2020 was a tumultuous year with the COVID-19 Pandemic, but going beyond the pandemic, it was a year when the youth of India spoke truth to power and stood up against the policies of the ruling government. From CAA-NRC-NPR to the farm laws to NEP to the Hathras gangrape, the youth occupied a central law in challenging the neo-liberal and fascist designs of the ruling establishment.
Certain youth movements and people who raised their voice in 2020 and spoke out, led movements, used their positions and resources to spread information and dissent, and sometimes had to face the brunt of state machinery looking to oppress them are:
Artwork by Priyanka Paul against the Citizenship Amendment Act
Priyanka Paul is an illustrator, poet, writer, and activist behind the Instagram page and blog @artwhoring. They use their voice and their art to criticize the fascism of the ruling BJP-RSS, casteism, patriarchy, misogyny, and islamophobia. They have had to face harassment, threats, and abuse from right-wing trolls including Kangana Ranaut but have constantly spoken truth to power in 2020 with their writing and stunning artwork.
One of Rachita Taneja’s comics criticizing Godi media.
Rachita Taneja is a digital organizer and activist who works in the fields of environment, human rights, and net neutrality. They also run the Instagram page @sanitarypanels which uploads comics with a critical and sarcastic view on the current situation in the country and its institutions. Rachita is also facing contempt of court proceedings by the Supreme Court for publishing cartoons that were critical of the Supreme Court.
Aishe Ghosh is the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Student’s Union, an activist in Student’s Federation Of India, and a research scholar. They organized and led protests against the JNU administration’s decision to hike fees, the CAA-NRC-NPR, the ABVP attack on JNU, the Delhi pogrom, and many more. Even after being attacked by the ABVP, Aishe organized a protest the very next day not letting the hindutva forces dampen their resolve.
Members of the feminist group Pinjra Tod, which fights for a ‘just, accessible, nondiscriminatory university and affordable accommodation’ along with dissenting against the CAA-NRC-NPR. Devangana and Natasha, both students were booked under the draconian UAPA with the Delhi Police alleging their involvement in the Delhi Pogrom. Both of them have been held in jail since May, with the police insidiously jailing them on another charge when they get bail.
The youth raised it’s voice in 2020, even with the pandemic witnessed a groundswell of student-youth coming out to register dissent against the regime.
Unfortunately, in this article, one can’t name every single student from campuses all across the country who did activism in their own way due to the sheer number of people who raised their voice against social injustices and the ruling class. The islamophobic CAA-NRC-NPR, the caste killing and gang rape at Hathras, the farm bills, NEP, the environment, and many other issues and evils faced fight back from students in many capacities.
Organized student groups like Pinjra Tod, SFI, AISA, Collective, BAPSA, and many others to individual students using their voice and art, the youth contributed to the fight against fascism in many ways. Be it working on-ground at the borders in the Farmers agitation, organizing protests, writing, creating art, the amount of people that worked and screamed truth to power in 2020 is endless.
As 2021 rolls around, let’s not lose our fervor to fight against what we feel is unjust and continue to strive for India that we want and our revolutionary martyrs gave their lives for.