Opinion: Why does the ruling party stop students from asking questions?

Written by Vidya Bhushan Rawat | Published on: February 13, 2019

How productive is it to stop students from discussing politics when they are always in the thick of it? Instead, allow political leaders to talk to them about the policies and reference political parties without naming them. It will be of tremendous use.

 
Akhilesh yadav
Image: Twitter/@yadavakhilesh
 
It is disturbing how the ruling government wants University campuses to remain ‘apolitical’ by using promoting and encouraging jingoism, irrationality and toxic Hindutva ideology.
 
The entire student gathering benefits if Akhilesh Yadav, President of the main opposition party in Uttar Pradesh and a former chief minister, is invited to speak at a student gathering.
 
How productive is it to stop students from discussing politics when they are always in the thick of it? Instead, allow political leaders to talk to them about the policies and reference political parties without naming them. It will be of tremendous use.
 
This was a principle and it was broken by the BJP. Anyone who was not them was anti-national. Once you break the norms, you will be thoroughly isolated in the political circles once your days are done but the BJP feels that it is here to rule India forever. Every politician in the party became a megalomaniac.
 
The simple question is why was Akhilesh Yadav not allowed to board his flight from Lucknow to Allahabad to speak to the students? The argument that UP CM Yogi Adityanath gave was that the ongoing Kumbh Mela would be disturbed because of goons who are Samajwadi Party workers. He accused them of trying to disturb the peace and creating anarchy there to defame the state government.
 
Now, this is not only absurd but below the dignity of the person who holds the chief ministerial position. After assuming charge of Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath has only spoken foul of his opponents. He got the chief minister's bungalow sprinkled by Ganga water for purification, which exposed his narrow feudal Brahmanical mind. To be fair to Akhilesh Yadav, he has been among the most 'accessible' leaders in Uttar Pradesh who tried to build up a modern agenda for the state, even ignoring some of the core issues of his party, particularly the vast OBC reservation issues which he is now raising. Akhilesh Yadav has certainly gone far ahead of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, though he remained the most accepted leader with a great network of old loyalists.
 
What is highly disturbing is that Adityanath expressed 'fear' that Akhilesh Yadav's campus visit would create a riotous situation. Yes, it is possible, if those encouraged by his 'toxic' thought do not disturb the meeting. BJP would be the last party to talk of sanity. Its cadres have become loudmouth and a situation is now brewing where people will lose their patience for such tactics.
 
Stopping Akhilesh Yadav is a pattern which is being witnessed everywhere. Those who the government thinks are opponents to its toxic ideology are being denied to speak at campuses. Veteran film actor Amol Palekar was stopped from airing his political views at the NGMA in Mumbai while Jignesh Mewani, the independent MLA in Gujarat was not allowed to speak at his former college.
 
Universities and colleges are the places where students discuss politics and should be doing so. These are the places for discussions and debates and to encourage students to make their own views about politics. To stop them from thinking and denying people to read particular books of ideologies, are the fear of those in power that the students will get radicalised. Now, there was a time when the term 'radical' was always considered progressive than those who are moronic and have no question to ask. It is only possible for those who have become 'bhakts' or devotees. Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar had famously said once that bhakti in spiritual life may take you towards salvation but in politics, bhakti will only take you to destruction.
 
The power today does not want the new young to think and speak. They don’t want you to debate and discuss politics, the issues confronting our society and nation. When our Parliament and assemblies do not discuss the issues important for the well being of our nation seriously, the campuses in the Universities or seminar halls of the institutions will have to take charge. You cannot stop thought processes and questioning ability.
 
It is good to invite political leaders to explain their political position. Let the students speak to them and ask questions. Let these programs rise above party program.
 
Moreover, I would definitely want the campuses engaged with thought leaders, with more thinkers and ideologues, which will definitely be good for all of us.
 
When we engage with people on a discussion table, we have space to agree and disagree. That space in a democracy is the most powerful.
 
I can bet people get violent when there are no spaces for dialogue.
 
That space needs to be not only protected but also made available to all. When the space for discussion and dialogue disappears then the age of 'cult' appears and we follow it mindlessly. We do not question. The leader speaks to us. We listen and go back home. It is a monologue which we have become historically habituated to.
 
The baba's speak on TV. That is a monologue.
 
That is why we say, technology can provide you information but it is still a monologue. It can’t listen to you. You can’t share your sorrows and happiness with anyone including technology.
 
Therefore, the essence of dialogue, discussions and debate strengthen our democratic process because of mutual learning.
 
The baba’s, the priests won’t like you to think because once you become a thinker, you will ask questions. Their shops will be closed. They will have to resolve the issues, raise those issues in Parliament and assemblies.
 
That is why they want to stop everything which makes the young think.
 
The question is:
 
Can they stop students and youth from growing in numbers?
 
Can they stop the forces of nature which make humans urge for interaction and communication with others?
 
Can they stop us from thinking?
 
None of it is possible. If it was possible we would be stagnant rocks.
 
I am sure, we all wish to speak, engage, think and act.
 
The babas of our politics must know that. The sooner they know it, the better it is for everyone.
 
Change is inevitable. It is the process of life. People will question. Young will rise and rebel to change the system.
 
The day will come when we will be the change for the betterment of society and no power on earth has the capacity to stop that.