Biggest responsibility of youth now, is to save our constitutional rights: Gauhar Raza
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Biggest responsibility of youth now, is to save our constitutional rights: Gauhar Raza

Born at a time when India was still less than a decade old, Raza would often hear stories of the freedom struggle, at his home and outside.

punjab Updated: Jan 19, 2018 16:34 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
HIndustan Times, Chandigarh
Gauhar Raza,Bertolt Brecht,Panjab University
Scientist-poet-filmmaker Gauhar Raza at Panjab University in Chandigarh. (Sikander Singh/HT)

A grim looking scientist-poet-filmmaker, whose face bore an expression that he cannot be silenced, Gauhar Raza recited his politically-charged poems to a quiet, receptive audience of around two hundred. Quoting Bertolt Brecht, he said that one who says that he has nothing to do with politics, is a very ashamed man.

"It is after 70 years that our constitutional rights are asserting themselves, when men, women and dalits are raising their voices. The biggest attack right now is on these rights," said Raza during his talk at Panjab University on Wednesday.

He added, "The biggest responsibility of the youth at this juncture, I feel, is to save these constitutional rights."

Born at a time when India was still less than a decade old, Raza would often hear stories of the freedom struggle, at his home and outside.He said, "I remember when Pandit Nehru came to my school and my only complaint was that he picked up my sister but not me. Bade naam aam janta ka hissa hua karte the (Big names used to be a part of the common crowd). However, now we barely see our Prime Minister."

The dream continues to remain the same

Looking back on his childhood he said "We were dreaming of an India where everyone will be treated equally, every child will go to school, everyone will have food and a home, where there will be no nuclear bombs and no wars. We named it 'socialism'."

He said that today, youth yearn for the same but worry when they think about the riots (1984, 1992, and 2002) in the name of religion.

He mentioned Judge BH Loya's son and family saying that at times, people start losing hope. "However, it is the responsibility of the youth to stand up and save democracy, which has been created by us."

"Me and others like me haven't done much. We have just tried to fulfil the commitment of taking this dream forward for future generations," said Raza.

Raza continued to provide a background while reciting his poems. Before reciting 'Naya Libas', pointing to LK Advani and others, he said, "Kuch logon ne ek rath chalaya jo Hindustan ki har mariyada ko raundta hua Dilli tak pohncha."

Exigency of raising one’s voice

Speaking about the current environment of fear in the country, and mentioning the second World War, he recited,"Europe jis vehshat se ab bhi sehma sehma rehta hai/ Khatra hai woh vehshat mere mulk mein aag lgayegi."

He further recited the title poem of his new volume 'Khamoshi', which dwells on the 'exigency of raising one’s voice' at this time.

'Inquilab', a documentary film made by Raza on Bhagat Singh, was also screened at the Evening Studies auditorium, Panjab University. The film depicted major events in Bhagat Singh's life through the use of voiceover, newspaper cuttings, archival documents and reconstruction of incidents.

Raza concluded on a note of hope, saying, "Even Hitler could not make all Germans nationalists in the way he wished to. Log likhenge, Paash paida honge (People will continue to write, Paash will be born again and again)."

First Published: Jan 19, 2018 16:34 IST