Protest Through Art: JNU Students Put Up Posters Around Campus in Defiance of Ban

On Tuesday, the Jawaharlal Nehru (JNU) Students’ Union organised a march where they put up posters on the varsity’s walls to oppose the administration’s decision to ban wall posters.

The university’s administration, according to PTI, has started a drive to take down posters from the walls under the Delhi Prevention of Property Act, 2007.  The act was enacted in 2007 in order to prevent the defacement of properties and “for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”

The students, defying the ban, put up posters carrying poems of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, quotes of B.R. Ambedkar and messages of ‘Justice for Najeeb’ – the JNU student who went went missing in 2016. There were also posters displaying pictures of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, PTI reported.

JNUSU president N. Sai Balaji said that the administration tried to stop the students but they continued with the protest “very peacefully and democratically.”

The day when the administration decided to remove wall posters, Balaji wrote an open letter on LiveWire on behalf of the walls of JNU, condemning the decision.

Also read: An Open Letter From the Walls of JNU

“These walls mirror a society filled with inequality, oppression and injustice. They are a canvas and a paradise for the poor. They are a canvas to paint their pain and suffering, and paradise to learn, educate and fight back the injustice,” he said.

In the letter, he also questioned the very idea of “defacement” in the Delhi Prevention of Property Act saying: “Is preaching rationality that is the essence of [the] Indian constitution by Periyar who is standing tall on JNU’s wall ‘defacement’?  Or is writing and painting about the legacy of Birsa Munda whose life is a celebration for anyone and everyone who fights for tribals and forest rights ‘defacement’?”

The administration, according to the Times of India (TOI), will follow the act and the university’s rules if students undertake any unlawful activity.

“The administration has already put large notice boards at designated places in front of all schools, prominent locations and other buildings. This was done around more than a month ago. These boards are already in use for putting up posters and other such information,” P.K. Joshi, professor at school of environmental sciences (JNU) told TOI.

Last week, Joshi had also warned the students against defying the poster ban, PTI reported.

With inputs from PTI

Featured image credit: PTI