This is Ramazan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The Muslims across the world keep fast in this holy month. Today when I broke my fast with my colleagues and friends on the campus at Jamia Millia Islamia University, things looked quite normal. The frozen silence and an empty campus reminded me of the event (protest) that took place on the Monday after-noon. Being a student of the University, I was part of this protest.
There was a huge protest on 5th June that brought the Jamia administration to a standstill. Watching the public spectacle of students’ countering and resisting the coming of Indresh Kumar— a seasoned RSS cadre, and an accused in many bomb blasts which has had happened across the country in the recent past— was truly a great experience. The boys and girls were brimming with anger and passion, shouting slogans against the Indresh Kumar, the VC, and saffronization of the university.
One is supposed to break the fast with the onset of dusk. Students took a pause when the Maghrib azaan was called out from the Mosque, and broke their fast with dates, bananas and jalebees, and also offered namaz on the one side of the road and in the Ghalib Park. Taken together I had a feast for the eyes as well as the palate that day.
I went to the campus around 3 pm today and also had my iftaar with my friends. I saw that some friends were unable to walk properly; a few could not move their hands; others have got back problem, and bruised bodies. While having my iftaar I could easily spot that they have got pain in their neck which made it hard for them to swallow the food. These friends of mine were brutally thrashed, lathicharged and detained by the Delhi police. I was really amused to know that they are considering the Delhi police’s thrashing as a badge of honour for their efforts. This pain and ache, according to them, in ki kya baat kareN? This reminded me of Faiz’s couplet:
“Jis dhaj se koi maqtal mein gaya, who shan salamat rahti hai
Yeh jaan to aani jaani hai, is jaan ki koi baat nahi”
The administration of Jamia University has continuously been trying to usher in the saffron and its varied shades on the campus. It was not the first time that the administration allowed the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), a Muslim outfit that subscribes to the ideology of the RSS, for organising such a programme.
The RSS is continuously eyeing the Jamia University, however, it cannot dare to penetrate the campus with its ugly face. Therefore, it has been trying to make inroads under the guise of a Muslim name for long. The simple argument for such a protest to take a shape is that the students of JMI cannot allow the RSS and its affiliates, who are putatively anti-democratic, anti-Dalit, anti-women, and anti-minorities.
The scorching sun, thirst, and hunger could not deter us from staging a dharna. In fact, the heat of the organised resistance melted the heat of the sun as well as of the administration including the Delhi police.
Amidst all these, I too, was laughing just like others as protests have their own stock of amusements. One of the lines in the invite that was sent to Indresh Kumar, the chief guest, was ‘mohabbat ke dastarkhaan par iftaar ki dawat’. It gave me a mighty laugh.
During the protest, Kaleem Aajiz’s couplet was echoing in the mind:
“Daman pe koi cheent na khanjar pe koi daagh
Tum qatl karo ho ki karamat karo ho”
The writer is a research scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article also appeared on twocircles.net)
Disclaimer: The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.