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The importance of Vimal Tomar

WHO, IN fact, killed Prof H S Sabharwal in the precincts of Madhav College, Ujjain, will be known only after an impartial and thorough investigation. In the meantime, however, charges are being traded between the ABVP and NSUI, the student wings of BJP and the Congress, respectively.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2006 12:32 IST
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WHO, IN fact, killed Prof H S Sabharwal in the precincts of Madhav College, Ujjain, will be known only after an impartial and thorough investigation. In the meantime, however, charges are being traded between the ABVP and NSUI, the student wings of BJP and the Congress, respectively.

These may be keeping the Ujjain tragedy in the news, but what have been indelibly etched in the minds of the people are the visuals of Vimal Tomar, (former) secretary ABVP, animatedly threatening another teacher of the college, Prof Nath. His eloquent outpourings were in complete harmony with his highly expressive (wagging) index finger.

While Prof Sabharwal’s murder at the hands of the student leaders will always linger in the consciousness of the nation, the images that will last in its memory will only be those of Vimal Tomar.

Tomar is, therefore, important, and, that too, not in one, but many ways. His demeanour is revelatory of emerging-for-some-time trends among students, their politics and culture. Consciously transgressing several cultural norms dear to most of us, he exhibited raw power of an office-bearer of a district-level student body in dealing rudely with respectable teachers.

The uninhibited diatribe directed at the Professor and his kind served, perhaps, a dual purpose – of damaging the esteem of the latter and impressing the lumpens crowding behind him, simultaneously reaffirming his (Tomar’s) power over them.

He represents, alarmingly, the quality of the men who, though not students themselves, run students’ organisations, maybe, all across the country. They are educated, but, apparently, only perfunctorily, with education having had no edifying influence on them! Show of power, backed by an unruly mob, is now the standard modus operandi to extract undue advantages from an emasculated college/university administration. Tomar and his ilk represent that kind of student leadership – loutish and uncultured, and teachers everywhere, especially in the badlands of the hinterland, have to suffer them.

He also exposes the hypocrisy of the RSS, which claims to be a torchbearer of Hindu culture. ABVP biggies, though members of the extended Sangh Parivar, disclaim any relationship with the RSS, yet reports indicated that the latter handpicked Tomar for a shift to Ujjain.

Though flaunting “Hindutwa” all the time, the RSS has, surprisingly, failed to lay on Tomar even a thin veneer of Hindu culture. The “Sangh Parivar” formations seem to be packed with the kind of rabble for whom culture is a dispensable baggage.

ABVP is no exception. Evidently, the Sangha-ites are no longer as disciplined as of yore. Tomar also reflects the inadequacy of cultural instructions, or, maybe, want of their assimilation, in primary and secondary stages of education, more so in schools the governments run, in educationally neglected heartland of the country.

The imparted learning is perhaps only bookish, with no emphasis on ethical and behavioural aspects of our culture. Their perfunctory treatment, if at all, during the formative years hardly equips a child to observe our civilisational norms in dealing with others, especially elders and teachers, on attaining adulthood. No wonder, looking around one finds the student-world today “nasty” and “brutish”, a veritable Hobbesian “state of nature”.

Without allowing matters to drift any longer, the government needs to quickly draw conclusions from Ujjain’s outrageous incident for suitable remedial measures. The immediate need is to de-politicise educational institutions to enable in them rehabilitation of academic culture. To do that, enforcement of strict discipline and restoration of the dignity of teachers would be necessary, as also building up of a sound cultural base, eliminating crudity and uncouthness, among the pupils right from the primary stage.

Understandably, politicians would loathe a change in the situation. Imperative, therefore, is a well-coordinated campaign by the civil society since the future appears to be frightening. The Tomars of this country could become the rulers of tomorrow!

First Published: Sep 10, 2006 12:32 IST