Comrade vidrohi tum zinda ho, kheto mein,
khaliyalon mein, chattron ke armaano mein.
Comrade Vidrohi has never left us, he is alive, in our fields, in our crops and in the aspirations of students.
Ramshankar Yadav, popularly known as Vidrohi passed away in the protest grounds of the ongoing student’s struggle at UGC. Vidrohi is survived by his wife, daughter and son. They were all present at the Condolence meeting held right outside the JNUSU office at Teflas, where Vidrohi often took shelter. It was his deepest desire to die in JNU and be buried here itself. To keep his memory alive there are plans to rename the building, which is popularly known to all as Teflas, into Vidrohi bhawan.
The name Vidrohi came very early to Ramshankar through a close Mohammadan friend at the age of fourteen, because of rebellious attitude which at times caught the attention of entire village. Later in life it was with this same friend, Vidrohi came to Delhi to take admission in JNU.
His poems have been documented by students, film makers and journalists alike. Most of his poems were recorded by students which were then freely circulated on YouTube. They show him reciting revolutionary poems in gatherings at various places. His poems were never written down, these poems were either in Hindi or Awadhi languages and were always recited from memory. The most unforgettable AV is that of a documentary film called ‘Main Tumahara Kavi hoon- I am your poet’ which not just depicts his life but also archives his poems through moving pictures.
For those who wish to understand Vidrohi’s life, recollect Christopher McCandless from the movie ‘Into the Wild’. His romance with nature was similar to the protagonists. Vidrohi was a vagabond, the woods were his home. His things were generally hung on the tree branches inside many polybags. Originally from Sultanpur, Vidrohi adopted an organic lifestyle in campus so that he could always stay, closer to university life. Although extraordinary his was a tough life to lead, a life that rejected wealth and comforts that most of us are generally preoccupied with day and night.
Poems came randomly to him as he sat at his most favourite spot under the trees at Ganga Dhaba, just as many random abuses were hurled at the corrupt. His earthy face and tattered clothes deceive so many passerby at ganga dhaba until his voice lifts into the air slowly as a murmur first and then a thunder bursting with poems that have impregnated his mind in all these thirty years of life inside JNU.
An ex-JNU student, rusticated because of his involvement with student movement for OBC reservations in the year 1983, this incident took him even to Tihar jail. On the contrary there are stories about his PhD submission. Rumour has it that when Vidrohi was asked to submit his PhD thesis he wanted it to be a oral delivery rather than a written one. This infuriated the professors but true to his nature Vidrohi never budged. This revolutionary poet was a living legend of JNU till yesterday, today as he joins heavens he will be revered especially by the youth with whom his poems find a reverberance.
A large gathering of students gave their red salute to Comrade Vidrohi as his body came wrapped in red cloth in an ambulance van to Teflas. His was a unique death, one that comes to fortunate souls, he passed away doing what he does best while being a part of the protest, his intentions were to join in march of the Occupy UGC movement but death gave an early call.
From there his body was ceremoniously taken to Ganga Dhaba, in a march crying out red salute for comrade who left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds. The crowd mostly was made up of students who had generally seen, heard and revelled in his maddeness of a fearless consciousness which he thought was the meaning of real modernity. This is reflected in his way of life, in his poems, in his thoughts about women,caste and environment.
There is a message left behind for all of us in his death that is to stay put and help the struggle meet its proper end. Remaining true to this, a huge number of students boarded the bus in front of Ganga bus stop to join the now historic student protest at ugc.
Long live Comrade Vidrohi!