Mainstream, VOL LIV No 16 New Delhi April 9, 2016
Shame on You!
Sunday 10 April 2016
by K. Narayana
“I feel ashamed of you now, after all these years of admiration. What is your status and what is Kanhaiya’s level? Why did you go to the airport to receive him?”—complains a well- wisher of mine.
“A person who had praised deshadrohi Afzal Guru, is getting your support! Shame on you!”— another friend of mine expresses his ire.
“You had followed Kanhaiya to the Central University. Did you ever realise what impression it will create?”— one more Leftist friend enquires.
I concede that I am facing criticism from some quarters like these three typical ones I have listed above. I am not talking about the numerous praises and expressions of support I have received. I will take cognisance of the criticism rather than the words of support. Expressions of support might elate you and help you to move forward, but their role is limited to that. It is only the criticism that helps us to introspect.
The episode of Kanhaiya had emerged with the events that took place at JNU, Delhi between February 9 to 11 this year. Along with Kanhaiya, the Students’ Union President of JNU, two other students were also charged under sedition and arrested.
We are all aware of these events in JNU since February 9 that had led to the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar. The seven video tapes, in which he had purportedly shouted anti-India slogans, and which were widely publicised by some TV channels, had been sent to a Lab in Hyderabad for analysis. It was established that at least two videos, widely publicised by some channels, had been doctored. It is these morphed videos that were used as evidence against Kanhaiya, and he was charged on the basis of these videos. It was also widely publicised by some other channels explaining technically how these videos were morphed. Official investigations by various agencies had established that Kanhaiya had neither shouted the anti-India slogans, nor had he any role in it. Legal experts the world over, eminent and veteran journalists and many top politicians had supported the fact that Kanhaiya was innocent and that he had done no wrong. Should Kanhaiya walk on fire to once again prove his innocence? I am sure even that will not satisfy the saffron brigade who are after his blood.
I have full confidence in the fact that this young man, whose age is less than half of my political life, is innocent and if proven otherwise, I declare that I will say goodbye to my political life. I am saying this from the depths of my heart.
Before entering Parliament for the first time, Narendra Modi had kissed the earth. I would like to ask him: will he be prepared to rub his nose in the ground, now that he and his party are sure to be proven wrong? Are they prepared to take up this challenge?
Giving me unsolicited advice, that I have a high position in politics and that I should not stoop down to expressing support to Kanhaiya is a blatant attempt to isolate Kanhaiya and play with his life. Their praise of me is in fact subversion.
Irrespective of her/his age, if anyone comes forward to fight against injustice and for a better India, I will extend my support to that person. Why the hell are you people so scared of him? Is it because the fearless young man is challenging Modi one-to-one? Youth are staying away from politics and even honest and hardworking young cadres are not able to climb up the political ladder. It is only children of the rich and powerful, along with top industrialists who are occupying seats in Parliament and other elected Houses. And politics for them is a part of their business, a tool to promote their interests. And Parliament’s purpose is narrowed down to serve the interests of the rich and powerful. More than 80 per cent of the acts proposed to help the downtrodden and poor farmers are languishing and not able to see the light of the day. Women, who comprise 50 per cent of the population, could not get the 33 per cent reservation in Parliament and State legislatures. The relevant Bill is pending forever.
In this context, it is persons such as Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya, who get all the political support to cheat this country and its people, while no one in power comes out honestly to support a forthright young man like Kanhaiya. I feel proud of this young man and I don’t hesitate to extend whatever help he needs. This country needs thousands of Kanhaiyas. False pride should not come in the way of supporting the truth.
Kanhaiya, who was under police custody, was attacked in full public view before TV cameras by BJP goons, wearing black lawyers’ coats. Even the legal experts, deputed by the Supreme Court, were not spared. The police and all the official machinery were mute witnesses to this blatant violation of the law of this land. Students are now afraid of going to their class-rooms and an atmosphere of fear has been created. The Hyderabad Central University is a glaring example of this. It has been converted into a concentration camp, with the students deprived of food, water, electricity and communication facilities. The BJP had threatened that they will block Kanhaiya from entering Hyderabad and Vijayawada. The moment he landed in Hyderabad, every movement of his was fraught with danger. He was prevented from meeting Rohith Vemula’s mother. Goons on motor bikes tried to pelt stones on the car in which Kanhaiya was travelling. At the closed gates of the University of Hyderabad, the BJP goons had blocked his path and tried to disrupt the meeting he was supposed to address. While he was addressing a meeting at Sundarayya Vijnana Kendram in Hyderabad, it was again the BJP goons who tried to throw chappals, though unsuccessfully, on Kanhaiya in the full presence of elderly citizens and the media.
Though permission was granted by the authorities to hold a meeting at Siddhartha College grounds, Venkaiah Naidu’s henchmen had seen to it that the permission was withdrawn. We had to shift the venue to a private function hall. Two hours before Kanhaiya was supposed to arrive, the BJP cadres tried to enter the hall with the intention of creating trouble. They had brought in goons from far-off places to enact this drama. I got a call from Delhi that the BJP was planning to organise an attack on Kanhaiya by some BJP women. By 4.30 pm, these women were already there in the meeting hall and got into an argument with the Red Shirt volunteers. Some BJP goons from other districts, who could not be immediately identified by the Vijayawada local comrades, sat in the front row and they tried to throw chappals at Kanhaiya as he rose to speak. Of course, they did not succeed as the Left cadres were alert. We had put up Kanhaiya at a hotel for the night, and even there, the BJP goons went and threatened the hotel management. This all-powerful government, with stalwarts such as Modi and Venkaiah—seem to be scared of this little boy, Kanhaiya. Why was there so much snooping and subversion on him? Are you scared stiff that if he speaks, you will be exposed? Disrupting the meeting of rival parties does not exactly fit into the democratic culture.
The Constitution has guaranteed the right to assembly and expression of dissenting opinions for all citizens. If you try to snatch it away from us by misuse of power, the anger of the people will explode on your face.
Your blatant attempts at creating a frenzy of politically motivated false nationalism and your projection of ‘Bharat Mata‘ to symbolise the interests of the rich is sure to boomerang on you. This whole subversive activity of bringing in Hindutva fascism is being watched with anger by the people and they will teach you a bitter lesson.
With this subversive plan, these saffron gangs want to thwart the rising tide of opposition against them, by silencing Kanhaiya. At this critical juncture, should we remain mute spectators and allow them to carry on with their nefarious plan? When the police and administration had failed to protect Kanhaiya in the hallowed premises of the court, who will trust this government to protect the life of Kanhaiya? Only the committed Leftist move-ment has to take care of him at this critical juncture.
Should Kanhaiya be left alone to fend for himself? Is it a sin to protect and help him? You are saying that we will get painted in the same colour as Kanhaiya. I say that Kanhaiya is always on our side—he is a committed Leftist cadre. By keeping him away from us, we will be throwing him to the saffrom wolves. Is that what you want, by cautioning me?
When the movement against the BJP misrule is picking up, we should put all our efforts by encouraging the newly emerging united student-youth movement. Any hesitation at this stage will prove suicidal to the Left in this country.
Hyderabad, March 28, 2016
Dr K. Narayana is the National Secretary, Communist Party of India.