Who is on the couch with Kanhaiya?

A man, a woman and a couch. When the man is Kanhaiya Kumar, you get viral fever.

BySourodipto Sanyal
Who is on the couch with Kanhaiya?
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A man, a woman, a couch — how controversial can that get? If Jawaharlal Nehru University students are involved, very.

Recently, the picture you see above has gone viral. It shows Kanhaiya Kumar, the President of the JNU Students’ Union, smiling up at a woman.

According to the website veritenews.com, this photograph was first shared on Facebook, on a page titled “Main Desh Nahin Jhukne dunga.”(“I will never let the nation bow down”) on March 5 and was reposted on March 8. It has had more than 300 “likes” and over 800 shares.

Apparently, this photograph ‘exposes’ Kumar. As one who sits on couches? Or as a normal guy who doesn’t feel the weight of Indian tradition hunkering down on him just because a woman is sitting close to him? No, as an example of debauchery.

These are some of the comments the photograph has generated on Facebook.

  1. No padhai only chu#hai.” (No studies only fu##ing)
  1. “Kill that bastard of JNU.”
  1. Badva and badvi .Ye photo desh ko dikha . Harami desh drohi.” (Two pimps. Show this picture to the entire country. He is a bastard and anti-national.)
  1. “Still some people need proof for condoms found in JNU.”

The last is a reference to Gyandev Ahuja, the BJP MLA from Rajashan who had recently claimed that 3000 condoms are used in JNU every day. We could point out that the photograph doesn’t suggest any sexual activity, but it’s so much more fun to imagine a sexual relationship between a man and woman just sitting on a couch, condoms between them, wondering why they’re not having orgasms or getting pregnant or both.

Twitter caught up soon enough and added to the controversy when it began circulating a link from the Hindi daily Punjab Kesari, that allegedly reported that the woman in the photograph is Kumar’s teacher.

The report seems to have been taken down. (Last time we checked, the newspaper was exhorting us to turn to Bharat Matrimony for marriage proposals.) A number of the comments that were posted in response to that link, however, suggest that the newspaper did indeed carry the story and the story is false.

However, this didn’t stop Kumar’s fan club from imagining sordid scenarios.

One tweet read, “Debauch (sic) #Kanhaiya Kumar not sparing even his teacher! What culture! #ShutDownJNU.” You may wonder what is debauched about two people sitting on a piece of furniture that’s designed for people to sit on it, but if you do, you’re probably anti-national.

In a particularly inspiring example of baseless assumptions, the woman in the photograph became Kumar’s teacher. She is, in fact, his friend, but why let truth get in the way of going viral?

Not that everyone fell for the rumours about the woman in the photo being Kumar’s Mrs. Robinson. As is obvious from the tweet above, some raised far more basic questions. Though arguably, asking if she is “anyone” is a little much. Let’s not completely negate the fact of her being a person just because one can’t identify her.

One person asked,“She’s sister of Barkha? Giving kanhaiyya gud news of barkha’s visit to the campus and shortage of condoms due to jnu kaand?” Precisely what the connection between the photo, charges of sedition and an alleged condom shortage may be, we’re yet to figure out.

Someone else declared this was “Tutor giving extra classes on birth control.” If this had been true, it wouldn’t really be a bad thing. Considering our exploding population, it would actually be a really responsible thing to do.

So who is the woman in the photo? Don’t take our word for it. Let Kanhaiya Kumar tell you.


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