I do not know Najeeb. I have never met him or spoken to him. However, I know of him because of something – an incident regarding him. I know him because of his disappearance.
In case you don’t know of him, Najeeb is a first-year student M.Sc Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University who has been missing since October 15, 2016. Imagine a classmate of yours disappearing one fine day and imagine not knowing about his or her whereabouts for more than two months – almost three months now.
I don’t live in the capital and I have never been to the JNU campus or been an active part of their fight against extremism and fanaticism – in a nut shell, right wing bodies. I do not know what it feels like to welcome back Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid or Anirban Bhattacharya to a campus from where they were arrested and charged with sedition. I do not know how that victory sounds like, but just like many other students in India, I have felt happy whenever they have been victorious.
For most of us, who are not an official part of the JNU society, social media is how we get daily updates about the campus from. Sources like online blogs and Facebook pages and Twitter handles become our only way of knowing what is going on miles away on a campus which has a universe of freedom and struggle of its own. Not very surprisingly, that is how I got to know about Najeeb’s disappearance. It was shocking. When you hear such a news, the only reply from your end is the steady beating of your heart and heavy breaths, not knowing the right words to express the fear that such an incident generates. Ever since then, ever now and then, I post a “Where is Najeeb?” on my Facebook. No, it isn’t bringing him back. Yes, people on my list do read it once and are reminded of something so shocking and sudden and unacceptable – for the lack of better words.
Najeeb disappeared after a brawl with ABVP students. Everyone knows this. Are you seriously telling me that you cannot draw conclusions? That it was mere coincidence that he disappeared? A human being of flesh and blood DISAPPEARED and 50% of the nation is unaware of such an event and 30% out of the rest chooses to forget it.
Is this exactly how insensitive we are becoming as a society? Is this what we are taught in our homes, schools and colleges? Are we a generation growing up on a foundation built with bricks of apathy, egocentrism and utmost value for the self?
I do not know where Najeeb is and I have my doubts as to whether any of us will ever hear from him again, but I, as an entity with an agency of my own, refuse to forget his disappearance. And I refuse to stop reminding each and every one of you.
If you wish to know more or get more updates about this incident, follow the Facebook page named: Bring Back Najeeb.
Let’s not forget someone who needs to be remembered.