Tag Archives: #StandwithKanhaiya

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 ]

A Conversation about the Meaning of the word ‘Azadi’ (‘Freedom’) in the Wake of Events at JNU

Signal to Noise Ratio

There has been a lot of talk about what exactly ‘Azadi’ (freedom) means, especially in the wake of Kanhaiya Kumar’s post release midnight speech at JNU on the 4th of March. So lets talk some more. No harm talking. If there is noise, there must also be a signal, somewhere.

Kanhaiya Kumar clarified in his electrifying, riveting speech that his evocation of Azadi was a call for freedom ‘in’ India, not a demand, or even an endorsement of a demand for freedom ‘from’ India.

This may come as a sigh of relief to some, – Kanhaiya , the man of the moment, proves his ‘good’ patriotic credentials, leading to an airing of the by now familiar ‘good nationalist vs. bad nationalist’ trope. And everyone on television loves a nationalist, some love a good nationalist even more.

Perhaps this was a way of dealing with a bail order that was at the same time a gag order.

[ P.S. : Since writing this last night, a more careful reading of the bail order has suggested to me that the actual terms of bail are not so bad after all. Bail is in fact granted, as far as I can see, fairly unconditionally. Kanhaiya is not asked, for instance, to step down from his position in the students’ union, nor are restrictions placed on his movement and activity. So in technically legal sense, the bail provisions need not be interpreted in a tightly restricted manner. The egregious political hortations, the references to infection, antibiotics, amputation and gangrene, which are over and above the legal instructions, are indeed terrible, but operationally, they have no executive authority backing them.]

But to say just that the text of the bail order is what shaped Kanhaiya’s midnight speech would be ungenerous, and miserly, especially in response to the palpably real passion that someone like Kanhaiya has for a better world, and for a better future for the country he lives and believes in. I have no doubt about the fact that coming as he does from the most moderate section of the Indian Left (the CPI – well known for their long term affection for the ‘national bourgeoisie’ despite the national bourgeouisie’s long term indifference/indulgence towards them), Kanhaiya is a genuine populist nationalist patriot [I have corrected ‘nationalist’ to ‘patriot’ here in response to the criticism and suggestion held out by Virat Mehta’s comment – see below in the comments section] and a democrat moulded as he says, equally by Bhagat Singh and Dr. Ambedkar. There is a lot to admire in that vision, even in partial disagreement. And while some may not necessarily share his nationalism, this does not mean that one has to treat it with contempt either. I certainly don’t.

Continue reading A Conversation about the Meaning of the word ‘Azadi’ (‘Freedom’) in the Wake of Events at JNU

‘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

Apologise to the Nation, All of You.

You, who shout your nationalism from the rooftops; you whose blood runs hot for “Mother India”; you who turn red with rage when contradicted; you who set agendas like patriarchs drunk on father-right; you who refuse to let another speak, you! who don a suit every night on television to disguise your cheap tricks; you who abuse your guests if they happen to be young, powerless and honest; you who bloat on adrenaline while your viewers turn to idiotic jelly; you who abuse the highest offices of this land; you who give a bad name to khaki; you who wear lawyers’ robes to beat students and teachers; you who are protected by your political masters; you who strike deals in the privacy of your offices, chambers and boardrooms; you who live by ratings and upvotes; you who tell lies so long you forget the truth; you who form bands of cowards hiding in plain sight; you who roam the streets showing your fist to all; you for whom a martyred soldier is more valuable than a living citizen; you who abuse the power that history gave you; you who mistake that accident of history for a moral right; you whose imagination of revenge always involves rape; you who have brought this country to the brink of civil war; you who speak in the name of the mythical motherland while the actual children of that land are hungry, thirsty and unemployed; you who claim this moment, this nation, this public, this history, this land. Apologise.

Apologise to those who work everyday to make this country decent; who work for too little, and for too long; those whose deaths become statistics in the great churning pots of state economists; those whose parents taught them to keep their heads down and quit an ugly fight; those who argue, debate, disagree without the urge to kill or maim their opponents; those who understand when an argument becomes too heated; those who pull back from the brink every time because they know that to be alive is not always to be right; those who reclaim the streets to protest when it’s hard, when it’s inconvenient, and when it’s dangerous, because it’s the only way to disagree; those who see that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind; those who understand and accept this land in all its confounding conflict; those who risk death to expose the powerful and corrupt; those who have no choice but to join the army to feed their families; those who laugh when there is nothing left; those who write, think and reason, and take time over all three; those who appreciate the beauty of the stars on a still night; those who make love like it’s a gift and not a right; those whose parents live after they died because they were on the wrong side at the wrong time.

Above all, you deranged “nationalists”, apologise to three fellow citizens – one born in a caste that could only speak from the protection of death; another who is languishing in jail for no crime at all; and perhaps most of all, a third who is on the run from a police none of us ever trusted. Apologise. These young people are the future of this country, not you with your bloodlust. WE are the nation, and we demand an apology from you.

Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University


 We, students, professors, and practitioners of Communication and Media, condemn the recent attacks by the Indian state on students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. Given the spurious nature of the claims mostly circulated through traditional and social media, we demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and JNU students Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan, as well as an engaged effort to return peace and a climate of open debate to the university. We are troubled by the climate of authoritarianism being actively promoted by the Indian government in educational institutions and the concerted effort by the government to silence critical conversations. We are also disturbed by the attack on journalists by lawyers and goons close to the structures of power. Continue reading Communication Students, Practitioners, and Professors in Solidarity with Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Rama Naga, Ashutosh Kumar, and Anant Prakash Narayan and Jawaharlal Nehru University

#NoDissentNoCountry #StandWithJNU

Williams College Stands with JNU!


Kajri Jain, University of Toronto


Aarti Sethi, (JNU 2009), Columbia University

A complete Hindi transcript and video of Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech is available here.

A complete English translation may be accessed here.

Rohith Vemula’s last note may be accessed here.

A Solidarity Poem for JNU from the Incarcerated Community of Philadelphia

A solidarity poem for Kanhaiya and the JNU protestors from the Center for Carceral Communities (a collective of current and previously incarcerated people and advocates in Philadelphia, housed at the University of Pennsylvania, USA).


we are with you kanhaiya

reaching out from our barred windows

all 2.5 million of US

we cross borders and seas

to smuggle in

wirecutters and metalfiles

and circuitbreakers

hidden deep

in these words and

outraged tears

we are with you

as you dance on this

multiheaded serpent

this global picture-in-picture-in-picture

of progress-in-democracy-in-prison-in-silence-in-fear

with you

shoulder to shoulder

as you scream over and over


hand-in-hand with you

dear kanhaiya

as you christen

this revolution

with blood and urine

spilt in these corridors

of power

slick with the froth

of hindutva

with you always

as you stare down

this justice


slippery and slick

and cold

until it is just / ice




Alison Neff (Director, CCC)

Toorjo Ghose (Associate Professor, SP2, UPenn)

35 members of the CCC collective (who need to remain anonymous)

on behalf of

2.5 million who are currently incarcerated in the U.S. (who are forced to remain anonymous)



Statement of Solidarity with Students in JNU, India – by students in KU Leuven, Belgium

We, the undersigned, students in the social sciences and humanities programs at KU Leuven, strongly condemn the Indian state’s heavy handed and politically motivated action against the students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

We condemn the brutal police action against students, especially the arrest of JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president, Kanhaiya Kumar on 12 February 2016 – who has been charged under colonial-era sedition laws. We equally condemn the witch-hunt against and media trials against JNU, its faculty, and its students – especially Umar Khalid, an atheist-Leftist activist, who is wrongfully being called an ‘Islamist’ by some in the media.

Over the last few months, Indian universities have become a crucial site to contest and resist the arbitrary and concerted efforts of the Indian state to quash academic autonomy and dissent – from the scrapping of non-NET fellowships in 2015, to the death of Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula at the Hyderabad Central University, earlier in January.

We underscore the fact that universities have historically been sites of critical thinking and politics, and need to remain the same. Furthermore, as the recent cases in India have shown, it is often students from under-privileged backgrounds who raise critical questions against the workings of the state, and also question structures of privilege within universities, in peaceful and non-violent ways.

The government and police action against the students at JNU seriously undermines and threatens these values. These (re)actions are based on questionable facts and charges of anti-nationalism and sedition. Indeed, no is within the space of the university that ideas of the ‘nation’ – who is included within it, and who is excluded – can be questioned and debated.

Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with Students in JNU, India – by students in KU Leuven, Belgium

Purdue University Stands in Solidarity with JNU

We, the undersigned faculty and students at Purdue University, strongly condemn the arrest of JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar. We oppose the systematic and deliberate attempts to humiliate, bully and terrorize the university’s community of scholars and political activists. It is unethical for a government to spread canards about students with the hope of distracting attention away from its over-zealous, slapdash interventions in academic institutions. We demand that this scapegoating and hounding of Umar Khalid, and all other students, cease immediately.

We salute the courageous JNU community that stands proud and resolute in the face of physical violence, media trials, and sectarian, antediluvian discourses that confuse students for enemies, and dissent – the cornerstone of democracy – for sedition.

More generally, we detect a pattern in this government’s deployment of the state machinery against young adults committed to addressing the inequities and discriminations so blatant in our country today. We insist, therefore, that the central government end its programmatic assault on public educational institutions and the spirit of free-thought. Institutions of higher education must be created and preserved as spaces where caste oppression, gender and minority-exclusion can be studied, and their resistance practiced. JNU exemplifies a dual commitment to combining academic rigor with a political-ethical conscience. We stand in solidarity with JNU’s vision of a diverse campus, charged with a robust polity, where no monolithic, auto-corrected version of the nation or patriotism dominates. We believe that university campuses, like society at large, can thrive only when celebrations of the myriad manifestations of the nation are accompanied by an honest and fearless capacity to criticize its inadequacies. Continue reading Purdue University Stands in Solidarity with JNU

Resolution in support of the student protests in India against the militant suppression of intellectual freedom and dissent by the BJP-government

This is a resolution passed by the Doctoral Students’ Council, City University of New York (CUNY)

WHEREAS, on 12 February, the Delhi Police raided student hostels at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and arrested the JNU Students’ Union President Kanhaiyya Kumar on the arbitrary and anti-democratic charge of sedition; and

WHEREAS, this application of a draconian, colonial law which criminalizes dissent stands in stark contradiction to the very democratic character of the nation that affirms an individual’s right to free speech, however radical and unpopular the opinion; and

WHEREAS, this arrest of an elected student representative and the subsequent militarization of the campus with an overwhelming police presence is sanctioned and sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led ruling regime, in conjunction with its affiliate organizations RSS and ABVP, its student wing; and

WHEREAS, this coercive presence of the police on the university premises and elsewhere is compounded by their complicity in the physical assaults by lawyers of the Hindu Right on JNU teachers and students at the courthouse before Kanhaiyya’s hearing; and

Continue reading Resolution in support of the student protests in India against the militant suppression of intellectual freedom and dissent by the BJP-government

University of Minnesota Stands in Solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University


We, the undersigned at the University of Minnesota, strongly condemn the concerted attack on the students, faculty and academic culture of Jawaharlal Nehru University. At the behest of the government, the Delhi police has pressed sedition charges on unnamed students of the university. Reminiscent of the Emergency, the students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested, several students have been suspended and the Delhi police has been hounding students in hostels, homes as well as public spaces in the city. Sections of the mainstream media have launched a vicious campaign to declare JNU an “anti-national” university, and some journalists have gone so far as to spin lies about the “terrorist connections” of student activist Umar Khalid. As a consequence, mob violence against JNU students and faculty has spread across the city and even entered the courtrooms where the case against the JNU students’ union president was being heard. We strongly condemn this hate campaign and demand the immediate release of the JNU students’ union president. We also demand that the suspension of students is revoked and unsubstantiated sedition charges are withdrawn immediately.

Continue reading University of Minnesota Stands in Solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University

Solidarity Statement for JNU by IIT Scholars

This is a statement issued by the undersigned, scholars of Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences of IITs across the country.

We, the undersigned, scholars of Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences of IITs across the country, condemn the police action in JNU and the arrest of the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar on the charge of sedition. We also denounce the repeated acts of violence unleashed by some lawyers and others at the Patiala House Court against faculty, students and the media, as well as police inaction regarding the same.

In addition, we appeal for media and public trials to cease and for civil society to instead focus on debating issues in an amicable and reasonable manner, without slandering JNU or questioning the academic integrity or patriotic fervour of JNU and its supporters. We criticise the general atmosphere of fear and intimidation that is being created to target the entire university. Given the fast polarizing political atmosphere in the country, we appeal to the media organisations to display greater responsibility and conduct television debates in such a manner that no prejudicial public opinion is created while there is an ongoing enquiry into the entire episode by the authorities concerned. Resorting to jingoism and sensationalism may cause avoidable hazards. Continue reading Solidarity Statement for JNU by IIT Scholars

Delhi Stands With JNU Students and Against the Evil Modi Regime

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are...”-

Bertholt Brecht

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This afternoon saw an amazing, uplifting show of peaceful, joyful strength by students, young people, teachers, friends in Delhi, in support of JNU, in memory of Rohith Vemula, in solidarity with Kanhaiya, Umar and all the students in JNU who are being so stellar in their principled opposition to this evil, venal Modi regime. Reports of massive protests are coming in from Kolkata, Russia to and elsewhere. Something is changing in the air.
It was a perfect spring afternoon, overcast like our times, but breezy like our morale. There must have been at least 15,000 people on the march today. We met old and long lost friends and made new ones.

The gathering was totally peaceful. Young  women and men, student profits from JNU in the eighties, grey haired, felt young again as their student held aloft flowers, flags, signs and homemade banners. Everyone looked their best, as if they had come to a massive street party.

It was so infectious, the mood this afternoon, such a contrast to the vile bad temper of the men who attacked Kanhaiya and his supporters two days in a row at the Patiala House Courts two days in a row that the difference between two entirely different visions of politics was palpable on your skin. The contrast sent a clear message to all our senses.

The RSS-ABVP-BJP brand of politics is diseased. It’s on its last legs and that is why it is so desperate. It cannot perform, it has no ideas, it is morally and culturally bankrupt.

Universities are in crisis and all that the bad TV actress who makes a joke of her ministry (HRS) every day can think of today while thousands March against her and her boss is about sticking giant flagpoles into the ground and stitching gigantic silk shrouds for her  government and her party.

Modi, Rajnath and Manusmriti Irani should quake in fear. Their time is up.

Very proud of JNU students and the people of Delhi today.

#StandwithJNU #StandwithKanhaiya