If you don’t protest now, you might not get a chance later: Aishe Ghosh

Student leaders who have been at the forefront of agitations across campuses in the country speak out

People should not wait for students to die before deciding to raise their voices, said Aishe Ghosh, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union, at the Mumbai Collective on Saturday. Ms. Ghosh said the time to wait was over and if people do not raise their voice now, there may not be a platform to dissent in future.

Highlighting the deaths of Rohith Vemula, scholar at the University of Hyderabad, and Fatima Latif, IIT Madras student, Ms. Ghosh said, “Why do we have to wait for a student to die, commit suicide, be killed, or Aishe Ghosh to be hit by an iron rod? This is not just a fight of students,” she said.

Ms. Ghosh, who was brutally attacked by goons on JNU campus on January 5, was a part of a panel of student leaders from Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), Tata Institute Of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and Pondicherry University, who have been at the forefront of agitations across campuses in the country.

Ms. Ghosh said, “A good student is not someone who gets 99 on 100. A student is not someone who just reads about Hitler. Education and being a good student is to see similarities and stop it from happening in India. If we are learning about democracy in civics, then we need to implement it in society.”

Afra Abubakar from JMI said they had started door-to-door awareness campaigns after the Citizenship Amendment Act was enacted, but the attack on Jamia students on January 15 spread awareness more effectively about the fascist nature of the government. “With the shooting, more people will become aware,” she said.

‘A special place in history’

Ms. Ghosh said when history is written, it will have a place for all the women from Shaheen Bagh and across the country who are leading protests. Ms. Abubakar said, “The protests are still going strong due to the support we got from the neighbourhood.” She said if the protest at Shaheen Bagh has to survive, the protests in the other parts of the country need to have the same intensity and not be limited to symbolic protests.

Ms. Abubakar said, “At JNU, Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University, it was a protest. When people at Shaheen Bagh joined, it became a movement,” she said, adding that they had never dreamed that someone would attack the protest wielding a gun.

Aisha Kader from TISS said exclusion was the BJP’s motto, while Parichay Yadav, president of Pondicherry University Student Council, said the shootings at Jamia and Shaheen Bagh on Saturday were carried out to invoke fear.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 12:28:29 PM |

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