Be it JNU, Jamia Millia, HCU or Jadavpur University, in past few days student politics have reached a whole new level where the youth of this country have come out on the road to protest against social issues like CAA, NRC or fee hike of government universities. The recent attack on JNU students by goons has added more fuel to it.
Protests are a familiar political culture in India but we hardly get to read about them in books. On top of that, politicians these days speak very negatively about students’ politics. In many states, students are not even allowed to have their union or college-voting system.
But if we dig deep into history, we will find that the past of today’s celebrated politicians are filled with stories of youth politics. Many veteran ministers of India had started their political journeys by being part of student movements.
We all know the youth has the potential to bring about change in society. People fear the strength and actions of the youth. Thus, they want to constrain their thoughts and bind them in a closed academic culture which is all about education and a wealthy future.
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This attitude is nothing but hypocrisy! The political leaders who rant against student politics were very much into politics during their college and university days. H
ere is the list of politicians whose words and actions do not align (no pun intended!).
At the age of 19, Amit Shah joined Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the year 1983. He joined BJP in 1987. Shah was even the leader of the student wing of RSS but today the protest of JNU students seems irrelevant to him. Thus there are MPs and BJP leaders in our country who dare to speak of shutting down the university because the students are involved in political movements. Wah neta ji! Wah!
From being a member of RSS at the age of 13 to starting a political career from Jana Sangh at the age of 24, politics was in his blood since childhood. But as usual, during the sedition controversy at JNU, Singh was unwilling to support the student movement and sent a very stern message against them.
The late BJP leader and former minister, Arun Jaitley was one of the famous youth leaders of his time. He was a member of ABVP and organised a great number of protest rallies during the time of the Emergency. But later when his party came to power, he spoke against protest and tried to remove his own political history which was related to youth politics.
Ravi Shankar Prasad
Our recent BJP government is filled with leaders who have started their career as youth leaders. Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology too belongs to the same list. Prasad began his political career as a student leader in 1970s. He was even imprisoned for opposing India Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, during the time of the Emergency. Moreover, his connection with RSS too helped him to grow politically.
Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Prakash Javadekar too was an active member of ABVP during his college days. Javadekar led a satyagraha movement during the Emergency declared by then PM Indira Gandhi and was arrested for several months. Interestingly, Javadkar is one of those BJP leaders who said the recent attacks on JNU are fake or dramatised by Leftists!
The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee joined politics during the early 1970s. She was a student at that time. This is not all, while she was the opposition leader in West Bengal, her remarkable protest marches, dharnas and calling out strikes retained all the attention. But now, as she is the CM, she opposes what she herself did when she was young! She not only opposes bandh but does not appreciate radical politics of Jadavpur and Presidency University! Strange!
Ananth Kumar, Late Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Radha Mohan Singh, JP Nadda … and the list is endless. Still, these leaders come forward and make statements against protests and give speeches against the fruitlessness of such immature actions of students.
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