Guest Post by Prerna Trehan
While walking through the lawns between the Library and the Chemistry Department , one is confronted with the sudden and scary sight of policemen brandishing canes.
One of the policemen says, threateningly : “Go inside, before we start shooting bombs” (of tear gas). Behind him two policemen leap at a bewildered group of boys raining lathis and choicest of abuses.
This scene could be right out of the woeful alleys of Palestine, Syria or even Kashmir. However, the events that it describes took place yesterday in Panjab University, nestled in India’s first planned city, Nehru’s vision of modernity-Chandigarh.
Continue reading Reclaiming Punjab University-Student Protests Erupt in Chandigarh: Prerna Trehan
Kovan, the Dalit-activist poet and singer and member of a revolutionary organisation PALA (People’s Arts And Literary Association), from Trichy district in Tamil Nadu, has been in the news lately. One of his anti-Jayalalitha songs earned him the ire of the state government, which slapped a Sedition case against him in December 2015.
In this video sent to us by Vinavu Thalam, Kovan lampoons Jayalalitha’s promise of “step by step prohibition” as “peg by peg de-addiction”!
Seduce the gullible voters with false promise/ File sedition cases against those who fight/ This is her game/ The game of a cheat/
In Chennai slang, “Bongu” means, a Cheat! She is the AMMA of all cheats!
I have come home a little while ago from Jawaharlal Nehru University after listening to Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya take back the night. As I drove home through the quiet streets of Delhi after midnight it occurred to me that somebody should whisper into Narendra Modi’s ear that he should now start stocking up on sleeping pills. (Maybe Baba Ramdev’s enterprise makes some that he could prescribe to the Prime Minister, unadulterated). With young people like Umar and Anirban as his adversaries, the Prime Minister can only have sleepless nights ahead of him. It is perhaps fortunate for him that the team from Madame Tussaud’s came by and did their job yesterday. Because from now on, his real skin tone will only envy the lustre of his wax work. Umar and Anirban, and their friends, took away the little remaining shine that Modi had left at midnight.
Continue reading Mera Piya Ghar Aaya: Umar Khalid and Anirban Return to JNU and the Students’ Struggle
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
[ 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 ]
Kanhaiya Kumar, the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) in New Delhi, India, was arrested on Feb 10 on charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy. Kanhaiya was present at a meeting on the evening of Feb 9, where incendiary slogans were allegedly raised. Seven other students were also charged. Mr. Kumar is not accused of raising the slogans; indeed the identity of the person(s) who raised the slogans remains a mystery. Charging a student leader for sedition for another’s mere sloganeering is prima facie absurd. Further, the assault of Mr. Kumar, other students and faculty, and even journalists, in court premises by lawyers and others sympathetic to the government, do not inspire confidence in a fair judicial process. Continue reading St Louis Universities Stand With JNU: A Statement
The weeks following the February 9th incident within the JNU campus have been nothing but eventful in India’s social and political discourse. At least, this is something most of us will agree on, no matter which side of this increasingly impermeable “fence” we sit on. There have been arguments, counter arguments thrown from each side to the other, names have been dug up and hurled across, evidence in favour of what purportedly happened or did not happen have been put up by each side for the other to see. Videos have been made, unmade; cartoons have been drawn, redrawn; political figures have been idolised, lampooned; students have been demonized and idolized; dangers of the increasing menace of nationalism and anti-nationalism have been stuffed down one’s throat through the so called idiot box or the smart net.
In the midst of this deluge of opinions and ideas, information and misinformation, the question that some have raised is, are both sides losing the plot a bit? What exactly are we discussing or debating so vociferously? Are we really listening to the other sides’ arguments, or are we just hearing a few words we want to hear and voicing our own opinions in pre-designed responses? These are some of issues we are highlighting in this piece, hopefully in a slightly different format than what we are used to elsewhere.
What follows is a conversation between two intelligent people from opposite sides of the fence. The conversation is based on some real ones, which the authors of this piece had actually engaged in with different individuals over the last few weeks. We have attempted to distil the central ideas of both sides and present it to the readers. We cannot and have not included every aspect of the ideas and opinions of both sides, and we will not include the abuse. But what we have attempted to capture, is a reasoned and rational attempt at understanding the real problem(s), as understood by each side. Continue reading Conversations on Sedition: Ritanjan Das and Abhijit Sengupta