Many a time we see people reflecting upon their college life and how it was a turning point in their lives. Wherein, a large part of the ideologies they later formed found their bed rock in the events in which they participated in, in their college period.
The life of a college student is diametrically opposite to its predecessor that is school. While school remains a sheltered cocoon where students are given basic education in various disciplines, college becomes the place where we eventually specialize in one of them. College therefore becomes a marker of the identity of a person we are yet to become. As a result of which, whatever we do in our college (apart from getting a degeree) form a significant part of shaping our identity. This is especially valid in terms of formations of ideologies, and college is the highest likely place where “patriarchal” and “extremist” and “conformist” become part of popular abuses, and being “anti establishment”, or being a “feminist” becomes your entry pass to the elite group of “jhola wala” social activist whose weekend outing is a protest march at India Gate and who are seen more frequently giving lectures rather than attending one.
The education system in India is such that the school remains that part of the education system which teaches facts and figures and the analysis of those “facts” comes only in college, where the ethos is much more liberating. While in other countries students start writing research papers from high school itself, such activities in India usually find their beginnings only in college. Subsequently, college becomes a platform for a considerably huge change in the way we think.
Students, especially of humanities courses such as Literature, History, Political Science, Philosophy, are the ones who’re exposed to the maximum amount of theories as far as syllabus is concerned, and a questioning of existing social norms and an impending doom of being kicked out of your house because you’re too “modern” for the family norms follows suit. Students start identifying major loopholes that were earlier e\being seen through the prism of normality. For example, a girl might not want to change her surname after marriage because taking the male’s surname is inherently patriarchal in nature , while for others, changing their surnames continues to be a romantic idea. The girl might question the nature of marriages, the nature of late night curfews, the idea of “an ideal household woman” and many other things. And this goes for men who’re feminists as well.
Similarly , owing to the severely politically charged atmosphere in universities, more so in DU, students often turn anti establishments, rejecting every form of bureaucracy and become active student activists. Many leaders of today, like Madhu Kishwar were active in student politics. Most leaders adopt socialist communist ideologies, and actively start writing against the exploitative policies of the rich. Many start their own political parties, NGOs, etc. A large number of students these days also form their own start ups after graduating, though this is not owing to shifts in political ideologies.
College, hence becomes place where you’re exposed to a lot of “isms” and you turn into many “ists” and carry forward those ideologies till a later part of your life, where they give a major contribution to the kind of work you do, and not something that you leave behind in those long gone classrooms.
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