By Trippy Tales:
Vidrohi, the poet you probably have never heard of, or maybe you have, the one who lived under a tree in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, and the one who never wrote any of his poems down, died on 8th December. Vidrohi was a romantic—an extremist one, if there is any such thing. His real name was Ramashankar Yadav, but very few knew of it. For them, he was just Vidrohi, which literally means rebellion. And he sure was a rebel. Sample what he said to the woman he loved, “I love you, not because you are beautiful, and elegant, but because whenever I look at you, I believe there will be a revolution.”
Born on December 3, 1957, in Firozpur village of Sultanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, India, he graduated from Sultanpur. Later after abandoning a course in law from Kamla Nehru Institute, he studied masters in Hindi literature. At this time, he became involved in activism and student politics and was expelled from the University in 1983. The expulsion hit him so hard that he ended up spending his entire life on the University campus narrating poetry formed by him. Nobody seems to know why, but he never wrote any of his poems down. The only collection of his poetry titled ‘Nayi Kheti’ was published in 2011 with the help of his small section of fans.
Vidhrohi took his last breath on December 8, 2015 participating in a protest with the students of the very University that had expelled him.
Throughout his life, Vidrohi was a victim of literary politics. No recognitions and no awards. Despite being a people’s poet, following the path of greats like Kabeer, Nagarjun and Adam Gondavi, despite having the spectacular range in his poems which targeted issues from ancient Mohanjodro, Greece, Mesopotamia, Spartus to the recent most politics, he was ignored by the literati, academia and the government. By everyone except the students.
We celebrated his poem by reciting them in the company of twenty musicians. To tell you the truth, Vidrohi is an idea—an idea that needs a voice, an idea that needs music, an idea that needs to be heard.
We kept the film in monochrome to emphasise the different shades of life, some are in dark and some are in light. What is important is we appreciate, recognise each other’s struggle and celebrate it.