How Kanhaiya Kumar’s fiery speech lifted the spirits of Indians

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Spring is literally in the air. After days of gloom, as the country's socio-political atmosphere was hijacked by protests and counter-protests to protect freedom of speech, a student leader helped the country to regain its composure on Thursday night.

The president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU), Kanhaiya Kumar, post his release from the jail, as he was put behind the bars on sedition charges, made a fiery speech under the open sky on the JNU campus, Indians heaved a sigh of relief.

Kanhaiya Kumar

It was a speech straight from the heart. Every word of Kanhaiya struck a chord with millions of fellow citizens, who were glued to their television sets, and heard the young man in rapt attention.

It has been long India has heard such an impassionate, honest and a glowing talk revolving around the country's politics. So, after listening to our elected representatives speaking in Parliament in the last few days of the ongoing budget session, Kanhaiya's address was a breath of fresh air.

How rightly, the student activist reminded all of us that we want 'azaadi' (freedom) in India, not 'azaadi' from India. Don't we all want freedom from oppression, discrimination, hunger, poverty, corruption, religious bigotry, violence against women and minorities?

As our country dream to become a world leader, it is time to fight against all the ills infecting us. It would be pure foolishness if we continue to ignore our weaknesses just to protect our false pride.

Our government should welcome voices like those of Kanhaiyas and RohithVemulas, who are (were) asking azaadi from social, political and economic problems afflicting us. These young men should not be put behind bars (based on doctored video tapes) or forced to commit suicide (because of political interference in universities).

If asking for azaadi attracts sedition charges, in that case we all should be ready to court arrest.

In spite of just getting his freedom after spending almost 20 days behind the bars, Kanhaiya did not show any sign of anger or frustration.

Rather, he looked calm and rejuvenated as he addressed his fellow students, at the JNU, the political fortress of the country. Kanhaiya said he considers the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) as his opposition and wanted to have a debate with them. Thus he cleared the air that members of ABVP were not his enemies, just his opponents and in a democracy opposition parties discuss and debate issues.

It was admirable to notice that Kanhaiya did not lose his humour even after being brutally attacked by 'goons' in the premises of the Patiala court few days ago.

As he took one jibe after another against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government, he never lost his composure. Rather, like a seasoned politician, Kanhaiya was seen smiling when he said, "Narendra Modi government is trying to suppress JNU's voice against injustice, but they would not succeed."

Kanhaiya Kumar

As he reiterated his belief in the constitution and judiciary of the country, the PhD student saluted all those soldiers who died saving our borders. He said, "Jawans are dying at borders and farmers are dying inside the nation."

At the end of almost an hour-long speech, as the students of JNU, holding the flag of the country in their hands, cheered Kanhaiya, slogans of azaadi echoed through the sky of Delhi, the heart of India.

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