– by Saurobijay Sarkar, Sanhati
Unprecedented is too mild an epithet to describe the Saturday rally by Kolkata students. The number is most conservatively [by the police] 80,000 and by watchers 1,10,000 and more because no one can count the real number as the end of the rally could not even come out of Nandan complex when the starting was getting fully drenched at the end point in Mayo Road where it was blocked. The torrential rain catapulted the spirit of the rally to dizzy heights. Every single participant shouted slogans – the most popular one was the one that went viral throughout India – “hok hok hok kolorob” – some say it is the direct poetic translation of “Halla bol”!
Students surged up and above- all without any specific banner and yet filled up with all RED slogans, Inquilab Zindabad, Lal salaam, Comrade , jab lal lal lal laharayega, hosh thikana mil jaiga”, were some snippets and variations of Hok Kolorob!
Why did the students of Kolkata flare up? A girl student were forcibly abducted in one of the boys hostel and molested by 10 odd students. After rescue every door of the authority was knocked and they were pushed back turned around. The VC appointed an enquiry committee, two women representatives of which actually intimidated the victim and her parents! Students had it enough, they besieged the VC. At around 2’0 clock in the night, VC called the police and they ran amok with the students. Every present girl student was molested. The male students were so brutally smashed that led 20 of them injured, two of them still languishing in the local hospital. 37 arrested including one girl.
This was the cause of flaring. First it was the Jadavpur students who rallied on the first day with 5000, on the second day 10,000 and on the final day that is on 20th crossed lakhs. They came from every college and institution possible. Those who never ever thought to join politics, walked along completely drenched with slogans and songs. The authorities [government, police and VC et al] spread all kinds of rumours, invectives, threats and dis-information! All these were washed out in that torrential rain. Students demand – resignation of VC, Pro-VC and Register and clean apology from the Commissioner or Police and the education minister! The movement will go on till they clinch victory. University has a grinding halt! – This is the anatomy of the movement!
Students of all hues came and joined. Came in the alumni, came in “outsiders” , came in students from all institutions, those who are not students walked along too! All under the leadership of the students, not one single untoward incident, not one vituperative remark to the guarding police personnel, with a wonderful management Kolkata was Occupied! The map was redrawn with the isobaric line of Kolkata joining Dhaka, Tahrir Square, Greece, Europe and Washington, Berkeley, New York- the “occupy map” has now one more entry and the contour is redrawn!
One incident- flared the entire India up! Students of IIM, IITs, IISc, JNU, DU who have bagged confirmed very high pay packet risked to walk along! Walked along those students who did not feel insecure and inferior for their non-elite mark of their institutions! Every one joined, shared and every one of them was a leader! They brought in their parents; they broke the steel-still barricade of their home-prohibitions. They found their AZADI in the rally-“Chin ke lenge AZADI” resounded the corridors of Kolkata! Kolkata was born again!
The author is a Jadavpur University alumnus.