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Many of his points of critique on the Left/Nehru/Gandhi are valid in ways but hyper-exaggerated. He's plain wrong on the Constitution. And his idea of "hamara ilaaka" is as bad as Hindutva.

#SharjeelImam is a cocky, hot-headed scholar with a hero complex.

But a seditionist? No.
His right to be free from the outrageous sedition charge has to be defended against the fact that it was #SharjeelImam who first wanted #ShaheenBagh wound up. When he pulled out in early Jan, he declared in a cock-sure tone that the movement would "die a natural death tonight".
Why? Only because it was not going according to some grand plan cooking in his head. A self-imagined vanguard, Sharjeel couldn't quite countenance the idea that the women at the centre of Shaheen Bagh had will, desire, agency and sense-making capacity of their own.
Someone had pointed to that dark irony with reference to Sharjeel talking of the Constitution itself as some sort of an oppressive instrument. I quote roughly from memory: "Imagine saying that to a group of people gathered to save the Constitution."
Putting up a chakka jam is a messy but quite acceptable part of the vocabulary of democratic protests. A blockade? Well, the Modi regime happily did that to the Hindus of Nepal. And from among the BJP stalwarts who did that to Kashmir during the Amarnath row, one sits in the PMO.
What characterises Sharjeel's loose, throwaway remarks on the situation in the #NorthEast is the same lack of empathy blended with lack of understanding, and the willingness to impose collective punishment on people he has no clue about because of certain political strands there.
Yes, the Left/Congress is guilty of exploiting the Muslim community for advantage, without allowing too much agency, while also offering a viable political refuge. (Somewhat analogous to what they did with the Bahujan communities.) Yes, Nehru also initiated Statist violence.
And yes, the Constitution has failed to protect too many of India's citizens. But the Constitution is not a person. It's the political actors in whose hands it was/is to realise its ideals in letter and spirit who disregard it, wilfully fail it, subvert it. Or yearn to kill it.
What #SharjeelImam is guilty of is not sedition. It's the hubris of the young scholar in his first flush of understanding, who imagines that his eureka moment can and should be turned into a political programme -- indeed, the singular principle driving the #AntiCAA
That his wild, staring eyes and radical chic bursting forth from grainy videos fit a Che-like stereotype...that does not make his thought very different in content from those sitting in power. People who have very many more egregious violations under their belt.
That his understanding is borrowed from strands of critique conducted from outside a Statist framework (that piece in 'Print' mentions Arundhati Roy) does not make him a salutary figure. He takes that analysis and puts it in the service of right-wingism.
#SharjeelImam is no Muslim Che. Nor a Muslim Chomsky. He's a more a young Savarkar. With utter belief in the theory of 'nations'. Albeit on the 'other' side.

But kala pani and sedition are colonial-era laws. No hint of violence, or threat to violence, lurked there. Set him free.
It is only fair to add this here with the little note that this has, perhaps sadly and expectedly, perhaps on account of blind spots in my thinking, invited charges of Islamophobia against me. Specifically on that equation with Savarkar.

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