What was appalling in the incident of 22nd February was not the brutality of the police or the deafening silence of the Home Minister and the Prime Minister, rather it was the sheer apathy of students who chose not to turn up when people from their own community needed them the most.
Chaos. Violence. Stones. Shock. There couldn’t be a more apt description for what was otherwise scheduled to be a literary extravaganza at one of the oldest colleges of Delhi University. February 22, 2017 installed in each one of us a sense of agony credited to the helplessness of the students from a city which is touted to be among the top 100 student-friendly cities of the world.
As someone who isn’t even a part of Delhi University, it sends a shiver down my spine reading horrific and unbelievable first-hand accounts of cave-man attitude seen in and around ABVP’s new battleground — Ramjas College and the entire region that encapsulates the north campus and Maurice Nagar — all in the name of futile nationalism which is beyond human understanding.
Now this article is certainly not about what the ABVP has done and/or its hegemony; rather this article aims the dart at those people these ‘powerless’ students had expectations from.
It is not about the goons of ABVP, who, as per the eye-witnesses howled that the students’ “asli jagah” is “jooti ke neeche”, but about people who have once again failed them and have shown them their ‘correct’ place in the socio-political system.
Stones were being pelted and bricks were being hurled at professors and students during a peaceful march. Women recalled their horrific experiences from the incident the next day. Female students accused AVBP members of catcalling and abusing them while they were heading back to hostels.
Hostels were being ‘raided’ by the self-authorized nationalists. Rape threats were being screamed without any sense of fear. Women were being pulled by their hair and illegally detained beyond 6pm.
The ABVP may or may not agree with Ramjas’ decision of inviting Umar Khalid for a talk in their college. Their defense that he’s ‘anti-national’ is invalid, since legally Khalid is innocent until proved guilty! Hence, they should start minding their own business, provided they have any.
On one hand, the ones who do not have any authority by law were seen issuing insane diktat, while on the other hand the men clad in uniform had their hands tied on the first day, and their minds racing to create a mirage of FIR on Day 2. The FIR lodged by the police was self-conceived fiction absolutely divorced from reality. It was a thud to the students in all its entirety, but hilariously absurd at the same time: “sadak ke left side par left wing students the aur sadak ke right side pe right wing ke students the” was how the FIR shamelessly delineated the ABVP’s organized attack on the students, thereby yet again trying to suppress the voices against hooligans affiliated to the RSS.
Innocent students were being arrested and transposed all across the city as they had plans of committing the heinous crime of lodging an FIR in a handicapped penal system. But Brutus is an honourable man! And Bharat Mata ki jai ho!
This incident was horrific not just in terms of the action of these men and women we voted for, but was also a slap by the hands of reality on the faces of students who thought they were part of a ‘student community’ in Delhi, which in reality, does not exist. The so called student community, as well as adults, have failed DU as much as the ABVP; because a majority of people failed to come up and express solidarity in times of need, and it is this disunity which acts as a boon for these goons.
This incident raises the burning question of whether I am a nationalist or a forced nationalist, and whether “Bharat Mata ki Jai” should come from my heart or from my mouth. In light of the recent turn of events, I am not safe in my own country.
You may not be from Delhi. You may not be from Delhi Univerity. It may not be your ‘own’ people. But division on the basis of universities will last only for at the most 3-4 years in your life. If you don’t stand for them now, who will stand for you tomorrow?!