Gurmehar Kaur is emotionally mature, says maker of video that has gone viral
Gurmehar Kaur was all but 20 when she decided to take a stand against the violence allegedly perpetuated by members of the ABVP on Delhi University campuses. Little did she know that it would translate into a political controversy that would eventually force her to leave Delhi.
Ram Subramanian, the man behind the ‘Voice of Ram’ video, where Kaur spoke of her martyred father and her perceptions about Pakistan and war, praised Gurmehar for her “emotional maturity” in a conversation with HT on Tuesday.
This video has been at the heart of the storm, with many using her stance on war to brand her “anti-national”. Subramanian first met Kaur for his peace campaign which used a “selfie-with-a-hand-written-message” format. “During the campaign, I came across this young girl, who displayed the kind of emotional maturity you would not expect at her age. I then decided, she should feature in the video, where she could tell her story,” he said.
It was during this video that Kaur spoke of her dad, a martyr, and how she believed that it was not “Pakistan” that had killed her father but “war”, which has also served as fodder for trolls who have cyber-bullied her since.
Subramanian said that he was impressed with how Gurmehar could tell the difference between conflict and perpetrators of conflict, which was probably inculcated in her by her mother.
“Her mother is a very strong woman. She would have to be to raise a daughter like Gurmehar... Of course her mother is worried, just as any mother would be,” he said.
The two are still in touch, and Subramaniam describes Gurmehar as a “chirpy young girl; a regular girl-next-door.”
“She can come across as quite serious, but that is not so. She is like any other young college going student,” he said.
Subramanian, who has worked with the Aam Aadmi Party, says he is not affiliated with the party, though he acknowledges that this is a political issue. “I am not a party member. I was just a volunteer. I have volunteered for AAP, like I have volunteered for many other projects and causes... This has always been a political issue. The fact that Gurmehar was going to a protest march led by AISA, makes this a political issue. It is just that you don’t expect politics in college to be this dirty,” he said.
Kaur was allegedly cyber-bullied by many for her stance against the ABVP. Speaking to a news channel on Sunday, Kaur, a martyr’s daughter, had alleged that she had been threatened with rape and murder by some Twitter users since her post on social media that read: “I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of the ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP”.
In a slew of tweets on Tuesday morning, Kaur said that she will be withdrawing from the “Fightback DU” movement and will not be participating in the march. By Tuesday afternoon, it was confirmed that Kaur had left Delhi, overwhelmed by the negative response.
She is no stranger to trolls, according to Subramanian. However the recent responses were too much for her to handle. “The really heavyweight trolls got to her... She was targeted by actors, cricketers, sitting politicians and ministers... There were three prominent personalities who tweeted hurtful things, which only empowered other trolls,” he said.
Kaur was allegedly overwhelmed by the reaction that her statements had stirred, and has decided to stay out of Delhi for some time. “She was thrilled by the reaction at first. This soon turned into apprehension and fear, which later just changed to horror,” said Subramanian.
Subramanian condemned the allegedly violent messages that were directed at Kaur. “Women should not be threatened with rape. That is just not acceptable,” he said.
He also expressed his disappointment over the course of events. “People of Delhi had an opportunity to clean their colleges of political strong-arming... You expect everybody to condemn the rape threats equally. People from the government, the opposition, the religious, the not religious, everybody. But we see many questioning her instead,” he said.