On the birth anniversary of Late Prashant Yadav, a DSJ student and the architect of the “Stand With DSJ” movement, a seminar was organised to discuss student politics where student leaders from Delhi University (DU), Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Patna University (PU), and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) spoke about the issues concerning university campuses amidst remembering Prashant.
On 6th November 2019, the date he would have turned 20 had he been around us, a memorial meet was organised to remember Prashant Yadav, a young Journalism student from DSJ and the architect of the “Stand With DSJ” movement which intended to fight against privatisation policy of DU. The event, organised in the form of a seminar in Satyakam Bhawan, Arts Faculty, had eminent student leaders on board who came from varsities across the country to speak on student politics, campus issues and the changing role of universities. Pooja Shukla, National Vice President, Samajvaadi Chatrasabha, spoke on the need for students to question the Government and espoused the role of universities as the cradle of democracy. Rocky Tuseed, Ex-President, Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) broke down while remembering Prashant. Salman Imtiaz, President Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union (AMUSU) asserted the importance of plurality and diversity in India. Kawalpreet Kaur, Delhi President, All India Students’ Union (AISA) asserted on the need to have more students like Prashant in the campus. Divyanshu Bharadwaj, Former President, Patna University, lamented the ailing condition of state universities. Jayant Jagyasu, C-RJD Leader, spoke about the state of marginalised people in university campuses.
A homage to Prashant by his teacher, Dr Albert Abraham, classmates, and invited speakers was followed by the seminar whose focus was to highlight the role of student politics in campuses. As the invitees were from nooks and corners of the country, their respective speeches contained concerns over changing demographics in India.
Remembering Prashant through this event was an attempt to reconcile his ambition, ideals, and thoughts.
Suman Shekhar, a third-year Journalism undergraduate student at DSJ and a close friend of Prashant’s said, “Prashant always wanted to be a part of the Delhi University election system. He wanted to bust the common notion that only rich students, able to shed 50-60 lakhs, could contest elections here. He wanted to fight elections following the Lyndogh Committee’s guidelines.”
He continued, “He contributed immensely in the entire Stand with DSJ Movement. Even if he had become a journalist, our country would have been graced with one fine journalist.” On asking how big a loss it was for him Suman said, “Personally, I can’t articulate that in words. I knew nobody when I came to Delhi. I always used to hang around with Prashant. Humare liye roz ka din vanvaas jaisa hogaya hai , hum kaat rahe hai bas. (After Prashant’s demise, my life is like an exile now).”
Prashant was on his way to Lucknow to celebrate Diwali on 4th November 2018, when he met with an accident on Yamuna Expressway. He and his two siblings died on spot. Prashant was actively involved in student politics and was associated with the student union of the Samajwadi Party.
“Its really saddening that we had to organise this program. It would have been better had Prashant been around with us today,” said Kawalpreet Kaur. She added, “I feel, the DSJ Movement that Prashant organised was very important because it was the first movement where students protested against privatisation.”
Rockey Tuseed remembered Prashant’s vivid memories and got emotional while delivering his speech. He said to DU Beat, “When I became the DUSU President, we (I and Prashant) used to have a lot of discussion on the infrastructural problems of DSJ. We have protested together. When I was on a hunger strike, he came along to support me. He was like a younger brother to me.”
A scholarship in memory of Prashant was announced for meritorious students coming to DSJ from economically depressed background for the coming sessions.
Feature Image Credits – Mohit Dock