Within few hours of being freed from Tihar Jail, JNUSU President Kanhaiya was seen back in the campus and addressing a huge gathering. The call for Azadi could be heard loud and clear. This time, the 28-year-old PhD. scholar took the pain of explaining what he meant by Azadi, “It is not azadi from India, it is azadi in India [we want]… from the corrupt practices inside the country”. While his speech was full of anecdotes on his prison days, he also gave a call for serious introspection into things happening in this country.
Immediately after Kanhaiya Kumar met with the CPI leaders and addressed a press conference with the senior party members, social media became abuzz with only on thought: this fellow will be a great asset for Left parties. Let’s ignore the speculation for some time and narrow down on the message he tried to convey through this hour-long speech.
Here are the highlights of Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech at JNU on Friday.
- According to Kanhaiya Kumar, the attack on JNU was “planned” with an objective of diluting the fight for justice. The university and its students were targeted since they took on the government through Occupy UGC movement and demanded justice for Hyderabad University student.
- He took a dig at the BJP government for not taking kindly any criticism of its ideology. Making a reference to doctored videos, Kanhaiya said that the cyber cell sends doctored videos and “count the number of condoms in your hostel” if you question government’s functioning.
- He further elaborated the term “azadi” during his speech claiming that the students of JNU “want azadi from capitalism, from brahminism, from casteism”. “We are not asking for freedom from India because India has not colonised anyone”, he added.
- Kanhaiya shared his observations during his days in Tihar jail. According to him, the “people of JNU speak in civilised voices, but use heavy terminologies” that don’t reach the common man. He recommended establishing communication with the common people.
- Kanhaiya’s speech was tempered with some valuable observations on ABVP and JNU. He didn’t hesitate in saying, “The ABVP we have on campus is more rational than the ABVP outside”. At the same time he made it clear that he has no ill-feelings towards the ABVP because JNU doesn’t look at the ABVP as an enemy but an opposition.
- In one of the watershed moments of his speech, he challenged all the critics of JNU to reason with him in a debate as to why JNU should be shut for four months. Referring to his humble background, Kanhaiya declared that his family survives on Rs. 3,000. Still, he is able to do a PhD. in JNU, which wouldn’t have been possible in any other college.
- Appreciating the concerted efforts of the JNU students to keep the momentum of the protests alive, the JNUSU President said that the government won’t be able to suppress the voice of JNU because it’s spontaneous and endorses “all parts of Constitution – socialism, secularism and equality”.
- Accusing the BJP of running a “distraction campaign” to divert people’s attention from real issues, Kanhaiya raised concern by saying, “What is happening today in the country is very dangerous. It is not about one party, one news channel”.
- Just like the Leonardo Di Caprio’s Oscar moment, Kanhaiya was emphatic in his concluding words: “It is not easy to get admission in JNU, neither it is easy to silence those in JNU. You cannot dilute our struggle. We will not rest till everybody has an equal right to prosperity”.
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