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Mainstream, VOL LIV No 11 New Delhi March 5, 2016

Truth Will Prevail

Wednesday 9 March 2016, by SC


The release of Kanhaiya Kumar, the President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, on March 3 after three weeks of detention in police custody and prison and his electrifying speech the same evening before a packed audience of JNU students in the university campus have created a veritable stir across the country and beyond. This is testified by the massive spontaneous response to his JNU address in the social media.

Indeed Kanhaiya has in simple language highlighted all the complexities we face under the present regime which we have been forced to endure all these months and would be compelled to suffer for three more years. And in the process he has unmasked the exploitative character of the prevailing system on the one side and ripped open the real face of those currently in power on the other—while at the same time unhesitantly striking a remarkably self-critical note of JNU academics not being able to lucidly translate their feelings before the public at large.

It was an essentially political speech wherein he exposed PM Narendra Modi’s intentions without mincing words: as The Indian Express reported the following morning,

Referring to Modi’s speech in Parliament earlier in the day, Kumar said, “Modiji was talking about Stalin and Khrushchev in Parliament. When I heard him speaking I felt like jumping into the TV screen, grabbing his suit and saying—‘Modiji, please speak about Hitler a little. Forget about Hitler, talk about Mussolini whose black cap you wear, who (RSS leader M.S.) Golwalkar went to meet.’”

“We will fight for Umar (Khalid) and Anirban (Bhattacharya). Let the courts decide what is deshdrohi (anti-national) and what is deshbhakti (patriotism). Madam Smriti Irani will not decide this because we are not her children,” he said, referring to the two other JNU students who were arrested.

Kumar even latched on to Modi’s post on Twitter after Irani’s reply to the discussion on the death of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula and the JNU sedition row. “Modiji tweeted Satyame Jayate. I also say, ‘PMji, I have huge differences in opinion with you, but Satyamev Jayate is from the Constitution. Today I also say to you: Satyamev Jayate.’”

Yes, that is the essence—Satyamev Jayate: Truth Shall Prevail. Undeterred by the sedition charge hurled on him by the authorities, and the BJP leaders enjoying power in particular, Kanhaiya reiterated it to assert that at no time did he indulge in any ‘anti-national’ and/or ‘subversive’ activity.

Rather, those who seek to destroy public unity by pitting soldiers against students have, in this present-day topsy-turvey world, become the standard-bearers of ‘nationalism’! It is this brand of ‘nationalism’ which had been decried and denounced in no uncertain terms by our National Poet Rabindranath Tagore who unequivocally pointed out that this ‘nationalism’ could turn into a menace. It has indeed turned into a menace as we see in today’s India before our very eyes.

So Kanhaiya is imprisoned by the present dispensation one of whose Ministers—Ram Shankar Katheria, MoS, Human Resources Development—is not even pulled up by the PM for having called upon Hindus to ‘show their strength’ and for being present at a public rally in Agra where such provocative anti-Muslim slogans—“Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, khoon nahi woh paani hai (the Hindu who doesn’t get angry isn’t Hindu enough)”—were raised. And yet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh gives the Minister a clean chit as he did during a discussion on the subject in the Rajya Sabha on March 3.

But whatever happens and howsoever powerful the fascist offensive from those in power, it is time we all join Kanhaiya in emphasising “Satyamev Jayate—Truth Shall Prevail”. For we are all certain it will prevail before long—if not today, definitely tomorrow. And we shall not rest till that happens.

March 4 S.C.