Youth power can sustain an agitation, believe many. Present day political movements are a testimony to this belief and history too was witness to it at several places all over the globe.

Philosopher George Santayana believed “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. There are two schools of thought on involvement of youth and students in the ongoing Samaikyandhra agitation.

While one feels that the student energy should be channelised in the right direction, the other school feels that their role should be limited and the politicians take up the mantle. Former Rajya Sabha member Yalamanchili Sivaji said students had sustained two agitations - ‘Jai Andhra’ and ‘Jai Telangana’ that rocked the State between 1969 and ’72.

“Then the participation was voluntary and not reactive as it is today. Moreover, we were guided by towering leaders on both the sides. Today there is a leadership crisis and none of the leaders has the intellectual depth to harness the student power. What is happening now can be seen as ‘window dressing’, and I feel that precious academic time is being wasted,” he added.

“Today, leaders themselves are not clear in their mind. While one is talking of greater Rayalaseema, the other is advocating Samaikyandhra and someone else is talking of making Hyderabad a separate state or union territory. When the leaders are confused how will they guide the students,” he said.

Visalandhra Mahasabha president and author of the book ‘Telugu My Roots’ Nalamotu Chakravarthy said, “Students are prone to repeat past mistakes and tend to get misguided. Given their age students lack the historic perspective and are driven by emotions, rather than facts. During the 1969-70 agitation they had lost an entire academic year and many below 14 years lost their lives.”

The Vice-Chancellor of a state-run university said the academic year should not be wasted. “It is a political movement and let the politicians handle it,” he said. Students should play a role, but should not be used by the politicians to whip up passion. Political leaders must prove their mettle in Parliament. The academic year has just begun and let the role of the students be limited, said former Rector of Andhra University A. Prasanna Kumar.