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)