Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Historically , the students demands found a prominent place in the all phases of Telangana movement. The Mulki rules , the six point formula , the presidential order, the 610 GO, the Girglani commission report and their non implementation and more recently the Hyderabad Free Zone issues were central to the interests of students. Unfortunately the mainstream student movement responded to these issues only when the telangana movement forced them on the political agenda. Therefore, the students of Osmania University have direct emotional stakes in the issues thrown up by the Telangana separate state movement.
The latest spell of Telangana movement is centered around Osmania University. Thus government, police, intelligence wings and political observers are curious why this university is so active. What objective conditions drive students of Osmania University towards Telangana movement? One has to go into the history of student activism in the university to answer this question.
Infact student activism is nothing new or strange to osmania university. Even in the pre-independence days the echoes of vandemataram movement were felt on the university campus. The students of Osmania University actively participated in all the earlier spells of Telangana agitation. Infact, the Telangana movement of 1960’s was first started by students and the dissident congress leaders joined the movement later and subsequently hijacked the movement for their parochial political interests. Not just in the Telangana movement the students of Osmania University actively participated in many political agitations in the past too. Notably the Naxalite movement had a significant impact on the campus students. The pro Naxalite student organization dominated the student politics of Osmania University from late 1960’s to early 1980’s (But, they were not PWG or Maoist groups). After the weakening of ultra Left student movement, the ABVP was strong on the campus. Interestingly Osmania University was also the platform for both pro and anti reservation movements. Thus the campus life was always politically active and the students of this premier university have the history of actively responding to social and political movements. As the university is in the state capital and closer to the seat of power the activities of students on this campus attracted media and societal attention giving much more fillip to student activism. Infact, organized student movement has weakened in the recent past especially due to the absence of students union elections for several years and growing student interest in careers. The economic recession having a debilitating impact on employment and the shrinking government employment have all landed the students in a situation marked by lack of better opportunities. The sense of despair in the student community is compounded by the unproductive character of our higher education which infact not peculiar to osmania university alone. The political message of Telangana movement thus attracted the students groping for a way out.
Historically , the students demands found a prominent place in the all phases of Telangana movement. The Mulki rules , the six point formula , the presidential order, the 610 GO, the Girglani commission report and their non implementation and more recently the Hyderabad Free Zone issues were central to the interests of students. Unfortunately the mainstream student movement responded to these issues only when the telangana movement forced them on the political agenda. Therefore, the students of Osmania University have direct emotional stakes in the issues thrown up by the Telangana separate state movement. This is precisely the reason for active participation of Osmania university students in the ongoing Telangana agitation.
The Osmania University is a multi discipline campus with a significant presence of students belonging to Humanities and social science faculties. Normally students persuing Humanities and social science courses respond more actively to social and political issues compared to their counterparts in science and engineering faculties. In fact the prestigious Arts College building is the symbol of student politics. This college and the university campus produced many political stalwarts. The Telangana political elite are produced from the vibrant student politics of Osmania University. Thus agitations and movements are nothing new to students of this university. The catchment of this university is from Telangana districts. Majority of students are from small and medium peasant or even land less agrarian families. The rural composition of students is increasing year by year. The resident students are primarily from the rural Telangana. The Telangana is historically a politically active society. The villages of Telangana witness active politics. Therefore political activism is neither new nor strange for students of Osmania University. This is also evident from active participation of girl students in the present telangana agitation.
But the Maoist student groups were not a major group even during the days when Naxalism was strong. The student groups closer to the Naxalite parties were dominating the campus politics .But, these Naxalite parties were more closer to democratic mainstream. Maoist sympathizers may be present among students. Which is infact seen in many universities. But, very strong presence of pro Maoist student groups was never a reality in Osmania University and more so now. It may be noted here that the Osmania University campus did not witness any big student mobilization in support of Maoist either during the talks with government or when top Maoist leaders were eliminated in police encounters.
The present joint action committee of students comprises of several organized student groups including many student organizations. This organized character gave the added strength to the ongoing student agitation in favour of separate Telangana. The present student agitation on the campus is not led by Maoist student groups and even the TRS does not have full sway over it. There is a clear connect between the social, economic and political composition of student community of the university and the intense presence of Telangana agitation on the campus. Any simplistic understanding will be erroneous. These are some random reflections of the author who has closely seen the campus for nearly three decades both as a student and now as a teacher.
Posted by Prof.K.Nageshwar at 1:55 AM