Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Student unions united against division politics

It dates back to 1955 when there was a conflict between Bihar Road Transport and the students of Patna University’s B.N. College. The State Govt.’s attitude provoked the students and resultantly the students united and revolted collectively. They formed an eleven member committee against the Govt. This movement was headed by Shahbuddin and every department of the committee had a topper as the head.

The aggression was so strong that when amidst the movement in July, the occasion 15th August arrived; the students didn’t allow the hoisting of National Flag. During the same time Nehru gave a speech in Gandhi Maidan, Patna threatening the action committee formed by the students. He said that this whole committee won’t work in India and that the students should rather go to Germany if they wanted to continue with the same. However, the students were indifferent towards his attitude. Eventually the Govt. had to give up its firmness. Elections happened; the Transport Minister Mahesh Prasad along with three other ministers lost.

Another incident happened in the 60s when Lohiya continuously trapped Nehru in the parliament. He pointed out Nehru’s richness and Nation’s poor state statistically. When in the Parliament Lohiya put forth the facts related to income per person, the Govt. didn’t agree to what he said. According to Nehru the income per person was 16 Anna which on the contrary was 6 Anna according to Lohiya. Lohiya presented the facts about Nehru’s luxurious lifestyle; his dogs being fed meat and his horses, imported food. Only then Nehru agreed on 11 Anna. Lohiya assimilated those facts through a team of BHU students.

Third instance dates back to the 70s when Jayprakash Narayan joined students of Gujarat. Consequentially students from Bihar also joined him. They left college to challenge the Govt. and even Indira Gandhi faced tensions due to the same. In the Bofors Scandal of late 80s when V.P. Singh exposed the nuances of corruption; the students of UP-Bihar united and confronted. This broke Congress and VP Singh became the PM. After that, the whole nation witnessed the aggression caused by the Mandal Commission report. That had confrontational student politics.

However, the biggest movement of all times that the nation ever witnessed was that of the Marathwada University. This happened when there was a huge tension regarding rechristening Maharashtra. The students of Maharashtra still remember the long march conducted from Aurangabad. But since 90s it has become clear that the student movements are no more in vogue among students. In 1991, when Manmohan Singh as the then Finance Minister formulated some economic policies, no one took actions regarding the same. All of a sudden the country began to be addressed as developed and the section that was immediately affected was that of the students. Most of the colleges and universities based themselves on profit. On one hand, the education system became money oriented and on the other objective exams became a new parameter for gauging knowledge. There was no room left for analysis and logics.

The Principal or a VC of some university was considered successful only if he/she could bring some financial profit to the institution. This was when the students were considered as an effective tool of politics. This arena made a student to confront another student and threatened the students of back lagging in case they fail to achieve. The definition of a state changed completely during this period. The then Nation of 1950 now was profit driven. Its meaning was no more than making a
ration card for poor or passports for the rich.

In recent times when the question of Marathi Manus has come up and a threat to Nation’s integrity is visible; can politics be a medium to understand this? Or will politics find a way out of this? This issue needs to be dealt straightly as in a country where due to some politicians world’s largest Democracy gets threatened, it becomes important to know that is politics a solution or is entirely self centered and motive driven?

In 1948, Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister was the first one to take army actions in Junagarh district of Gujarat; when it refused to be a part of India. He even protested against the Nizam of Hyderabad for the same. Ironically, the present Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil belongs to the same state where the North Indians are being traumatized. The question isn’t about the failure of Patil nor is it about him alerting Lalu-Mulayam or Paswan to do something. If one needs to understand the nuances of politics one would see the same pain in the eyes of Deshmukh-Sharad Pawar-Uddhav Thackeray-R.R. Patil as prevalent in the eyes of Lalu-Paswan-Mulayam-Mayawati. In the politics for power either both side are right or wrong. Playing a blame game would only strengthen their political calculations. The students only will have to stand up and that too with complete unity. If at all the student movement decides to come into politics, the politicians will retire for sure. Let’s see where the maiden voice comes from.

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