Visva-Bharati: protesting students set up a craft stand

In dharna against the vice-chancellor, they aim to raise funds for the unrest

Snehamoy Chakraborty


Bolpur (Birbhum)

Posted on 12/26/21, 2:17 AM

About fifty students from Visva-Bharati who opposed the university authorities and Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty for allegedly securing the campus set up a craft stand at the “alternative” Pous Mela in an attempt to raise funds for their protest movement.

These students sell cotton bags, ceramic mugs, teapots, handmade calendars, scarves and several decorative items in styles of artwork originating in Santiniketan.

“The university is closed, so we have a lot of free time. So we decided to make handmade items on a large scale and sell them with the aim of raising funds to be used for the next phase of our ongoing protests, ”said Subha Nath, one of the students.

In September this year, these students had gherao the VC residence for days after three students who were prominent dissident faces against Safranization were suspended.

The trio is still suspended.

Somnath Sow, one of the suspended students, was seen over Christmas running the booth and interacting with customers. “We openly ask visitors to buy our products and we will use the profits to step up our movement against the VC which not only has ruined our culture by shutting down the centenary fair but is also intentionally trying to make the campus safer.”

The students also placed a handwritten banner on the booth saying that purchasing the products from this booth would help them in the ongoing protest against the saffronization of the university.

Students such as Ritam Kar and Swapnanil Mukherjee said they made calendars and ceramic products for sale at the stand. Fine arts student Dipanjan Sarkar sat in the field to draw live portraits of interested visitors. They all said the response from buyers was “favorable”. “We sell items worth Rs 8,000 a day,” one said.

Visva-Bharati officials said this year the fair was supported by the Bangla Sanskriti Mancha, a social organization supported by the state government.

“We welcome students to the fair because they play a vital role in protesting the events at this university,” said Samirul Islam, president of Bangla Sanskriti Mancha.

The Pous Mela alternative started on December 23 and will end on December 27.