In Pictures: Jadavpur University Shows The Power Of Solidarity, Over 1 Lakh March For Justice!

By Nishant Chhinkwani:

September 20, 2014 will never be erased from my mind, and the minds of tens of thousands, perhaps even lakhs, of students who braved the elements to join shoulders with the students of Jadavpur University, in solidarity.

Jadavpur University students have been protesting University inaction and high-handedness of the authorities in the investigation of an alleged molestation that happened on the night of August 28, for well over 15 days now. The protests culminated into a sit-in on September 10, when students sat down in agitation against the University authorities demanding for justice. Things took an ugly turn in the early hours of September 17- the students were brutally assaulted both by police and Trinamool goons on the peacefully protesting students. Women protesting there were assaulted and molested, agitating against molestation.

40 students had to be hospitalized, and 38 were arrested!

This gross violation of the democratic rights of the students awoke a rage in the students that the smart phone generation have often been lamented lacking in. A protest march was taken out on September 17 where in over 5,000 students participated, voicing their protest. A twin protest march was carried out on the very next day which saw over 10,000 participants.

Their intention was clear. They wanted justice for the girl in question, an unbiased investigation to be carried out, and the resignation of the Vice Chancellor who had ordered the widely condemned police action on his own students.

The word on the street spread out like wildfire on social media (#hokolorob was trending at the top at one point of time) that a ‘Mahamichil’(Mega Rally) would be taken out on Saturday, September 20, from Nandan cinema complex to Raj Bhavan, where the students would put down their demands to the Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the University. The optimists expected 25,000 people, the pessimists predicted 15,000.

On the morning of September 20, 2014, the weather Gods rumbled ominously. Incessant rain started from around 10:30 in the morning and hadn’t relented by the time the rally was scheduled to start. There was a collective fear that maybe the rains would wash out the march. Perhaps, all of us feared that no one would turn up. Or the fact that we would be missing out on that one chance where we all could stand up against oppression on our fellow brethren and issue a strong statement.

Everyone came. Students of different colleges, even schools, teachers, alumni, common folks. Everyone!

Braving the rains, braving the unfavourable elements, to stand up for what’s right and to show the students of Jadavpur University that they do not stand alone.

The official estimate by the police stands at around 60,000 to 1,00,000. Unofficial count suggests that the figure was close to 1,20,000. This has been one of the largest apolitical student marches to be held in recent times in the country. The mood was electric, the voices were loud and clear. Chants of Hok Kolorob tore the skies wide open. The word that students in Delhi had also marched along with us in thousands uplifted the mood even further. The jaws were set. The faces were determined. A stand had to be taken today.

We captured some of those moments.

Protesters in large numbers braving the rains with smiles on their faces.
Times they are a Changing. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Jara Bhoy Pete sikhiyeche, Tomra o ebar bhoy pao; Amaro aachi oder Sanghe EK HOY! (Translation: Those who have taught us to fear, its your turn to be afraid now, we stand with the students of Jadavpur, AS ONE!) Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Students keep walking their talk, despite the heavy rain. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
A sea of multicoloured umbrellas. Pic: Kashya Mitra.
The voice of a protest that doesn’t seem to die down. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
The sheer number of students forced the rally to come to a standstill several times, as latecomers joined in. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Hok Kolorob. Enough Said! Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Hum chheen ke lenge, AZAADI! Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Lathi’r mukh e gaaner suur, dekhiye dilo Jadavpur. (An old favourite: Sing in the face of blows, that is what Jadavpur shows.) Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Maar Khelo Jadavpur, Baitha laglo Baranogore. (Jadavpur got beaten up, we felt the pain in Baranagar) Students from ISI Kolkata, in solidaity. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
United we stand in face of oppression and injustice. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.
Get up Stand up, Stand up for your right. Get up stand up, Don’t give up the fight. Pic: Kashyap Mitra.

The ‘official’ protest chant.

Saturday’s rally showed me, and all of us who were a part of this momentous event, that we are not as apathetic as we thought we are. We care. The rain didn’t stop us from voicing our dissent against the tyranny of the University officials and the state machinery.

My city came alive. She was strong and confident, and thrumming with energy. She was angry and she wanted answers, instead of being her usual silent, cowering self. She made me fall in love with all over with her again.

I’m a proud Calcuttan today!

Also Read: What The Incidents At The Jadavpur University Mean For The Rest Of Us

Jadavpur University Molestation Case: Students Up In Protest Against Administrative Inaction

In Pictures: Jadavpur University Shows The Power Of Solidarity, Over 1 Lakh March For Justice!

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below