It’s time to speak up, push for change, say students | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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It’s time to speak up, push for change, say students

At 7pm on Friday, around 800 students, faculty members and residents of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) gathered outside their hostels for a candlelight march to support Anna Hazare’s cause.

mumbai Updated: Apr 09, 2011 01:10 IST

At 7pm on Friday, around 800 students, faculty members and residents of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) gathered outside their hostels for a candlelight march to support Anna Hazare’s cause. On Saturday night, almost all the students will forego dinner to show their solidarity with the fight against corruption.

“We live and breathe corruption. IIT-B hosts some of the brightest youngsters in the country; we should not just stand by and watch,” said Paresh Kulkarni, a student who is part of the initiative. A similar initiative was carried out at IIT-Delhi on Thursday.

On Saturday, students will also gather for an interactive session about the Jan Lokpal Bill with India Against Corruption (IAC) activist and IIT alumnus RBS Bir.

At Azad Maidan, dozens of students poured in with the same fervour during the day to show their support, suggesting that student activism in Mumbai is not completely dormant.

“Everyone must contribute,” said Rohit Agarwal, 21. “Corruption is increasing and the media has created so much awareness that the youth has joined in a bigger way.” Until six months ago Agarwal would have hardly described himself as an activist. Now, he says, he will take to the streets every time there is a need.

For others, such as Zalak Shah, 21 and Abhey Kohli, 21, who finished their classes in the morning and came to Azad Maidan in the evening to register their support, corruption isn’t an arbitrary evil but one they have personally encountered.

“We’re tired of paying bribes,” said Kohli. “It’s time we spoke out.”

Students were at a loss to specify what made this campaign different, but categorised the general malaise that is “corruption” as an attractive cause to campaign against. “If a man at age 73 can do this, shouldn’t we be doing something too?” said Parth Upadhyay, 15, a Class 11 student. “The Bill will affect our future.”