Situation of Student Politics inBangladeshSohel, a first year student ofChittagong University, is going home from campus.
Suddenly, a massive fight breaksout on campus. He gets trapped between the two massive crowds of peoplecharging at each other. Sohel is charged by a group of students and beaten withrods and sticks. Sohel begs his attackers to let him go and pleads to them thathe is innocent until Sohel takes his last breath. Who are these attackers? Whomurdered an innocent student going home in cold blood? The fight was betweenthe two rival student political parties of Chittagong University. Sohel’s attackersthought he was a member of their rival political party and thus attacked him incold blood.
This is the current situation of student politics in Bangladesh.Student politics in Bangladesh has had a glorious past, but the presentsituation of student politics in filled with immoral deeds such as violence andcorruption, and in the future, the state of student politics will deteriorateeven further. Past Bangladesh is a country with a richpolitical history. From the rule of the British to the current politicalsituation, students have had a very important role in politics. Studentpolitics traces its roots back to the days of the British. Before Bangladeshbecame the country we call home, student politics had a vital role. Students are the fundamental”component of civil society who can lead the nation towards sustainabledevelopment” (Misti, n.
d.). Students were a vital part of the nationalistmovements of Bangladesh.
Student politics dates back to the time of the Britishrule. Students started “to move against the British regime” (Shahjamal, 2007).The British ruled over India for nearly 200 years. During those years, “studentswere the pioneers” of the struggle for independence against British rule (Shahjamal,2007). The British used various methods to stop the struggles for freedom, butthe student political activists did not give in. Students formed variousorganizations including Pakistani Student Association, Indian StudentAssociation, and Bengal Student Association. The establishment of DhakaUniversity helped fuel the Anti-British student movement. The different studentparties and their leaders “were united in question of independence” (Shahjamal,2007).
Students demanded for their independence from the grasp of the British.After World War II, the student movement reached its climax. The British werebound to retreat due to the political power and influence of the students. Dueto the great Anti-British mass movement, the British left India. Students werethe heart of this 200 year long movement.
Students were the pioneers and theengines that ended the British reign and gave birth to the nations of India andPakistan. After the reign of the Britishended, two new nations were given birth. Those new nations were India andPakistan. Pakistan was divided into two sub nations: East Pakistan and WestPakistan. Shortly after, the people of “East Pakistan realized that they needtheir own country and government” (Shahjamal, 2007). Student politics played amajor part in attaining the independence of Bangladesh.
In a sense, “Bangladeshis the outcome of the constructive student politics” (Tareq, n.d.).
Studentshave fought for the independence of Bangladesh through mass movements. Thelanguage movement of 1952 was a student movement that obtained Bangla as one ofthe two official state language of East Pakistan. Pakistani police shot andkilled three students who were protesting against the curfew placed by thePakistani government on February 21st, 1952.
The sacrifice made bystudents for their mother language is one of the most prominent landmarks ofstudent politics in Bangladesh. Students played a major role on the road tofreedom for Bangladesh. Students “debated ideas and formed social networks” thathelped establish a plan in obtaining the freedom of Bangladesh (Shahjamal,2007). Students not only fought for freedom, but also fought for the rights ofthe Bangladeshi people. In March of 1971, student political activists of DhakaUniversity raised the flag of Bangladesh for the first time. Students riskedtheir lives for the independence of their country.
“Hundreds of thousands ofstudents took part in the independence of 1971” (Shahjamal, 2007). The Pakistanigovernment killed many students even before the war started. The mass studentmovements and their influence on the people of Bangladesh was a major problemfor the Pakistani government.
Due to the patriotism of the students and theirsacrifices, Bangladesh was able to attain independence. PresentThe current situation of studentpolitics in Bangladesh is drastically different from that of the past. The ideaof politics has to do “solely and uniquely with the activities of the state”(Alam & Shahjamal, 2008).
In the past, student politics was solely based onthe patriotism of the country and the responsibly of students to defend theirrights. We have to support politics. The “disavowal of political membership” issomething that the people should not be engaged in (Lu, 2013).
This means thepeople of Bangladesh should be supportive of student politics. Presently,however, the situation is drastically different. Student politics in Bangladeshis now based on corruption, power, and violence. Student politicians are seen as “corruptoppressors” by the public (Quader, 2017). They are viewed as people whopractice “raw self-aggrandisement” and the “posturing of power for financialrewards” (Reza, 2010).
Corruption plays a major role in the current horridstate of student politics in Bangladesh. Due to the increasing number ofcorrupt methods the major political parties are using to gain power, theirstudent wings are therefore adapting those qualities. Student politicians areengaging in numerous corrupt ways of gaining power and wealth through corruptmeans.
The “political conception of justice is also a moral conception” (Li,2016). The general public nowadays views student politics as a “nuisance to dayto day activity, hazard for safety, and a source of insecurity” (Quader, 2017).Student politicians are now driven bythe thirst for power rather than the thirst for patriotism.
The communitydepends on students for justice. The “political communities are the properlocus of distributive justice” and students play a vital role in this community(Lindahl, 2008). Student politicians control every aspect of publicuniversities in Bangladesh. Dhaka University is the largest and most fundamentalfoundation of student politics in Bangladesh.
Every aspect of Dhaka University from”getting a dorm bed to enrolling in a decent course” is controlled by thestudent politicians (The Daily Sun, 2015). They key factors that shaped theglory days of student politics in Bangladesh have long disappeared. Studentpolitics is now driven by greed. Student political leaders induce violence andcorrupt means to gain power for themselves as well as for their politicalparties. The main dynamic force of studentpolitics today is violence. Political violence is happening everywhere.Somewhere about “60-80 million lost their lives due to political violence andterror” around the world (Villa, 2008).
Violence is a term that has becomesynonymous with student politics. Student politicians use violence to attaineverything. This is because of the power their associated political partieshave given them. The political parties in Bangladesh do not serve “as’transmission belts’ between citizens and legislators” (Lindberg, Rasmussen& Warntjen, 2008). Political parties supply students with “swords and evenold guns” (Misti, n.d.).
Murder is common when it comes to student politics.Numerous innocent students have been killed wrongly by student politicians.Fights between rival student wings in public campuses leave the students whoare not involved in student politics in grave danger. Student political leaderson campus are feared by all. They play the role of a violent mob leader thatterrorises the entire campus. Students are forced to follow the rules of theseleaders or else their lives are at risk.
Student politics in Bangladesh right nowis a frightening scene. This violence and hate driven wing is causing problemsfor both students who are not politically involved and the general public.Student politics now is an issue of fear. The political parties are helpingcreate such violent and chaotic personalities in their student politicalmembers. The morals that defined the golden age of student politics have beenreplaced by extreme violence, corruption, and a never ending thirst forpower. Future Student politics is a very bigissue in Bangladesh. The violence and corruption has grown to be almostunstoppable. If the current trend continues, the future is not looking bright.
Theconcern of student has been present in Bangladesh for a long time. Peopleemphasize on the issue, but soon everyone “forgets about it as a new crisisdevelops (Mahboob, 2014). The violence is never ending. In Bangladesh, the”demand for democracy has always been a major issue” (Ullah, 2013). Studentshave helped in that struggle, but the corruption is unstoppable. The futuredoes not look good if the glorious student politics of the past do not return. In December of 2012, a young tailorwas hacked to death by a group of student politicians. During a strike, a groupof student politicians “wrongly identified him to be an opposition activist andbeat him with sticks and rods” (Mahboob, 2014).
An innocent life was lost dueto the constant violence of student politics. Unfortunately, this is thecontinuing trend. Over the years, people have tried to fight against thevicious forces of political parties, but they have fallen short. Politicalparties control everything using corrupt means such as extortion and bribery.This unlimited power of the political parties gives student politicians thepeace of mind that they can get away with anything. The chilling part is theyoften do.
Recently, the president has takenactions against immoral means of student politics. It is commonly seen now thatpeople aged “40-50 years are involved in politics” (Desk, 2017). The president,at the 50th Convocation of Dhaka University, said, “Regularuniversity students must lead student politics” (Desk, 2017).
The presidentalso suggested holding fair elections for student political leaders in publicuniversities all around Bangladesh. This assures fairness and helps establisheffective leadership. Bangladesh is a developing at a veryfast pace. Day by day, this country is taking steps to a brighter future. Thepeople of Bangladesh has the responsibility to “transform the country into aself confident regional player” in Asia (Khan, 2011). Unfortunately, they arenot taking necessary steps to improve student politics. The current state ofstudent politics is not looking good, and the future holds even frighteningscenes. As the political parties become more and more powerful, studentpolitics becomes more and more violent and saturated with corruption.
Solutions Bangladesh has faced the issue ofstudent politics for a long time. As Bangladesh develops as a country, theissue of student politics is declining. “Equality is a premise for politicalaction” and that is the statement Bangladeshi political parties should follow (Adami,2014). The violence and corruption associated with student politics remains thesame.
Student politics cannot be stopped. There are, however, ways to greatlyimprove the current state of student politics. Change is possible and it ishappening all over the world. “Many political theorists and critical politicaleconomists have attributed transformative hope” towards the world (Patomäki,2011). Returning student politics to its glory days requires much work andtime, but the restoration is possible. The first possible solution requiresall political parties to dissolve their student wings. Instead, the politicalparties should form “youth fronts” that have “country wide network to includethe younger generation” (Quader, 2017).
This way, student politics can bepractised; also the youth would be educated on politics through a much saferalternative. This would also boost the influence of the political party. Due tothe wide network of their fronts, the political parties can spread theircampaign and messages to a greater number of people. The youth can be empoweredin the ways of politics through an effective and non violent method. Thisinitiative does not involve any cost.
The political parties have to takeinitiative and dissolve their student political wings. The second solution sees universitiestaking action. Universities should introduce annual student elections that arefree from the influence of political parties. This way a fair election isguaranteed.
Student leaders are chosen based on their leadership skills ratherthan their political influence. The student leaders will work with the “consentof students” (Quader, 2017). This ensures the students have effective leadersthat can bring improvements to student rights and campus related situations.Elected student leaders can learn essentials skills related to leadership anddevelop themselves to face a future career in political affairs.
Achieving thissolution requires no necessary funds. Action taken by the university is enoughto control the violent affects of student politics. The major opposition tothis solution are the political parties, but at the end of the day, it is theuniversity’s call. They have the power to arrange fair and just elections. The third solution involves theinvolvement of the general population. “Should democratic politics require woron ourselves” (Kompridis, 2011)? Politics depends on the people it represents.
The people of Bangladesh can raise awareness about the dark side of studentpolitics. Parents can educate their children about the dark sides of studentpolitics from an early age. Parents in Bangladesh have the most influence ontheir children. If parents expose their children to the negative side effectsof student politics from an early age, then those children may steer clear ofstudent politics. University professors can have discussions about the violenceand corruption amongst their politically involved students.
Professors can helpthem solve issues regarding other students that do not end in murder. The”graduates of these universities must join the task of rebuilding” studentpolitics (Reza, 2010). Graduates can tell student about the difficulties theyfaced during their times and explain to student political leaders about thedifficulties current student are facing. Graduates are well respected inuniversities and their words of advice can go a long way when it comes tochanging student politics. Student politics cannot be stopped.
Student politics, however, can be controlled. There are ways to ensure theglory of student politics is restored in Bangladesh. This does not have toinvolve violence, exploitation, corruption or any other unethical deeds.Student politics in Bangladesh has had a glorious past.
The combination ofeffective measures and immediate action can result in the restoration ofglorious student politics Bangladesh was famous for.Conclusion Presently, student politics inBangladesh is a massive burden to the students and the general public and itseems the situation will worsen as we transition into the future, butBangladesh has had a glorious past in which student politics flourished.Students have played a vital role in ensuring freedom for Bangladesh anddeveloping its political structure.
In the present, however, student politicshas been changed. Student politics now involves violence, corruption, murder, anda thirst for power. As we approach the future, student politics is notimproving. Student politicians are getting more and more powerful thus they areusing much more corrupt methods to attain power. Student politics in Bangladeshis an effective part of its political backbone, but it can be improved upon greatly.