- Professor Sugato Bose urges government to do away with sedition law
- Bose: Students should be allowed to speak freely, learn from mistakes
- Professor Bose started trending on twitter soon after this speech
For the next 20 minutes, Prof Bose, a historian who taught at Harvard University, spoke with a mix of passion and aggression to argue that the government should do away with the sedition law. And immediately after, he began trending on Twitter with praise flowing in from most quarters for his speech.
"Yesterday, the President mentioned how this government is working towards repealing obsolete laws. May I suggest that sedition be one of them," the Trinamool lawmaker said.
The Lok Sabha was debating the suicide of Hyderabad university scholar Rohith Vemula and the recent developments at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University where some students have been arrested and charged with sedition.
Arguing that campuses across the country are in turmoil, he said, "Students and youth should be given the freedom to speak and make mistakes and learn from them." Though, he made it clear his party "condemned the posters and slogans."
Comparing the BJP's idea of nationalism and with German nationalism of 1930s, Prof Bose described it as "narrow, selfish and arrogant."
"We learn our lessons in nationalism from figures like Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. I was wondering whose definition of nationalism would be approved by the BJP," he said.
As Prof Bose wrapped his speech to thunderous applause from the opposition benches, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were among those walked up to him and shook his hands.
The rebuttal came from Union Education Smriti Irani hours later, when Prof Bose was not in the house. An emotionally charged and combative Ms Irani spoke of how Atal Behari Vajpayee had backed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's role in Bangladesh's liberation, as she stressed that national issues should be above party politics.
Ms Irani said, "Mr Bose gave a good academic speech and Soniaji and Rahulji had gone to compliment him. A good speech should be complimented but I wish Mr Bose was here."