Should students limit themselves to studies and stay away from agitations?

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“Intellectual growth of an individual is stunted when he refuses to acknowledge or fight for the rights bestowed upon him”.

First of all - what is agitation? It is the vehement act of protest which is stimulated through a growing frustration with a superior body or a gross denial of the unfair regulations or rules imposed by them. These unfair rules can translate to the suppression of the right to speech or assemble, imposing new practices which directly or indirectly affect the daily lives of all concerned.

Agitation and protests carried out by Indian students are definitely not new to India. It had been pretty prevalent pre and post-independence. Sometimes, the protests work beautifully and other times they are quelled up quietly. These student agitations, generally, seek to serve only one purpose – to inform the society that if the learned intellectuals, who are well educated and well averse with the society at large, deem a certain rule or law unfair, then the entire nation should sit up and take notice. They should question the sanctity of the law; they should question the very root cause of the problem.

Let us have a look at the issue through the eyes of an average college youth. It is well understood that the ‘youth phase’ of any person is the most hyperactive as well as the most exhaustive period of his life. It is taken for granted that some of the youth, at this age, have the wisdom and farsightedness to discern what is right and wrong; whereas most of the others do not have this wisdom and would jump to conclusions just on the face value. Just take the example of the recent protests and agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the students of JNU. Most of the student interviews revealed that they were not abreast with the actual implications of the law.

I am not against student agitation; I am just against the excesses of student agitation. Everything done within a certain limit is beneficial. Peaceful and purposeful protests against draconian laws should be encouraged in a democracy. After all, the youth is the lifeline of any country. They are the masters and leaders-to-be. Forcing them to just focus on studies will be akin to forcing Dhoni to just stick to wicket-keeping. A student’s all-round development should not be obstructed by suppressing their right to dissent. They have every right, as an Indian citizen, to have varying views and different ideologies regarding a certain matter. But, as individuals who are predominantly learners, they should have the sense to maintain decorum while also avoiding unfair tactics to advance their point. A healthy and constructive view of their concerns can aid the governing body to refine and modify the rules in the best interest of the public as a whole.

Violent protests which disrupt the normal life of the public should be discouraged. The students and authorities should know that violence has never ever helped any of the sides drive their point home. A peaceful exchange of constructive dialogue should take place. Healthy criticism should be accepted and taken in stride. Committees and review boards should be assigned to listen and resolve student issues in a peaceful manner while also ensuring that their studies are not affected in any way. Care should be taken to ensure that politically associated factions and unions in college campuses follow a certain set of norms and regulations. Students should be dissuaded from being politically stimulated to perform agitations. Rationale and common sense should not be sacrificed at the altar of obtuse or illogical judgement. If the aforementioned steps are judiciously followed, I can ensure that peaceful student protests will aid in better law and rule formation.

Today’s students will be the leaders of tomorrow. They are destined to handle the reigns of India in the near future. Good education and all-round development of a student can go the extra mile to ensure that the reigns of India are in good strong hands. This would surely propel our country from being a developing one to a global superpower.

-Arunava Das

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