Educational campuses-proxy battlefields for political parties in India

Educational campuses: proxy battlefields for political parties in India

Aamir Khan’s character in the popular Bollywood flick, ‘3 Idiot’ raised a crucial question, “If so many suicides are happening in the educational campuses then something is seriously wrong somewhere…”

It was one of the biggest entertainers of the year but we seem to have missed the underlying message. Moving out from celluloid world of cinema to real world – The recent suicide of Rohith Vemula, a student of Hyderabad Central University was extremely tragic. It takes us to larger question as to why students get embroiled into dirty world of politics instead of focusing on education, intellectual growth and chasing their dreams & aspirations.

It is unfortunate how our prestigious universities have now become battlegrounds for slugfests between political parties. The fact that in Rohith’ suicide, political parties were talking more of him being a ‘Dalit’ than the death of a student, speaks volume about what our society has become.

Leaders form all major political parties wasted no time in flying to Hyderabad to express their solidarity with victim’s family and protesting students. The suicide of Rohith has been marred with unclear reality and rush of politicians and greedy student organizations to exploit the tragic death of promising & bright research scholar.

Political stooges
In a country with world’s largest youth population, it is beyond a question that voice of young Indians matter. We have seen many instances when youngsters have stood together to raise their voice against issues afflicting social structure of the country. While, on other side students are often seen taking law in their own hands pushing political ideology.

Rohith vemula case snowballed into a political controversy, which was followed by media hype. In the recent JNU case, almost all political parties were involved into slug fest over the issues that were followed by arrest by student leader, Kanhaiya Kumar.

The culture of debate is getting lost in the universities and student organizations have become stooges of parent parties. In this context, the need of student politics is often questioned. Many people opine that colleges and universities are for academics and political activism deviates from students from their goal.

Ideally students should be focusing on their rights but instead, politicians manipulate them for their own personal interests. Politics is a dirty business and do we want the dirt to pile up our educational institutes?

Forced political identity
Students are free birds and they have the right to choose where they want to flock and what path to take. It is long journey and usually continues even after completing their formal education. A process of learning and unlearning, it is a journey of discovering who you really are.

However, when you join a student body, a label is attached to you. You are forced to adopt an identity, which you may not be comfortable with. Embroiled in student politics, you get detached from social ground realities.
Major chunk of students want to remain apolitical. Call it peer pressure or going with flow, they get sucked into dirty world of politics whether they like it or not. They may be disturbed by agitations around but the silent majority, who just want to concentrate of their education get snubbed by political minority virtually ruling the campus.

Rising violence; absence of ideological debate
Student politics has always played an important role in nation building and many big political leaders of the country have emerged out of campus politics. But the recent incidences of protest, strikes and violence have tainted its image. Questions are raised, how much politicization is required and do we actually need politics in our campuses? Violence may have erupted for different reasons but there was one common thread in all the cases of violence – these were all politically motivated.

It is usually said that students have the power to shape nations. But actually they have even bigger responsibility to themselves; of becoming better minds and finding a better place in society.

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