25 Feb 2016: JNUTA’s series on Nationalism continued today before its biggest audience yet, and featured Tanika Sarkar delivering a lecture on Gandhi’s Nation followed by a street theatre performance. The event is part of the on-going protest collaboration with JNUSU against the prolonged crisis on campus.
Standing on platform of condemning “Jail for students and bail for assaulters”, the afternoon began with a class by Professor Tanika Sarkar, distinguished historian and author from CHS specializing in gender, religion, and politics in South Asia.
Sarkar’s lecture “Gandhi’s Nation” described the caste system and religion as conceptualized by Gandhi and applied this analysis to the current political situation in India. “If no one responds to your call, you have to walk alone” she suggested, emphasizing the relevance of being active during times of political unrest. This quote was a reference to the famous song by Rabindranath Tagore.
Following the lecture came speeches by Kerala’s former Minister of Education and a current member of Parliament E. T. Mohammed Basheer, who encouraged students to continue their fight “against the rising fascism in the country”.
The night closed with a highly applauded performance in Hindi by street theatre group “Sangwari” which critiqued the actions of the state and media in tarnishing the image of JNU. Members of this group were recently detained in Delhi by state actors who mistook them for JNU students; before the show, they silently held up a disclaimer stating that the performance was based entirely on real events.
Their lively performance included impersonations of Delhi Police commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi, media representatives, policemen, and the JNU Vice Chancellor.
Dhaval Bhate and Sibel Guner are students in CSSS and work for The Informer.