The City has seen a sudden spurt of protests by students. While students believe that these protests are a way to stand up for their rights, college authorities opine that they are being misguided by student unions
On Friday, students of Loyola Academy protested against the vice-principal, Fr Rex Angelo, after he reportedly used harsh and abusive language to reprimand a female student. The protest began with slogans and gradually took a violent turn with students breaking window panes on the campus.
Years back, colleges and universities had student unions, youth wings and several such activist groups, which would constantly fight for student rights. Protests were common. However lately, this craze for revolution amongst the youth has been on the wane and protests rarely took place in educational institutions for a few years.
Recently, the situation has changed in Hyderabad. Protests, dharnas and strikes are no longer alien to students and the society. Hyderabad college and university students have rekindled the passion to fight for their rights and freedom. From a national law college to a medical college, students today are more aware and believe in standing up for their rights.
“Protests and strikes are more to do with a college’s rules and regulations. In our college, we have the freedom to protest in a democratic manner. Initially, when I joined English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) the whole concept of protest, rights and strikes was new to me. After staying here and observing what happens, I started to believe in and understand the importance of my rights. It’s an environment where in we all want to be a part of the culture, be a part of the larger group,” said Sri Suhith, an EFLU student.
What is unknown to most of the society is that protests and strikes are a last resort for the students. Take for example the PG College of Law, Basheerbagh. Most of the students in the college are non-locals. Despite that, hostel accommodation was not being provided. Repeated efforts by the students failed to reap any results. Seeing no other way out, they filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Soon after the complaint, the college registrar promised to arrange for hostel accommodation. However, the promise was not kept. This time the students approached the High Court, who ordered the VC to arrange accommodation at the earliest. However, students were let down again when the management did not fulfill their promise.
“When they did not follow the orders of the High Court, we had no other choice but to stage a protest. A few students locked themselves in a room and refused to come out. Later, all of us boycotted classes and staged a dharna. After pressuring them, they arranged for hostels,” said Kaushik Pranav, a PG College of Law, Basheerbagh student.
The management and teachers on the other hand have a completely different take on the rising protests in the City. Ganesh, director of Gowtham Institutes opines that the cause for which the students are fighting may be authentic but the method is wrong. “What we have observed is that student unions have increased in the City. These leaders are not genuine. Instead of explaining and counseling students they are instigating them. They just order and don’t give students time to think rationally, which is very wrong.”
The State’s environment also has a major role to play. Leading student counsellor Prerna Gupta believes that students observe what’s happening around them and adapt. Perhaps it’s the Telengana effect on students.
“Students are no longer submissive. They are aware of their rights and want to fight against injustice. Also today there is a lot of awareness among students; there are so many student groups that pump energy and help spread awareness. Also, when they see the results of protests they get motivated to fight for the cause.”
Anushree Gupta, a final year Nalsar law students said, “We have been patient all this while, but nothing happened. It’s high time we made our voices heard. Yes, we have moved from a state of passive acceptance of our fate to a state where we know together we can and we will.”
Colleges that have been in the news for protest in the last few months
Loyola Academy: Use of harsh and abusive language while reprimanding a student
Osmania University: Beef not being served on the campus
Gandhi Medical College: Less stipend and no good hospital facilities
EFLU: Against the new VC and mess food
NALSAR: Several issues
PG College of Law, Basheerbagh: No hostel facilities
Gowtham Junior College, Karkhana Branch: Bus pass not being issued and classes not being conducted for languages
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