The Revolution Will be Painted: Jamia Resists With Graffiti

Camerapersons: Mukul Bhandari, Danish Qazi

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

“Even 100 years later, people will know that there was a protest. And voices of dissent were raised through art.”

Jamia’s sandstone walls have been turned into canvases of resistance and rebellion by its students who have picked up brushes and paint to register their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the police crackdown on its campus in December 2019.

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‘Painting to Express, to Resist’

Simeen, a masters student of Jamia’s Fine Arts department, was the first to pick up the brush, gather her friends and start painting the walls inside the campus after the first police crackdown on 13 December. Two days later, when police entered their campus, Simeen says, “It was time to take our resistance outside on the streets. We wrote slogans, painted poetry and verses of protest songs on the streets, on the walls outside.”

Simeen painting slogans on Jamia’s wall.

"“We have painted this wall with an excerpt from a poem by Paash. It says, “Hum ladenge saathi, udaas mausam ke khilaaf.” There is one line in that poem, “Hum ladenge jab tak duniya mein ladhne ki zaroorat baaki hai.”"

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Simeen’s batchmate from International Relations Department, Saud Ahmed, said, “Since our library was damaged, it is not just the library where we study. If we are writing on our walls, it is for studying. We will learn inside our libraries, on the road. And the walls that are around us, we will write slogans and try to educate ourselves through that.”

Saud Ahmed with his favourite graffiti painted on Jamia’s wall.

Not Just Jamia Students, Even Locals Part of the Graffiti Team

Passersby also now lend a hand to paint on the walls.

Mushtaq Ali is a music teacher and a professional artist. He was passing by Jamia when he spotted Simeen and her friends painting.

Mushtaq at work.

"“When I saw them working, out of humanity, I thought whatever I am capable of, whatever talent I have been blessed with, I should put that to use and help them.”" -

Simeen added, “When he held the brush, he was doing such an amazing job with the lettering, we asked him to join us the next day. Now he is a part of the project, he is helping us.”

Lateef Hussain , an alumnus of Jamia and an artist, wanted to be a part of the protest.

"“Since the past 2-3 days, whenever I got some time in the evening, I would visit Shaheen Bagh and Jamia. I would just stand in one corner and watch because I could not say anything there.”" -

He found his way of expressing his dissent through his art, by painting on the walls of Jamia.

"“I prepared a layout with the slogan “Sadda Haq” which means “Our Right” in our Punjabi language. In my way, I have tried to depict that here.”" -

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No Permission From Administration? Students Say ‘Hum Dekhenge’

The students don’t have permission to paint on the university’s wall but that’s not stopping them.

So what happens if the administration identifies these students and take action? Simeen says:

“We’ll see. Hum Dekhenge.”

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