Kanhaiya controversy: Punish those who doctored videos and stop targetting students

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Dr Kouser Fathima

Kanhaiya Kumar ‘s speech has not only awakened many but also rattled those, who tried to tarnish his image using doctored videos.

His live speech after his release raised many questions as he clarified that he wanted freedom in India and not from India. Clearly, he wants freedom from corruption, poverty, hunger, casteism and terrorism.

While many agree with him, some continue to attack him. The common argument used is that students should not be politically inclined and only concentrate on studies.

The critics forget that some of the present day politicians from all parties were once active student leaders. So separation of student movement from political activism holds no grounds.

Noted German poet Bertolt Brecht rightly quoted, “The worst illiterate is the political illiterate. He hears nothing, sees nothing, takes no part in political life. He even prides himself on his political ignorance. He does not know from his political ignorance comes the robber, prostitute, orphaned child, worst of all corrupt officials and lackeys of exploitative multinational corporations.”

The second and most absurd argument is that the students are enjoying taxpayers’ money and, therefore, should refrain from politics. This is an elitist attitude, which looks down upon deserving students only because they are funded by the government.

Most of the students come from poor families but are academically bright and hardworking. The state is only facilitating their research and not doling out any charity. Moreover, the poor also pay indirect taxes and hence have a right for quality higher education.

The newly coined ‘nationalism’ tag being peddled is nothing but colonial  feudalism, wherein only who owned land or paid full tax were granted complete citizenship. But our democracy has no place for such feudalism .

People who make such stupid comments forget that taxpayers’ money is also misused by politicians, bureaucrats and defaulting companies but we seldom question them.

Never heard protest by the taxpayers against the powerful but it is easy to target student’s grants. These people forget that for a society we not only need doctors, engineers but also social thinkers and activists.

The staff and students in these universities have been working for years on research and development issues. Few stray incidents should not be the yardstick to measure the worth of a university.

And now after the ugly truth of the doctored videos is out; the need is to punish the actual culprits and stop targetting the students.

The author is a Bengaluru-based psychologist