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Bull's Eye

The French Revolution occurred because the poor didn't get bread. For the poor, it was a question of survival. So people banded together and revolted ...

Bull's Eye

The French Revolution occurred because the poor didn't get bread. For the poor, it was a question of survival. So people banded together and revolted against the king, the queen and the nobles. Jean Jacques Rousseau inspired them with his writing. We want liberty, equality, fraternity, chorused the people, echoing him.

So has it been with each revolution. The Roundheads under Cromwell revolted against the British monarchy. After Cromwell's death, the fight eventually culminated in the Bill of Rights that made people and parliament supreme. The Russian peasants and workers led by Lenin fought the Tsar. Marx, who urged workers of the world to unite, inspired them.

So how will India get its revolution? Has it started in Patna? Indications are it has, although of course it is uniquely Indian. In Biharsharif, in Nalanda, in Sasaram, in Danapur, across the state of Bihar angry youth have taken to the streets in violent protests. Older people, inspired by them, have followed suit.

Bihar is witnessing a genuine class struggle. The youth struggle to advance from one class to the next in their respective colleges. Their leader and ideologue is Ranjit 'Don'. Ranjit showed them the path to progress—by leaking examination papers. But bourgeois authorities hauled up the revolutionaries on charges of cheating. One girl was even expelled from college for cheating! Now Ranjit will contest the polls to propagate the aims of the revolution. The public too has been enthusiastic in its response.

"Copying is our birthright," chanted students as they led mobs to attack colleges and even attempted to set a railway station ablaze. There was police firing. Some students too have now died for the cause.

It is easy for bourgeois elements to mock the students. But they are fighting for economic survival. Without university degrees, they have no future. The quality of education proffered by colleges makes passing exams near-impossible. So they opted for liberty, equality and fraternity. They demand the liberty to cheat. They seek equality with the offspring of political vvips who mysteriously top the exams. They seek fraternity and find a place in the system by bonding with fellow students wanting to cheat. They say cheating should be made a fundamental right for all people, not just for the privileged few who rule the nation.

I encountered one such revolutionary and asked why he was participating in the violence. "Why do you have to cheat to pass exams?" I asked angrily. He thought for a while, then looked me in the eye and said simply: "It makes me feel good."

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