September 19th

Protesters Rally against the violence at JU

It wasn’t a remarkable day in the beginning,
The morning lecture was droning on,
Some of the kids bent over their notes,
While others whispered at the back.
Like every class of university students,
We were just another lively batch.

A few were huddled close near the gates,
Some stood idly by, scattered around the place,
Here and there, you could see them talking,
Or clasping their hands, in pairs, walking,
Laughter in there voices, eyes sparkling.
As sunshine rippled across the small pond,
A soft breeze set the leaves above swaying.

It was a peaceful protest led by the students,
Standing in solidarity, they were heard singing.
Earlier in the afternoon, a politician had trespassed,
Into the sacred grounds of knowledge and education,
They had marched, with arms and security guards.
Uninvited they were and illegally forcing in.

Hired goons were gathered from the local neighbourhood,
A typical case of gloating their muscle power.
Sent to create a ruckus, to instill among us a sense of fear,
For fear begets hate and destroys all that we hold dear,
Willing most into conformity, and weakening the rest,
Leaving us trapped in such a miserable state.

Paying no heed to the rules of propriety,
Like dogs they chased down those trying to run away.
Like bullies they stomped into our rooms, breaking chairs,
Smashing boards and dragging students by the hair,
Out of libraries suddenly shoving them into the chaos everywhere.
They fired shots in the air, taking pleasure in numbers to scare.

You would think maybe at least now the police would care?
But we couldn’t have been more utterly wrong.
They turned their backs when needed were they the most.
Hiding behind their uniforms, they let the mob rampage,
Pelting stones at the protesters, anti-nationalists they called those
Students who had stood up to resist, raising slogans in the air.

They shut down the electricity inside the campus,
In order to bring the situation in control, or so they said,
And yet students were seen beaten by sticks and bricks.
Instead of protection, they received only police brutality.
The News channels turned blind just then conveniently,
Radio static noises could be discerned in the broadcast.

The night was cold and perhaps ceaselessly long
But undeterred they waited and sang along
Mere kids they might have been but indomitable within
They resisted the fascist regime all alone until
September 19th, remained branded in our minds
Burnt into our memory like a scar that won’t fade easily.

Written in memory of the incident of police brutality and organised vandalism by members affiliated with political parties that took place in Jadavpur University on September 19, 2019. This is an extremely personal poem, I request readers to maintain sensitivity while commenting on it. Thanks for your kind support as always!

25 thoughts on “September 19th

  1. I remember similar events when I was attending a university decades ago in Madison, Wisconsin. The national guard marching down the streets, teargas heavy in the air, shouts and screams all night long. The memories do remain and are triggered in times like these. Somehow, though, those very same memories underscore the importance of education to me. How might things change if people on the margins understood that unjust social structures serve those in power, the very politicians that use them to put down others on the margins who are merely trying to raise awareness about injustice? Although I have no illusions that I can change things on a state or national level, maybe something I say or do will inspire one student at a time to return to her/his community to make things a little better for the next generation. Experiences like the one you describe help keep hope alive. They’re evidence that people from around the globe are still standing up, together, against forces of conformity and oppression. Thank you for sharing your story, Shruba.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow this is such a sincere and heartwarming comment. Thank you so much Carol. I’m lucky to have readers like you visit my blog. You totally understood my perspective and that’s exactly what I feel. I’m proud of my university because these places are the soul of our country, especially in such turbulent times when fascism is rising almost in every other place, this kind of passion and spirit does encourage the best in us. Thanks for sharing your insights! πŸ₯°πŸ’•πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m blown away by your amazing writing πŸ–€
    The contrast between the peace in the first couple of stanzas to the violence later on is extremely palpable. This event must have been frightening, and it’s great that you are shedding light on it. I hope you are doing okay πŸ–€πŸ–€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, wardah. Yes it was terrifying. I used to get nightmares even after a few months had passed since that event. But I think it finally opened my eyes on the reality of things. News reports on student protests and police brutality never has the same impact on me like it does now after what I witnessed. When you are in the situation where you see your own friends and classmates bleeding from wounds, with nobody to hold accountable for because these perpetrators were the ones in power, you feel helpless and utterly lost. Then to stand up against all that and march, although it’s symbolic, it boosts our sporit like nothing else. The support that poured in during the rally was unbelievable. It was nothing short of inspiring. I guess I’m happy I was able to be part of that moment in history. Thanks for reading it friend! Hugs πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds so terrible, Shruba, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure that event caused so much pain – not just physical. I’m proud of you for standing up to police brutality and showing the world that this abuse is true, but it can and will be countered. You are such a strong, beautiful person πŸ–€πŸ–€πŸ–€

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I wish things were less complex. It’s probably got to do with unequal distribution of power. Some people have every say in anything while others are left empty. It gives them a leverage to use these people for whatever vile reasons they need. Incentives can drive people to do unimaginable things. I don’t think any decent human being would want to harm another human in their right minds without the slightest provocation. But politicians know how to take advantage of people’s weaknesses and goad them into doing things like a mob attack. It’s just sad. Thanks for reading! πŸ–€πŸ₯Ί


  3. This is indeed a poignant memory.Your poem reveals the sentiments of the students attached to the incident.I was literally shocked at the vandalism on the campus.I am a JU aspirant.Today it’s your alma mater, someday it will be my institution.With all my love, respect and support for JU❀️

    Very well written,Shruba di

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shruba, Waves of violence have been sweeping over many countries in the fast few years. It’s incredibly awful when police brutality against peaceful protesters occurs. I hope the lawlessness and violence are on the wane. Your poem hit me very hard when you described police destroying property on a university campus! Take care! ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for reading this! Yes, I realize many people including myself before this happened, don’t/didn’t know how close the fire has spread. That’s why I wanted this to be my constant reminder, that although almost half a year has passed since this incident, the flashbacks are just as vivid as if it was yesterday and nothing’s forgotten. Injustice can never be allowed to fade into oblivion. πŸ₯ΊπŸ–€πŸ–€

      Liked by 2 people

  5. hey shruba, hope you’re doing well. i’m actually leaving wordpress but i just want to say, thank you for everything, you have always been so kind and amazing and i appreciate you a lot. take care, you are loved and so spectacular πŸ’›

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh noo. Why? Are you on Instagram or Facebook? I’m so sad to hear this, you were one of my favorite bloggers and such a supportive reader. Are you gonna return someday later maybe? I’ll miss you, wishing you the best (reluctantly). πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

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