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Aishe Ghosh’s Journey From ‘Shy’ Painter to Fiery JNUSU President

For Aishe Ghosh’s mother, Sarmistha Ghosh, her daughter’s active participation in campus politics “stunned” her.

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For Aishe Ghosh’s mother, Sarmistha Ghosh, her daughter’s active participation in campus politics “stunned” her. Her daughter was a shy, obedient child and growing up, showed no signs that could predict her transition into the fiery JNUSU President.

Aishe Ghosh has been in the news of late for being at the forefront of the Jawaharlal Nehru University protests. Images of her bloodied face went viral from the night of 5 January, when some masked goons attacked students and faculty in the campus of JNU.

Politics for Aishe started at back at home, in Durgapur, West Bengal. Her father Debashis Ghosh was associated with Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the labour wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

“She saw politics at home, while growing up because her father was into trade unions. But at that time I didn’t think she would enter politics.”
Sarmistha Ghosh, Aishe’s Mother

As a young girl, she was interested in painting and even had a paper in Fine Arts in Class 12. Her mother said that Aishe even went on to win several prizes and accolades in her hometown.

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She did her Bachelors in Political Science from Daulat Ram College, Delhi. It was in these undergraduate years that Aishe slowly stepped into campus politics, starting with joining the SFI, the student wing of the CPI(M).

After enrolling in JNU for Masters in International Relations, her involvement in politics increased.

She was elected Councillor twice before being elected JNUSU’s President in 2019.

As JNUSU president, she led the protests against the fee hike & hostel manual in JNU. 

For juniors though, ‘Aishe di’ has been a warm senior, who always greets them with a smile and a hug. Ghosh is easy to spot, and is mostly always present on campus. She’s known to maintain friendly relations with all, regardless of their political affiliations.

“She’s very easily approachable and very warm. So this course is a pretty new course and her batch was the first batch doing this course, so when there were problems with the course structure, whenever we needed suggestions from seniors we went to her.”
Riddhi Sanyal, Aishe’s Departmental Junior
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Even after receiving injuries on her head and arm during the JNU violence on 5 January, she was back within 48 hours on campus, protesting the violence with fellow students.

Delhi Police, however, have named her as one of the people behind the violence in JNU before the attack on her.

While her parents support her and are proud of her for raising her voice against what she considers wrong, they also fear for her safety.

“She wants to raise her voice against everything happening against the students. That is her main thing. She doesn’t want to see any student suffering or any illegal thing being done with the students. That is her main motto.”
Sarmistha Ghosh, Aishe’s Mother

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