Yousuf Saeed

Campus Rising
Can the university students show a ray of hope for India?

A documentary film by
Yousuf Saeed

Duration: 73 mins
Language: English and Hindi with English subtitles

Universities are institutions of education and intellectual growth where young minds are nurtured in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom and debate. But many well known universities in India in the last few years have been subjected to thought control, restrictions and social discrimination by the administration and the government. Unfortunately, much of this discrimination is meted out to students and staff belonging to India's marginalized communities, women, and those with liberal and left ideology - identities that the current ruling party and its ideologues have traditionally loathed and often suppressed. Persons with a particular ideology have been appointed as heads of most institutions to curtail academic freedom while funding and scholarships are cut down for deserving candidates.

But the students are not taking such fascism silently. They are protesting against the closing down of democratic spaces and the muzzling of voices in many universities. The prejudice against students of certain 'low caste' had been so drastic that a few students such as Rohit Vemula (Hyderabad) even committed suicide, giving rise to a further heat in the students' protest in many more institutions. Unfortunately, much of India's mainstream media, kowtowing the ruling party's line, has run campaigns to malign the protesting students. While the students' unrest continues in many cities, this film travels to some seven Indian universities (including Jawaharlal Nehru University, Hyderabad Central University and Banaras Hindu University among others) to record what the students and some teachers have to say about how their freedom is being curtailed, and how this movement will not die until they bring some change of perception about the rights of the underprivileged. The film also explores a general decline in the production of knowledge in Indian universities, as enumerated by eminent scholars such as Romilla Thapar, Irfan Habib, Vivek Kumar and Ashok Vajpeyi, among others.

See a short promo on youtube and another one on facebook.

Watch the film and read the related essay (by Yousuf Saeed) on Dastavezi, the Audio-Visual South Asia 

Screenings of the film:
- Cinema of Resistance, Dhanwate National College, Nagpur (Maharashtra) - 16 Sept. 2017.
- Film Southasia festival 2017, Kathmandu, Nepal - 2-5 Nov. 2017.
- Guftagu/Jamia Collective, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 11 Nov. 2017.
- Jadavpur University, Kolkata, 20 Nov. 2017 (6 pm, Buddhadeb Bose Sabhaghar).
- 5th Udaipur Film Festival, 25 Nov. 2017.
- Patna Film Festival - Cinema of Resistance, Patna, 5 Dec 2017.
- 19th Madurai Film Festival, Madurai - 6-10 Dec 2017.
- Vikalp@Prithvi, Mumbai - 26 January, 2018.
- IIT-Bombay (organized by
Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle), HSS deptt, Seminar hall, 9 pm.
- Mumbai International Film Festival, Films Division, Mumbai (1 Feb 2018, 8 pm)
- Cuckoo's Club, Pali Hill Rd. Mumbai (organized by Filamnt), 4 Feb. 2018, 5 pm.
- Ambedkar University Delhi, Kashmere gate, 9 Feb. 2018, 3 pm.
- Seminar Hall, Deptt of History, Jamia Millia, New Delhi, 10 Feb. 2018, 4 pm (part of Pratidhwani workshop).
- Studio Safdar, Shadi Khampur, New Delhi, 16 March, 2018, 3:30 pm.
- C1, IME, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (organized by IITK Forum for Critical Thinking), 18 March 2018, 6:30 pm.
- IIIT, Hyderabad, 24 August 2018.
- Savitribai Phule Auditorium, University of Hyderabad, 25 August, 2018. (Org. by NSUI-HCU)
- Lamakaan, Hyderabad, 25 August, 2018. (Apna Watan group)
- Dhanak group, 02 September 2018, Mittika office, CR Park, New Delhi
- School of Communication, GD Goenka University, Sohna, Haryana, 7 Sept. 2018.
- Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, IL (US) October 2018.
- Panjab University, Chandigarh (Voicing Dissent, hosted by Rhythms of Rhyme), 30th January, 2019.

Media reports:
KumKum Dasgupta, India’s students are angry, and that’s good news for India, a new film finds, Hindustan Times, Oct 22, 2017.

- Devarsi Ghosh, ‘Campus Rising’ documentary captures the anger of students across Indian universities,, Oct 26, 2017.

- Sahla Nechiyil, Campus Rising: A tell-all documentary on India’s enraged youth, (Campus Politik), Nov 14, 2017.

Back to the list of films by Yousuf Saeed

Photos, art archive