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How 'anti-national' Kanhaiya made me believe in the idea of India

Kalyani Prasher
Kalyani PrasherMar 04, 2016 | 18:10

How 'anti-national' Kanhaiya made me believe in the idea of India

Patriotism is not a bad word: I'm not uninterested; I'm just uninspired by the empty political rhetoric in India and the one-step-forward-two-steps-back politics of this country. Most of us have been frustrated by the lack of leadership options to choose from. Some of us have been googling Canadian immigration guidelines. But Kanhaiya reminded us of the core values of the land we live in - the diverse interesting people who make up this country, from a hawaldar to a PhD scholar - he made us remember that India was founded on not only the idea of unity in diversity but also equality in diversity.

He stirred the pride for the nation still inside me: This is a country that can still produce, and laud, a Kanhaiya. When the nation is separated from the stigmas of religion and curtailed freedoms, I still want to protect and promote its interest. The so-called nationalists had muddied the word, but Kanhaiya reminded me last night that I too am a patriot.

The energy of bright, young people is infectious: His political ideology apart, Kanhaiya showed that he possesses wit, knowledge, knows exactly what and how much to say. His rousing speech channelised the feelings and frustrations of so many of us last night - suddenly so many Indians took to social media chanting "azadi, azadi!" because the man made all the weary, cynical people feel young and hopeful again. It made liberals come out of their jaded stupor and feel the feels again. The Delhi Police has accused that Kanhaiya gave his February 11 speech to generate evidence of his innocence in the controversial event at JNU on February 9.

If this is true, then that's a lot smarter than Delhi Police has been about their public image. We have a sharp shrewd young man here who talks sense and appreciates the lighter side of life. We are all recharged.

Putting sense back in public debate: After spending the last two days watching leaders of opposition parties publicly taunting each other like they're in a freaking saas-bahu serial, after the quick degeneration of public debate to the point of photoshopping evidence to prove your point, it was heartening to see Kanhaiya put out a reasoned and point-by-point response to all the accusations against him. Instead of hurling out ineffective abuses such as "sickular congi" and "feku sanghi", he carried everyone with him - the armed forces, the public servant, the maligned Delhi Police and his university - taking pot-shots at his thought rivals but never resorting to ridicule or jingoism. Calling his opponent out to a debate, he displayed the confidence of a man who knows what he's talking about and the willingness to engage with ideological opponents - a much better Indian than someone who sprays social media with poisonous accusations and then hides behind an army of loons as they manufacture evidence to support their multiple paranoias. Let us learn from Kanhaiya then, dear politicians, a few things about intelligent debate.

Fearlessness is inspiring: My real admiration for Kanhaiya is for the unhindered spirit he displayed last night. Don't forget that Kanhaiya was an unsuspecting man going about his day when, overnight, he became the centre of a nation-wide controversy. With tampered evidence against him, he was beaten up by lawyers for three hours at the courts that we all take for granted will protect us. Those lawyers were let go within a day, Kanhaiya spent 23 days in jail. They delayed his bail order and when it came, it was full of loaded words such as "amputate" and "controlled".

What was this man expected to do? Thank his stars he is out of jail and keep a low profile, I would have guessed. Instead he goes and gives a memorable speech, still ringing in the air, leaving everyone impressed - stunned. He took on the BJP, the ABVP, the RSS, the prime minister better than any of the experienced politicians in the opposition parties. He took every single charge levelled against him, from anti-army to anti-national, tore it to little shreds and did so convincingly.

He took the very slogan that was used against him, explained it in context, and made large sections of the nation chant it with him. His fearlessness will, and already has, inspired many to come out and stand up for justice, nevermind the government cyber cell watching our every tweet for anti-national hashtags. Red or not, I salute you, Kanhaiya, and I stand by you. If there are more like you in India's future, the idea of India may still take shape.

Last updated: March 07, 2016 | 18:45
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