The Democracy of Students – University

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To have democratic institutions and universities in a democratic country makes absolute sense, right? Having a democracy comes with its own challenges and cons, but the solution can never be to altogether dismiss this institution. Sadly, The Democracy of Student – Universities have been forced to sit on the demise of the Indian political scene for students. The prolific campuses of knowledge which gave birth to so many great leaders and drove movements like the Bihar Student Movement (1974), Assam Student Movement (1979), and All Jharkhand Students’ union (1986), are in the process of becoming barren lands of facts and knowledge that involve no political or social awakening and organization of their students. This absence has led callous behaviour of the administration towards the faculty and staff, arbitrary fees increment, and assault in the name of gender and caste on the very campuses built to fight against these perils. It’s almost as if the verdure of the intellectual movement breathing and sustaining on campuses has been sucked to maintain the love of party and ideology. 


The Indian movement for independence from colonial European powers was largely supported by the youth. Students made up a sizable portion of the protests during Mahatma Gandhi’s 1919 campaign against the Rowlatt Act. Gandhi advised students to boycott schools and colleges as a form of protest against the repressive British government during the Civil Disobedience movement. They immediately left their educational institutions and joined national leaders on the streets to demonstrate their support for the cause.


During the 1942 Quit India movement, the youth leaders organized large-scale protests and rallies. As part of the struggle for liberation, many student leaders were put behind bars and others were killed. The All India Students Federation (AISF), India’s first student organisation, was founded in 1936 as a result of the 1920 First All India Students Conference.


Experts on the subject have opined that the loss of a unifying cause harmed the political awakening amongst students. The tussle between the student leaders and the Lyngdoh Committee has made its villainous presence known on almost all campuses. Even the promises of the Student Council in place of Student Unions have not been realised for years in the case of universities like Benarus Hindu University. 


The last few years saw the rise of student solidarity again in the face of CAA-NRC protests, but how this political consciousness manifests on campuses is a question that clarifies itself. Student union elections have been the nurturing ground for bright leaders and they are our only chance to save our democracy from the current crisis of gerontocracy. Student unions can become the opportunity the youth need to carry on the great legacy of student leadership. It would be better if the talk of democracy could come out of political science classes and shake hands with the ethics going on in the adjacent philosophy class and bring vibrancy to campuses again, to make their presence known not just as a name existing on a class roll or as a seat in university, but as a student of this Republic of India. 


Kashish Shivani

[email protected]


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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