News By/Courtesy: Sneha Suresh | 29 Jul 2020 11:48am IST


  • Students learn first hand what politics are
  • Various big league politicians started as Student Politicians
  • Found in India since the freedom struggle

A motto in the student movement that’s shaking and rippling through the many corners of India today is ‘Don’t Be Silent, Don’t Be Violent’. This slogan is good politics. Students are getting first-hand learning about good politics, that include debate, conversation, democracy, and tolerance), the politics of neutrality (turning a blind eye), and bad politics (use of brute or unnecessary force, sycophancy, hatred of others, exclusiveness). It’s up to them to make a choice.

Student politics isn’t a new concept that’s suddenly sprung up into existence but has had a niche during the Indian independence movement against the British. Establishments like Allahabad University, Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University, and others became fortified by the freedom struggle. In 1942, when the Quit India movement was launched, so many university students, who took part in the movement and the struggle, were incarcerated and penalized.

This phenomenon deepened and is very much amplified in independent India. Countless political leaders have originated from their experiences in student politics, including jail terms. Student politics is part of ‘learning democracy’, being curious and questioning those in the establishment and speaking truth to power.

The politicization process of Indian students could not be stopped from the 1960s itself as many universities and colleges began to be radicalized. Many students linked themselves to movements across the right, left, and Centre.

However, some politics became increasingly based on the interests of political parties. For example, Emergency was imposed in India between 1975 to 1977, with curbs on civil and political rights, on freedom of expression, and mass jail sentences. This led to a sharp reaction. In Delhi University, the student union leader, the late Arun Jaitley[ii], was jailed. This catapulted him into deeper national politics. In Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), three student leaders were arrested during the Emergency, and many were incarcerated and suspended. They had all responded to politics.

Political parties often do not always realize or recognize the need for preparation, education, and evolving an organic relationship with student movements. Senior students are without a doubt conscious that major political leaders are themselves a creation of the university system in many parts of the world. With increased and new communication amenities, improved books, and journals that deal with challenges facing the student community, the Indian landscape has been radically transformed and student politics will become increasingly consummate and prevalent, as well as more complex. This should be seen as a learning process—indispensable for any democratic culture.

Students attend colleges and universities at an age curious to learn and frankly finding their passion, where their minds open up to new ideas, philosophies, sentiments, opinions, and deliberations from local to national and global. They learn to respond to politics and policies, as this mold lives around them. These policies impact everyday life—from rights or gender to the environment, and further, it goes. They have to learn to take a stand.

This article does not intend to hurt the sentiments of any individual, community, sect, or religion etcetera. This article is based purely on the author’s personal opinion and views in the exercise of the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Article 19(1)(A) and other related laws being enforced in India for the time being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 29 Jul 2020 22:22pm IST

Tags : Politics

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