Why Are Students So Angry?

12 05
The fundamental nature of the youth is to question the establishment, to criticize and dissent.

Our country is witnessing an era of student movements. Protests and demonstrations have been breaking out almost every second day from across the country. While many have given their take on why the students are so angry, here’s my understanding of the situation.

It is a known fact that the student community is anti-establishment by their very nature. This remains constant across borders and timelines. When our parents ask us not to do something, we question them and present counter arguments. When our teachers try to dictate terms which we may not agree with, we protest against it. The student community has always had a strong voice, and it is important that these voices be heard. This fundamental nature of the youth to question the establishment, to criticize and dissent is what keeps the country moving forward. The day we attempt to crush this, our survival as a nation will be in danger. Such rebellious behaviour has existed since time immemorial, irrespective of parties in power.

Unfortunately, our current Government has been trying to stop such free thinking by using state forces such as cutting of funds, bans, slapping sedition charges, fake videos, letting voices go unheard or even hidden measures such as threatening to stop from appearing for exams – sometimes directly and sometimes through their proxies. This attempt by the Central Government of controlling the fundamental nature of students is highly dangerous. We need to let our youth be opinionated; we need to let there be free flowing ideas; we need to let the young have free, autonomous views and thoughts. It is the law of nature – the moment the natural course is obstructed, damage is inevitable. If the BJP continues this trend of crushing dissent, it won’t be possible for them to stop the youth from unleashing its wrath. In such a situation, anger among students is bound to be witnessed.

The pattern first became apparent when Ambedkar - Periyar Study Circle of IIT Madras was banned on 22nd May, 2015, merely for being critical of the Prime Minister and his policies, after a letter from MHRD was sent to the director accusing them of ‘created hatred atmosphere’. When did being critical of the Government or its policies become an equivalent to ‘creating hatred’ or ‘anti-Nationalism’? In FTII, the students were on protest for 148 days. But no one even paid the heed to sit and have a decent conversation with them. Such inaccessibility of our political babus and the communication gap between the students and politicians is bound to bring about anger. Take the youth in confidence, listen to us. That’s all the students of this country want.

In JNU, students were arrested and slapped with sedition charged for being involved in ‘anti-National’ sloganeering. This incident shook the entire country. Interestingly, no single evidence was found to prove that these students were in fact involved in any such sloganeering. The HRD Minister goes on to ‘solve’ this issue by asking all the Universities to hoist the National flag. Sycophants of the BJP across the country start cheering this move. Ironically enough a couple of months later, students of NIT Srinagar are beaten up under the same Government for demanding to raise the National Flag in their institution. Such hypocrisy! Why won’t the students be angry?

It is important for the Government to understand that the students of this country are not their enemies. On the contrary, the youth is one of the major factor behind the BJPs victory in the Lok Sabha elections. This ‘students vs. Government’ attitude by the BJP must end. The young comprise of over 50% of this country. They won’t be about to crush their voice no matter how hard they try. The Government should, instead let them discuss, debate, deliberate and most importantly let their voice be heard and all of this anger will subside.