De politicization of Educational Campuses

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(Brig (retd) GB Reddi)

Following the student unrest in JNU in 2016, I had appealed to authorities to “De Politicize educational Campuses” to avoid breeding student violence on a large scale. Unfortunately, my appeal has fallen on “Deaf and Dumb” political and academic powers.

Let me reiterate that if the current ‘free for all’ situation (in the name of freedoms) in the campuses is allowed to continue, there is no need for an external enemy to destabilize India.

The Indian educational system is almost on the verge of total breakdown – collapse. Central University, Hyderabad 2016, JNU 2016 and Ramjas College 2017 portend worsening chaos in the educational campuses. In reality, politics has replaced education.

Restating the fundamentals, that is, the main purpose of educational institutions is to inculcate values, knowledge and skills vital for students to become responsible members of the society and contribute to national consolidation. That the B.E. graduates are not educationally equipped with skills to fit into jobs at entry level reflects the glaring ‘voids’ in our education system.

Violence negates the very ultimate ends of educational campuses.

No one would mind debates among students over issues providing what they perceive as dissenting or radical ideas.  But, why should outsiders be invited to participate is such forums? And that too for spreading anti or Hate-India ideology among impressionable young India.

Abundant research material is available highlighting why youth, particularly students, are attractive targets for terrorist organizations to enroll as members?

Most important for all alike is to realize that the information war is cost effective to destabilize adversaries and disintegrate them. Recent history has many lessons to offer as to how nations have been destabilized by recourse to subverting the populace – the way they think and they react.

Researchers have found why young students particularly are attractive targets for terrorist organization to enroll as members. Many young people often join terrorist organizations because they are looking for an identity for themselves. Having a traumatic experience as a youth in particular is a motivating factor in deciding to become a terrorist — and terrorist recruiters recognize this. Poverty and discrimination drives them into terrorist fold.

The inputs at young age leave indelible imprint on students psyche. If they are groomed in violence in the campuses on narrow sectarian divisive platforms, please do not expect them ever to become amenable to negotiation, conciliation and consensus forging vital in democracy.

And, the educational campuses are the breeding grounds or hot-beds to develop and build a network of followers and sympathizers in the first stage through high decibel level of indoctrination through group meetings, pamphlets and protests.

One cannot just help but highlighting that intellect ripens at young age. It is an irrefutable fact the educational campuses are being used for the purposeful molding of the minds of the young in an idealistic creed of narrow parochial sectional egoism of perverted ideologies.

Also, students who are not bright in their studies go on to indulge in politics with a view to make a political career and living.  As a result, who suffers the most? It is the silent majority of bright students in pursuit of higher goals and ambitions.

Even students have been found to self radicalize due to social media influences. Many youth often make the jump from a passive supporter and sympathizer of terrorists to active supporter actually engaging in terrorist acts through the internet. Once they are adequately radicalized, they become either covert or overt active members of extremist organizations.

In particular, so called research scholars pursuing Ph.D studies are the main culprits to spread vitiating atmosphere.  Some among them continue their studies for eternity based on scholarships that are tax-payers money. Also, the beneficiaries are the research guides or mentors of the teaching faculty. Surely, such absurdity or fraud needs to be stopped. Such students must be thrown out of the campuses after the stipulated period of 3-4 years.

Surprisingly, terming such students as “misguided youth” exposes intellectual bankruptcy. Well until 1980s or 1990s, one could have termed students as “misguided youth”. Today, they are no longer misguided.  Being ‘internet savvy” and following various TV channels, they are better informed than their counterparts prior to 1990s. Even a young child of 10 years age more skillfully handles the most sophisticated mobiles than their elders.

Today campuses are “political Goonda Raj”s or fiefdoms” of various political parties. If JNU is “leftist”, the Ramjas is ABVP centric.

I am aghast at the intellectual bankruptcy or hypocrisy of highly rated journalists appearing in “Prime Time Talk Shows” berating the campus authorities or the police.

Ipso facto, “Freedom” is the most disabused term.  “Free Speech, Hate Speech, Fake speech etc” are some of the terms making waves.

Freedom sans responsibility breeds chaos and anarchy; and chaos is the oxygen that fuels violence. In the ultimate, chaos breeds paralysis, stalemate and political blunders and causes terrible dysfunction, distraction, disloyalty ultimately resulting in disruption, destruction and disintegration in a long term context.

I dare challenge the champions of “uncontrolled freedoms” like Umar Khalid and his ilk to go to Lahore or Islamabad and shout “Hindustan Zindabad and Pakistan Muradabad.”  They will by lynched on the spot. So, it will happen in many other countries like China, Russia, Iran and so on.

Having lit the fire and adding fuel to it by media anchors and editors, their appeal to ‘liberals’ to restore normalcy is the worst fraud. Instead, media houses must show restraint airing such episodes.

Surprisingly, not a single media house is in the forefront of banning politics in the campuses.

No use in blaming the college or campus administration for not pro-actively pre-empting the spiral of violence or the police either of inaction or complicity. Appealing to resolve differences in a peaceful and constructive manner after violence escalation is no good.

Next, political parties are squarely to be blamed for the present sorry state of affairs in the campuses. Student elections have become the breeding ground of future political leaders. What is worse is the trend of teachers actively encouraging students to politicize the campus environment.

Whatever politicization is happening in the name of various politically affiliated organizations in educational campuses, be it either left or the right, is intellectually deliberate and exploited with highly calculative cunningness to destabilize modern India.

And, all such organizations are patronized and also funded by political parties. Even the so called ‘alumni’ who have set up NGOs play an active role in student activities.

Be that as it may, forces viciously shouting anti-India slogans are good enough to breed internal threats.  Is it what the current decrepit political leadership wants to do in ruthless pursuit of grabbing power by hook or crook!

Importantly, the surge of violence on educational campuses is just the beginning of escalation of student violence on campuses. They are setting the trends for other campuses to follow.

So, my appeal to all alike is simple. Ban all political activities in educational campuses. If students want to take an active part in “politics” let them be members of various political outfits as per their leaning and carryout protests and agitations on the streets. Ban entry of all political leaders. After all, until early 1980s, political leaders rarely entered educational campuses on their own; but only by invitation and that too by exception.

Let not students be allowed, incited and encouraged to indulge in protests and violence in the educational campuses. Let them pursue studies, play games and participate in hobbies and dramatics.

My appeal to all those claiming to be columnists in various “Prime Talk Shows” that influences mindsets of viewers, please stop defending the indefensible in the ongoing media trail.

De-politicization is the urgent imperative.  Alongside, de-radicalization is vital.  No activities promoting racial, caste and communal divide should be allowed within the campuses.  For such activities are bound to be harmonious in the long run to promote and consolidate national unity and integrity.

Ipso facto, law and order within the campuses is the prime responsibility of the campus administration. So, they must institute “Code of Conduct” for teachers and students.  Strict disciplinary action should be taken against offenders violating the “Code of Conduct” including rustication.

Wake up Supreme Court! High time to take suo motto notice of the developing turmoil’s in the campuses and to direct the Parliament to pass appropriate laws.

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