“Arre tum kya doge azadi, Hum chhin ke lenge azadi”.
“Hok, Hok, Hok Kolorob”
“Lathir mukhe gaaner shur, dekhiye dilo Jadavpur”
These slogans have been resonating in our hearts since the 28th of August and the 17th of September. Finally, 12th of January 2015, will always be remembered as the day when an independent, non partisan student’s movement, won against a machinery that did everything it could to shut them up. Beginning from being called a “chhoto ghatana” (small incident), to being accused that the protesting lot were a minority in the university, to calling students that showed solidarity with this movement “bohiragotos” (outsider), to making the temporary Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarty permanent, despite all our protests and demands for resignation; the state did everything that they could to drown our voices. But as some have put it, Jadavpur University is our Hogwarts and Umbridge would have to leave eventually. That moment arrived yesterday after a four month long battle in which every student of JU, and every person who was in solidarity with our cause, participated in every way that they could. Yesterday, Jadavpur University made history.
After countless General Body meetings, referendums, a boycotted convocation and our brave friends putting their lives in the line by going on a hunger strike unto death, we have finally managed to win the most basic of our demands – the resignation of the man who was directly responsible for getting students beaten up and molested by the police, the same students who were demanding a fair investigation of a case of molestation on campus.
But as many have pointed out, we have just won the first battle, the war awaits. However, this win is a huge step forward. This win reinstated our faith in revolutions; this small step reminded us of how much unity can achieve and how far we still have to go. For a movement that has faced cynicism from every sphere of life, for a bunch of people who have been battling questions like “When do you study if rebelling is all that you do?” this, is a moment of glory. Yesterday, I saw just as much happiness and hope as I had seen despair and hopelessness on that fateful September morning. My Facebook newsfeed has not been this happy, ever. I salute the courage and bravery of those young people who went on a hunger strike not knowing when they could eat again, who braved every pang of hunger, the cold and the fatigue, just so that each and every one of us could feel safe on our campus, so that those that had been wronged could live knowing that the man who was responsible for the violence inflicted upon them is now gone. Their sacrifice is what made this feat possible. Some of them were hospitalised and I wish them a speedy recovery. I salute the courage of those whose backs bore the blows that night and thank those thousands who stood with us against every odd, who walked the rallies, got wet in the rains, and screamed their voices sore. To our critics and cynics – you kept us going. Thank you for reminding us that we had a battle to win, every moment of these last four months.
Now, a new battle will begin, fighting for the rest of our demands. A fair investigation of the events of 28th of August and 17th of September is still pending. Moreover, one of the main outcomes of this movement is how it managed to unite the student community as one and reminded us of a very simple thing we’d given up on, Hope. For my part, I, like many of my contemporaries, can tell the story of how I witnessed history being made, I saw a revolution born out of a tyrant’s schemes and I saw unity win against all odds. This is good enough, for now.