Wednesday, August 30, 2006

High education, Low politics

Every other week there happens some thing or other that says that more the things change, more they remain same. The places may vary, the faces may change but the shock value, the insensitivity stays unchanged.

As if Jessica Lal, Neetish Katara or Priyadarshini Mattoo tragedies were not enough, Ujjain shot up for its claim to shame with murder of Professor Sabharwal of Madhav Singh College. Having spent my teen life in Allahabad where student politics in the University is as vicious as it gets, the violence in campus is nothing new for me. Indeed it was surprising if there was no news of bomb explosions or firing in campus or rampage in academic blocks didn't appear in newspapers for a month! (I am not aware of the scenario nowdays)

But this is something that I never heard.

On 26th August, members of BJP's student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) threatened and ultimately beat Prof. H.S. Sabharwal to death. He was 62 and barely 6 months from his retirement. Eyewitnesses claim that Police did nothing except watching and they claim that this is not for the first time, the 'students' have misbehaved with teaching (or non-teaching) staff. Though for the first time they have killed someone. As I am writing this, ABVP leaders have surrendered but they have been charged with 'manhandling' instead of murder.Not that this is surprising. The complaint itself was lodged after intense pressure from media and opposition while Police kept on claiming lack of eyewitnesses till the librarian came on-camera and claimed that he has already appeared before Police.

This incident may come like a shock to many but this is just another example of lawlessness creeping in universities in the garb of student politics. In Delhi, victory in Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election is supposed to be an indicator of victory in state elections. And needless to say that every candidate flays the rules set by election commission for an upper limit on expenditure. Those who claim that it is not possible to contest elections on shoe-string budget lie. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) does that every year.

Political parties and student unions cried blood when Election Commission suggested an upper limit of 23 (or 25) years on contesting University elections. So you don't need to be Sherlock to understand the real motive of those contesting University elections. Crime is creeping in politics at its 'grassroots' level.

It's high time that someone cleans this mess.


Beau Peep said...

The student federations/unions are nothing but organzied criminal gangs to a large extent. The question is not who was responsible for the murder of the professor, but what is fundamentally wrong in the current system of student politics.

Student unions in our country needs immediate attention. They must be broken down, restructured and set right immediately by stringent laws. I have some suggestions on this in my post here.