Violence on Ramjas Campus
I don’t think what happened over the last few days in my college needs reiteration. It was appalling to see how a peaceful protest against hypernationalist hooligans was met with violent retaliation with no rational justification. But what was more appalling with the larger nature of this violence was the kind of legitimacy this violence got from the state machinery.
Not only were these violent attacks largely unprovoked, the nature of police action in response to such attacks was abysmal at best. Furthermore, it goes on to show the kind of status quo nexus between these organizations and the police.
But this kind of violence brought something more fundamental on the forefront; an unwillingness to engage on the same platform and with the same means. The fact that it has become so easy to appropriate the idea of nationalism and undertake violent activities with such impunity goes on to show that it is the students who have become the 'other', the 'antinational', the 'deshdrohi', simply because we don't fit into someone else's idea of nationalism.
At this point, this issue has transformed itself from one of free speech to safety and security simply because of this unwillingness to engage. This goes on to show how the nature of any resistance by the 'other' has become so fragile despite the righteousness and intention of the cause. This wasn't about us standing up for Umar Khalid or anti-national activities, this was about us standing for the preservation of a university campus as a safe space for discussion and debate. This wasn't about us resisting a political ideology, this was about us resisting the normalized culture of violent response in opposition to anything that doesn't conform to their binaries.
At the same point, this incident has made us more firm in our resolve. It has transformed intangible ideas of 'free speech' into something more valuable. It has made the student community more united than ever before and stand in solidarity with the cause and those who got hurt over the last two days. Irrespective of the kind of perception that Ramjas will now have as institution, I will always take pride in the fact that I'm a part of a community that stood up for what's rightfully ours and didn't bow down in the face of mortal harm.