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Jignesh Mevani: How a youth leader caught a nation’s fancy


Hitesh Chavda, Gandhinagar: A class 12 science student failed to clear his boards in the first attempt and then went on to excel in three different fields- politics, journalism, and law.

Born on December 11, 1980, Jignesh Mevani would graduate with English Literature and then go on to get a diploma in journalism. After over seven years as a journalist, Mevani studied law (LLB) and began to take up cudgels on behalf of those who lacked the wherewithal to navigate the court corridors.

As a lawyer, Mevani took up cases on behalf of the labourers and the poor. In the meantime, he would gain a reputation as an activist taking up the issues of the downtrodden.

In the year 2016, a Dalit family in Una got mercilessly beaten for allegedly skinning a dead cow. This led Mevani to begin a protest against Dalit atrocities, which catapulted him to national fame. The Una incident also gained a lot of media attention.

The successful protest would seal Mevani’s position as a youth leader who took up non-fancy causes but still appealed to the social media addict generation.

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His fluency in Hindi, English, and Gujarati helped him talk directly to the youth gaining him followers from Delhi to Kerala post the Una-protest.

Interestingly, the young leader, who has been part of several protests across the country on various issues (eg Rohith Vemula suicide case), believes that no revolution is possible without love.

He says that the service of fellow humans is not possible without empathy and justice won’t come without struggle.
Jignesh Mevani who believes in simple living is as comfortable having a chai pe charcha at a kitli as sharing a cappuccino in a fancy coffee house.

The soft-spoken leader is known to have a quick temper when confronted with false allegations.

Interestingly, Mevani who comes from a well-off family is not apologetic about his background and is among perhaps the only few MLAs to attend the Gujarat Assembly session in his vehicle, foregoing any official transport he is entitled to as an MLA.

In 2017, he won the Vadgam assembly seat with a lead of over 20,000 as an Independent. It was the first election he ever contested far from his home in Ahmedabad and has been one of the prominent voices against Dalit atrocities in the Gujarat Assembly.


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