Raja Mishra

2 months at the Free Press

In our language, there are words you know and words you understand. Knowing refers to being familiar with a word's definition and usage. Understanding is much deeper. When you come to understand something, it ceases to be an abstraction. It becomes part of you. During this strike, there are several words I have come to understand: Courage. Sacrifice. Solidarity. I've always known what these words mean but never understood. I understand them now because my teachers understand. My teachers are my fellow strikers, and by teaching me to understand these words they have given me a gift I will carry with me the rest of my days. The teaching of these words has not come easily for them. On many days, strike life turned ugly: people wavered and doubted, were dejected and depressed. I myself experienced these downturns with intensity. But these words — solidarity, courage, sacrifice — only have meaning if they are accompanied by such frailty. What will stay with me, long after this strike is over, is the moral character of my fellow strikers. Sure, the economic and political issues are consequential, but at the end of the day it's the people that stay with me. At least that's how I understand it.

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