Day of Protest and Action in Solidarity with Students in India on 2nd March 2016 : Shehla & Rama Naga (JNUSU)

Guest Post by Shehla (Vice-President, JNUSU) and Rama Naga (General Secretary, JNUSU)

To all Friends (in Delhi, India and the World) who have Supported the Struggle of JNU students and students elsewhere in India  in the past few weeks.

Thank you for your message of solidarity. In this hour of unprecedented attack on us, what has been a source of great strength are messages like these, which we have pasted all over the Administration Building. We have not been able to respond to each message because of being extremely overburdened. However, we are writing back today, in order to update you regarding the status of the struggle, and with a call to action on the 2nd of March, 2016 in your city.

Call for Global Day of Protest and March to Parliament for JNU - March 2nd, 2016
Call for Global Day of Protest and March to Parliament for JNU – March 2nd, 2016

Continue reading JNUSU Statement of Thanks for Global Support and Call for International Day of Protest and Action in Solidarity with Students in India on 2nd March 2016 : Shehla & Rama Naga (JNUSU)

स्मृति ईरानी को एक जे-एन-यू के छात्र की चिट्ठि: अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

Guest Post by Anant Prakash Narayan

सेवा में,

श्रीमती स्मृति ईरानी जी

“राष्ट्रभक्त” मानव संसाधन विकास मंत्री,

भारत सरकार

संसद में दिए गए आपके भाषण को सुना. इससे पहले की मै अपनी बात रखूँ , यह स्पष्ट कर दूं की यह पत्र किसी “बच्चे” का किसी “ममतामयी” मंत्री के नाम नहीं है बल्कि यह पत्र एक खास विचारधारा की राजनीति करने वाले व्यक्ति का पत्र दूसरे राजनैतिक व्यक्ति को है. सबसे पहले मै यह स्पष्ट कर दूं कि मै किसी भी व्यक्ति की योग्यता का आकलन उसकी शैक्षणिक योग्यता के आधार पर नहीं करता हूँ बल्कि साफ़ साफ़ कहूं तो मै “योग्यता”(मेरिट) के पूरे कांसेप्ट को खारिज करता हूँ.

मानव संसाधन मंत्रालय का पद भार लेने के साथ ही यह अपेक्षा की जाती है कि आप इस देश के केंद्रीय विश्वविद्यालयों में उनकी ऑटोनोमी का सम्मान करते हुए उसके लिए उत्तरदायी होंगी. रोहित वेमुला के मामले में आपने क्या किया यह सबके सामने है कि किस तरह से वहाँ के प्रशासन पर आपने दबाव डाला जिसका नतीजा रोहित के institutional मर्डर के रूप में हमारे सामने आया. लेकिन मै इन सारी चीजो पर अभी बात नही करना चाहता. आप बार बार अपनी औरत होने की पहचान (आइडेंटिटी) को assert करतीं हैं और इसको करना भी चाहिए क्यूंकि नारी जाति उन ढेर सारे हाशिये पर किए गए लोगों में एक है जिनको सदियों से शोषित किया गया है. मै आपसे यह पूछना चाहता हूँ कि एक दलित स्त्री जो कि हर तकलीफ उठाते हुए अकेले अपने दम पर जब अपने बेटे बेटियों को इस समाज में एक सम्मानपूर्ण जगह देने के लिए संघर्ष कर रही थी तब एक नारी होने के कारण आप की क्या जिम्मेदारी बनती थी ? क्या आपको उस महिला के जज्बे को सलाम करते हुए उसकी बहादुरी के आगे सर झुकाते हुए उसके साथ नहीं खड़ा होना चाहिए था? हाँ, मै रोहित की माँ के बारे में बात कर रहा हूँ. जो महिला इस ब्रहामणवादी व पितृसत्तात्मक समाज से लड़ी जा रही थी, अपने बच्चों को अपने पहचान से जोड़ रही थी, उस महिला को आप व आपकी सरकार उसके पति की पहचान से क्यूँ जोड़ रहे थे? आपको भी अच्छा लगता होगा की आपकी अपनी एक स्वतंत्र पहचान है. लेकिन यह अधिकार आप उस महिला से क्यूँ छीन  रहीं थीं? क्या आप भी पितृसत्तात्मक व ब्रहामणवादी समाज के पक्ष में खड़ी होती हैं? अपना पूरा नाम बताते हुए अपनी जाति के बारे में आपने सवाल पूछा और आपका भाषण खत्म होने के पहले ही लोगों ने आपकी जाति निकाल दी. मै आपकी जाति के बारे में कोई दिलचस्पी नहीं रखता हूँ और मै यह बिलकुल नहीं मानता हूँ की अगर आप उच्च जाति के होते हैं तो आप जातिवादी ही होंगे लेकिन आपके विभाग/मंत्रालय के तरफ से जो चिट्ठियाँ लिखी गई उसमे रोहित और उसके साथियों को जातिवादी /caste-ist बताया. मैडम क्या आप caste-ism और  caste assertion का अन्तर समझती हैं? मै समझता हूँ की आप ये अन्तर भली – भाँति समझती हैं क्यूंकि आर एस एस जो आपकी सरकार और मंत्रालय को चलाता है, वह वर्ण व्यवस्था के नाम पर जाति व्यस्वस्था को भारतीय समाज की आत्मा समझता है और आर-एस-एस के एजेंडे को लागू करवाने की राजनैतिक दृढ़ता हमने समय समय पर आप में देखी हैं.

Continue reading स्मृति ईरानी को एक जे-एन-यू के छात्र की चिट्ठि: अनन्त प्रकाश नारायण

Manipur Solidarity Statement for JNU

Guest Post by a group of Concerned Individuals from Manipur

We, the undersigned, are appalled by the conduct of the present regime against Jawaharlal Nehru University where students are being hunted down for debating on an issue which is also close to the heart of Manipur.

There is critical need for deepening dialogue on the very idea of India so that many nations and nationalities have space for their expressions rather than stifling them within a very narrow definition of India. There are very few institutions in India where such a debate can take place, and a healthy debate will allow India to be critical of itself ensuring a more vibrant multicultural and multi-national India.

We strongly believe that universities must be non-militarized spaces where students and teachers are able to freely engage on topics such as the one that took place in JNU. They must not be suppressed ideologically and militarily in the name of national security. Back here, there is military occupation in the heart of Manipur University. Yes, in the name of security. And it is time the military completely withdraws away from the sites of learning and knowledge.

Continue reading Manipur Solidarity Statement for JNU

From Concerned Citizens of Gujarat to the President of India on JNU Incidents

Guest Post by Concerned Citizens of Gujarat

MEMORANDUM  To  Shri Pranab Mukherji, The President of India,New Delhi, India


We the citizens of Gujarat would like to share our deep concern about the series of happenings from 9th of February to 18th of February.

While dissociating ourselves from anti India pro Pakistan slogans in JNU campus, we are horrified to watch the unprecedented authoritarian arm twisting punitive measures like witch hunt in the campus and slapping Sedition Charge on President of JNU Students Union, Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar by the BJP led NDA Govt at Centre as per the direction of Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh and Human resources Minister Smt. Smriti Irani.

The police interference in JNU Campus, slapping the Sedition Charge on the President of JNU students Union Mr. Kanhaiya is condemnable.

The chain of incidents of hooliganism, like repeated attack on Kanhaiya Kumar in Patiala house court, attack on teachers and students, journalists, hooting the Supreme Court appointed five members panel as anti-National by the forces in the presence of police appeared to be backed by the ruling party BJP and its’ outfits expose the absence of safety of the citizens even in the court premises. This open terrorizing tactics has been prompted by the Govt. in power, police and hoodlums to send a loud message to scuttle the freedom of expression endanger democracy and democratic institutions in our country.

Defying the Supreme Court’s order tantamounting to contempt, the repeated attacks on Kanhaiya Kumar and journalists is nothing but the fascist onslaught to muzzle the voices of dissent.   Casting anyone anti- BJP and anti-Govt as anti- national and any one pro BJP as patriots is to say the least, quite ridiculous.

The attackers like BJP MLA O.P Sharma, numbers of so- called black coat worn advocates like Mr.Vikram Chauhan are moving freely and side by side the lies are fabricated to mislead the people in the name of Nationalism and patriotism.

There are worldwide condemnation including in our country against of arrests, sedition charge, attacks on journalists, academician but all these have no effect on the attitude of the Govt. and the authority.

We the citizens endorse the voices raised by concerned citizens across the country and world.

Under this circumstances we would like to reiterate that Universities are the space for open debates and polemics and we request your intervention to save the democracy, autonomy of the universities, safeguard the freedom of expression and provide security to all citizens.

 We demand

  • Release of Kanhaiya Kumar
  • Repeal of sedition charge
  • Stop police interference in universities
  • The security of all citizens, media persons be ensured
  • Arrest the BJP MLA and  lawyers like Vikram Chauhan and other identified persons responsible for attacks
  • Institute impartial inquiry into the whole affair.

Continue reading From Concerned Citizens of Gujarat to the President of India on JNU Incidents

The Right to Reason and Imagine: Architects in Solidarity with the JNU Community

Guest Post by Architects from all over India and elsewhere

To: The JNU Teachers Association, JNU Students Union

CC: Vice Chancellor, JNU

We, the undersigned, are writing this in utmost shock and despair regarding the recent events and developments at your campus. We want to extend our full support to the JNU teachers association and the democratically elected JNU Student Union. We believe there is a difference between the nation, the state and the government of the day, and fully support your constitutional right to air your positions, as different or diverse as they may be, without illegal interference from any particular ruling ideology, party or state machinery.

As those engaged in architecture, we believe that imagination and reason are the highest of human faculties. This gift is what we constantly cultivate and rely on – in academia and in practice – when we question what exists, however natural, fixed and irreplaceable it may seem, and fearlessly posit alternatives. Indeed, there is little difference for us between possessing a moral imagination and being able to imagine such alternate worlds and other ways of being.

The inability therefore to envision life in another’s shoes, to disagree and to counter ideas with more aesthetic or eloquent ones without resorting to character assassination, violence and charges of anti-nationalism, betray to us an alarming lack of imagination, and we strongly condemn this in all its forms.

We condemn this absence of imagination and the physical and epistemic violence it has unleashed on the university community especially teachers and students. We stand with you in support of the university as a marketplace of ideas where all ideas and opinions are passionately argued, ripped apart, defended and critically re-imagined in ever new ways, leading to a more enlightened citizenry. This must be allowed to happen without fear or favor, risk of persecution or charges of sedition. If nothing else, the imagination of our founding fathers demands it, and we are in solidarity with your right to exercise it.

(This statement represents us in our individual capacities and not the institutions we are associated with.)

(In alphabetical order)

Continue reading The Right to Reason and Imagine: Architects in Solidarity with the JNU Community

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

Oxford University Members and Alumni in Solidarity with JNU: Oxford Students, Faculty and Alumni

Guest Post by students, faculty and alumni of Oxford University, UK

We, the undersigned members and alumni of the University of Oxford, stand firmly in solidarity with fellow students, teachers and scholars at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). We condemn the ongoing persecution of the student community in JNU, in particular the arrest of JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar under sedition charges. We protest the use of institutional and state machinery to stifle dissent on campuses, and the attempt to persecute those whose views do not conform to the narrow narratives of ‘nationalism’, ‘nationhood’ and ‘Indian culture’ promoted and endorsed by the ruling party. We view the crackdown in JNU in a continuum with the use of state machinery to clamp down on dissenting views and ideologies on campuses, most prominently at the FTII, Jadavpur University, IIT-Madras and the University of Hyderabad (UoH). We would like to point out that it was a similar witchhunt, backed by state authority, that led to the suicide of Dalit scholar and student leader of the Ambedkar Students’ Association, Rohith Vemula. We also stand in solidarity with the ongoing rally hunger strike at UoH and the struggles of the Joint Action Committee for Social Justice, demanding justice for Rohith Vemula.

Continue reading Oxford University Members and Alumni in Solidarity with JNU: Oxford Students, Faculty and Alumni

Solidarity with JNU and Conversations on Kashmir: JKCCS

Guest Post by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) expresses its solidarity with the striking students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. We have watched with a sense of horror and dismay, the violent criminalizing of student democracy and dissent, not just at Jawaharlal Nehru University but across Indian campuses in the recent past. Having long and intimate knowledge of violent repression and legalized impunity that Indian state is capable of, especially against those it considers ‘anti-national’ we are not surprised by these events, but have a special empathy with all who suffer its horrors. We demand the release of all student dissenters and political prisoners in the custody of the Indian state, and an end to acts of policing and surveillance on campuses, and targeting of students on the basis of political beliefs and speech.

The Kashmiri students in different colleges and universities in India, who have always faced discrimination and intimidation time to time, are now feeling the extreme regressive and oppressive means used by right wing groups and the government. After being hounded, Kashmiri students have begun leaving Delhi. There are several places where the landlords, in whose properties Kashmiri students were renting flats, have asked the students to vacate. These experiences of Kashmiri students are part of the larger reality faced by Kashmiri youth in Jammu and Kashmir and in India. The voices of dissent in Jammu and Kashmir have been dealt with administrative detentions under Public Safety Act, illegal detentions, torture, surveillance and killings by armed forces including the most recent one of Asif and Shaista at Pulwama on 14th of February.

We also view with alarm, the reports about the cynical use of Kashmiri students studying in Delhi as hostages in the politically illegitimate process of government formation in Srinagar.

We are dismayed that the public narrative about the recent events has often descended into disputes over Indian ‘patriotism’ and the shrill condemnation of a few ‘fringe’ ‘radical’ ‘traitors’ for ‘irresponsible’ slogans. These sentiments are neither mere slogans nor represent the ‘fringe’ in Kashmir, the very place they were made in reference to. As Kashmiris, we believe that the right to self-determination is inseparable from the right to political association, dissent and free expression, and these rights cannot be selectively asserted or upheld. In the competitive public proclamations of nationalistic credentials, what has been lost is that courageous act of defiant solidarity with the Kashmiri people’s struggle for justice and self-determination, that lies at the heart of these debates. Despite the disavowals and the state repression, the solidarity with the political rights of the Kashmiris is growing and spreading, as events in Jadavpur University demonstrate. We acknowledge the emerging spaces in Indian civil society to converse on the question of Kashmir, beyond nationalist framings. We hold out hope for future alliances with students, groups and individuals willing to engage in honest conversations, in which they alone do not determine the boundaries of what can or cannot be said, thought or felt.


Letter of Solidarity to the Students of JNU, India: Democratic Students’ Alliance, Pakistan

Guest Post by Democratic Students’ Alliance, Pakistan


17th February, 2016

Dear Student friends of JNU, Delhi


The issue of academic freedom is one that is tied to the essence of education itself: to think, to question, to speak and probe, to understand, to challenge and to learn.

The strangulation of political and academic freedoms is a dark hallmark of despotic and authoritarian societies and governments which aim to silence and subjugate. State intrusion in intellectual spaces is an assault on democratic rights and liberties; academic freedom must not be subordinated to state agendas. We believe that political freedoms are central to a democratic state and that their suspension leads to nothing but danger.

Continue reading Letter of Solidarity to the Students of JNU, India: Democratic Students’ Alliance, Pakistan

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

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech before being arrested

See also in The Citizen Why Is The Media Not Reporting Kanhaiya’s Speech?

For English translation of Kanhaiya’s speech, see:

If anti-national means this, God save our country

JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar’s Speech: Full Transcript

(Devanagari transcript is forthcoming)

Hum hain is desh ke. Aur is mitti se pyar karte hain. Is desh ke andar jo assi pratishad garib aavam hai, hum uske liye ladte hain. Hamare liye yahi desh-hit hai. Humein pura bharosa hai Baba Saheb ke upar. Humein pura bharosa hai apne desh ke samvidhan ke upar. aur hum is baat ko pure mazbooti se kehna chahte hain ke is desh ki samvidhan pe koi ungli uthayega chahe voh ungli sanghiyon ka ho, chahe voh ungli kisi ka bhi ho us ungli ko hum bardasht nahin karenge. Hum samvidhan mein bharosa karte hain. Lekin jo samvidhan Nagpur aur jhandewalan mein padhaya jaata hai us samvidhan pe humko koi bharosa Nahin. Humko manusmriti pe koi bharosa nahin hai. Humko is desh ke andar jo jaativad hai us pe koi bharosa nahin hai. Aur vahi samvidhan, vahi Baba Saheb Doctor Bhimrao Ambedkar, samvidhan mein samvidhanik upchar ki baat karte hain. Vahi Baba Saheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar capital punishment ko abolish karne ki baat karte hain. Vahi Baba Saheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar freedom of expression ki baat karte hain. Aur hum us position ko uphold karte hue, jo hamara buniyadi adhikar hai, jo hamara constitutional right hai, hum usko uphold karna chahte hain.

Lekin yeh bade sharam ki baat hai, yeh bade dukh ki baat hai ki aaj ABVP apne media sahiyogiyon se pure mamle ko orchestrate kar raha hai. Pure mamle ko dilute kar raha hai. SHAME. Kal ABVP ke joint secretary ne kaha ki hum fellowship ke liye ladte hain. Kitna ridiculous lagta hai sunkar ke inki sarkar, madam Manusmriti Irani, fellowship ko khatam karti hai, aur hum fellowship ke liye ladh rahe hain. Inki sarkar higher education ke andar 17 percent budget ko cut kiya hai SHAME, jis se hamara hostel pichle chaar saalon mein nahin bana. Hostel ko wifi aaj tak nahin mila, aur ek bus diya BHEL ne to us mein tel daalne ke liye prashasan ke paas paisa nahin hai. SHAME. ABVP ke log roller ke saamne devanand ke tarah tasveer khicha kar kehte hain ki hum hostel banwa rahein hain. Hum wifi karva rahein hain. Hum fellowship badhva rahein hain. Inki polpatti khul jayegi saathiyon agar is desh mein buniyadi sawal pe charcha hogi. Aur mujhe garv hai JNUite hone pe ke hum bunyadi sawal pe charcha karte hain. Hum buniyadi sawal uthate hain. Aur isilye voh [Subramaniyum] Swami kehta hai ke JNU mein jihadi rehte hain. SHAME…voh kehta hai ke JNU ke log hinsa phelate hain.


Main JNU se challenge karna chahta hun RSS ke pracharakon ko, ke bulao use aur karo hamare saath debate. Hum karna chahte hain hinsa ke concept pe debate. Aur hum sawal khada karna chahte hain, ABVP ke us daave par. ABVP ke manch se khade ho kar bolta hai besharam: “Khoon se tilak karenge goliyon se aarti.” Kiska khoon bahana chahete ho is mulk mein tum? Kis ka dehant chahte ho is mulk mein tum?

Tumne goliyan chalayi hain. Angrezon ke saath mil kar is desh ki azadi ke liye ladhne wale logon par goliyan chalayi hain. Is mulk ke andar garib jab apni roti ki baat karta hai, jab bhookmari se marte hue log apne haqq ki baat karte hain, tum un pe goli chalate ho. SHAME…Kis par goli chalayi hai tumne is mulk mein? Mussalmanon ke upar. Tumne chalayi goli is mulk mein…mahilayein jab apne adhikar ki baat kartin hain to tum kehte ho paanchon ungli barabar nahin ho sakti SHAME…tum kehte ho mahilaon ko sita ki tarah rehna chahiye aur sita ki tarah agni pariksha dena chahiye.

Is desh mein loktantra hai aur loktantra sabko barabari ka haqq deta hai. Chahe vo vidyarthi ho, chahe vo karamchari ho, chahe vo garib ho, mazdoor ho, kisan ho, ya Ambani ho, Adani ho, sabke haqq ki barabari ki baat karta hai. Us mein mahilayon ki barabari ki baat hum karte hain, to yeh kehte hain ki hum Bharati sanskriti ko barbad karna chahte hain. Hum barbad karna chahte hain shoshan ki sanskriti ko. Jaati-vaad ki sanskriti ko, manuvaad aur Bhramanvaad ki sanskriti ko. Aur aaj tak hamari sanskriti ki paribhasha tay nahin hui. Inko dikat kahan aata hai? Inko dikat aata hai jab is mulk ke log loktantra ki baat karte hain. Jab log laal salaam ke saath leela salaam lagate hain, jab Marx ke saath Dr Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar ka naam lete hain. Jab Ashfaqulla ka naam liya jaata hai to inko pet mein darad hota hai.

Aur inki saajish hai, yeh Angrezon ke chamche hain. Lagao mere upar defamation ka case. Main kehta hun ke RSS ka itihas Angrezon ke saath khade hone ka itihaas hai. SHAME…Desh ke gaddar aaj deshbhakti ka certificate baant rahein hain. Mera mobile check kijiye saathiyon meri ma aur behen ko bhaddi bhaddi galiyan di ja rahin hain. SHAME…Kaunsi Bharat Ma ki baat karte ho agar tumhari Bharat Mata mein meri Ma shamil nahin hai. Mujhe manzur nahin hai yeh Bharat Mata ka concept. Aur is desh ki mahilayein jo garib hain, mazdoor hain… meri ma anganwadi sevika hai. Teen hazar se hamara parivar chalta hai. Aur yeh uske khilaf galiyan de rahein hain. Mujhe sharam hai is desh par, is desh mein jo garib mazdoor dalit kisan hai unki matain Bharat Mata nahin hain.

Main kahunga Jai! Bharat ki Mataon ki Jai! Pitaon ki jai! Mataon, Behenon ki jai! Kisanon, mazdooron, daliton, adivasiyon ki jai! Main kahunga, tum mein himmat hai to bolo Inqilab Zindabad! Bolo Bhagat Singh Zindabad! Bolo Sukhdev Zindabad, Bolo Asfaqullah Khan Zindabad! Bolo Baba Saheb Zindabad!

Aur Baba Saheb ki ek sau pachisvi (125th) jayanti manane ka natak kar rahe ho. Hai tum mein himmat to sawal uthao, jo sawal Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar ne uthaya, ki is desh ke andar jaativad sabse badi samasya hai. Bolo jaativad ke upar. Lao reservation! Private sector mein reservation lao! Tamam jageh reservation kayda laghu karo. Karo phir manega yeh desh tumhe. Yeh desh tumhara kabhi nahin tha, aur kabhi nahin ho sakta.

Koi desh agar banta hai, to vahan ke logon se banta hai. Agar desh ki avdharna main bhooke logon ke liye jagah nahin, garib mazdooron ke liye jagah nahin hai voh desh nahin hai. Kal main TV debate mein ye baat bol rah tha, Deepak Chaurasiyaji ko, ki: chaurasiyaji yeh gambhir samay hai is baat ko yaad rakhiyega – Agar mulk mein phansivaad jis tareeke se aa raha hai, media bhi surakshit nahin rehne wali hai. Uske bhi script likhkar aayenge [indecipherable] ke office se, aur uske bhi script likh kar aate the kabhi Indira Gandhi ke Congress ke office se. Is baat ko yaad rakhiyega.

Aur agar aap sach mein is desh mein desh bhakti dikhana chahte hain…kuch media ke saathi keh rahe the, hamare tax ke paise se, subsidy ke paise se, JNU chalta hai. Haan sach hai. Sach hai ke tax ke paise se chalta hai. Sach hai ke subsidy ke paise se chalta hai. Lekin ye sawal khada karna chahte hain, ke university hota kis liye hai? University hota hai ke samaj ke andar jo common-sense hai, quote unquote uska critical analysis kiya jaye. Critical debate ko promote kiya jaye. Agar university is kaam mein fail hai, koi desh nahin banega, desh mein koi log shamil nahin honge, aur desh hoga sirf aur sirf punjipathiyon ke liye charagah hoga, sirf aur sirf loot aur shoshan ka charagah ban kar rahe jayega. Agar desh ke andar logon ki jo sanskriti hai, logon ki jo manyatain hain, logon ka jo adhikar hai, hum usko shamil nahin karenge, to desh nahin banega.

Hum desh ke saath puri tareeke se khade hain. Aur us sapne ke saath khade hain jo Bhagat Singh aur Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar ne dikhaya hai. Hum us sapne ke saath khade hain ke sab ko barabari ka haq diya jaye. Hum us sapne ke saath khade hain ke sabko jeena ka haqq ho, sabko khane-peene rehne ka haqq ho, hum us sapne ke saath khade hain. Aur us sapne ke saath khada hone ke liye Rohit Vemula ne apna jaan gavaya hai. Lekin main kehna chahta hun in sanghiyon ko, lanat hai tumhari sarkar par, aur chunauti hi meri kendra sarkar ko, ke aap Rohit ke mamle mein jo kiya hai, voh JNU mein hum nahin hone denge. Rohit ko [punwani’?] di hai, punwani hum kya denge, hum freedom of experssion ke paksh mein khade honge.

Aur chodh do Pakistan ki baat aur Bangladesh ki baat. Hum kehte hain, duniya ke garibon ek hon, duniya ke mazdooron ek hon, duniya ki manavta zindabad, bharat ki manavta zindabad. Aur jo uss manavta ke khilaf khada hua hai, hum usko aaj identify kar chuke hain. Aur aaj sabse gambhir sawal hamare samne khada hai, ke is identification ko humko bana ke rakhna hai. Woh jo chehra hai jaativaad ka, voh jo chehra hai manuvaad ka, voh jo chehra hai brahmanvad aur punjivaad ke ghatjor ka, us chehre ko humko expose karna hai. Aur sachmuch ka loktantra, sachmuch ki azadi, sabki azadi, desh mein humko staphit karni hai. Aur vo azadi aayegi, samvidhan se aayegi, parliament se aayegi, loktantra se aayegi, aur sansad se aayegi, yeh hum kehna chahete hain. Aur isiliye, aap tamam sathiyon se appeal hai ke tamam tareeka ka differences ko side rakhte hue jo hamara freedom of expression hai, jo hamara constitution hai, jo hamara mulk hai, uski ekta ke liye hum log ekjuth rehenge, ekmust rahenge.

Aur yeh jo desh todne waali taqatein hain, aatankiyon ko panah denewale log hain: ek sawal, antim sawal poochte hue apni baat ko khatam karunga: ke kaun hai Kasab? Kaun hai Afzal Guru? Kaun hain yeh log jo aaj is stithi main hain ke apne sharir main bum bandh kar hatya karne ko tayyar hain? Agar yeh sawal university mein nahin uthega mujhe nahin lagta university hone ka koi matlab hai. Agar hum violence ko define nahin karenge, kaise hum violence ko dekhte hain. Violence sirf yahi nahin hota hai ke hum bandook lekar kisi ko maar dete hain. Violence yeh bhi hota hai ki samvidhan mein daliton ko adhikar diya gaya hai voh adhikar JNU prashasan dene se mana karta hai. Yeh institutional violence hai. Yeh log justice ki baat karte hain. Kaun tay karega ki justice kya hai? Jab Brahmanvadi vyvastha thi to daliton ko mandir mein nahin ghusne dete the, yahi justice tha. Jab Angrez the to kutton ko Aur Bharatiyon ko restraunt main nahin jaane diya jaata tha, yahi justice tha, is justice ko humne challenge kiya. Aur hum aaj bhi ABVP aur sanghiyon ke justice ko challenge karte hain, ke tumhara justice humare justice ko accomodate nahin karta hai. Agar tumhara justice humare justice ko accomodate karta to hum nahin manenge tumhare justice ko aur nahin manenge tumhari azadi ko. Hum manenge us din azaadi ko jis din har insan ko uska constitutional right milega. Jis din har insan ko uska samvidhanik adhikar dete huye is mulk ke andar barabari ka darza diya jayega, us din hum justice ko manenge.

Doston bahut gambhir paristhiti hai. Kisi bhi taur par JNUSU kisi bhi hinsa ka, kisi bhi atankwadi ka, kisi bhi atankwadi ghatana ka, kisi bhi desh-virodhi activity ka koi samarthan nahin karta hai. Kade shabdon main ek baat phir se jo kuch log, unidentified log, jo Pakistan zindabad ke naare lagaye hain, JNUSU uske kade shabdon main bhatshna karta hai. Saath hi saath ek baat jo hai usko aap sab logon ko share karte hue khatam…yeh sawal hai JNU administration aur ABVP ke liye: Is campus mein, hazaar tarah ki cheezein hoti hain. Abhi aap dhyan se ABVP ka slogan suniye: yeh kehte hain communits kutte. Yeh kehte hain Afzal Guru ke pille. Yeh kehte hain Jihadiyon ke bacche. Humein kya nahin lagta ke agar is samvidhan ne humein nagarik hone ka adhikar diya hai, to mere baap ko kutta kehna, yeh mere samvidhanik adhikar ka hanan hai ki nahin hai? Yeh sawal mein ABVP se poochta hun.

Yeh sawal poochna chahete hain JNU administration se, ke aap kis ke liye kaam karte hain? Kis ke saath kaam karte hain? Aur kis ke aadhar pe kaam karte hain? Yeh baat aaj bilkul spasht ho chuki hai. Ke JNU administration, pehle permission deta hai, phir Nagpur se phone aane ke baad permission leta hai. Yeh jo permission lene aur dene ke prakriya hai, yeh usi tarike se chit tej ho gayi hai is mulk main, jaise fellowship lene aur dene ki prakriya hai. Ke pehle aapko fellowship badhane ke ghoshna ki jayegi, aur phir kaha jayega ke fellowship band ho gaya hai. Yeh sanghi pattern hai. Yeh RSS aur ABVP ka pattern hai. Jis pattern se who mulk to chalana chahte hain. Aur issi pattern se woh JNU administration ko chalana chahte hain. Humara sawal hai JNU ke Vice Chancellor se ke poster laga tha JNU main, parche aaye the mess mein. Agar dikat tha to pehle JNU administration permission nahin deta. Agar permission diya, to kiske kehne se permission cancel kiya, yeh baat JNu administration clear kare, yeh sawal hum sirf poochna chahte hain.

Saath hi saath yeh jo log hain inki sacchai jaan lijiye. Un se nafarat mat kijiyega, Kyonki hum log nafarat kar nahin sakte. Inse mujhe, bada hi daya bhav hai inke prati mujhe hai. Yeh itne uchal rahe hain. Kyon? Inko lagta hai jaise Gajendar Chauhan ko baithaya hai, waise har jageh Chauhan, Diwan, Farman jaari karte rahenge. Yeh Chauhan, Diwan aur Farman ki badaulat yeh har jagah naukari paate rahenge. Isiliye jab yeh jor se bharat mata ki jai chilayein to aap samajh lijiye ki parson inka interview DU mein hone wala hai. Naukari lagegi, deshbhakti peeche chootegi. Naukari lagegi, bharat mata ka koi khayal nahin rahega. Naukari lagegi, tiranga ko to inhonein kabhi mana hi nahin, bhagwa jhanda bhi nahin phirayenge. Main sawal karna chahta hun ke yeh kaisi deshbhakti hai. Agar ek malik apne naukar se sahi bartav nahin karta, agar kisan apne mazdoor se sahi bartav nahin karta hai, agar punjipati apne employee se sahi bartav nahin karta hai, aur ye alag alag channel ke log, jo patrakari ka kaam karte hain 15 hazar rupaiye ke liye. Inke jo CEO hain, woh inse sahi bartav nahin karte hain. Woh kaisi deshbhakti hai? Inki deshbhakti bharat pakistan ke match pe khatam hoti hai.

Isiliye jab ye road pe nikalte hain to kelewale ke saath badtamizi se baat karte hain. Kelawala kehta hai sahab chalis rupaiye darzan bhav hai. Kehtein hat! Tum log loot rahe ho! Tees ka de do. To kelawala jis din mud kar bol dega: tum sabse bade lootere ho, croron loot rahe ho, to keh denge ke ye deshdrohi hai. Aastha amiri aur suvidha se suru hoti hai, amiri aur suvidha pe jakar khatam ho jaati hai.

Main bahut saare ABVP ke doston ko jaanta hun. Main un se poochta hun: ki sach mein tumhare andar mein deshbhakti ki bhavna panapti hai? To kehte hain, bhaiyya kya karein, paanch saal ki sarkar hai, do saal khatam ho gaya hai, teen saal ka talktime bacha hai, jo karna hai isi mein kar dalna hai. To hum bole theek hai kar lo, par yeh bataoe ke JNU ke baare mein jhoot bologe to kal ko tumhara bhi collar koi pakad lega, aur tumhara hi saathi pakad lega, jo aaj kal train main beef check karta hai. Pakad ke tumko lynching karega aur kahega ke tum jo ho desh bhakt nahin ho kyonki tum JNUite ho. Iska khatara samjhte ho? Kehta hai, bhaiyya iska to samjhte hain, isliye to JNU ka jo hashtag bana hai, #shutdownjnu, uska virodh kar rahein hain. Humne kaha bahut badhiya hai bhai sahab! Pehle JNU hashtag ke liye mahaul banao, phir uska virodh karo kyunki rehna to JNU mein hi hai na.

Isiliye main aap tamam JNu ke logon se kehna chahta hun ki abhi chunav hoga march mein aur ABVP ke log Om ka jhanda laga ke aap ke paas aayenge, to un se poochiyega ke hum desh drohi hain, hum jihadi atankvadi hain, hamara vote lekar tum bhi atankvadi ho jaoge. Tab ve kehenge ke nahin nahin aap log nahin hain, vo kuch log the. To hum kehenge, ke vo kuch log the? Ye baat to tumne media mein nahin kahi, tumahar vice chancellor nahin bola, aur tumhara registrar bhi nahin bol raha hai. Aur vo kuch log bhi to keh rahe hain ki hum pakistan zindabad nara nahin lagaye.Voh kuch log bhi to keh rahe hain ki hum atankwad ke paksh main nahin hain. Wo kuch log bhi to keh rahe hain ke hamara permission de kar permission cancel kar diya, yeh hamare democratic rights ke upar attack hai. Par itni baat, inke palle padni wali nahin hai.

Lekin mujhe pura bharosa hai ke yahan ye jo log itne short notice pe aaye hain, unke palle pad raha hai, aur vo log is campus ke ek ek student ke paas jayenge, aur unhein batayenge ke ABVP na sirf is desh ko tod raha hai balki JNU ko tod raha hai. Hum JNU ko tootne nahin denge. JNU zindabad tha, JNu zindabad rahega. Is desh ke andar jitne bhi sangharsh ho rahe hain un sangharshon mein badh chad kar participate karega aur is desh ke andar loktantra ki awaz ko mazboot karte hue, azadi ki awaz ko mazboot karte hue, freeedom of expression ki awaz ko mazboot karte hue, is sangharsh ko aage badhayega. Hum sangharsh karenge, jeetenge, aur in sahbdon ke saath, aap sab ka shukriya, inqilab zindabad, jai bhim, lal salaam!
















Why our universities are in ferment

Published in The Hindu today


Image courtesy Morung Express

As over two thousand students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered peacefully on Saturday to protest police action on campus and the arrest of the President of the Students’ Union, a potentially dangerous stampede was set in motion at the front, when at Rahul Gandhi’s entrance, media people with cameras rushed unheedingly into the thickly clustered people seated on the ground. The situation was exacerbated by a further push into that space by about fifteen Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists holding black flags and shouting slogans against Rahul Gandhi. Within seconds, however, the students conducting the meeting had organized a human chain to hold back and corral the media and the ABVP safely into one corner, and the human chain was then immediately taken up by the hundreds of teachers present. Until Rahul Gandhi left, the handful of ABVP activists continued their slogans, but they could only be heard by those seated in their immediate vicinity.

This is how students and teachers have always maintained, through the gravest provocations, perhaps the most peaceful campus in the country. Debate and dissent have always been part of its ethos but never violence, an ethos unfamiliar to those who only know violent suppression of dissent. Continue reading Why our universities are in ferment

Spring Comes to JNU : Love, Laughter and Rage

A Small Fragment of the Human Chain in JNU, 14th February, 2016
A Small Fragment of the Human Chain in JNU, 14th February, 2016

February is a beautiful time of the year in Delhi. It inaugurates Basant, spring, the season for love. And it is made more beautiful by an incandescent, insurgent spirit, that spreads in the air like a loving contagion, especially around what the Hindu Right rehearses for months on end to spoil – the new found festival of Valentine’s Day.

Traditionally (or at least since as long ago as the late twentieth century CE), on Valentine’s Day, the loony Hindu right goes looking for lovers in the parks of Delhi and tries to ply its own line in the extortion trade. This time, they have been joined by some big guns. The Delhi police descended on some young people belonging to a theatre group who had stepped out to have tea during a poetry reading at the IGNCA on the grounds that they ‘looked like they were JNU students’. Meanwhile, their boss, the Honorable Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh (who deserves a Bharat Ratna all by himself for skills as a performance artist) regaled a press conference with a poker faced comic act –  his revelation of the Lashkar e Taiba’s links to the JNU protests on the basis of the discovery of a fake twitter handle. The fact that Rajnath Singh still has his job is because his boss Narendra Modi, our ‘dear leader’, is the chief architect of  the ‘Fake in India’ campaign.

Holy Cow
Holy Cow (courtesy, ‘Guess Who’)

One needs love, and laughter, plenty of laughter, to survive these times, and the antics of these men. Over the last two days, it is love, laughter, sorrow and rage, in equal proportion that have been most evident in the JNU campus in Delhi. Their signs were evident again, appropriately,  yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. A student population of thousands has been able to transform its rage at the capitulation of the recently appointed vice-chancellor and his cronies to the diktats of an incompetent home minister and his minions in the Delhi Police apparatus into a deep and abiding sense of good humoured solidarity. This is demonstrated by the support that they have readily offered Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of their students union, who is currently detained, facing ridiculous charges of sedition, and several other students, including some JNUSU office bearers, who the police are still reportedly hunting for. The hashtag #StandwithJNU has gone viral, spreading, connecting, bringing people together like the sudden awakening of spring after a cruel winter. What better way can there be of celebrating Valentine’s Day than to declare, en masse, a love for liberty, and for learning?

Continue reading Spring Comes to JNU : Love, Laughter and Rage

Statement by Educators, Intellectuals, Artists and Writers on Police Action in JNU

We, the undersigned, (educators, professors, intellectuals, writers and artists), are shocked by the appalling conduct of Delhi Police at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi yesterday. We also condemn the irresponsible sloganeering by some people at the fringes of a gathering on the JNU campus to mark the third anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru. We believe that such calls to ‘war, until the destruction of India’ erode the gravity of any serious discussion on any political question, be it capital punishment, human rights or even the question of self-determination. Such conduct is shameful, regardless of who does it, and deserving of the sharpest criticism.

That said, the only way to counter such incidents, when they occur, is through a deepening of dialogue, not through police action. The police has no business to enter places of learning and harass students (including students who were clearly trying to defuse the situation and to take a stand against the irresponsible elements who gave the objectionable slogans) when there had been no breach of peace.

We condemn the arrest of Kanhaiyya Kumar, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union on trumped up charges of sedition and demand that he be released immediately. Kanhaiyya’s public statements, which are widely available, clearly show that sedition is the last thing that you can charge him with. The University Authorities must take steps to ensure that the witch hunt that is ensuing against other students must also cease immediately. We demand that there be no more arrests of students. We are saddened by the new JNU Vice Chancellor’s readiness to submit to the diktats of the police, and we condemn the totally outrageous statements by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the Minister for Human Resources Development Smriti Irani which virtually declare war on universities as spaces for dissent and debate.

We demand an unconditional withdrawal of police personnel from campuses, and reiterate our support and solidarity with the students, faculty and staff of JNU, and with students everywhere in India who are pursuing a courageous resistance against the ongoing assault on higher education unleashed by the BJP government.

Aditya Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Ashis Nandy, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Bharti Kher, Artist, Delhi

Debjani Sengupta, Associate Professor, Department of English, Indraprastha College, Delhi University

Gauri Gill, Artist, Delhi

Gayatri Sinha, Curator, Delhi

Geeta Kapur, Curator, Delhi

Iram Ghufran, Filmmaker, Delhi

Jeet Thayil, Poet, Delhi

K. Satchidanandan, Poet, Delhi

Karen Gabriel, Department of English, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University

Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangaluru

Moinak Biswas, Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

Nancy Adajania, Curator, Mumbai

Nandini Datta, Associate Professor, Miranda House, Delhi University

Neha Choksi, Artist, Mumbai

Nivedita Menon, Professor, Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

P.K.Vijayan, Department of English, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University

Pallavi Paul, Artist/Filmmaker, Delhi

Parnal Chirmuley, Associate Professor, Centre of German Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Pratiksha Baxi, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Rajarshi Dasgupta, Assistant Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Rajeev Bhargava, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Ravi Sundaram, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Ravi Vasudevan, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

Romila Thapar, Historian, Emeritus Professor, Jawharalal Nehru University

S. Kalidas, Critic, Delhi / Goa

Sahej Rehal, Artist, Mumbai

Sabina Kidwai, Associate Professor, AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi

Sabeena Gadihoke, Associate Professor, AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi

Sanjay Kak, Filmmaker, Delhi

Sarnath Banerjee, Artist, Delhi / Berlin

Saumyajit Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi

Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, Fellow, Centre for the Studies of Social Sciences, Kolkata

Shohini Ghosh, Professor, AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi

Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist, Raqs Media Collective, Delhi

Subodh Gupta, Artist, Delhi

Sumit Sarkar, Historian, Formerly Professor, Department of History, Delhi University

Tanika Sarkar, Historian, Formerly Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Vivan Sundaram, Artist, Delhi