Is This The Rising fall Of Student Activism In India?

The spring of 1990 was not an ordinary spring, it was the season of rising revolution in the history of student activism and anti-mandal agitation movement throughout the country.

A 20 year old Rajiv Goswami who was the then a third year commerce student of prestigious Delhi University’s Deshbandhu College made news by setting himself on fire.

In 1970 university across the nation rose to the fame of activism under the banner of Jayaprakash Narayan Andolon. Not to forget some of the present stalwarts of Indian Politics such as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were the members of the movement who were in the lockup for months.

In winter of 1973, LD Engineering College in Gujarat echoed the voice of agitation against rising fee structure and canteen charges. The police tried to suppress the movement through force but it came as a boomerang by ironically spreading the movement in various parts of the state.

Northeast saw a major rise in revolutionary appeal during 1979-85 when All Assam Student Union gave nightmares to the authorities in power and finally compelling them to form Assam Accord.

Years have passed by and the pages of history are turning the clocks of new generation movements. With the much recent controversies on Delhi University Student’s Union where the newly elected President Ankiv Baisoya also an ABVP member had to step down from his post due to fake degree issue. Talking to some of the popular faces belonging to ABVP’s Delhi Unit, who did not want to be named said- “The Party knew about Ankiv’s fake degree issue but sadly, it was taken on a very light note and hence, nobody apprehended such a big fall would come. ”

Sometime back, Banaras Hindu university did hit the news for challenging the Sexist rules and defying the political cages prevailing in the campus. The girls of BHU roared over the molestion case raised by a fellow student and voiced the chants of gender sensitivity around the campus. The lights of Activist has been running in the nerves of Jamila Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Jadhavpur University and the much highlighted Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The lifeline of these movements;
Time and again students have faced the red faces of the authorities when they dared to raise their voices against atrocities. Be it be JNU Students being charged with sedition or be it be BHU students facing Lathi Charge or DU students being put into lockups. Today, the question lies not only upon the issues which the student community is agitating against but also ponders upon the seasonal longevity of such movements. While some movements last for years and many other comes to an end right after the student election ends. Perhaps we need to critically ask if the election oriented or vote bank based movements are becoming a reason for downfall of substantial students issues.

Next page of History:
While they saying goes- ” You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” Today, we may not be wondering the relevance of hundreds of protests and movements happening across the campus, the trend of protest selfies are still rising but maybe, time will decide the impact of new generation movements for the future discourse of revolutionary change.


©Naimisha, 2018


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