Retired IIT Delhi professor stands for Kashmir.
September 9, retired IIT Delhi professor Vipin Kumar Tripathi took a long walk away from his house in south Delhi’s Sarvodaya Enclave using a bagful of both Hindi along with English pamphlets.
The 71-year-old often stopped to distribute the pamphlets, titled”Disquiet of Kashmiri Masses and Jubilation in Rest of India Test Our Spirit”.
He walked around 5km, devoting his pamphlets into passers-by near the Hauz Khas Metro station, in the leafy shore of August Kranti Marg, and outside the Kamala Nehru and Gargi Colleges.
A brief way from Moolchand Flyover, a car pulled up with the driver asked for a pamphlet.
Before Tripathi could react, the man snatched up a whole lot of 150 pamphlets out of his hand.
“He shouted at me,’Are you a Pakistani? You’re committing treason! If you weren’t an older man I would have hit one hard’. I answered,’You can do that right now if you want, however, tell me what your problem is. What is wrong with my pamphlet?'” Tripathi said.
“Several policemen came and attempted to calm the circumstance. The man asked them to arrest me. People in one state are uneasy, and people in other nations are rejoicing.
Tripathi has been writing pamphlets for 27 years and has travelled as far as Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Haryana to disperse them, frequently meeting with misuse. However, this was the first time he’d pamphlets snatched out of him was threatened by violence.
“Many sections of Delhi were under curfew. I went into Seelampur and other localities that were not under curfew and dispersed Hindi and English pamphlets titled,’Fire of Violence at the Nation’,” he explained.
“We dispersed 20,000 these pamphlets, for which I had been helped by nearly 100 like-minded professors and 20 students from the IIT and buddies out of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.”
His newest pamphlet asks the authorities to preserve Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood and also stay in abeyance the presidential order revoking its special status and bifurcating it till the reconstituted Assembly of the undivided state approves the move.
It also seeks an end to the limitations on movement and communication in the country, the discharge of those arrested along with a phased withdrawal of their army from the streets.
A memorandum signed by Tripathi and 82 other university teachers was submitted to Rashtrapati Bhavan on September 5.
On September 9, the authorities didn’t detain Tripathi because he heeded their advice to move along. He states he faced verbal abuse when he spread pamphlets within Metro coaches after the arrest for JNU pupils for sedition at 2016, but nothing as awful as he faced from the irate driver.
“How I know nationwide unity is that when one area of India is in pain, then the remainder of India recognises it,” he said.
“The effect of the administration’s activities in Kashmir was worse in the rest of India than the harm caused to the inhabitants of Kashmir. In the rest of the country, people’s minds have been poisoned so much they don’t wish to follow any reasoning. This runs counter to national unity.”
On September 10, when Tripathi distributed pamphlets near Old Delhi’s G.B. Pant Hospital, he has mixed responses. “People who encouraged the pamphlet were modest. Those who did not like it had been assertive, aggressive and abusive. . (Only ) five to half those who didn’t like it were not abusive.”
He analyzed in Jhansi and Agra before linking IIT Delhi as a lecturer, at which he did his PhD.
He taught in the University of Maryland at the United States for decades before leaving in 1982, saddened by America’s support for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
He returned to IIT Delhi, where he held”particular lectures” outside classrooms to discuss the way”imperialism remains living and sectarianism is its own tool”.
“Non-violence is the only instrument to withstand the State in a time when States have strong military funds,” he explained.
Tripathi retired in 2013 but continued instruction in the IIT as a honorary professor until last year.
“I’ve realised that I want WhatsApp to reach out to more people, but I’m bad at it. By going in person I get responses from people that allow me to articulate my place ,” he said.
Tripathi publishes and distributes pamphlets prior to each election. Sometimes also he writes pamphlets on current issues, like the National Register of Citizens.
He has received assistance from friends associated with his Sadbhav Mission, an NGO that aims at”growing grassroots immunity against communalism and mobilising people on fundamental issues like schooling”. He has taught science and mathematics to children in slums and today stays free workshops on math for madarsa teachers.
“After the incident at Moolchand, buddies asked me to do something safer, rather. My position is that if I do not like any action of this State, I reach out into the like-minded via pamphlets to build an atmosphere of understanding,” Tripathi said.
“I don’t write pamphlets against people since they are entitled to react the way they want. I will be great to the man who mistreated me when I meet him . We ought to focus on the State which has created such a scenario on the streets.”