The history and importance of protests and political expression in the University of Delhi (DU) after Vivekananda College released a notice warning students against taking part in political rallies becomes more significant.
DU is known for having an active and politically engaged student body, with protests, marches, and parades for various issues being an integral part of college life. Being a part of DU means being a part of a student body comprising people from all parts of the country, all sections of the society, and ideologies across the whole spectrum. In the varsity, students actively use responsible and peaceful forms of dissent to get one’s voice heard and bring student issues to the forefront. However, this freedom is slowly coming under attack due to certain groups of people trying to enforce their ideologies and stifle others who go against them. Recently, with Vivekananda College issuing a notice warning students against taking parts in political rallies and promising a disciplinary action for those who disobey, this suppression of voice has become more apparent and real.
Aahil sheikh, a first-year student of B.A (Honors) Political Science from Kirori Mal College, when asked for his opinion on Vivekananda College’s decision, stated “The current decision of Vivekananda College to ban political activities on campus takes away the autonomy of college students which completely goes against the right to protest. I believe that the Constitution has given everyone, including college students the right to mobilize and try to get something they believe in, so I am completely against the decision taken by Vivekananda College.”
On the importance of youth activism at college, Manvendra Krishna , another first-year student from Kirori Mal College said “Since the youth is the future of the country and college is the final stepping stone for students before they enter the real world, the exposure to politics at the college level is important because it produces educated student leaders and empowers the students to question the system, and provides them a medium to voice their opinions on the policies that impact them and fight the oppressors by making them aware of their rights as well as that of others and bring about a positive difference in the world.” Krishna quoted an example of Joshua Wong, who at a tender age of 14 was the face of the umbrella revolution: a pro-democracy movement that barricaded itself in downtown Hong Kong to emphasize that there are many such Joshua Wongs in the world but they according to him don’t get enough opportunities to speak. He also added that “This snatching away of student voices is aversive to the fundamentals that bind a democracy. Thus, I believe in advocating for a system that fosters the growth of many such young and educated student leaders so that the system becomes more responsible and accountable.”
College students are of the age and maturity to know how to show dissent and protest responsibly. They should be allowed to voice their opinions on campus since that is the fastest way to reach the eyes and ears of the administration. Democracy is constantly changing and evolving and students can and play an integral role in keeping the administration and the government in check.
Feature Image Credits: Noihrit for DU Beat
Prabhanu Kumar Das