'JNU’s image has suffered damage, I have to mend it'

Kanhaiya Kumar is upbeat about "stand with JNU" movement; rules out career in politics; wants to be a teacher.

March 05, 2016 02:10 am | Updated November 17, 2021 04:59 am IST - NEW DELHI:

In a free-wheeling conversation, JNU student's union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was released from Tihar jail on Thursday, spoke about his future plans about the student's movements, his experience and take away from the recent controversy.

You spent 22 days in custody. What do you think is your takeaway from the experience?

It is yet to sink in that I am finally out of jail. I am trying to comprehend the entire situation. However, I do realise that a huge damage has been caused to the name of our university ad I have to try to mend it.

Students all over the country are looking up to you as a youth icon, what is your future plan of action for the students’ movement?

I am happy that a large number of students across the country have supported me and the university. I am definitely eager to take the students’ struggle forward.

We have been associated with the FTII struggle, then we associated with the Rohith Vemula movement, demanding justice for Rohith. Now a large number of people are with the “Stand JNU” movement.

This is definitely a new high for the students' movement in the country.

Do you think student organisations are playing the role of the opposition party in the country, in the way they are taking on the government?

There are two centres of power, one is Parliament and the other is the struggle on the streets. We have to take the struggle from streets to Parliament.

The Left is divided into five fractions in JNU but for your release, they united. What do you have to say about them?

It is the role of not only the Left but everyone to unite for the right cause. Whoever believes to be not only Left but Ambedkarite has come forward. The entire opposition has come forward. The Left will have division, but all those who have come forward, have come forward to safeguard democracy and the Constitution.

Are you going to campaign for a political party or contest elections in the future?

I do not see my life in fragments. I am a student right now and I am doing politics. In future, whatever I do, politics will be a part of my life. I do not want to be a political leader, I want to be a teacher. But once I am in that profession, then also politics will be a part of my life.

Do you think the space for debates on human rights violations and Kashmir issues will cease to exist after the February 9 incident and the controversy surrounding it?

I don't think it will. This is the beauty of JNU. We let all spaces co-exist on campus. People will continue to talk about things that they want to.

Do you think the court order has put you in a tight spot?

I have read the court order in more detail than anyone else who is commenting on it. It just says that I should not commit any anti-national activity, there is no restriction on speech.

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