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Walls that speak: India's campus graffiti
A peek into thriving public art in New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Last updated: 30 Dec 2013 06:39
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Graffiti or the art of wall-writing on public walls is not a big phenomenon in India, but it is beginning to make a mark on the walls and buildings of metros such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

The campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) based in New Delhi has one of the oldest and finest traditions of graffiti. Not surprising, since JNU has one of the most vibrant campuses in the country with a culture of open debates and intellectual discourse.

Department buildings and walls are scribbled with slogans, graffiti and posters by students of various orientations - left, right and centre – using their creative means to convey their messages.

From hostel canteens to university library to various departments, one can find graffiti and posters on all issues ranging from mundane price rise to gender rights, from Naxal politics to international issues such as occupation of Palestine and rise of the global left.

The wall writings give a running commentary on the state of affairs in the country and the world from the issue of privatisation and so-called multinational onslaught to issues of broader gender divide to corruption and terrorism.

From Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who died recently, to the long-dead Chairman Mao Tse Tung of China, the walls of the campus resound with their anti-imperialist rhetoric.

Named after India's first Prime Minister, the university is known for its disciplined and highly political conscious student community who come from across the country.

The university, founded in the late 1960's, is dominated by leftist ideology and left student groups have managed to remain at the centre of the campus's political life.

Despite being a highly politicised campus, there is no history of violence in JNU and its more than 7,000 students are said to be one of the most mature in India.

One set of slogans is answered by another set and they are placed on assigned spaces as per university guidelines. Printed posters are not allowed, only hand-made posters are used in the campus.

For Nehru, a university stood for "humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search of truth", and the culture in JNU seems to have maintained the argumentative Indian tradition pretty well.


/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Democracy is subservient to corporate interests is the message in this graffiti put up by All India Students Association, AISA, which is the most popular student group in the JNU campus.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
This poster by All India Students Federation, the political wing of Communist Party of India, calls for South Korean steel giant, POSCO, to scrap its proposed plant in the eastern state of Odisha.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Violence against women has been one of the biggest issues in India this year in the wake of the gang rape and murder of a Delhi students in December last year. The graffiti calls for zero tolerance towards violence against women.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
This poster calls to fight patriarchy, misogyny and rape culture.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
The various challenges facing the country have been depicted here.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
This poster, pasted outside university library by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, ABVP, affiliated to main opposition party BJP, takes a pot shot at state of Indian media.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Politicians are sucking the blood of the people through corruption is the message of this poster by the student group, India First.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Youth for Equality, a student group against reservation in jobs and universities, with its message splashed on the wall.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
The issue of Telangana also finds space on the walls. Opinion is divided on the issue of carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh state.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
In solidarity with the working class. The slogan finds resonance amid the global job cuts and austerity measures.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
This poster calls on the federal government to stop Green Hunt, an army operation against Maoists fighting Indian state.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
The imposing portrait of Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela, with the message that socialism can be an alternative to capitalism.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Graffiti calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
The struggle for the rights of women portrayed through this graffiti by AISA, the student wing of Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
This graffiti highlights Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi's expenditure on image makeover.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
In solidarity with Irom Sharmila, an activist from Northeast state of Manipur who has been fasting for the last 13 years against special powers given to armed forces.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Parliamentarians instead of debating crucial public issues make noise and waste time is the message of this poster.
/Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
Long-dead Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung comes alive on the walls of JNU
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images:
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captions:
Democracy is subservient to corporate interests is the message in this graffiti put up by All India Students Association, AISA, which is the most popular student group in the JNU campus.;*;This poster by All India Students Federation, the political wing of Communist Party of India, calls for South Korean steel giant, POSCO, to scrap its proposed plant in the eastern state of Odisha.;*;Violence against women has been one of the biggest issues in India this year in the wake of the gang rape and murder of a Delhi students in December last year. The graffiti calls for zero tolerance towards violence against women.;*;This poster calls to fight patriarchy, misogyny and rape culture.;*;The various challenges facing the country have been depicted here.;*;This poster, pasted outside university library by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, ABVP, affiliated to main opposition party BJP, takes a pot shot at state of Indian media.;*;Politicians are sucking the blood of the people through corruption is the message of this poster by the student group, India First.;*;Youth for Equality, a student group against reservation in jobs and universities, with its message splashed on the wall.;*;The issue of Telangana also finds space on the walls. Opinion is divided on the issue of carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh state.;*;In solidarity with the working class. The slogan finds resonance amid the global job cuts and austerity measures.;*;This poster calls on the federal government to stop Green Hunt, an army operation against Maoists fighting Indian state.;*;The imposing portrait of Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela, with the message that socialism can be an alternative to capitalism.;*;Graffiti calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.;*;The struggle for the rights of women portrayed through this graffiti by AISA, the student wing of Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist.;*;This graffiti highlights Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi\(***)s expenditure on image makeover.;*;In solidarity with Irom Sharmila, an activist from Northeast state of Manipur who has been fasting for the last 13 years against special powers given to armed forces.;*;Parliamentarians instead of debating crucial public issues make noise and waste time is the message of this poster.;*;Long-dead Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung comes alive on the walls of JNU Daylife ID:
4553c4224951e77f620dee76b114952e
Photographer:
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Image Source:
Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera;*;Saif Khalid/Al Jazeera
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Walls that speak: India's campus graffitiA peak into thriving public art in New Delhi based Jawaharlal Nehru University.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffitien-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Sat, 28 Dec 2013 11:48:05 GMTWalls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/b5b2b806ee2c95e078a6db8b2fcd8fb0Democracy is subservient to corporate interests is the message in this graffiti put up by All India Students Association, AISA, which is the most popular student group in the JNU campus.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/b5b2b806ee2c95e078a6db8b2fcd8fb0Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiDemocracy is subservient to corporate interests is the message in this graffiti put up by All India Students Association, AISA, which is the most popular student group in the JNU campus.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/bcba66f633cc20a37ecc288534126c6fThis poster by All India Students Federation, the political wing of Communist Party of India, calls for South Korean steel giant, POSCO, to scrap its proposed plant in the eastern state of Odisha.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/bcba66f633cc20a37ecc288534126c6fSaif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThis poster by All India Students Federation, the political wing of Communist Party of India, calls for South Korean steel giant, POSCO, to scrap its proposed plant in the eastern state of Odisha.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/7c46eb5dcc40ce4afa1d8cf9c89ec0b3Violence against women has been one of the biggest issues in India this year in the wake of the gang rape and murder of a Delhi students in December last year. The graffiti calls for zero tolerance towards violence against women.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/7c46eb5dcc40ce4afa1d8cf9c89ec0b3Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiViolence against women has been one of the biggest issues in India this year in the wake of the gang rape and murder of a Delhi students in December last year. The graffiti calls for zero tolerance towards violence against women.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/b4bb2c7092a2bcac46df63562cdcdb65This poster calls to fight patriarchy, misogyny and rape culture.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/b4bb2c7092a2bcac46df63562cdcdb65Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThis poster calls to fight patriarchy, misogyny and rape culture.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/4f9b6a508368945f2d6187637d986a43The various challenges facing the country have been depicted here.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/4f9b6a508368945f2d6187637d986a43Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThe various challenges facing the country have been depicted here.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/070108254691f5abd867edcbc8144b38This poster, pasted outside university library by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, ABVP, affiliated to main opposition party BJP, takes a pot shot at state of Indian media.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/070108254691f5abd867edcbc8144b38Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThis poster, pasted outside university library by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, ABVP, affiliated to main opposition party BJP, takes a pot shot at state of Indian media.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/799b8d51b69fb0d97cfd6f4fcb589cd0Politicians are sucking the blood of the people through corruption is the message of this poster by the student group, India First.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/799b8d51b69fb0d97cfd6f4fcb589cd0Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiPoliticians are sucking the blood of the people through corruption is the message of this poster by the student group, India First.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/32471633172a9dc77f88ee2e35a95920Youth for Equality, a student group against reservation in jobs and universities, with its message splashed on the wall.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/32471633172a9dc77f88ee2e35a95920Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiYouth for Equality, a student group against reservation in jobs and universities, with its message splashed on the wall.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/6bbf61eec5d8f3685682caa1fc885e53The issue of Telangana also finds space on the walls. Opinion is divided on the issue of carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh state.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/6bbf61eec5d8f3685682caa1fc885e53Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThe issue of Telangana also finds space on the walls. Opinion is divided on the issue of carving out of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh state.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/1c0672ed0fb3dc3e7aaee2c910336c83In solidarity with the working class. The slogan finds resonance amid the global job cuts and austerity measures.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/1c0672ed0fb3dc3e7aaee2c910336c83Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiIn solidarity with the working class. The slogan finds resonance amid the global job cuts and austerity measures.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c3f5a444799355d96cb5f28905647dfdThis poster calls on the federal government to stop Green Hunt, an army operation against Maoists fighting Indian state.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c3f5a444799355d96cb5f28905647dfdSaif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThis poster calls on the federal government to stop Green Hunt, an army operation against Maoists fighting Indian state.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/e6b95a467fb36af4e738cdd331c64fc7The imposing portrait of Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela, with the message that socialism can be an alternative to capitalism.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/e6b95a467fb36af4e738cdd331c64fc7Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThe imposing portrait of Hugo Chavez, the late President of Venezuela, with the message that socialism can be an alternative to capitalism.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c69c9bb03f70ffca05dfe18b302fc4a9Graffiti calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c69c9bb03f70ffca05dfe18b302fc4a9Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiGraffiti calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c236b53af6d6fd58b8b92a331df4a20eThe struggle for the rights of women portrayed through this graffiti by AISA, the student wing of Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c236b53af6d6fd58b8b92a331df4a20eSaif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThe struggle for the rights of women portrayed through this graffiti by AISA, the student wing of Communist Party of India Marxist Leninist.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/4159ad6ddd149b2cf5735f79a50f0fb8This graffiti highlights Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi's expenditure on image makeover.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/4159ad6ddd149b2cf5735f79a50f0fb8Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiThis graffiti highlights Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi's expenditure on image makeover.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/26c4add037c8dfca981441172d5cc163In solidarity with Irom Sharmila, an activist from Northeast state of Manipur who has been fasting for the last 13 years against special powers given to armed forces.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/26c4add037c8dfca981441172d5cc163Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiIn solidarity with Irom Sharmila, an activist from Northeast state of Manipur who has been fasting for the last 13 years against special powers given to armed forces.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c5dfe66360ed8724764e2c3dacca1e46Parliamentarians instead of debating crucial public issues make noise and waste time is the message of this poster.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/c5dfe66360ed8724764e2c3dacca1e46Saif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiParliamentarians instead of debating crucial public issues make noise and waste time is the message of this poster.Walls that speak: India's campus graffitihttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/418ea0a245d9f42c4c568e1bd2066e2bLong-dead Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung comes alive on the walls of JNUhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Walls_that_speak%3A_India%27s_campus_graffiti/slideshow/walls-that-speak-indias-campus-graffiti/418ea0a245d9f42c4c568e1bd2066e2bSaif Khalid/Al JazeeraWalls that speak: India's campus graffitiLong-dead Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung comes alive on the walls of JNU

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