“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free….let my country awake, let my country awake.”, a judge had quoted this Rabindranath Tagore poem while granting bail to Bhim army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on January 15.
Azad, the court said, had not committed a crime by protesting peacefully and that the government cannot curtail a citizen’s rights.
After giving glimpses of his work and motto in the past, Azad once again made the headlines when he was detained at Daryaganj for protesting against the CAA on December 21 but managed to escape.
He was arrested again the same evening but by then he had already managed to turn a few heads, outside his own party, in his favour.
The staunch Ambedkar follower and a well-versed activist and lawyer, Azad joined the anti-CAA protests as just another individual.
But his rhetoric and the ability to stand tall against the government soon made him a crowd favourite, leading to his detention and arrest.
Risking his health and security, the Bhim Army chief, after being released from Tihar, said he’s going to continue his protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
And here’s everything you should know about him to understand why he’s a crucial addition to the entire dynamics of the students’ protests across the country.
Quite elegant yet humble, Azad hails from Ghadkauli village of the Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh.
Donning a crisp blue kurta along with a Kashmir-embroidered shawl, Chandrashekar Azad is a revelation in this era where a majority of politicians are lured by fame, money and power.
A law graduate from DAV PG College in Dehradun, Azad was inclined towards making dialogue and lawfully opposing what was evidently wrong with the system.
After forming the Bhim Army in 2014 along with Satish Kumar and Vinay Ratan Singh, Azad worked tirelessly for the emancipation of Dalits through education in India.
A notorious figure for those sitting firmly within the governmental quarters, the now 33-year-old has had his fair share of ups and downs in the past.
A procession for Maharana Pratap turned violent in Saharanpur in 2017, leading to clashes between the Dalit and Rajput communities.
Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on suspicion of orchestrating violence under the National Security Act (NSA), but was released later when the Allahabad Court quashed all allegations against him.
Son of a retired principal of a government school, Azad was particular about speaking his mind and challenging the evils of the society, especially caste-based discrimination.
He rose to prominence when he installed a hoarding outside his village, which said ‘The Great Chamars of Ghadkhauli Welcome You.’
Being an activist for more than a decade, Azad understands the value of appearing confident apart from actually making sense while interacting with the public.
Smiling while holding a copy of the Constitution in one hand, he surely has played a huge part – as a leader and motivator – in the otherwise absent class of opposition wanting, yet failing, to challenge governmental orders and policies.
Where oppression and tyranny have become a common problem in the country, fighting such evils calls for another age of Chandrashekhar Azad.
Not just as a lawyer but as a crusader of Dalit rights, Azad is the epitome of strength and sacrifice in the anti-CAA protests taking place across the country.
As of now, he has been released on a condition that he’ll have to stay away from the protesting site at Shaheen Bagh.