Apolitical Academic Institutions
The Jadavpur Rally
The recent spurt of disagreement between the Vice Chancellor. and the students of Jadavpur University brings to foray a series of loopholes in the existing system. The fallout was due to miscommunication and inaction by the authorities. The University officials had taken charge, only after a trial of protests. The entire incident started with the complaint of a girl molested within the University campus by some of the students during a fest. When the Vice Chancellor. failed to take considerable steps against the accused, the infuriated students as a result besieged him. The incident turned bitter as the Vice Chancellor. brought in police to control the agitating students. The police took physical action inside a premiere educational institution. It was supposed to be an internal matter and the Vice Chancellor tried to wash his hands of it. What followed it all was more dramatic, thousands of students from various Universities and colleges took to the streets, marching and shouting slogans.
Consequence of the protest
In the next part to this episode, many from the artistic forum be it filmstars,theatretician,musicians joined the trail.The ire of protesting students fell directly upon the government and the police. There was immediate action after it in the form of arrest but the Vice Chancellor was back to his chair. The Vice Chancellor was looking for a non-violent negotiation but it was too late a call. The students resumed classes after a week. The Vice Chancellor resigned at the end and it seemed like a brawl than a molestation protest. What happened to the case is something I am unaware of. But the hype gathered by the protest reminded me of a different time in West Bengal.
The brings forth a debate persistingfor the longest time in the educational system in West Bengal. The role of political infiltration and formation of unions within campuses.West bengal has a vast history of student politics. People in this part of the country are politically conscious,if not atleast opinionated. During the Naxalite era, in 1970s the students were the driving force behind the shift in government. They had vocally advocated their unwillingness in the land policy, thus instrumental in bringing change then. Since then onwards various political parties have made their presence visible in colleges and universities across the state. Over the course of time agendas have diluted and the objective has lost it's relevance.
Drained in political colours
On the pretext of the discussed event at Jadavpur University the various student unions affiliated to political parties played fiddle and tried to manipulate the episode, instead of providing justice to the victim. The unions that have mushroomed within university campuses have played their power cards on incidents before as well. The Naxalite movement had a misguided end and they had reached violent levels. The unions too are adhering themselves to a similar notion. The apolitical protest within the Jadavpur University campus compelled the Vice Chancellor.to resign and was influenced by political unions. It never was just a mere protest though it could have been, had the parties never held their hand.