Political attitudes of its citizens are of crucial importance for a democratic country like India. At these trying times, when the rightful life of an individual as promised by the Constitution of India goes neglected, it is essential that the prospective generations have enough awareness about what’s happening in the country and learn to scrutinize and critique the decisions of the government if it does not add to the progress of our community.
India’s 1.3 billion people makes it the second populous country. But with an average of 29 years, it also has one of the youngest populations globally. This vast resource of young citizens is an asset to the future India since these are the people who could bring a fundamental change in the governance and governing policies. The world was all ears when Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student pulled off a school strike challenging the world leaders to immediately act on climate change. From starting to raise awareness among her peers to delivering a speech in the UN and calling for global attention, Greta proved that the youth can bring a change.
Higher education institutions in the country are known to educate the community and associate themselves in the process of political change. The direct participation of universities in educating the community comes through the courses they teach. The politics that each course and content embodies creates an impact in the young minds. A controversy erupted in various parts of the country stating that the ruling government is trying to promote Hindu nationalist agenda by revising the school and college textbooks. This ‘saffronisation’ of education invited criticisms from different parts of the world since it tried to distort history and promote Hindu leaders. ABVP was successful in removing Arundhathi Roy’s text “Walking With The Comrades” after stating that the contents of the book glorifies the Maoist movement.
Universities promote a culture of open dialogue and discussion. These open discussions create a safe and judgement-free environment in which all students could speak fearlessly. Conducting meetings, debates and protests helps the student to have clarity on the issue and what political stand they should hold onto. Students get to learn that it is important to respect each other’s cultures, beliefs and values. Naturally, by getting exposed to a diverse range of opinions, beliefs and cultures, they get encouraged to be more open minded. This will make them open to a greater comprehensive understanding of different viewpoints on the same topic.
Universities play an active role in the promotion of disadvantaged groups by providing high quality education for minimum expenses. The empowerment of the socially disadvantaged groups is a major concern for a developing country like India. University education comes as an alternative for the impediments that arise due to the economical and social disadvantages a community faces.
Students’ union plays a pivotal role in developing political insights among the university students. Students’ unions can hold the government accountable for the injustices and for a fact, many of these student leaders end up in the mainstream politics. Acclaimed universities such as the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia University and Delhi University are known for their prosperous student politics along with their academics. But, there has been a ban in the students union in some institutions for the past few years. There is a rising trend of labeling students as “anti-national” who speak up against the government. Institutions that do have student representatives may find it difficult because they may find themselves voiceless. Students’ unions in higher education institutions should be functional to educate the youth for learning their role as leader and political worker in the society. Special measures should also be taken to control outside interference in student bodies.
Being apolitical is not an option when the social and political issues surrounding you cannot be ignored or overlooked. Being apolitical means you’re giving the control of your life to someone else. Being apolitical means you’re taking the side of the perpetrator. Being political is kind of a revolution in this era.