Well, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar is back and how!
Triggering students’ outrage with political overtones, Kanhaiya was arrested on Feb 13 on sedition charges for his speech at a JNU event, allegedly in favour of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. He was released from Tihar jail on Mar 3, amid a hero’s welcome.
Addressing a huge gathering, Kanhaiya made a fiery speech on the campus where he claimed young India needs freedom not from the country but from the corrupt who loot them within India.
With long pauses amid roaring slogans and claps, Kanhaiya’s speech ranged from Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War, to India’s Prime Minister Modi and Azadi (freedom).
Soon #KanhaiyaKumar became a trending topic on micro-blogging site Twitter with politicians, intellectuals and common men reacting to his speech.
Here are the top 10 mixed reactions:
1. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
: What a brilliant speech by Kanhaiya…Heard Kanhaiya’s speech many times. Amazing clarity of thought expressed wonderfully.He said wat most people have been feeling.God bless him.”
2. Music composer-singer Vishal Dadlani
BJP, you’ll regret having done all of this, & soon! #KanhaiyaKumar stay real, stay strong. India needs more of you!
3. Congress national spokesperson Sanjay Jha
#KanhaiyaKumar is now like the legendary Che Guevara ; a young man who symbolizes a new young irrepressible India that believes in itself. …It’s the season of spring. Spring; of hope, change and sunshine. In #JNU. All over. In India.
4. CPI-M veteran Sitaram Yechury
Lal Salam Comrade Kanhaiya.
5. Novelist Chetan Bhagat
Hardik Patel, Kanhaiya Kumar – youth desperate for new leader who can relate to them, talks to them and takes questions. Why govt doesn’t?
6. Former IT Minister Milind Deora
: Rockstar #KanhaiyaKumar: Indian politics’ latest startup…Don’t miss the forest for the trees — #KanhaiyaKumar’s speech isn’t about oratory. It’s about standing up to spin, distortion & lies.
7. National Executive Member – BJP Mahila Morcha, Priti Gandhi
He’s 28 years old and still a student living off taxpayers money!! So when is #KanhaiyaKumar taking ‘azadi’ from JNU?!! #Nautanki
8. BJP National Spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi
InterimBail order #KanhaiyaKumar case akin 2 order of conviction with conditions on probation #JNU celebrates reprimand exorcise illogical
9. Journalist and politician Pritish Nandy
All those who thought Kanhaiya Kumar and the JNU students were anti-nationals, must listen to him speak. This is the voice of the new India….Watch, Kanhaiya Kumar’s inspiring speech will reverberate in campuses all over the world. This is the voice of #Azaadi. A leader is born!
10. RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka
I have an ideological difference with #KanhaiyaKumar but his speech was a lesson in eloquence- gritty, fiery, peppered with humor, sarcasm….When youth wants equality for all, to end corruption, casteism, hunger, poverty and most of all want education, is it wrong? #KanhaiyaKumar
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.