Following a petition filed by a few students of Maharaja’s College, Kochi, who sought the declaration that no one was entitled to erect structures or memorials for deceased student leaders or politicians on the college campus, the Kerala High Court has asked the State government to inform it whether the memorial of SFI leader Abhimanyu was erected on the campus with the government’s permission. Abhimanyu was killed by political rivals.
The petition was submitted by a group of students who are of the opinion that politics had turned college campuses into killing fields and many innocent lives had been lost. In a similar case, there was a state of unrest at the Hyderabad University where the university authorities were questioned by the students for removing the memorial of Dalit research student Rohit Vemula, who had committed suicide. The memorial called Veliwada (the ghetto) was erected at the same place where Rohith sat on a hunger strike.
Is it important to erect a memorial for a student who was killed or committed suicide on the basis of political issues, as it could again trigger problems? However, can this be a reason which can lead to more similar issues on a campus as it is just a memorial and not a tool to trigger political riots and the campus of an educational institution is not meant for violent practices? We ask students, teachers and political leaders.
Need political awareness
Adharsh Thangamani, college student
Rather than erecting statues in the name of virtue and justice, we can instigate certain beliefs and ideas about politically awareness across the colleges. If we look into history, a symbol or figure or even a statue, always stirs protests and violence instead of resolving any issue. Any change can happen only with a healthy course structure on college campuses.
An absurd thing to do
Lekha sreenivas, Associate Professor
I think that erecting memorials for students who have been preys of unhealthy politics is an ubsurd idea. This, in turn, encourages those who are responsible for these unfortunate happenings get an all-time example of their brutality. They get an opportunity to warn the students and even threaten them that this can be the fate of others those who go against their will. There are numerous things that a management and the students of a college can do in order to make their college one of the best in terms of academics and extra-curricular activities. Moreover, the money invested in making such memorials can be used for sponsoring a child who is financially backward and struggling to pay his/her fees. Erecting memorials for students who have lost their life in college politics will not take away the harm that has already been caused to their family. Nevertheless, it becomes an everlasting pain in their hearts, each time the incident related to their loved ones death is mentioned with regards to the memorial.
Studies more important
Akhilesh, research student
In my opinion, college campuses are places where studies and innovation should take place. The freedom to protest against corruption and fight for students’ requirements is also essential for proper governance. Nowadays, we regularly hear about ‘dirty’ political issues between students in colleges. The main reason for this is the students’ attitude towards studies, teachers and college. Like two sides of a coin, both politics and education are must in a campus. But primarily, colleges are the places for education, not for political revenges.
Reminders of the past
Rohit Ravi, Journalism student
Colleges should encourage setting up of such memorials because it reminds the future student communities of the struggles faced by the people who came before them. These memorials will continue to be a reminder of the power structure that demoralised the good fight put up by them. Denying them the opportunity for putting up memorials is an assault to the Right to Expression of the students.
Don’t distract students
Sagar Verma, designing professional
It’s sad that educational institutions are turning into political institutions. And our political parties are taking full advantage of it. Firstly, college administrations should treat this as a priority issue and shouldn’t allow people to introduce or erect any kind of memorial on campuses. It raises a big question mark on the college administration. You go to colleges to gain knowledge, not to write political obituaries and participate in it. These kinds of actions distract students from education. Such activities will influence young minds, polarising the atmosphere and creating division among students, which is unhealthy for a learning mind. It will affect the very roots of our society.