On His Birthday, Reading What Message Sharjeel Imam Left for Scholars

If you are a scholar, your responsibility is to be on the streets, not stay confined to the campus. If you are educated, it is your responsibility to educate the masses.

I am not very fond of the behavior of Jamia’s students. They don’t have a plan. They don’t even have a plan for sensitization, let alone other things. You don’t need much courage to protest inside the university. Courage is required to take the protest outside the campus. I keep trying to talk to the Jamia students, and some people have listened to me and gone out. The protest should be done in a manner in which all of us are able to use our energies and our skills to the fullest.

We are scholars, we are young, and we have energy. we can run, we can take a few blows of the lathi, we can take tear gas, you guys have done so much yourselves, a civil war happened here. We can write pamphlets, we can speak, we can make videos, we can edit videos, and we can go door to door and argue with people, we can do all these things. A common man can’t do all this. A common man doesn’t even know what to say. We can argue. It is our job to get on the streets and argue with people and sensitize people.

Our second job is to make a plan of action. The plan of action is not going to be the same for the whole of India. Every neighborhood needs its own plan of action. For example, a highway runs next to Shaheen Bagh. It was possible to convince the crowd to just keep sitting there and block the highway. In Delhi, over the last month, we have gathered a team of about 300 scholars from different fields who are ready and willing to take forward the plan of action we are discussing right now. It is your responsibility also that you join us. There can be many ideas, many strategies, but we need to have consensus about the fact that we have gathered to change the system.

It is not a fight about Congress and BJP. It is not any party’s fight. This is a fight of oppressed minorities against the state and the system. We have to make an intellectual cell and I request you all to join that as well.

Everyone should do whatever they can, based on their abilities. Someone can make a poster, someone is a graphic designer, and everyone has different abilities. That’s one thing. Secondly, we have to reach the common people everywhere in India. From Aligarh, all of western UP can be covered. From Delhi, we can cover the areas near Delhi, like Muzaffarnagar. Students from Delhi and Aligarh can cover all the areas between Delhi and Aligarh. We have enough young people to cover the whole way from Delhi to Aligarh.

We have to make a separate strategy for every locality regarding the most effective mode of protest to pressurize the state. For example, we blocked one highway in Delhi. There are four major roadways that connect Delhi to Uttar Pradesh; we have blocked one of them, which have increased the load on the other three. If we block one more they will be badly affected. Especially if Delhi – Noida Direct Flyway (DND) is blocked someday, they will be brought to their knees.

DND is in no man’s land, nobody is there. What can we do? One morning, five hundred of us have to go, sit there and wait for the police. We have to reach at the peak time, like 8 or 9 in the morning, so that even the police are not able to come there. Till the evening, no one will be able to reach us. By the time they reach us, we will disperse and Delhi will remain shut for two days. We have to use our brains like this and strategize locally. We have enough people to shut down the whole of India. This is where I want to end, thank you very much for listening.

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