“We take immense pride in being the students of a professor who speaks up against the wrongs and injustices in the world,” wrote Samiksha, as she wished Delhi University Professor Hany Babu on 16 August 2020, when he turned 58.
Dr Babu, however, may or may not have read Samiksha’s letter, as he has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of “propagating Naxal activities, Maoist ideology and was a co-conspirator with other arrested accused in the Elgaar Parishad case.”
Following Dr Babu’s arrest, his wife Jenny Rowena had alleged that, “They are accusing us of co-conspiring with the Maoists but we have no connection with any of them. They are coming after Babu because he is a vocal critic of the caste system.”
The NIA’s claim notwithstanding, a group of students wrote to Dr Babu on his birthday, expressing their love and respect for a teacher they describe as ‘humble, fatherly and inspirational.’
The letters were written by students after ‘Students in Solidarity With Hany Babu’, a collective composed of his present and former students, put out a call to students to send in birthday wishes and thereby express their solidarity with their professor.
To Sir, With Love
Ibrahim Badshah AM wrote that Dr Babu is no less than a hero. For the latter had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the student and discussed the progress of his PhD all through last year.
Describing Dr Babu as a ‘true inspiration’, Badshah said that ‘no fabricated lies can change this’.
Diksha Makhija said she wouldn’t wish Dr Babu a happy birthday as “it’s not a happy one indeed.” Makhija, instead, said that she wanted to tell Dr Babu that all his students were with him.
An MPhil scholar at Delhi University, Babitha, recalled how Dr Babu had said that research on urgent issues may not make an instant impact, but brings about a gradual change. “May your birthday come with more strength and solidarity,” she said.
Yanam Bage recalled how, for an assignment on language and linguistics, Dr Babu had given around 300 students in the class the option to choose their own topics and even discuss them individually with him.
Stating that “no other professor would have done this,” Bage said that Dr Babu had shown courage, patience and “undeterrable moral compass.”
Many other students also wished Dr Babu a very happy birthday, albeit, with a heavy heart. Among those, MA English Student Isha Singh said she regretted not attending a single class by Dr Babu.
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