From JNU to Jamuria: Student Union President Aishe Ghosh to Test Her Brand of Politics in Bengal

'The issues we fight for in JNU are an extension of what is happening across the country. I will carry these issues … to the people of West Bengal,' Aishe Ghosh, who is originally from Durgapur, said.

New Delhi: Fielded by the CPI(M) from Jamuria assembly seat, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh said she will have Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in her heart and mind as she tests the politics she has practised so far in the coal fields of West Bengal.

The first sitting JNUSU functionary to fight assembly polls, Ghosh, a latecomer into politics, blossomed as the president of the union at a time when student politics saw a resurgence after Left leader Kanhaiya Kumar came into media limelight following a sedition case.

When asked what is it like to be catapulted into national politics from JNU, she replied, “It is a big responsibility, but my politics will remain the same. The issues we fight for in JNU are an extension of what is happening across the country. Be it reservations, communalism, our fight for better education, employment, better living conditions. The issues are the same everywhere in this country. I will carry these issues that I fought for in JNU to the people of West Bengal,” Ghosh told PTI.

Busy arranging her papers for travelling to Bengal for the election, Ghosh apologised for not being able to field calls while packing for a long and arduous battle that begins the day she arrives in Jamuria. 

Also read: JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh To Contest West Bengal Elections

A resident of Durgapur, where her parents still stay, Ghosh will be contesting from Jamuria, known for its illegal coal mining. But the 26-year-old seems to have a handle on her agenda. “The youth of Bengal is asking for jobs, better standards of living. Bengal itself has turned into an old age home where the youth are being forced to leave for better lives elsewhere. Even for higher education, youngsters are leaving the state. In the coal belt, where I come from, after the coronavirus crisis there is a huge issue of migrants who have returned and have no jobs,” she says.

Ghosh passed her secondary and higher secondary exams in Durgapur, before joining Daulat Ram College in New Delhi from where she graduated in political science. Thereafter, she enrolled at JNU for her master’s degree. After completing her master’s, she enrolled for MPhil at School of International Relations in JNU. She is at present a second-year student of MPhil.

She left Bengal in 2013, and her politics has remained centred around Delhi. When asked if she will be treated as an outsider, Ghosh said, “My roots are still in the state. I was born and brought up here. I see no contradiction in this. I faced all the issues that are being faced by the people there. I know what the situation is there. My parents still live in Durgapur.” 

Listen: Podcast | Women in India Are the Face of Resistance: Aishe Ghosh

When asked how she will balance her roles as a politician in Bengal and a student at JNU in case she wins the assembly polls, Aishe exuded confidence about being able to do so. “I am yet to think about it. While I believe education is extremely important and I will continue it, I can promise the people of Bengal that I will not run away like others have done in the past. If they show their faith in me by electing me, I will stand by them forever,” Ghosh said.

Her conviction seems similar to her confidence barely a year ago as she appeared at JNU campus addressing the media with injuries on her hand and head, and lashing out against the university administration and demanded the resignation of the vice-chancellor.

“I had mixed emotions when the nominations were announced. Actually, it is difficult to describe. When I told my parents about it, they were proud, happy and of course as parents may be a little apprehensive. However, there is a battle to be fought, it is not an individual fight, and I am all in.”