Rahul Rajkhowa graduated from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2017. Though he works as a full-time musician now and is about to wrap up the last leg of a 20-city tour, his conscience won’t allow him to ignore the critical situation in his alma mater.
“A lot has happened in JNU over the last couple of months and the country is unaware of most of it,” Rajkhowa told Scroll.in. “We need to spread more awareness on what’s happening, which is why I put out the song.”
Staying true to his preferred form of protest, the 23-year-old posted a rap video (above) in which he yet again took on the Vice Chancellor of JNU. It was a follow-up to a song he had posted nearly a year ago.
“This song summarises all the recent events that are threatening education not just in JNU but education as a whole in our country,” Rajkhowa said. “It discusses certain arbitrary decisions made by the VC, like the imposition of compulsory attendance, his lack of action against Professor Johri, or his decision to make Amita Singh the Chairperson of the Centre for Law and Governance.”
JNU Professor Atul Johri was arrested only on Tuesday, the day after Rajkhowa posted his video, for allegedly sexually harassing eight students. His arrest came after days of protests by students. The Patiala House Court, however, granted him bail almost immediately.
“Education is of primary importance,” said Rajkhowa. “In other countries, people promote education and provide so many scholarships and so on. Here, we are trying to curb student power. Which is why the students cannot give up. I get a lot of messages from people telling me to be careful. But we can’t give up the fight. More protests, more articles, songs, poems and theatre productions need to be coming out. My bit to the students across the country: do not be afraid, stand up and speak up. We should be questioning things and arguing more. Because wasn’t that the purpose of education, and a democracy?”