Published: 04th September 2019
Inspired by Lalu Yadav, 22-year-old Priyanka Bharti is the youngest JNUSU President candidate
Priyanka says that her party wants to break the binary politics in JNU and fight against casteism and Brahmanism. She hails from a family where both parents are unemployed
Priyanka Bharti grew up watching the ugly side of casteism, right from childhood. Born into a BPL Bahujan family in Bihar, she remembers how her family was always excluded and discriminated against by everyone everywhere. This is the reason why she's fighting the JNUSU presidential polls, representing a political party whose agenda's first point reads — Resolute fight to overthrow the Brahminical, casteist and Manuvadi (JNU) administration and government.
Of the five JNUSU presidential candidates is this 22-year-old who represents the Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal, the student wing of RJD. Youngest of the lot, this first-year MA German student was always inspired by the party's ideology from the time she remembers. "Just because we were born into a certain caste, everyone in our neighbourhood refused to talk to us. People couldn't imagine touching us or drinking water from the same glass that we used," she says. "But all this changed when Lalu Prasad Yadav became the Chief Minister of Bihar. That was when we got our own voice. This was the major reason, that my family always supported the party," she says.
This is the second time that the party is fighting the JNUSU polls. Last year, its only candidate bagged over 550 votes. But this year, it has one more goal — to break the binary politics in JNU. "In JNU, you either vote for the left or for the right. Both sides do not get any work done, but they would want to deface and defame others. The left's only weapon is the students' fear of ABVP coming to power. They were chosen because the students here had no other option," says Priyanka, adding, "People know how inefficient the left parties are. Whenever we talk to people, we always tell them that we need to break the two-party system. Students are so happy to see this."
She also says that the left dominated-former JNUSU was far from being efficient. "The outgoing JNUSU did raise a lot of issues. But they had no solutions. They (left) do not understand the word solution. They wouldn't fight till issues are resolved," she says, adding, "The left parties have no existence on their own. This is why they always fight under the united left alliance."
The road to JNU
Priyanka's parents are both unemployed. Her father is paralysed. She has two brothers, who are both students. "We fall in the BPL category. It is difficult for us to make both ends meet every month. So, after class, I tutor schoolchildren German and use the money to fund my studies and expenses. I send the remaining money home," she says. "My younger brother is a student at EFLU. He too conducts tuitions," she adds.
For her, enrolling in JNU was truly serendipitous. "A teacher of mine who was also my neighbour filled out my application. That was around the same time that the Azadi incident had occurred. I'd follow the news and was fascinated by the university. Everyone was so well-spoken. My exam was literally the next day. I qualified it," she says.
That was when she was exposed to German and the country's history. "I had an opportunity to read the Nazi history. I understood the media propaganda in Germany, the dominance of a certain race and a battle against another race. I was able to relate all this with what was happening in India right now, in the name of Hindutva. Minorities are lynched, people are under threat," she says.
With such a strong ideology, will Priyanka want to continue in politics? "I need a job desperately," she says. "I want to clear the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) examination and make sure that the system in Bihar works well. Also, I want to motivate people to fight their own battles," she signs off.