Political activism plays a key role in deciding the fortune in the society. This activism often reflected in student politics across the country has gone through different phases viz. pre-independence, post independence, emergency period to Mandal agitations. Since 2014, there has been an increase in incidences of violence, strikes, protest movements in educational institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Film and Television Institute of India, Hyderabad University, Ambedkar University etc.

Whatever the reasons be, the situation has raised some very important questions. Do we need politics in colleges? If it is allowed, how much politicisation is desirable, for a line has to be drawn somewhere?

To discuss the present day scenario of student politics, InUth approached Abhinav Tiwari, National Secretary of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI). Here’s what he has to say:

What is your take on current scenario of student politics?

These days, a conspiracy is being hatched to stop the student politics. Students elections are put on hold by claiming that they are a threat to democracy and that the law and order situation gets compromised due to these elections. On the other hand, the state and Lok Sabha elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh where law and order situation is always worse. Why can’t the government and administration take responsibility for the student elections? This is the failure of the government and not the students.

What is the importance of politics at college level?

Politics in institutions is very important. It is important to produce better leaders instead of having leaders who use their money/muscle power to enter the field of politics. Since college politics has direct links with national and state level politics, it becomes a good launching pad for new faces that otherwise would not have had a chance to enter the political arena. Therefore, student politics institutionalises the merit-based search for future leaders.

Does Congress support NSUI like the BJP supports ABVP?

Congress wholeheartedly supports NSUI. BJP supports ABVP for politics only, but Congress doesn’t back NSUI just for political gains. NSUI members have also gone in the field of education and are working in universities like Oxford. NSUI is not like the right-wing affiliated unions. We are more focused on our culture and not Hindutva. Ashok Gehlot, Anand Sharma, Mukul Vasnik, Nadeem Javed etc all have come into the mainstream politics from NSUI only. We (NSUI) have given the youngest mayor in Bhilai. He is 25 years 8 months old. Congress has been supporting the NSUI.

What is your message for the youngsters?

If we talk about mainstream politics, the youth was not initially taken into consideration but gradually their mindset changed in such a way that they stopped bothering. But since we have so many young people in our country, my message for them is that they should come together and step into active politics for shaping our political system.

Why did you enter politics?

I got inspired by my grandfather. When I was 4-5 years old, I was attending a book launch programme where former PM was also present. After seeing him, I asked my grandmother that was he the real Rajiv Gandhi who I see on TV? Everybody laughed. When this question was question was posed to him, I felt embarrassed and started crying, Rajiv ji understood this and wiped off my tears. He asked me, do you listen to songs? I replied saying I like ‘Mere sapno ki rani, kab aaegi tu’.

Then he sang ‘Hum laaye hain toofano se kashti nikaal ke, iss desh ko rakhna mere bacchon sambhaal ke’. He asked me if I had heard the song. From that day till now, that song is engraved in my heart.