Sunday, 28 July 2013

Student Union OR Student Nuisance?

It is said that unions are built to effectively oppose the unjust policies of employers. Unions are built to look over the welfare of workers. Unions are built of people who work hard and in return want their interests protected. Unions are built to avoid discrimination, partiality or any kind of injustice to the working class. Unions are built to safeguard, uphold and make sure that the voice of the worker is heard above the noise of machinery, barking of the top dogs and clanging of the brass.

Now, in recent years, unions have been set up to protect the rights of students as well. The unions have been hard at work making sure that there is no discrimination in the admission processes, the results, the internal marks, and ‘other’ problems that students face. The student unions are also quick to react to school and college faculties repressing and oppressing the students.

Now all this is well and truly noble – fighting for the rights of the students.

But student unions comprise of students, right?

It is students that fight for the rights of other students?

Students who come to the aid of other students so that their voice is heard, right?

Well, I think that’s what a Student Union is all about, unless I’m wrong, in which case, this whole post is useless and you need not waste your time reading it.

But if I’m right, then how come I've seen men aged between 28-35 years lead these unions?

These people in white kurtas and saffron headbands are students by no long stretch of the imagination. These people come into colleges on about ten or fifteen bikes acting all rough and tough, beat up the watchman who tries to stop them, park their vehicles in front of the college doorway, continue to destroy property till they reach the Principal/Director’s office and then threaten him/her till they are forced to do the bidding of the over aged “students”.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not writing this from what I've heard, I've actually seen this happen in my college and while I agree that some policies that the management of my former college managed to cook up were not in the best interests of everyone, the methods used by the unions were not optimum either. I believe that whatever the problem is, it can be first discussed to see if a compromise can be reached, if not, then certain measures might be defended as being in the greater interests of the mass. But when violence is the first option, there is no defence against the police stepping in to throw the leaders in jail for disturbing the peace, threatening people, assault and damage of property.

It is also necessary, I think, that the “real” students decide what is best for them and wrest power from those who would seek to start a political career on the shoulders of the students. It is also high time that political parties stop inducting these violent and unemployed youngsters into their ranks. It is common knowledge that the two big student unions are supported by the two major national political parties in the country. This needs to stop, not only for a better student union, but for the better future of the country.

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