An Appeal to Students and Youth of the Country in Present Times

May 15, 2024 0 By Yatharth


University campuses, the cradles of critical learning and thinking, are but a part of society. Inasmuch as they are cradles of critical learning, they are also the centers of students’ resistance against unjust, anti-people tyrannical regime. History has shown that being an intellectual center they possess the power of rallying the society behind them once they decide to side with the truth. And truth lies with the common people.

University campuses are the heart of our society that keep pulsating all the time. Every change occurring in society at large brings a change in its pulse. If our society is in turmoil, so will be our universities. Students thus learn their first lesson in revolutionary practice in their university campuses. They not only get academic degrees but also get trained in scientific thinking and blended with scientific – progressive vision of justice and equality that advocates abolition of classes. They thus become the carrier of the thought of social progress. This makes them the biggest hurdle in the path of a dictator who wants to establish total control of tiny exploiting class over the society and its’ people. This creates fear as well as fury in the hearts of the rulers. It is then natural that university campuses, particularly the progressive students and youth, come under severe attack of the power that be. We are witnessing this in our country in the naked form, today.  But students and youth are not alone at the receiving end. Whoever is raising voice against the unjust regime, is being attacked. Workers, peasants and all other toiling masses i.e. every section of laboring masses, if they open their mouth against injustice, also come under attack. 

What is noteworthy is that the attacks are of an all round nature for they are coming from the most regressive regime ever founded in the country. The attack is on academic freedom as well as the progressive forces of the campuses whoever they may be. Economic attacks are also being hurled in the form of blatant and manifold rise in tuition, examination and hostel fees, etc. Privatization of colleges and universities is rapidly taking place. Moreover, for the last ten years, there has been unleashment of a systemic move to stifle thought and straitjacket the freedom to express it by throwing the campus at the mercy of fascist hooligans and gangs who organize deadly physical attacks even inside the campuses i.e. class rooms, lecture halls and administrative areas. The university authorities often take no action. They are either terrorized or are hand in gloves, while these attacks continue day and night. 

Remember this. This is being carried in tandem with neo-liberal economic policies, the policies that favor big and monopoly finance capital and pinpoint a shift from ‘democracy’ towards fascistic rule. We must keep in mind that this is the class of big capital which is exploiting and expropriating every section of society for its super profit and, to maintain this, is imposing its naked dictatorial-autocratic regime by hook or by crook. The humanity is thus being taken back to the period of medieval barbarism. Though it is difficult to differentiate between ruling RSS-BJP and other parties in matters of economic policies, yet politically and ideologically the former is best suited for this project of big capital and has been put in the top place since 2014 for this sole purpose. The extreme marginalization of the students and youths coming from toiling masses, depriving them of employment as well as education in general and higher education in particular is but the result of this fascist dispensation. What is the National Education Policy, 2020? It is but a manifesto of the above-mentioned retrograde shift. It is structured to promote saffronisation and privatisation-commodification (through HEFA) of schools and universities. It is to enable propagation of communal-casteist-patriarchal-jingoist ideas and activities in the university campuses.

Though it is painful, yet it is logical for if the logic of capital is allowed to freely take its own course, only this could have been the result. The logic of capital, in the end, is antithetical to the very (inherent) purpose of education. It is then no wonder that with coming to power of Modi at the centre, the courses are being accordingly remoulded. History is being re-written so that scientific essence as well as objective truth is robbed off and hence myth based on subjective thinking is propagated as history. We can see its ill-effects in how courts are delivering ‘justice’ based on this.

It is leading the students and youth in India into an extremely precarious situation. Unemployment rate has risen to a 45-year high during 2017-18. National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2020 reported that one student took their own life in every 42 minutes i.e. more than 34 students per day are committing suicides. This is in tandem with one of theMcKinsey Reports that underlined that only a quarter of Indian engineers are employable and over 42% of India’s graduates under 25 were unemployed in 2021-22 (State of Working India, 2023). What does all this indicate? It indicates under capitalism, at the end of the day, students and youths have no future except that the most of them have to sell their labour power to the capitalist masters at a very cheap rate. This is the real meaning of this proclaimed pride that ours is a country with a predominantly young population! The dispensation is fully prepared to reduce the young masses who graduate from universities, to rightless toilers than working class citizens, with the onset of the four labor codes.

NSS Report (2017-18) says that about 30 million children are out of school with an annual dropout rate of 14.6% in secondary schools (UDISE Report, 2021). The closure of state-run childcare centres in villages is taking place uninterruptedly depriving children from schooling as well as nutrition and healthcare. 50% of children in Class 5 in rural schools cannot read or write or do arithmetic of Class 2 standard (ASER Report). Between 2015 and 2019, private universities have accounted for a whopping 55% increase in university enrollment. Per capita expenditure by households on education has increased by over 50% in the same period due to privatisation of education. In 2021-22, 18.7 million youth aspirants applied for central government jobs in India out of whom only 38,850 were absorbed i.e. a success rate of 0.2% only!

On the whole, the situation has come to such a passé where it is urgently necessary, come what may, to resist the regime and boldly speak truth on its face while not forgetting that in a hell-like society we cannot have heaven-like university campuses. As we live in a society which is a hell for greater humanity. Hence, so are the university campuses becoming day by day. We must contribute in changing the society if we really want our universities to bloom with freedom and foster critical learning or thinking.  

Friends and comrades!

Students and youth form the most dynamic and energized section of society and humanity. Leaving a very tiny part of this section, our hearts are filled with dreams of justice and happy life for all. Likewise, they possess vigor, energy and courage to fight to fulfill those dreams. If our thoughts are blended with scientific temper and minds imbued with logical and critical thinking so that we understand the reasons of our sorrow and suffering and act accordingly i.e. if we become revolutionaries, we can make any tyrant tremble in the deepest of their hearts. If we wish we can bring any dictator on his knees in no time. On one hand, we can raise this earth to the sky. On the other hand, we can also bring heaven to earth. In spite of the fact that the rulers in a class divided society always try to corrupt our mind and thought process by adopting all means and methods as can be seen in the present dark times, our hearts are still continuing to burn with passion for the good of the humanity. Whatever be the temporary deviations, we have shown we firmly stand for the wheels of the history to move in forward direction instead of backward direction. At the end of the day we understand with clarity that the fight for a better society as a whole is the sole guarantee of fulfillment of our own beautiful dreams.

Let everyone of us be a Bhagat Singh. We must not keep silent when the future of students and youths is bleeding; when unemployment is at its highest and most pervading stage; when double-edged attack of soaring price-rise and very low-paid contract jobs has placed our life in a very precarious situation. As the economic crisis of world capitalism sees no end, this attack also knows no bounds. So is the condition of all other toiling sections that have created and are creating wealth of the country. The same wealth is being stolen and robbed by the big capitalists, big business of finance capital as well as landlords. We must react to this. Present day bourgeois parties and leaders are not opposed to this. On the contrary, they help them amass wealth created by toilers. The situation resembles that of one-way traffic system where wealth is being siphoned off to those on top while for those living on the earth there remains only the empire of poverty, extreme penury, debt and lastly deaths. We must not be blind to all these. What we witness today is worse than anything. In such a draconian times, these words of Bhagat Singh ring truer – “We understand that the main task of the students is to study, they should pay full attention towards it; but is it not a part of the education to gather knowledge regarding the situation that our country is in and develop the ability to think about measures to improve it?” (‘Students and Politics’ written by him in 1928) So, it is high time that we emulate Bhagat Singh and embrace his teaching. It is high time that we offer resistance by the united strength of students and youths and be the torch-bearer. RSYC offers such a platform which is a front of progressive and revolutionary students and youths organizations of the country. On behalf of it, we have drawn up a charter of our demands and are presenting it before the student and youth masses for their consideration. We want revolutionary changes as discussed above and so our demands have been framed keeping them in mind and to facilitate the path of their fulfillment. Let us clearly say – ‘We do not want mere handouts. We seek and strive for critical leaning, fight for scientific-secular education and dignified employment for all. Let us be ready to get it in any case.’