Why people who speak truth to power are being killed?: Kanhaiya Kumar
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Why people who speak truth to power are being killed?: Kanhaiya Kumar

Former JNUSU president questions the persecution of rationalists, writers who question the authorities, says literature in India is in danger

punjab Updated: Oct 23, 2017 16:55 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Kanhaiya Kumar,JNUSU,Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union
Kanhaiya Kumar giving a lecture at Punjab Kala Bhawan in Chandigarh on Sunday. (Sikander Singh/HT)

Beginning his speech with ‘Lal Salaam,’ former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar told the audience here on Sunday to question and understand why those who write objectively are being killed.

He was at Kala Bhawan in Sector 16 to speak at the 4th Avtar Jandialwi Memorial Program, organised by ‘Hun’, in collaboration with Punjab Kala Parishad. The leader of All India Students Federation, Kumar had grabbed headlines after the event at which allegedly ‘anti-national’ slogans were raised to commemorate Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru last year at JNU.

‘Education, literature, culture and power’ was the subject on which he spoke. Correlating all the above, he talked about the present situation in our country where literature, according to him, is in danger, and gave his reasons.

“We need to change with time. The online writers may not have that quality but the work of nurturing those writers comes upon us.”

‘Literature is the face of society’

“It is taught to us that literature is a mirror to the society but I believe it is the face of the society. Whatever happens in the society, shows on its face,” said Kanhaiya.

“Literature is what frees man from his fears. But this is something that goes against the norms on which power works,” he said.

‘They fear that people will stop fearing’

In his address, he went on to define how power works. He said, “It works on fear, fear among the people. They fear that the unarmed men will one day stop fearing. If the people stop fearing, there will be obvious danger to power. This is why those who write to free men are killed.”

“Why would a man like Govind Pansare who was in his 80s be killed? Why would Kalburgi, Dhabolkar, and Gauri Lankesh be killed?” he said. The writers, artists, and journalists are killed who become the ‘face’ of the society. “Literature creates consciousness in man. How would otherwise Bhagat Singh would be able to give a substantial answer to his mother when she asked him why he cut his hair?”, said Kanhaiya.

Let us welcome the technology

Talking about how to cope up with the online writing, Kanhaiya said, “We need to change with time. The online writers may not have that quality but the work of nurturing those writers comes upon us.”

“Moreover, the use of YouTube is very useful in today’s world as one’s voices reaches many more people than otherwise in a gathering. Those who are truly serving literature should make use of it rather than rejecting it. Also the old ones should give way to the new writers,” he said.

‘Vikas in UT is harassing girl at night?’

Kanhaiya talked about the Varnika Kundu case too. He sarcastically said that people are searching for ‘vikas’ while ‘vikas’ in Chandigarh was harassing a girl at night. Criticising the idea that being a leader is a career option, he said, “The capitalist state has made it into a career option. It is not a career option; it can be a responsibility. A leader is born in struggles of the people, no one is born a leader.”

BJP interpreting Hinduism the wrong way

He also took a dig at Bharatiya Janta Party, calling it Bharatiya Danga Party because its people do not understand what Hinduism is but are spreading hatred in its name. “What we forget is that only ‘form’ cannot lead to anything. Form and content both are important. The leaders of this country are talking tall but without any content. The need is for the people to understand what their prime need is, rather than giving way to such hatred,” concluded Kanhaiya.

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 15:38 IST