The last couple of years have seen sustained onslaughts on public universities with a range of attacks starting from fund cuts, fee hikes, privatisation and a steady attempt to disband all forms of political awareness and organisation on campuses.
The latest development in this direction can be seen in the Allahabad University where a recent mandate has dictated that the 96 year old student union in the campus will be disbanded by the university’s administration. The new body which will be put in place of the democratically elected students’ union will a students’ council which will not be selected through direct elections.
The earlier students’ union demanded that direct elections be held where in all the students of the campus would collectively vote for the union but the students’ council will not be elected through direct elections. The students will now be required to select class representatives who in turn would vote for the members of the students’ council.
The administration of the Allahabad University argued that it was necessary for them to take such a decision in order to comply with the recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee for university elections reform. The committee ordered that only small universities that have a low student population should be allowed to directly vote for the students’ union panel.
This would imply that the students of the Allahabad University will no longer directly vote for the students’ union panel and there would be no direct elections for the 2019-20 academic year in the Allahabad University and other affiliated colleges.
What must be noted is
that the disbanding of the Allahabad University Students’ Union marks a very
important time for the history of campus politics in the nation because this
union was among the oldest in the nation and had a very rich tradition of
student politics to boast of.
It is this university and its vibrant culture of politics that is also responsible for nurturing eminent politicians such as erstwhile prime ministers Guzlarilal Nanda, Chandrashekhar and V.P. Singh.
The disbanding of the students’ union of the university has been protested against by students of the university who saw it as a black day in the history of their campus.
They have also expressed their eagerness to appeal to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and ask for the reconsideration of the mandate. The protests by the students have been going on since June 25th, which was a day after the decision of the university administration was finally announced.
Several clashes between the police and the students have also taken place since then and the protests in the campus are intensifying. A large part of the students on campus are seeing this move as an attempt to muzzle student voices and an attempt to disband all political awareness in the campus.
The attempt to disband all political thinking in the campus is being widely protested on the campus. The students also express fear that only students who are handpicked by the university administration will find voice in the students’ council.