Kanhaiya walked out of jail on bail to a hero’s welcome. He was already a celebrity since report of videos being doctored became public and is now toasted everywhere. National news channels covered his movement and his midnight address to the huge gathering of students at JNU live and followed next day with exclusive interviews with him. The ‘intolerant’ government and the ruling party have been shown their places – all Kanhaiya fans jubilantly declared. “It is victory for Kanhaiya because the truth is out- the big conspiracy to brand him anti national failed.”
Who is the real winner in the Kanhaiya episode? On the face of it it is Kanhaiya. The court verdict on his sedition charge is yet to be pronounced and is unlikely to come too soon. But he has largely cleared his name from being among those shouting anti-India slogans of breaking up India etc. once it was known that those video clips showing him doing so were actually doctored.
The well known fact however, is that anti India sloganeering in JNU was not happening for the first time in February this year. There had been such events in the past but no one bothered. The likely scenario therefore- is that Kanhaiya though not organising these himself may not have given particular attention to it just like all his predecessors did not bother about such events. No wonder with the mainstream students body turning a blind eye, all supporters and sympathizers of separatist – of Kashmir or elsewhere, Maoist etc. had found JNU the best propaganda venue to enlarge support and enlist cadres. But events since February 9 has changed all that.
Probably for the first time- a student rally at JNU after Kanhaiya’s release actually displayed the national flag. In his address, Kanhaiya took all pain to reiterate that he is not seeking ‘azaadi’ from India but within India and from all those ills that most politicians routinely mouth- caste discrimination, poverty, corruption and so on. It takes no brains to say that – the space of anti- India elements in JNU has now shrunk to nothing with Kanhaiya’s assertion. This is exactly what government wanted and got it now within a month.
Kanhaiya of course, gave some indications of his political ambitions in some exclusive interviews with TV channels. That now makes him a new political aspirant in the block and it would be interesting to watch where his aspiration takes him. But as for now government is the bigger winner in this episode.
By Prabhat Sharma