When the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and All India Students’ Association (AISA) clashed at Ramjas college in February this year, the conflict evoked reactions not just from Delhiites but even from Bollywood celebrities.
There were debates over whether JNU student leader Umar Khalid’s participation in the seminar, which led to the clash, was justified or not. This followed a political divide; ideologies were discussed and protest marches with allegations and counter-allegations were held. However, those who were directly affected, were the college students and the staff. Chronicling those events, a third-year student of the college, Vaibhav Yadav, will come out with his book — Ramjas: The Aazadi Episode.
“I’ve seen my college change, but never in the way this incident did. My class had 80 students. After the incident, I saw them get divided into two distinct groups — right wing and left wing supporters. I saw three years of friendships vanish. The hatred and its effect was unimaginable,” says Yadav, a History honours student.
The college is about to end for us and we might not see each other again after graduating. But, this incident has caused many to wish they didn’t see each other already. Is this really how the college is supposed to be? I want that to change.
So, what prompted him to write a book? “The book was my way of reaching to the people to tell the truth. The book is an unbiased account about the incident. Adding to my words are the experiences of students from both sides. The college is about to end for us and we might not just see each other again. But, this incident has already created a rift among us. Is it how a college life supposed to be? I want that to change. I hope my book changes some of that” adds Yadav.
Besides the book, Yadav, with six of his friends, has also been working on educating children of construction workers, who used to work in the Ramjas college campus. “We had seen these kids in the college grounds and felt that they should not miss out on their education, which is a fundamental right. Convincing their parents, which was a bit difficult, we used to teach them for two or three hours, every evening. While the core team was of just seven people, many others volunteered to provide books and stationery. The kids have now moved from out of the college premises since the construction is over. However, our mission hasn’t ended. We will continue to provide basic education to the needy illiterate children and will try to change the world in the little ways we can,” says Yadav.