JNU Violence: Eminent Personalities Finally Break Their Silence

While the usual voices spoke, what came as a surprise was the support of those who usually stay away from politics.

Updated
India
3 min read
While the usual voices were quick to express their condemnation, what was a (pleasant) surprise were the voices of some eminent personalities, who usually stay away from political commentary, expressing their support for JNU and its students.
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The violence in JNU on the night of 5 January has sent a shock-wave across the country with eminent personalities and common citizens alike expressing their distress over the manner in which an educational institution and students were targeted.

While the usual voices were quick to express their condemnation, what was a (pleasant) surprise were the voices of some eminent personalities, who usually stay away from political commentary, expressing their support for JNU and its students. Some, who were earlier seen as staunch supporters of the government, also surprised many by speaking up for JNU.

Here’s a list of some of these personalities whose support for JNU earned the praise of many:

1. Sanjaya Baru

Sanjaya Baru, now a veteran journalist and former Secretary General of FICCI, staunchly protested the violence on Twitter. Baru, who is a JNU alumnus, was also chief media advisor to former prime minister Manmohan Singh from 2004 to 2008. His book, The Accidental Prime Minister, based on his experience working with Singh at the time, was recently made into a movie.

The movie and Baru both came under criticism at the time for ‘demonising’ Singh and also white-washing the problems with the present political dispensation, which was in Opposition at the time.

Baru’s support for the students of JNU, were thus shared by many to validate what was happening on campus, saying that even those who are NOT critics of the government are attesting to the violence.

Throughout the evening of 5 January, Baru shared a number of videos, reports and pictures from the JNU campus to condemn the violence and called for action against those perpetrating it.

2. Harsh Mariwala

Harsh Mariwala, Chairman of Marico, while always very active on Twitter is seen restricting his views to entrepreneurship and mental health. In the past, Mariwala has very rarely made any political comment.

However, the JNU incident was different.

Unlike Baru, Mariwala did not share any videos or reports from the incident and kept his views restricted to one tweet. However, as they say in these times, one word of support can go a long way.

Another Marico executive and industry biggie, Kishor Mariwala also took to Facebook to highlight an incident he faced in Phuket, Thailand which he said made him feel “really ashamed”. Mariwala said that the owner of a yacht company in Phuket was hesitant about renting them a yacht operated by a Muslim sailor because they had read in newspapers that “Hindus don’t want Muslims near them.” To this Mariwala told the owner that most “cultured Hindus” don’t behave like this.

3. Bhuvan Bam

Youtuber and social media sensation Bhuvan Bam, too, took to Twitter to speak against the violence in JNU.

All through the evening on 5 January, Bam shared opinions and videos that condemned the violence.

Finally, Bam tweeted that he had been scared into silence and threatened with death earlier for airing his views on politics. However, he couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

4. Anand Mahindra

An active Twitterati, Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the Mahindra group, has been a social media darling with his witty responses and propensity to lend a helping hand to needy people whenever required.

However, like the others on this list, Mahindra has always largely stayed away from political commentary. Last night, however, he tweeted to condemn the violence in JNU, saying that this is beyond politics. He also called for swift action against the perpetrators.

5. Chetan Bhagat

Author Chetan Bhagat surprised many when he took a stance against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Previously, Bhagat was known to be a staunch supporter of the BJP regime and the Modi government. However, over the past few weeks, his view seems to have changed.

Keeping with this change of heart, Bhagat tweeted in support of JNU last night. Saying that this has now become a pattern after Jamia and AMU, he added that those condoning such acts will destroy the nation.

As they say, der aaye par durust aaye. Here’s hoping that more such personalities voice their opinion on the state of political affairs in the country soon.

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