Editor's Note:On Thursday night, JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar — who was out on bail after 21 days in prison — returned to the JNU campus and addressed his fellow students and a selection of the media on a variety of issues. Firstpost has translated Kanhaiya's speech for your perusal. Discrepancies in specific cases of the text are unintentional.
What Kanhaiya said:
First of all, to everyone at JNU, whether they are students, whether they are employees, whether they are teachers, whether they are the security, whether its the shopkeeper or the workers working in the shops, I give my revolutionary salute.
Friends, from this stage, on behalf of all the students, as the president of JNUSU, to the people across the country, through the media channels present here, I would like to thank them, I want to salute them.
Friends, I would like to thank them from across the world, whether they are academicians, whether they are the students who stood with JNU... (inaudible).
Everyone, whether they people from media, whether they are people from the civil society, whether they are political, whether they are non-political people, to everyone who are standing in the fight to save JNU, who are standing to fight for justice for Rohith Vemula, I offer my Lal Salaam to them. And, and I would like to especially to thank this country's big figures who sit in Parliament to decide on what is right and what is wrong, thanks to them, thanks to their police and those channels of the media, I would like to thank them.
There is a saying, we have a saying, 'badman hue to kya hua, naam nahai hua'. Atleast , in their attempt to defame JNU, they gave us the prime time slot. There is no hated for anyone, especially against the ABVP, there is no hated. Ask why? That's because the ABVP we have in our campus, is more *inaudiable* compared to the ABVP out there.
And I would like to say, all those who consider themselves political masterminds - what happened to the candidate of ABVP during the last presidential debate, just watch that video, and the most intellectual person of the ABVP in the country, the one who is JNU's ABVP, we decimated him, so what will happen to you in rest of the country, you can guess.
That's why, we have no hard feelings towards ABVP, because we are actually democratic people. We believe in the real constitution. That's why we see ABVP as an opposition rather than an adversary.
Oh my friend, I wont witch hunt after you, because even those who are hunted needs to be deserving to be hunted. And I feel the events that have unfolded... for the first time, I swear, it is not like that saying goes, 'born in the mansoon..... (10:40)
I'm telling you the truth... what JNU has shown... the way JNU stood in this country to point out what is right and what is wrong... I would like to salute JNU. And, the funny thing is this is spontaneous. And I am saying this because they planned everything, we did everything spontaneously.
We believe in this country's constitution, in this country's law and in this country's judiciary. We also believe in that change is the only truth. And there will be change, we stand in favor of change, and this change will happen.
I believe in my constitution, we believe in all the values of this constitution, what is said in the preamble — socialism, secularism, equality — we stand with them. I was just asking a question.
I would like to say that I wont give a speech today, I will only tell you my experience. Because, first I use to study more, and go up against the system less. This time, I studied less and went up against the system more.
That's why I will say, people research too much in JNU... (inaudible)
The first thing is the process of the law, I don't want to say anything on that. I have only said one thing, and people of this entire country who really for the love the constitution, who wants to make Babasaheb's dreams come true, they must have understood the signs.
The things that are sub judicious, I don't want to say anything on that.
The Prime Minister has tweeted. He has said, 'Satyamev Jayate'. I too say, Prime Minister ji, I have a strong conflict with you, but because 'Satyamev Jayate' belongs to the country, to the constitution and not just to you, I too say 'Satyamev Jayate'.
And the truth will prevail, and in this fight, and everyone who's involved, I would like to say one thing and share my experience. And that one thing is, don't think that sedition have been used over the students like a political tool.
Understand it like this, and I have often said this in my speeches, we come from villages, I think by now you are also familiar with my family. So on the railway station there, which is called 'tasion', there is held a game of magic. The magician will show you the magic, will sell a ring, the ring of wishes. And whatever wishes anyone has, the ring will fulfill them, the magician says.
This country also has some policy makers, they say that the black money will come back, 'Har-Har Modi', 'The prices will come down, they are too high', 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas'. All the false promises are today in people's consciousness.
Although, we Indians forget quickly, but this time the events were so big that it is becoming difficult (for the government) to make people forget them.
So the attempt is this.... that the false promises must be forgotten. And this is done by the people who are making the false promises.
And how to forget them? Lets shut the fellowship of all the research fellows of the country. What will people do? They will say, 'Give us fellowship, give us fellowship'. Then they will say, 'Alright, what Rs 5,000-8,000 was given, will continue.' Meaning, they get rid of the promises of increasing them. Who will bring it up? JNU.
So when you are being abused, don't worry. You are eating what you have earned.
In this country, when you speak against the anti-people government, so does their cyber cell do?
It will send you doctored videos. It will send you abuses. And it will count how many condoms you have in your dustbin.
But this is a very serious time. That is why, during this serious time we need to think something seriously.
The attack on JNU is a organised attack, do understand. And this is a organised attack because they want to delegitimise the Occupy UGC movement. This is a organised attack because they want to end the fight that is being fought for justice of Rohith Vemula.
You are running the issue of JNU on the prime time because, respected ex-RSS, you want to make the people to forget that the current Prime Minister had promises to put 15 lakh in their accounts. But I want to say one thing to you, if it is not easy to get admission in JNU, it is also not easy to forget the people from JNU.
If you think you'll make them forget... we want to remind you again and again — whenever the government have performed persecution, JNU has raised its voice, and we will repeat it. We will remind you that you cannot dilute our struggle.
What am I saying? On one side there are soldiers dying on the borders of the country. I would like to salute those who are lousing their lives on the border.
I have a question. I have learnt one thing in the jail, that when the battle is of ideology, one should not give publicity to anyone. That's why I won't take the name of that leader. One of the BJP's minister said in Parliament, that soldiers are dying on the border. I would like to ask, is that your brother? Or in this country where millions of farmers who are committing suicides, who grow food for us, for the youth, what do you have to say for them? This is the question I would like to ask.
I would like to ask the question that the farmer who work in a fields... my father... my brother also goes to the army and dies there. So don'st raise a pseudo debate in the country.
Those who die for the country, also die inside in the country.
My question is, standing there in the Parliament, who are you playing the politics against? Those who are dying, who will take their responsibility? The people who are fighting are not responsible, those who are instigating fights are responsible.
Who is responsible for the battle? Who is making people fight? Why my father is dying? And hoe my brother is dying? We want to ask the once who make the prime time (shows).
The problems we have in our country... is it wrong to ask for freedom from those problems? What they say is, 'Who are you asking freedom from?'
You only tell, has India enslaved anyone? No. So, obviously, we are not asking for freedom from India. Not from India my brothers, we are asking for freedom in India. There is a difference between 'from' and 'in'.
We are not asking freedom from the English, people of this country has fought for that.
Now I'll come to my experience.
The police asked me, 'What is this 'Lal Salam, Lal Salam' that you do?' I would like to say to them, this was not a part of the investigation. Police used to take me sometimes to eat food, sometimes to have a medical, and we from JNU.... *inaudible* so how could I have stayed without talking?
So I started talking to them. And when I talked, that man (policeman) too turned out to be like me.
In this country, who works for the police? Someone who's father is a farmer, or a laborer or belonging to a weaker section, only those work for the police.
I too come from one of the backward state of the country, Bihar. I too come from a poor family. I too come from a farmer's family. And in the police, only people from the poor family work. I am talking about constable and head constable. I don't have much interaction with the IPS office.
So I had a chat with the police officer, and whatever experience I will tell you was part of that conversation.
He asked me what is this 'Lal Salam, Lal Salam'? I said, Lal means revolution, Salam means salute to the revolution. He said he didn't get it.
I said 'Inquilab Zindabad'. He said he knew that. I said Kranti in Urdu is called Inquilab. He said this slogan is also used by ABVP. So I told him, 'Now you get it? That is the pseudo Inkalb, this is the real one.
Then he said we get everything for so cheap in life. I said, let me tell you one thing, you know why it didn't happen with you, that the condition you are in (he used to do a 18 hour duty)? I asked him if he got payed for the extra hours? He said no, 'Where do I get it from?' I said, this this is what is called corruption.
They get 110 bucks for their uniform. 'Now you tell me, you wont even get a pair of undergarments for it.' This is what he said. So I said this is exactly what we want freedom from. From corruption.
And in the meanwhile, a moment started in Haryana. And you know, most of the people in the Delhi police come from Haryana. I salute them because they are hard working people. So I said, 'This reservation?' He said, this caste system is too bad. So I said this caste system is what we want freedom from.
He said there seems to be nothing wrong with this. Nothing seems to be anti-national.
So I said, 'Now you tell me, who has the most power I the system?'. He said, 'My baton'.
I said correct, but can you use it on your own will? He said no. I asked, 'Who has all the power then?' He said the one who is giving out false statements on Twitter.
I said what we want is freedom from this Sanghi who is putting out these false statements on Twitter.
'To tell you the truth my friend, I fells like you and I are standing together', he said. I said there is one problem with that.
I am not saying this to all the media people, because all the media people do not get paid from there, only some get paid from there.
And while working in the media, reporting from Parliament, they are looking to get inside that Parliament only. So they have only created this atmosphere... that when I talk one-to-one with you, they say 'look at this braking news'.
'To tell you the truth my friends, I felt like when you would come... since your name was in the FIR....' the policeman said. I said before the FIR, my name had already come up in a ABVP paper.
The ABVP already mentioned the name as that of the accused, it was noted in the FIR later.
'I thought when you would come, I would beat you up real bad.' the policeman said. 'But after talking to you, I feel like that I should go and beat them up.'
He has touched on a various serious matters. And I would like to draw attention to this through the media to everyone in the nation. The policeman, who like me, belongs to a normal family, who like me, wanted to do a PhD, but he didn't get into the JNU.
Who like me, after understanding the workings of this country, wanted to fight for it, wanted to know the difference between the educated and the literate... today is working for the police.
This is where JNU stands. This is why you want to suppress the voice of the JNU so underprivileged man cannot do a PhD. Because the education that is being sold... he won't have lakhs of rupees to pay for that education, and he wont be able to do a PhD. That is why you want to shut JNU.
You want to shut all the voices that can unite. Weather one's standing on the border, weather giving his life on a farm, or struggling for freedom at JNU, you don't want those voices to meet.
I would like to say to you that Babasaheb said that political democracy won't do, we will have to establish a social democracy. That is way we keep talking about the constitution. And Lenin said, democracy is indisposable to socialism. That is why we talk about democracy. That is why we talk about the freedom of expression. That is why we talk about equality. That is why we talk about socialism. A son of peon and the son of an President should be able to study in the same school.
Today, they want to suppress the society, but what a coincidence, according to science, the more you suppress, the more pressure there will be. But they don't want to have to do anything with science. Because, studying science is one thing, being a scientist is quite different.
So the people who think scientifically in this country, if you establish a conversation with them, then the freedom we are asking for in this country, from poverty and hunger, from exploitation and atrocity, and the rights of Dalits, women and backward, that freedom we will have. And that freedom, through this constitution, through this Parliament and this judicial system, we will make sure of it in this country, that is our dream.
This was the dream of Babasaheb, this is the dream of friend Rohith. See, you killed on Rohith, the revolution that you wanted to suppress, see how it has grown.
There is one more thing, I would like to tell you through me experiences in the jail. That we people from JNU, and this is my only criticism, and if you feel this as self-criticism, please consider this, that we people of JNU talk in a civilized manner, but we use a very heavy terminology.
The common person of the country does not get it. Its not their fault, they are honest and intelligent people. But you don't bring things to their level. And what do they get then? All they get is 'forward quickly, your wishes will come true'... *inaudible*.
This mindset of selling that has been created in the country, we need to establish debate with it. And I would like to say it with my experience at the prison, I got two bowls in there, one was colored blue, other was colored red.
On seeing the bowls, I kept thinking, that I don't believe in destiny, and I don't know god, but something good is about to happen in this country... that the blue and the red bowl are together in a single plate. I saw the plate as India, the blue bowl as... *inaudible*.
And I thought, if this unity is established in this country... I'm telling you the truth, we don't want the one who sells... the one promises justice for everyone, we will make a government with them.
'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas', we will establish.
There is a saying, 'Jab tak jail main chana rahega, aanaj aata rahega'.
Although its very late for JNU... it's been a while since JNU students have been sent to prison, because after a long time... let me tell you something.
Today the respected prime Minister's (have to say (respected), otherwise (the video) might be doctored and sedition charges might be put again. So the respected Prime Minister was saying... he was talking about Stalin and Khrushchev, and I felt like entering into the television and grab him by his suit and say, 'Modiji, please talk a little about Hitler too.'
Leave Hitler, talk about Mussolini whose black hat you wear. To whom your master Golwalkar went to meet... gave a lecture on how to be an Indian from Germany.
So talking of Hitler, Khrushchev, the Prime Minister, there was also a talk of policy... He talks 'Mann ki Baat' but doesn't listen to it.
It is a personal thing, I talked to my mother after some three months. Whenever I used to stay in JNU, I never called home. After going to jail, I realized one should talk regularly. You took keep talking to your families.
So I said to my mother, you played Modi very nicely. She said she didn't play him, 'they are the ones who play. To laugh and make others laugh is their job, we just speak of our pain. The ones who understand, they cry, those who don't, they laugh'.
She said, 'it is my pain. That is why I said Modi ji is also someone's son. My son was trapped with sedition charges, you talk of Mann ki Baat, sometime talk of Maa ki Baat too'.
I had no words to say to her, because, what is happening in this country, there is a very dangerous precedence to it.
That is why I am not talking about a party. That is why I am not talking a media channel. That is why I am not just talking about soldiers. I am talking of the whole country.
How will a country be like which won't have a people in it?
Just think about that... anyone who is standing with JNU, they need to be saluted again and again, because they understand the issue.
What kind of people come to JNU? Here, 60 percent are girls. I can say it with confidence, despite all the shortcomings, JNU is the only institute, that executes reservations. And where it is not applied, we fight for it to be applied.
People come here... I have never said this to you, and you would not even realise it, that my family runs on 3000 rupees. Can I do a PhD at any of the big universities? And the way JNU and the people who are standing for it is being attacked...
I have no sympathies with any political parties, because I have my own ideologies, but the people who are standing up, they are also being called anti-national.
Sitaram Yechury is also being dragged with me in sedition. Rahul Gandhi is also dragged with me, Kejriwal was pulled in too. And the people from media, who are speaking out for JNU, they are nor really speaking for JNU, but pointing out what is right and what is wrong. They are being abused. They are threatened with their lives. What kind of a nationalism is this?
Some constables asked me in the prison, 'Did you really raise those slogans?' I said I did, but can you differ or the rationality is lost?
I'ts just been two years of the government. There are three more years to go, one cannot loose rationality so quick. Because 69 per cent of the population has voted against that mindset. Only 31 percent voted... and many of them were caught up in false promises. Some you fooled with 'Har-Har', they are now bothered by arhar.
Don't understand this as a permanent victory for yourself. This is true, if you tell a lie 100 times, it becomes a truth. But this happens with lies, not with truth. If you call the sun moon for a 100 times, will it change into moon? It will stay a sun even if you say it a 1,000 times. You can only make a lie into a lie. You can never covert a truth into a lie.
And this conspiracy of yours, that you bring out of Lok Sabha to distract people... to divert people from the genuine questions... to trap them... this is the new agenda.
The Occupy UGC was going on, then Rohith passed away, then voices were raised for him, and in this time they started saying, 'see this anti-national events unfolding'. 'The den of anti nationals', they started this.
But this wont last for long, so they are prepared for the next thing — 'We will built the Ram Temple'.
Let me tell you something that happened today while talking to an officer before leaving the prison. He asked 'Do you believe in religion?' I said I don't know religion. First let me know it, then I will believe.
He said, 'You must have been born in a family?' I said by chance I was born in a Hindu family. So he asked if I knew anything? I said as far as I know, god created this universe, and there is god in every particle, 'What do you say?' He said it was correct.
So I said some people want to create something for the god, what do you say about that?
They are still trying... people should be diverted so no reasonable questions are raised in this country.
Today, you are standing here, sitting here, do you feel like you have been attacked? This is really a big attack. But this attack did not happened today. I want to remind you that in the mouthpiece of RSS, a story was ran on JNU. Swamiji commented on JNU.
I believe in democracy, and if my ABVP friends are listening, this is my humble request to them, just bring Swamiji once for a face-to-face debate. If, with reason, he can establish that JNU must be closed for four months, then I will agree with him. But if not, I will request him, like he did before, he should leave the country again.
And let me tell you something — maybe you were in the campus so you couldn't see those things — how planned it was. From day one it was planned. They didn't even use their minds... and it is not the fault of ABVP here but one on the outside, that they didn't even change the posters. The same format is used by Hindu Kanti, the same is used by ABVP, one with the same content and design... it means every plan is conceived in Nagpur.
This is not a spontaneous program my friend. The big thing is the voice of struggle in this country. The big question is that the people raising their voices in JNU, whether its Umar or Ashutosh, or anyone from you... to take your voice and supress it, to delegitimatise JNU, to suppress this struggle... We want to say to them, you won't be able to suppress the struggle, the more you suppress, the more we will rise.
This is a long fight. Without stopping, without bending, without breathing, we have to carry this fight forward. And inside this campus, the dividing power in this nation... whether its the people from ABVP, whether its the RSS or the BJP people outside, who want to drag the country to the brink of disaster... we will stand united against them.
JNU will stand up. History will stand up.
The fight which Vemula stared, and the fight you have started, the fight that is started by progressive, peace loving people... we will fight and we will win, that is out belief.
And with these dreams, once again, I would like to thank you all.
Continue this fight, I appeal to you. I will end my talk.