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We Are Ordinary People Tired Of Circumstances, Says Activist Mobilising For Student Solidarity March

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Student activist Arooj Aurangzaib, whose video of her singing poetry and raising slogans at the Faiz International Festival went viral on social media, has stated that they were just ordinary people who were tired of the circumstances they were living in.

In a recent video from the Faiz International Festival that has gone viral on social media, a woman can be seen passionately singing poetry and raising slogans to the beat of a drum.

The woman in the video is Arooj Aurangzaib and she is singing famous Indian poet Bismil Azizabadi’s ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamana’.

Arooj Aurangzaib is a graduate of the Punjab University and is part of Progressive Students Collective, Haqooq-e-Khalq Tehreek and Feminist Collective. Apart from her activism, she also takes part in Punjabi theatre.

In her comments to BBC, Arooj stated that she was from a middle-class background and through her hard work, had received scholarships.

About her joining the Progressive Students Collective, she narrated that when some students were being kicked out of the hostels of Government College University Lahore, she joined the protest on behalf of the Feminist Collective.

Regarding her sloganeering at the Faiz International Festival, Arooj said that she and her fellow activists were trying to mobilise students for the solidarity march that would be taking place on November 29.

She said, “There was no other purpose for singing and sloganeering. People think that we were paid by some NGO. That is not the case. We are ordinary people who are tired of the circumstances we are living in. We want to change the system we are living in.”

Arooj further stated that they did not do anything wrong as they were demanding a classless society with a uniform education system.

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Many people have raised a criticism over the manner of protest of Arooj and her fellow activists. Some have called them ‘burgers’ who travel in air-conditioned cars and live in big houses. Others have referred to it as mere street entertainment.

Arooj denied that this was theater or a street performance, and that it was only a way to invite people and make them aware about the upcoming student solidarity march.

She said they also held study circles, but nobody shared pictures of that.

Arooj was of the opinion that whenever a woman speaks up in this society, people make an issue about her speaking up instead of focusing on what she is saying.

In the upcoming student solidarity march, organisers have put forth demands regarding student unionisation, putting an end to harassment of students on campuses, and changing discriminatory attitudes towards students from rural areas.

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