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Today's youth is losing its way

Our surfer elaborates on Teacher's Day why restraint is so vital to youth power.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 13:13 IST

Politics, they say, is an art which like every other art is learnt over a period of time. In Hindu mythology however Abhimanyu was an exception who learnt this art when he was still in his mother's womb.

Every national party like the Congress and the BJP has a youth wing that grooms future national leaders. Indian Youth Congress (IYC), the youth party of Congress is often regarded as the doorway to enter the mainstream Congress party. Same goes for the Akhil Bharti Vidyarthee Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP.

ABVP has been in news for all the wrong reasons. A recent incident in Ujjain, in which a professor was beaten to death allegedly by members of ABVP, has caught the entire nation's headlines.

I guess the BJP will view this incident as a case of youth who got carried away with the rush of adrenaline, lost his cool and manhandled a professor, just because the teacher postponed the student elections. It's true that with youth, vices like anger and sentiments are associated and to some extent they are acceptable as well. But is it acceptable in the present case?

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who himself rose from being an ordinary member of ABVP to the present position of chief minister of the state, termed the incident as an unfortunate one and went on to say that it was an incident which shouldn't have occurred.

Yes, it was unfortunate and one that shouldn't have happened, but it became more shameful when the ruling BJP tried to shield the accused just because they were members of ABVP.

The kind of abusive language used by the ABVP activists in the presence of the police was not heard or seen in the past. Leaders like Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, former union information and broadcasting minister Ravishankar Prasad and Arun Jaitley are all products of the ABVP. Would they have treated their teachers like the modern ABVP leaders did at Ujjain? Their party is in power in Madhya Pradesh and it appears that this very power has gone into the heads of the Parishad leaders.

The recent week has seen many a student movement or more aptly student "protest". The students of MCM DAV Girls College, Chandigarh went on a strike after one of their fellow students was slapped after she broke the rule of not using mobile in the college campus. Then the students of Charan Singh University in Meerut went on a rampage, burning vehicles, blocking roads after gross irregularities relating to the evaluation of answer sheets were discovered in their university.

India has a glorious history of student raising their voices whenever they felt that something wrong was being committed against them and against the society. After Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency, the students under the leadership of JP Narayan proved a to be more than a handful. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was student movements which forced Mrs Gandhi to take back the Emergency.

Similarly in the early 90s the youth came out on the roads when the then PM VP Singh tried to implement the reservation policy. The same reason again inspired the whole generation of youth and students to again use their force collectively in 2006.

Youth has only one thing that gives them authority, recognition and to some extent the reason to fear them; their "collectivity", their knack of being united whenever the situation demands.

During the freedom movement too students participated actively in the movement for independence. This was very clearly evident in 1905, when students protested against Lord Curzon's decision of the partition of Bengal. Young revolutionaries like Khudiram Bose, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, etc. caught the imaginations of millions of students and youth all over the country. At that time the cause for which the students protested was for the independence of India.

The youth are seen as an essential tool of politicians, which act as the "foot soldier" if we can term it that way. They are entrusted with the job of spreading the party's ideology, that is, if they have anything which can be even vaguely termed as an "ideology".

Earlier the politically affiliated youth parties undertook social welfare activities like mass literacy campaign, fight against untouchability, spreading of primary education, etc. Similarly in 1962, the Youth Congress played a great role on the patriotic front against the Chinese aggression. Later they also undertook activities such as tree plantation, anti-dowry campaign, anti-hoarding, anti-smuggling campaigns. Campaigns on family planning and anti-dowry campaigns were also undertaken during this period.

It is not that these problems don't exist today. They do. The only thing is that these issues don't command the media attention that students crave for. Students don't think it's profitable or beneficial politically to indulge in these kinds of activities.

After all beating a professor, staging a chakkajam or burning vehicles makes them more visible in the eyes of their leaders and mentors.

A single individual collectively makes up the youth force of India. They should realise that they in themselves are a power that has no parallel. A power which if applied in a restrained manner and for the right purpose can change not just the whole of India but the whole world.

Abhinandan Mishra can be reached at mishra .abhinandan@gmail.com.

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