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Soul-stirring Songs, Slogans & A Message for India: When Bollywood Joined Hands to Protest JNU Attack

By: Shrishti Negi


Last Updated: January 07, 2020, 09:06 IST

Bollywood celebrities at Gateway of India in Mumbai on Monday.

Bollywood celebrities at Gateway of India in Mumbai on Monday.

At least 28 people, including JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours. The mob attack has sparked outrage across the country, with protests erupting in several states.

Taapsee Pannu, Zoya Akhtar, Richa Chadha, Vishal Bhardwaj, Dia Mirza, and Anubhav Sinha were among those who joined the Carter Road protest in Mumbai on Monday against the JNU violence. Several students of the Delhi-based university were injured when a group of masked men and women attacked them with rods and sticks on Sunday evening.

"What happened in JNU was shameful and condemnable. It’s beyond words how dangerous the situation in the country is right now. We’re under a regime where anyone who questions, is shut down in an attempt to silence dissent. Whether it’s Jamia incident, AMU or JNU, I don’t think India is a democracy anymore. We can’t even trust the police anymore," said actor Swara Bhasker, whose mother Ira Bhasker is a professor at JNU.

“I am hoping now everyone in the country will break their silence. It’s enough. There’s a saying in Hindi, ‘bahut hua sammaan’. We have reached that stage in this country where we have shown enough respect to the government and law and order machinery, which have repeatedly failed to fulfill their responsibility. They are only doing wrong by the country’s constitution,” Bhasker added.

Richa Chadha and Shweta Tripathi were among the actors carrying signs that read "We're gonna outlive you! Give up" and "Dystopian future is now our current affairs." "Where gurus are given the status of God, there a professor was attacked. What is happening? They are beating up women with iron rods. Citizens of this country aren’t fools. Please behave," Chadha told media.

Director Anurag Kashyap, who recently broke Twitter hiatus over violence in Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia, also attended the protest, and said, "I condemn the way police are controlled. We stand by the students, and they are our inspiration. I don’t want to give them any message. The students’ message has woken us up. I ran away from Twitter and was busy in my work. I was like, ‘Why should I bother? I am earning money and doing work.’ Students have shown me the way. They have woken me up. I returned because of them. I stand with them. I stand behind them. I am learning from them.”

Actor Taapsee Pannu said she was at a loss for words after seeing what happened in JNU.

"I thought this (peaceful protest) was the least I could do to show my solidarity with the students. I just want to tell them, ‘We are with you.’ We go out to promote our films in colleges and universities and expect students to buy our film’s tickets and make us stars. Today, when they need us and if we can’t even do this for them then it’s unfair," Pannu added.

Meanwhile, singing played a large part in the protest as filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj along with his wife, singer Rekha Bhardwaj, performed Aao Na from his movie Haider. Lyricist-singer Swanand Kirkire sang iconic Baawra Mann from Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi. Songs such as We Shall Over Come and Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna further empowered the gathered protestors as slogans of Inquilab Zindabad echoed through air at the Carter Road promenade.

The two-hour long demonstration, which was attended by droves of young people, many of whom had participated in the protest at the Gateway of India on Sunday midnight, ended with the crowd singing the national anthem.

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first published:January 07, 2020, 08:50 IST
last updated:January 07, 2020, 09:06 IST