Published: 29th August 2018
People randomly saying #MeTooUrbanNaxal are being stupid: Vivek Agnihotri
Filmmaker and author of Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam, Vivek Agnihotri talks about the recent debate on his controversial tweet on urban naxals and the Bhima Koregaon issue
On Tuesday night, Vivek Agnihotri took twitter by storm with a tweet where he asked young people of the country to make a list of all those who were defending #UrbanNaxals. This was in light of the recent raids and arrests of left-leaning professors and activists for inciting violence during the Bhima Koregaon rights. While many replied with the names of people from different walks of life, others chose to come up with the hashtag 'Me Too Urban Naxal', in retaliation to the tweet. We caught up with Agnihotri, an author and filmmaker, to know more about his tweet and his views about the topic.
Why have you asked for a crowdsourced list of people who are defending Urban Naxals?
I've been crowdsourcing information using twitter for the past 10 years. I've made an entire film on Lal Bahadur Shastri, which was also crowdsourced. I work with students all the time. I wanted to know who these people were who always defend stone pelters, jihadis, terrorists and Naxals. Who defends the enemies of a state? They're funded by terror organisations and the whole world recognises them as terrorists. Why are these people defending them?
Can we expect another book or documentary out of this list?
I've already finished a documentary. This is part of that research. The names I'm looking for are those of people who are organising funds and making strategies. Leaders including Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee have called them terrorists. I do not understand why some people in Mumbai or Delhi are standing up and saying that they are also urban Naxals? They're being stupid. This is equivalent to raising their hands and saying that they're also terrorists. They're exposing themselves. This is not some kind of birthday party or a nightclub. It's a serious matter and they don't know much about it. Who else has worked on this subject more than I have?
I do not understand why some people in Mumbai or Delhi are standing up and saying that they are also urban Naxals? They're being stupid. This is equivalent to raising their hands and saying that they're also terrorists
Vivek Agnihotri, author and filmmaker
Someone posted a list of names that included the names of a few popular journalists and activists. Is that the reason for this hashtag?
I don't endorse that. In none of my articles have I called anyone an urban Naxal. Even recently, I gave a speech at Hansraj College where I asked everyone to stop calling every journalist a 'presstitute'. Stop calling anyone who disagrees with you an urban Naxal or an anti-national. I'm not obliged to talk about all these people.
What do you think of the discussion and debate on urban Naxals, especially after the recent arrests?
Today, everyone is talking about urban Naxals. It doesn't matter what they add before or after. At least everybody will understand that they are the biggest threat to this country. Also, it is good publicity for my book which is already a best seller. Who doesn't like more copies? I've got scores of orders today.
Are you delighted as an author?
I'm delighted as a citizen. We wanted to create an awareness about it because it wasn't easy and we didn't have the money. Now, everyone is aware of it. These few hundred thousands of people who chit chat about it doesn't matter. If you see my DM and see the sort of stories that people who have suffered have shared, you'll be surprised.
I'm writing articles on these stories in the next few hours.
Who according to you is an urban Naxal?
All the documents of Maoists that were found during the time Professor GN Saibaba was arrested were accepted as authentic. There is no confusion that they want to throw away the state of India; Not the BJP, but the state of India itself with an armed revolution. That will come about only by capturing cities. In their definition, these are Front Organisations. There is legal, social, Dalit and cultural activism. Most of them are funded by the red corridors. I'm not the first to say this, everybody agrees on it. Only those people who work directly to help them meet these objectives through funding, organisation or ideologies can be called urban Naxals. Just because you say that Modi is the worst PM, you do not become an urban Naxal. This is a wonderful thing. Everyone must criticise the government. A journalist who takes a negative stand is not an urban Naxal. Urban Naxals are those who are helping terrorists come to war with the country. They are not people who are listening to the terrorists or discussing terrorism. I don't know why there is a queue outside my house to add their names to this list of urban Naxals. It is ridiculous. I'm always up for a discussion on this. I even reply to the trolls.