No time to say goodbye
By Amit Sengupta
There is a damned war going on in this country. Kashmiri students are getting beaten up in Rajasthan for sharing a meal; in Kolkata, they are being racially profiled by the Union home ministry; students are being condemned, jailed and punished in JNU without a hearing and with no charges proved; journalists are getting lynched in court premises in the heart of the capital while the cops look on; FTII students are yet again being hounded by the police even while they have moved on to their projects and classroom; there is still no justice for Rohith Vemula, and a general state of uncanny negativity looms large across the landscape, while all and sundry are branded as ‘anti-national’. It’s a return of the dark ages with frustrated, sinister, vicious minds working overtime. Even while the wax statue refuses to melt.
In this melting pot of a morbid war declared, spring has arrived in JNU, like Vivaldi’s four seasons, like a magic carpet of colours and fragrances, healing wounds, resurrecting the spirit, spreading the perfume of stoic rebellion and sublime beauty. Despite the relentless and vicious onslaught on an entire university campus by an uneducated Hindutva regime and a hysterical section of the ‘doctored’ and discredited media, especially the channels, the sublime smiles, the sparkling eyes, the warm handshakes, the feisty slogans, the joyful songs, the surreal and ironical placards, the warmth of camaraderie in resistance, and the great hope of young minds and hearts has filled the lanes, by-lanes and the freedom square of this beautiful centre of excellence. The more you crack down, the more they fly on the wings of freedom. Indeed, you look at their faces, and they seem strong, balanced, calm and cool, while the enemy is at the gate, even while the claps become louder and the slogans more vibrant.
In between, they take notes, as Prof. Prabhat Patnaik or Jairus Banaji give lectures in the open-air classroom, imbibing the great spirit of the adventure of ideas. In between, they make gigantic graffiti: Irom Sharmila and Soni Sori on the Admin Block. And songs which move from corridor to corridor, like a whistle in the dark.
Meanwhile, the colours spread in a rainbow kaleidoscope across the adventure of the JNU spring. The peacocks are spreading their jewelled wings, and the lovely birds of every little nuanced feather, sing their classical ode to the changing of seasons. The flowers melt at a touch, the leaves grow greener in many green shades, the brown bark of the trees smell of solidity and warmth, and the little lanes across the shadows of twilight zone lamp posts disappear into the seductive sensuality of the night.
In this campus, this is perhaps one of the most inspiring and life-affirming seasons, giving a joyful flip to the resistance movement, where the nights of protests, friendship and learning are forever young, and the nocturnal only becomes the dawn when the full moon refuses to say goodbye.
This is not the time to say goodbye, as Leonard Cohen would say. Like the old Beatles song, it is always: You say goodbye, and I say hello. Hello, hello!
Hello Umar. Hello Anirban. Hello all comrades of the world. Yes, here comes the sun. Morning has broken. Like a spring revolution. In JNU. Once again.
Edited by Manisha.