Saturday, September 02, 2006

Students and Youths-Losing their way

Politics they say is an art which like every other art is learnt after coming into existence, mytho-logically Abhimanyu was an exception who learnt this art when he was still in his mother’s womb.

Every national party like the Congress, the BJP has a youth wing which grooms the future national leaders. Indian Youth Congress (IYC), the youth party of Congress is often regarded as the doorway to enter the mainstream Congress party. Same goes for the Akhil Bharti Vidyarthee Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP.

ABVP was news recently in, albeit for reasons which it won’t cherish much. A recent incident in Ujjain in which a professor was beaten to death allegedly by the members of the ABVP has caught the entire nation’s headlines.

The ABVP, is said to be the youth front of BJP, so I guess for the BJP a youth is allowed to exercise the rush of adrenaline, lose his cool and manhandle a professor, just because the teacher postponed the student elections. It’s true that with youth, vices like anger, sentiments are associated and to somewhat extent they are acceptable too, but is it acceptable in the present case? The Madhya Pradesh CM ,Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who himself rose from a being an ordinary member of ABVP to the present position of CM termed the incident as an unfortunate one, and went on to say that it was an incident which shouldn’t have occurred. Yes, It was unfortunate and one that shouldn’t have happened, but it became more shameful when the ruling BJP tried to shield the accused just because they were members of ABVP.

The kind of abusive languages used by the ABVP activists on the professors in presence of police was not heard or seen in the past. Leaders like, Bihar deputy chief minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, former union information and broadcasting minister,Ravishankar Prasad and Arun Jaitely, all are products of the ABVP, but they must not have treated their teachers like the modern ABVP leaders did at Ujjain. Their party is in power in Madhya Pradesh and it appears that this very power has gone into the heads of the Parishad leaders.

The recent week has seen a many a student movement or more aptly student ‘protest’. There was the Ujjain incident, then the students of MCM DAV Girls College, Chandigarh went on a strike after one of their colleague was slapped after she broke the rule of not using mobile in the college campus, then the students of Charan Singh university Meerut went on a rampage, burning vehicles, blocking roads after gross irregularities relating to evaluation of answer sheets was discovered in their university.

India has a glorious history of student raising their voices whenever they felt that something wrong was being committed against them and against the society. After Indira Gandhi imposed the emergency, the students under the leadership of JP Narayan proved a to be more than a handful and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it was the student movement which forced Mrs. Gandhi to take back the emergency. Similarly in the early 90’s the whole of the youth came out on the roads when the then PM VP singh tried to implement the reservation policy. The same reason again inspired the whole generation of youths and students to again use their force collectively in 2006. Youth has only one thing that gives them the authority, the recognizition and to some extent the reason to fear them; their “collectivity”, their knack of being united whenever the situation demands.

During the Freedom movement too the students actively participated in the movement for independence. This was very clearly evident in 1905, when students protested against Lord Curzon’s decision of the partition of Bengal. Young revolutionaries like Khudiram bose, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh etc. caught the imaginations of millions of students and youths all over the country. At that time the cause for which the students protested was for the independence of India.

The youth is seen as an essential tool for the politicians, which act as the “foot soldier” if we can term it that way. They are entrusted with the job of spreading the party’s ideology, that is, if they have anything which can be even vaguely termed as an ‘Ideology'.

Earlier the politically affiliated youth parties undertook social welfare activities like mass literacy campaign fight against untouchability, spreading of primary education etc.Similarly in 1962, the Youth Congress played a great role on the patriotic front against the Chinese aggression. Later they also undertook activities such as tree plantation, anti-dowry campaign, anti-hoarding, anti-smuggling campaigns. Campaigns on family planning and anti-dowry campaigns were also undertaken during this period.

Its not that these problems don’t exist today, they do. The only thing is that since these issues don’t command the media attention that the students crave for, the students don’t think it’s profitable or beneficial politically to indulge in these kinds of activities. After all beating a professor, staging a ‘chakkajam’ or burning vehicles makes them more visible in the eyes of their leaders and mentors.

A single individual collectively makes up the youth force of India. They should realize that they in themselves encompass a power which cannot be emulated. A power which if applies itself in a restraint manner and for the right purpose can change not just the whole of India but the whole world.

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