Solidarity and resistance found itself in the heart of the national capital on 7th of February. Students from all over the country gathered to voice their dissent against the prevailing system.
On 7th February, thousands of students, migrants and political activists marched from Lal Quila to Parliament Street to protest current labour laws, unemployment and issues within the education system as a part of the Young India Adhikar March. The march started at the Red Fort around 10 AM, with daflis, posters, banners and songs of resistance, the contingent reached Parliament Street in the afternoon.
The march saw students and migrants from Assam to Punjab and various remote areas of the country.
Though the march had a less turn out than previous student protests, the sound of resistance echoed loud and clear. With small groups in every corner, chanting slogans for azadi, it was clear, the student organisations divided by their ideologies stood united in their act of resistance.
Hope screamed louder than fear in the air, Jairsong Tisso from AISA, President of the Karbi Angalog and Dimmahassau Hills district region says “We hope that the government will accept our demands, we will not give in. We spent a night at the Ramlila Maidan and we would be leaving tomorrow or day after. We want our voices to be heard. We would be presenting a memorandum to Rajnath Singh, the Home minister. (sic)”
Sadaf from CYSS, the student wing of AAP says, “We had thousands of students march today and 70+ student organisations came together and took a stand against the central government. There have been so many scams, the paper leak scam and the lack of jobs and the seats that have remained vacant in the jobs…(sic) Our demand is that the vacant seats must be filled and unemployment does not mean that we go out and sell pakoras, we demand that our education budget be increased, the budget isn’t enough to sustain educational institutions and that’s where privatisation comes in. Privatisation hits the lower and middle class the most. Another demand we had from this march is that the lower and underprivileged classes are completely neglected. Look at the mob lynching, they suppress all the news. We want our voices to be heard by the center. We want it to be known that Modi sarkar will not triumph once again in this general election”.
Speaking to Reetkamal Kaur from Y4S, she talks about the state of the youth in her homeland, Punjab as the Y4S chants slogans of azadi in the background.
“I am from Jalandhar, I am an MPhil scholar and I don’t have a job. It’s sad but I am here to fight for the younger generation, so that they don’t have to struggle the way I do. We are here to fight together. We want our voices to be heard.”
“This march was inspired by the Kisan Mukti march which took place in Nasik and Mumbai and then spread to other parts of the country…It was pretty easy for the BJP to win the Madhya Pradesh elections, they needed to incite another communal agenda..(sic) it was pretty easy to propagate that kind of communal agenda..(sic) but when farmers march, no political party has the right or the audacity to ignore it and that is the inspiration behind this march as well ki (sic) we know that the 2019 elections is around the corner and we know that every single political party will march towards Ayodhya. At that time, we as students feel is our responsibility to bring them back, hold them by their collars and ask, ‘where is (sic) the 2 crore jobs that you promised?’ ‘what kind of alternative (sic) are you offering to the youth by telling them to sell pakoras on the street?’ We are here to stand against bhagwakaran (saffronisation), we are here to stand with the teachers who are abused daily by the system. We are here to stand with the yuva (youth), kisan ( farmers) and the masses of the country whose issues aren’t treated like real issues.”
Hope finds its way into Abhigyan’s resistance, “We certainly hope that the government does something. This march was supported all over the country by prominent figures like Arundhati Roy and Kunal Kamra. One march alone cannot change the shape of our politics, it’s not about one day and a few thousand people marching…it is about continuously challenging the fascist agenda that currently surrounds the country and threatens the very civilization of the country. (sic)”
The common resistance to the Modi government was echoed with protests by the Dilli Nirman Mazdoor Sangathan and All India SSB Volunteer Association. Their songs of resistance echo the same demand, to be heard, to be recognised, to get justice, to find azadi.
Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU beat