It is not possible to give a final verdict on the question of students’ participation in active politics. Nobody expects out students to shut themselves up in the campus and keep their noses to their books all the time. They should certainly take an intelligent interest in what is happening outside and keep themselves in touch with the current social, economic and even political developments. In spite of this, they have to bear in mind invariable that their sole objective in their formative years should be the acquisition of learning which alone can equip them for the long battle of life ahead of them. They owe it to themselves, to their parents as well as to the society to make the best use of their stay in the educational institutions and thereby to justify the colossal money spent on their education.
First five duties of students
It was the year 1961. The Prime Minister of India, the late Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru had been to Russia on an official visit. The visit coincided with an international fair held in Moscow. The Indian Prime Minister was taken around the fair. At one place, Panditji came across, a huge statue of Lenin the Great Revolutionary of Russia. Lenin was presented in the statue, standing an a high column, stretching his right arm and bifurcating his five fingers distinctly. Panditji gazed at the statue and began to ponder over it. After a pause, he asked the guide to explain to him the implication of the bifurcated five fingers as it was it the statue. The guide told Panditji that once the students of Moscow University numbering in thousands went to Lenin to seek his advice. They cried, “What are out duties?” Lenin replied uttering one word five times, “Study, Study, Study, Study, Study.” Lenin was a revolutionary to every inch. Yet he believed in study as being the primary and sofe duty of students.
Arguments against students’ participation in politics
Since the days of antiquity, the period of student life has been considered to be the only opportunity which a man or a woman in all his or her life gets to equip himself physically, mentally and spiritually worth for the long struggle in life. (If a man does not utilize this period properly and falls a victim to active politics, he misses a golden chance bestowed upon him by God or society or the nation. One can take part in politics any moment one likes but one cannot attend a school for getting education in all the period of life. Human life is normally divided into four periods. The period of early youth is to be used for accumulating knowledge, and not for participating in the dirty game of politics, which is known at the last resort to a scoundrel. Students are generally supposed to be immature in their mental faculties, hence, they are rash and hot blooded. On the other hand, old men are wise and balanced in judgement. We see now-a days that everyday there is a turmoil in the political circle. If that is the condition of the old generation, we can well imagine the condition if young blood is injected into the political stream We have seen a living example of the dangerous consequences of students’ participation in politics in France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia and Mexico Young men craving for power, influence and wealth, tend to resort to violence, and the result is unnecessary bloodshed. If students are encouraged to participate in politics, disorder, indiscipline and lawlessness will steadily increase. There are quite a few propagandists and terrorists in Indian universities, who are backed and supported by the political parties. The result of this can be seen in the form of gheraos, strikes and burning of buildings and the like. It is beyond controversy that great politicians of the modern age were not politicians in their student life. Mahatma Gandhi, while a boy, was too shy to participate in politics. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, while at the Harrow Public School, was well-known for his shyness and bashfulness and was penalized for this off and on. The same can be said about other standing politicians like Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai Colleges and universities should maintain a peaceful atmosphere for imparting perfect education to students. As atmosphere surcharged with political hatred and brickerings is not conductive to studies, if not exceedingly detrimental. Education and politics are diametrically opposed and are like two different streams which cannot run side by -side in the campus of an educational institution.
A degree of ‘politicization’ could be permissible for students but active politics should be definitely tabooed. It is very much in the students’ own interest to pay heed to their teachers’ words and not allow themselves to be swept away by their youthful exuberance. These who have studied the current students’ unrest at close quarters, especially in the West, do not consider it an exaggeration to say that students’ participation in the administration of the educational institutions with freedom would put an end to such institutions. Hence education in Indian and the world is at the cross roads since the clash of ideas is at its highest. The problem has been rendered more difficult in our India situation by the quality of our present day politicians in whom the instinct for survival is more powerful than any other urge.