Thiruvananthapuram

Deviations are there, but ban unacceptable

Any ban on students’ organisations on campuses is bound to give a fillip to communal and anarchist forces. The ban is the result of a misunderstanding of role of students organisations on campuses. Student organisations are democratic forums of students and are not feeder organisations of political parties. They can have a broad political outlook but they are not political parties per se. Student organisations have not striven to bring this fact to the attention of the judiciary. The organisational programme adopted by the SFI and the KSU makes this clear.

It is as a result of the activities of student organisations that the apartheid movement in South Africa and the travails of the people of Vietnam were discussed on campuses in Kerala. These organisations also taught the student community to appreciate Pablo Neruda’s poetry and Picasso’s paintings. Student organisations have played a major role in shaping an education system based on equality and social justice, thereby contributing to the fashioning of the famed Kerala model of development.

Student organisations received a bad name because they have often deviated from their declared goals and got swayed by party politics. It should be specially noted that from 1960 to 1980, when student organisations adopted strong stances on issues of public importance, there was no opposition to their activities. It was when, in place of meaningful political engagement, petty party politics came into play that the sentiment against student organisations took root.

Even though some unacceptable trends have crept into student politics, banning it altogether would give rise to undesirable forces. In a State that is being rapidly communalised, casteist and communal forces would find a place on campuses, rendering impotent the youth who are to organise the resistance to such forces. Higher courts must be moved to counter the latest High Court verdict. Student bodies should submit their constitutions to the courts and argue and convince the courts that they are broad democratic forums for students and not feeder organisations of political parties.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:22:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/deviations-are-there-but-ban-unacceptable/article19898316.ece

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