March 2016 \ News \ COLUMN: AMB. MALAY MISHRA
Like pebbles in the pond

By Malay Mishra

Kanhaiya, in his eloquent message to the nation from the steps of the open air auditorium, invoked Babasaheb several times and made it emphatically clear that real change will come, ‘azadi’ will see the light of the new day, but within the boundaries of India’s Constitution, its Parliament and Judiciary. Indeed a powerful statement to make, and if I may add, prophetic too. Change within the system to throw out a putrid corps and have a taste of freedom is what the country needs. And the citizenry too. Kanhaiya, in that sense, could well be an agent of change. The forces which he unleashed in the nether of the dark will form a million concentric circles reaching out to the farthest shores of a hitherto moribund pond. And therein lies the magic of the moment.

The intelligentsia, academia, media and even a reformed governance system will take the message forward, if something meaningful has to emerge from this clarion call for change. Rohit Vemula will have to live in a million hearts and minds, to perceive the pain of his suffering and fulfill the beatitude of his mission. To me, the struggle may have just begun, which will play out on the broad canvas of the country as the demand for justice, equality and liberty will transcend all other needs, so heartfelt are they.

The foremost leaders of India’s political struggle, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Tilak, Aurobindo down to the next generation of Nehru, Patel, Bose, Azad and Naidu have to all come alive in their vision and legacy. The new India is waiting to happen. Let a million mutinies spawn in the entrails of India’s youth, raring to go in an ossified society. Let the country see hundreds of Rohit Vemulas and Kanhaiya Kumars take shape amidst the debris and chaos of a disturbed world, waiting to come out of a decimated cocoon, like a resplendent butterfly, of peace, love, unity, strength and above all a true national spirit.

Watching the entire proceedings of that night play out live on a prime television channel, I had just one thought in mind. Could I go back to JNU again as a student, compressing 40 years of times gone by, in serving a decadent system which had threatened to engulf, nay, destroy me to the core?

Look at the future. It beckons you to a brave, new world.

—The author is a retired Ambassador