Speeches of JNU Leaders
JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar
They are the people who burn the tricolour; they are the stooges of Savarkar, who apologised to the British. They are the people who, right now, in Haryana, run the Khattar government that has renamed after a Sanghi an airport named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. The upshot is, we don’t need a certificate of patriotism from the RSS. We don’t need the RSS to certify us as nationalists.
We are of this country and love the soil of India. We fight for those 80 per cent of this country’s people who are poor. For us, this is desh bhakti. We have full faith in Babasaheb. We have full faith in our country’s Constitution. And we want to firmly assert that if anyone lifts a finger against this country’s Constitution — whether the Sanghis or anyone else — we won’t tolerate it. We have faith in the Constitution. But we have no faith in the constitution that is taught at Jhandelwala and Nagpur. We have no faith in the Manusmriti.
This nation was never yours — and will never be yours. A nation is made of its people. If the nation doesn’t have space for the hungry, the poor, the workers, then it is not a nation.
JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora
Right-wing propaganda on the internet says ‘JNU students study on taxpayers’ money, yet their hearts beat for China and Pakistan.’ Yes we study on taxpayers’ money and that’s why we are determined to save the country. Who are the anti-nationals’? They include those who try to divide the nation of communal grounds, who slaughter people on the issue of beef, love jihad, etc…anti-nationals are those who indulge in casteism and lead to the death of our brother Rohith Vemula…anti-nationals are the ones who shamelessly pen off the policies of the nation according to the whims and fancies of the 1 per cent influential corporate sector. They are anti-national who remain unmoved by the death of farmers, and the deteriorating condition of labourers, but leave no stone unturned to benefit their Adanis and Ambanis.
AISA President Sucheta De
This university is a dangerous place. When I came to the University for the first time and realized that I could go over to the room of a male senior student past midnight and he would help me by giving me notes, it was a culture shock. When I could walk over to the corner to get a cigarette at 4 am with a woman friend, it was a huge sense of freedom. For the first time I was in a place where as a woman, I was completely equal.
“Kanhaiya Kumar does not speak English very well. Rama Naga is from a poor household in Koraput. Chintu Kumari is from Bhojpur in Bihar, where Dalits were massacred in her neighbourhood. JNU is the place which not only welcomes in such students but makes them leaders. The nation must know that this is JNU.
My name is Umar Khalid, certainly, but I am not a terrorist.
First when I heard about it, I felt like laughing about how it would be when Jaish-e-Mohammad comes to know that someone like me is being linked with them – perhaps they would protest in Jhandewalan against such a charge.
The first time I felt like a Muslim in the last seven years was in the last 10 days. The way, to quote Rohith Vemula, I was reduced to my immediate identity. Let’s also not privilege ourselves, saying this is only an attack on the universities. To conclude my speech, in the last 10 days, there have been several attacks across the country – be it on Honda workers, be it Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group or Soni Sori. We have to connect all these struggles, we have to connect all these fights, we have to stand with the oppressed everywhere, anywhere. We have to keep the tradition of JNU students union alive.
JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar is a PhD candidate at the Central for African Studies in the School of International Studies (SIS). 28-year old Kanhaiya is an AISF leader and came to JNU from Begusarai for his M. Phil.
Rama Naga, a 24-year old from Koraput in Odisha, from a laboring Dalit home. He is doing his M.Phil. from the Centre for Political Studies (CPS). His M.Phil. is on peoples’ movements against land grab in Niyamgiri, Jagatsinghpur and Baliapal. He came to JNU to do an MA, and has struggled hard to overcome huge social and economic challenges to become the first graduate in his village.
Ashutosh Kumar, who was the JNUSU President in 2014-15, is from Barh in Bihar. Son of Indian Railways employee, Ashutosh came to JNU in 2009 for an MA in International Relations and is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Russian Studies in SIS.
Anant Prakash Narayan, from Chandauli in Uttar Pradesh, is a qualified lawyer and came to JNU for an M.Phil in the Centre for Studies in Law and Governance (CSLG). He is currently doing his Ph.D from CSLG.
Aishwarya Adhikari, who is from Kolkata, is an MA student of International Relations in SIS. An activist with the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF), Aishwarya is currently an elected students’ representative in the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH).
Shweta Raj, the Convener of the School of Languages in the JNUSU, is a doctoral candidate in Hindi Literature in the Centre for Indian Languages (CIL) is from Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh.
Umar Khalid is a doctoral candidate at the Central for Historical Studies (CHS) in the School of Social Sciences. He was with the Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) till a few months back, and resigned with several others over ideological differences on DSU’s understanding of gender.
Anirban Bhattacharya too left DSU with Umar, and is also a doctoral candidate at CHS. Anirban, who is on the verge of completing his PhD, came to JNU from Kolkata for his MA degree in modern history.