5 Mar 2016

I am just a soldier in the struggle for truth and justice: Kanhaiya Kumar

JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who seems to have swept his supporters off their feet with his post-release speech, had cultivated quite an interesting network of peers inside Tihar jail where he spent almost three weeks after being arrested on sedition charges.

Communication for Kanhaiya within prison became quite a problem, since the two guards who were deputed to him did not speak either Hindi or English.

But the language barrier did not deter the 28-year-old student leader and within a couple of days he was speaking to a number of Tihar staffers including the two guards who belong to South India.
In fact, he was such a favourite inside the prison, that at one point a paranoid guard even tasted his meal to check if the food was safe to consume.

While Kanhaiya does realise the tremendous amount of attention that he is receiving, speaking to dna he said he considered himself to be a "soldier in the struggle for truth and justice".

"The movement which started with the FTII movement became Occupy UGC which turned into justice for Rohith Vemula and now it has become stand up with JNU. It is too early to say if this is the resurrection of the left in the country but we have got some time in our hands and I am sure all this will lead to something good," Kanhaiya told dna. He added, "It is not about victory, it is about unity."

The first two days that Kanhaiya spent after his release have mostly been spent conversing either with journalists or his comrades who have themselves found it difficult to get enough time to converse with the man of the moment.

Asked if the High Court order will prompt him to restrain his political activities, Kanhaiya responds, "I have full faith in the judiciary. If it feels that I am doing wrong I will produce myself in front of the honourable court. But if a political party thinks I am doing things that I shouldn't be doing, I will increase my activities in defiance."

The statements of the JNU leader sound idealistic but he does his best to simplify them,"JNU students study a lot and at times use heavy technical words which the masses find difficult to comprehend fully. For me it's simple. The student movement in India had two sides, Parliament and the streets. Either we make the ones in Parliament come onto the streets or we will enter the Parliament."

Kanhaiya while speaking to dna also expressed concern over the alleged attempts made by BJP to shrink democratic spaces in universities and specifically in JNU. "This is an onslaught but I assure the people who have stood with JNU that the legacy of this university will stay as it is. We will educate ourselves, we will debate and we will keep fighting for the people of India."

When asked about his plans Kanhaiya responded that he wanted to be a teacher, perhaps an answer which he himself find hard to believe.

"See, right now, I am a student but a political student. Once I became a teacher I will be political teacher. Let's see where this journey takes me. I don't like to live my life in pieces. Mujhay tukron mein zindagi jeena pasand nahi", said Kanhaiya before disappearing into the a gathering of TV crews that had been battling all day to get a slot with the "JNU hero".

A friend of Kanhaiya when asked if the JNU leader showed any signs of fatigue. "He doesn't get tired so quickly. He told us that in jail he had read all the newspapers and knew what was being written about him and what the political leaders had been saying. I think it was in prison that he knew he had to rise again," said the friend. "He has risen," she added.

'Not contacted for campaign'

While talking dna, Kanhaiya Kumar reacted to the statement made by several senior left leaders including Sitaram Yechury that they would rope him into a campaign for leftist political groups before elections in West Bengal and Kerala. "No one officially contacted me yet. I have also not made any plans for now. For now I am a student and I want to be a teacher but I will always be someone who has his own set of politics. I cannot separate politics from me."
Source - DNA

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