My Twitter trends are really random at times. Indian Twitter trends range from some weird marketing gimmick to something a celebrity might mention. But as I looked over it today, a familiar name sprung up. And chances are, more than half the people reading this article would have heard of her name, because it’s splayed across their social media pages and news outlets. Gurmehar Kaur.

Gurmehar is a student of DU’s Lady Shri Ram College. She happens to be an amazing tennis player who shares my love of Ranveer Singh. We have mutual friends and we occasionally like each other’s pictures on various social media platforms. She is also the daughter of a Kargil martyr, and that particular fact seems to formulate her identity. She’s an individual with her own views, but she also is a female who dared to speak out against men. I’ve seen her fight off insults and unwanted advances for the past few days with a maturity rarely seen in 20 year olds, and as a friend, a woman, and most importantly, a citizen of this country, I’m proud of her.

The attacks on Ramjas students over the last few days by ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad), were the catalyst behind her campaign, where she opposed the attack on her fellow students. It was a show of support at a time when people felt scared. The attacks were considered unwarranted, and she demanded justification. Nowhere was she supporting “anti – national” elements.

I woke up this morning to her Facebook post which declared that she’s withdrawing from the campaign. To all the people who chided her for being an “anti – national”, does it feel like a victory now? To the men who threatened her with rape on her social media posts, do you feel your testosterone levels rising?

For the first time in my life, I questioned the country I was living in, and the people who inhabit it. Being a political science student, I’m learning how our leaders enshrined the freedom of speech in our constitution. Are those values not sacred anymore?

Both Gurmehar’s post and subsequent involvement AND what is happening at Ramjas indicate how these very values are being threatened, in an atmosphere which is slowly becoming authoritarian. Educational institutions, including the esteemed Delhi University are supposed to be places where students can come forward to express their opinions – because apparently these opinions are respected. Or does the ruling government feel that opinions which don’t align with their ideology are worth nothing?

This is not the India we belong to. This is not the India which was our legacy. As citizens of this country, it is our responsibility to oppose any infringement on our right to show dissent, when our freedom of speech is threatened.

(Cover Photograph: Gurmehar Kaur as a baby with her father who was killed in the Kargil war)