Dangers of making Kanhaiya Kumar a cult hero

Mandeep Singh
Mandeep SinghMar 05, 2016 | 13:09

Dangers of making Kanhaiya Kumar a cult hero

Ever since his release from jail, he has been hounded by the media, the politicians and, of course, students.

He turned into quite a hero when he was arrested; he came more into the limelight when lawyer goons at the Patiala House courts assaulted him, but the proverbial icing on the cake was his "video testimony" to the Supreme Court, in which he gave out graphic details of how he was bashed up, with the Delhi Police silently looking on.


However, after he emerged from prison, he seems to have achieved some kind of a cult status - of course after his marathon speech at the JNU campus.

I heard the full speech - twice - and, yes, it was brilliant. This was (and this has been said several times in the last couple of days by several people) possibly one of the best I have heard in a long time and one that I listened to from start to finish.

Kanhaiya seems to have started a movement - a revolution if you may - by his great clarity of thought and his tackling of issues we are so incensed with these days - from corruption, to "Modiwaad", to the "saffronisation of politics and the blatant inequality so omnipresent in society.

Within minutes, this "national hero" was trending on social media and on television, with all channels making a beeline to have an "exclusive interview" (which most of the channels managed anyway). We have had senior editors, well-known journalists and leading public figures interviewing him and speaking about him.

But here lies the danger. As usual, we are all going into overdrive hailing the hero. He, no doubt, is one, and we are looking forward to him leading us to some kind of a deliverance from the "ills" that face society. We are very encouraged with his clarity of thought and his powerful oratory, not to mention his spot-on "comparisons" on various issues.


But we must be careful of not indulging in overkill, as we often do. Kanhaiya is first a student and a PhD scholar and then a politician. He should not only be handled carefully, he should also be wary about what he says where, and about whom!

Politicians like Arvind Kejriwal tweeting about him and his speech is fair enough and hundreds and thousands of others saluting his courage and conviction is acceptable but at this stage, it would be unwise to drag him into full-fledged politics (as Sitaram Yechury said about him campaigning in the West Bengal elections).

We have a hero, a star - and we would do well to let him be that - for a long time to come.

The media and the politicians have had their moment with him and he should now be allowed to get on with his life. He's an asset we have to save to greater battles ahead.

He's already given many politicians (of the ruling party) something to chew on and they would surely be thinking of various ways to marginalise him so the best we can do is to not help them on their way. Kanhaiya is smart and I am sure he knows - but do we?

Last updated: March 05, 2016 | 13:09
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