Strike that

The recent bandh called by the opposition parties seemed to come just in time for those preparing for the new academic session. Just as the University was getting ready for another year, the bandh came as a reminder of an intrinsic part of the academic calendar.
Student political parties, and occasionally the Delhi University Students’ Union, call for strikes for various reasons. An oft-repeated experience in such strikes is very telling. On the day of the strike, students from the strike-calling group traipse through the corridors of colleges looking for classes in progress and ask the teacher to let the students go. Surely, if the students are in class on the day of the strike, it means one of two things: the strike holds no meaning for them or that their class is more important than the issue over which the strike has been called. Issues in student politics earn legitimacy due to the sheer numbers of supporters. What is the point of a strike that isn’t supported by students? Many students, if not most, don’t know why such strikes are called, ironically. Also, one wonders about the impact of a strike which most people don’t even know about till a day before it or even perhaps on the day of the strike. This is evidenced by the fact that “Is there a strike tomorrow?” is often a reflex question, asked sometimes in jest, sometimes in hope.
Strikes are meant to be a tool to make the authorities feel the heat and to push them into action. Is this really possible under the current environment as far as strikes are concerned? Strikes are considered an unscheduled holiday, and not a means of making a point or two, enmasse. Perhaps political parties on campus can rethink their strategy of the manner in which that strikes are called to reach out to more students. They could even try to talk to those outside the immediate sphere of university politics. In such a situation, strikes would receive more support from students and these students would not be alone in telling the authorities that not everything’s hunky-dory.
The DUTA serves as a pretty handy comparison, being in the same public space. They took a firm decision on their stand vis-a-vis the semester system and well-nigh everybody in and around the University has been forced to sit up and notice. There will, of course, be two sides to the story of every strike, and this one is no different. But perhaps it has lessons in inclusiveness and concerted action.



Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.


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