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I did. But I also wanted to "take the pulse", to understand, from their questions and statements, what they actually know, and what they would like to learn from exchanges like this.
For two full hours we faced each other, and these were not always pleasant moments.
I spoke about China and Russia as I knew them, experienced, and wrote about. They were shooting many questions at me, questions that were often shaped by the Western propaganda language, and by mass media jargon.
"Human rights", "democracy", "why does China do this?", "why does Russia do that?"
I stood my ground.
"Why did China do nothing to help Cuba?"
I patiently explained that China saved Cuba, after the Soviet Union decomposed under Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Sarcastic sounds followed.
"Fidel Castro quoted me, and wrote that I was correct," I uttered. This restored order. There was not much to add.
There were questions about Hong Kong. Confrontational questions. Definitely not questions that are asked among comrades. I did not lose my temper. Patiently, I explained what I recently witnessed in Hong Kong: the confusion of the rioters backed by European and North American countries. Violence and hate; destruction.
At the end, one young man asked me, with a smile: "And what about Iranian imperialism?"
"Iranian imperialism?" I couldn't understand. I still did not fully comprehend that this was different India that I knew in quite a recent past.
"Yes. Iranian imperialism" You know: supporting Yemeni rebels, and brutal Assad's dictatorship""
I recalled how I was approached: [JNU] is one of the most important places of ideological resistance to the current Fascist government in India.
One of the left-activists and research scholars at JNU who asked not to be identified, and who was present during my presentation, later wrote for this essay:
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