A Rejoinder to Deborshi’s letter to Kanhaiya

Dear Deborshi,

Red Salute,

I read your open letter to Kanhaiya Kumar, President of JNUSU on the recent developments. Let me tell you that I wholeheartedly support your feelings. I read your letter many times, and often I was reminded of that famous line from Ghalib, ‘Goya yah bhi mere dil mein hai’. It is reassuring. It strengthens the hope for future. But, there are occasions in your letter that I disagree, and, also, they are poorly argued. I try to underline those points and I am sure that you will receive my counterpoints in a comradely fashion.

You have talked about the media hype over Kanhaiya after his release from Tihar. And, you are correct that Kanhaiya, the struggle and we all that are part of it should not be carried away. But, you have missed a major thing here. It is the larger solidarity that has compelled a section of media to stand with us. And, also, solidarity comes in all shapes and sizes. Many media professionals are supportive because they see a reason. We must welcome all. Let us not forget that the onslaught is immense. So, a broader solidarity is needed. It has to be expanded. You, me or anyone cannot be allowed to champion his or her own set of goals and marginalize other agenda. Read a latest story in The Caravan on the Rohith Vemula’s issue and the media coverage. National media ignored it all initially, but activists on the social media spread the details and that resulted in a huge solidarity. Media was forced to follow.

If they follow our stories, it is good. If they don’t, let it be. Azadi is not something that waits for us at the next crossing. So, keep walking, keep fighting. Watch this video taken some moments before that famous speech. Feel the air. It was not created by media. It is a result of our solidarity. Media come with you because you have come a long way within a month. You have emphatically underlined this too.

You dedicated most of the letter to the media discourse. But, you didn’t bother to check what Comrade Sitaram Yechury actually said. When asked about Kanhaiya’s participation in Bengal campaign, he said that many Left activists participate in such campaigns.

And, in my opinion, he must campaign for the Left Front because he is from that stream. What is wrong in this? And it is pointless to bring in all those debates related to the Left Front rule in Bengal. You are with Kanhaiya not because of his political affiliation. Should I not stand with Umar Khalid and Anirban for I do not subscribe to their ideological positions? I was a CPI(M) supporter till 2008, and in 2011, I supported Mamata Banerji who also got support from the Maoists. In Bihar, I supported Laloo Prasad and Nitish Kumar. In Delhi, I am for the AAP.

But all this is a different debate. This struggle is all about basic democratic rights, and all sectarian attitudes must be kept away. If we will be alive with those rights, then only we can further our respective programmes of Azadi. I felt funny when I noticed that you have borrowed a phrase from a pro-market, anti-Left and Anti-Ambedkar Arun Shourie to define Modi Sarkar.

And, then you have opined on Kashmir. Again, on this too, there are varied opinions. I consider Kashmir a part of India, and I demand the government to ask Pakistan to leave the occupied part. But, I support the rights of a section of Kashmiris who ask for the self-determination. I want Kashmir to be demilitarized, and the AFSPA, the PSA, the NSA etc. to go. I consider the Hurriyat a compromised entity. To me, the JKLF is now just a group of bullies. But, again, these things are not part of this movement. It is about the basic rights. About the release of those framed in fake cases. And the rights to speak. Against the puffed up bullies. The next stage is a next stage, and that depends on this struggle.

You have addressed Kanhaiya as if he has become the Chairman of the Republic after the great uprising, and now he should settle all questions related to different nationalities, punish all those Leftists who betrayed the cause, and chase the RSS and the Congress till the end of this universe! Come on! Relax. Be focused. Let us all try to build a political resistance based on common agenda.

Comradely Yours,
Prakash K Ray

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