India’s Student Protests: Struggle for a Better World

Students protesting the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar. Video: Delhi Stories

My recent visit to India coincided with the student protests that convulsed the nation. What was striking was not the scale of the agitation but the idea of India put forth by these young men and women seeking freedom, equality and justice has resonated with the people and altered the national discourse. In the words of a leading feminist writer, Nivedita Menon, they are “fighting for the soul of India.” Their youthful insurgency represents an indictment of the entrenched power system that is elitist, exploitative and devoid of concern for the disadvantaged. By energising the public debate on social justice, they have rattled the right wing BJP-led Government under whose watch there has been an assault on free speech, on concessions for the disadvantaged and on minority rights. Continue reading