You are on page 1of 27

INTRODUCTION

Throughout the history of Bengal for the last century, students


have always played a very significant role in major political turning points.
Whether it is the movement against the British imperialists, or the movement
for our language, or for independence and later, the fight against dictatorship, it
has always been the students who have been working at the forefront. It is
therefore quite disappointing to find that the average students opinions about
politics are becoming increasingly pessimistic.
!ur e"perience from the last two decades of students politics is so bitter
that the question has been raised whether or not students politics should be
banned altogether. In the last twenty years of our fragile democracy, student
politics has only been used in order to strengthen and secure the position of the
ruling political parties. #o matter which party we are talking of they are all
equally responsible for using and abusing the retentive power of the student
population in order to serve their self$interest. In spite of their so$called
differences, all the major political parties in Bangladesh have introduced the
practice of corruption and indecent competition of arms and violence among
student groups. The promising young politicians who were once our main
strength in the struggle against oppression have now become mere puppets
%
dancing to the tune of political parties, not driven by the ideals, which
they proclaim as their political motivation. The fact that there is an ever$
increasing distrust about politics and political parties among the common people
and the students is a result of this evil power$game. !rdinary people either fear,
or hate or at the best, avoid politics altogether.
&ong lost are the days when the most brilliant, brightest students used to
be the ones who were the most enthusiastic about politics. Today, without a few
e"ceptions, the bright and brilliant students usually tend to avoid politics, like
the plague. #or does the average student indulge in student politics for the sake
of his'her ideals. ( political career guarantees financial solvency, power, or at
least, a seat in the )niversitys *alls+
,tudent politics is now something horrible, the umbrella of misdeeds and
misleads, which probably by no way can be tamed to a shape any more by
allowing its perpetuation and nourishing it as it is now. The gross
demorali-ation brought by the student politics, which is obviously a reflection
of the society, has been e"tremely contagious and penetrating at a greater speed
and rate into the academic institutions of Bangladesh. The cancer of gross
demorali-ation probably finds its one of the best hosts in student section. There
is no point to e"pect that things will change and better student politics will take
the place of the present one. ,o I think it is better to ban student politics as it is
only resulting in violence, loss of life and poor standard of education.
.
STUDENT POLITICS AND ILLEGAL ARMS
/ajor political parties in Bangladesh have alleged
connections with the underworld network of arms. This is evident from the
hired goons political parties keep, and most importantly, from their respective
students0 wings that have armed cadres. (ccording to one list that was compiled
by the police, among the persons who are suspected to have illegal arms in their
possession, names of influential student leaders and activists figure
prominently. 1olitical parties refuse to ban student politics simply because
educational institutions are used as a stage for pro"y war of the Bangladeshi
politicians.
1olitical parties have their own student wings that comprise of students,
e"$students, and hired hooligans. The 2hatra &eague is the student wing of
(wami &eague, that of B#1 is 2hatra 3al, while ,hibir is the student wing of
4amaat$i$Islam. The traditional concept of student politics has undergone radical
change, largely due to the penetration of small arms into the political scenario.
The student leaders have 5godfathers0 who supposedly supply them with arms.
The godfathers, among others, are politicians who want to strengthen their
respective political parties or personal interest through muscle$power. ,tudent
leaders, in
6
turn, give arms to student activist for whom it is supposed to be a tool of both
offense and defense. In an interview with a daily newspaper, a student activist
confided that an 5elder brother0 7meaning godfather8 gave him a gun after he
received death threats from the rival party. The so$called godfathers who
finance armed cadres are allegedly arms dealers, or professional criminals
having political links. With the change of regimes, these armed cadres change
their masters. While some of them are arrested and taken under custody the
main groups and their leaders remain beyond the law enforcing agencies. They
have their own private forces that are known by their leaders, such as, ,weden
(slam 9roup, 4oseph group, *asmat group, and so on.
(rm cadres involved in student politics often engage in gun battles in the
university campus, which totally distorts the peaceful environment and put the
life of general students at risk.
:
STUDENT POLITICS & LOSS OF VALUABLE LIVES
)niversity campuses have become the
epicenter of violence, e"tortion and other evil deeds. The life of every student is
at risk. (ccording to news published in the 3aily 1ratham (lo on 4uly %;, .<<:,
there has been a case of around =. murders in the last 66years in 3haka
)niversity alone. (mong which .= were non$students who were hired by
different student wings. The number of murders in university campuses is
increasing at an alarming rate. #ews of clashes between 2hatra 3al and 2hatra
&eague occupy the headlines of most newspapers. (nd the victims of such
clashes are the general students.
The Bangladesh )niversity of >ngineering and Technology 7B)>T8 have
stopped all student political activities on the campus by invoking (rticle %? of
the B)>T !rdinance of %;?.. This happened in the aftermath of the death of a
co$ed in crossfire between two student groups on the campus in a gun$battle
over what is known as 5tender$grabbing0. (lthough the so$called 5tender$
grabbing0 has nothing to do with student politics, one cannot deny that /afia$
style gangland warfare, of which the universities and many other educational
institutions of the country are now the main theatres, have taken away the
@
lives of many students. The educational institutions have long been under siege
by hoodlums who have been operating under the name of students at the
different educational institutions of the country. In fact the B)>T incident is
just the tip of the iceberg. The authorities had no alternative but to open the
university as indefinite closure would have disrupted the normal educational
activities of the university. ,o, to offset any possibility of backlash as a sequel
to the pre$closure violence that had marred the campus, the B)>T authorities
were constrained to impose the ban on campus politics upon the re$opening of
the institution. The vested interests among the student bodies who want to
continue this harmful legacy of campus violence and work as agents of their
political godfathers in power are out to resist this prospect of putting a stop to
the violent and criminal, activities on the campus going by the name of student
politics. The general students, if they want to see the universities as effective
institutions of higher learning, should speak up for themselves and unite in a
movement to restore peace and sanity in the campus.
,tudent$politics is not only confined to the campus boundaries. Its
influence has
?
e"tended over the years beyond the education centers and proliferated into the
society. ,ocial crimes such as theft, murder, location and rent$seeking etc. were
earlier regarded as the misdeeds of unemployed, frustrated, or illiterate youth.
While these criteria still e"ist, student activists are a new addition to the
classification of social criminals in Bangladesh.
STUDENT POLITICS & SESSION JAM
The 3haka )niversity, the 2hittagong )niversity and the
Bangladesh )niversity of >ngineering and Technology are all premier
institutions of higher learning in the country. But these leading institutions of
higher learning remained closed for months during the past one$year. !ut of a
calendar year of 6?@ days, the 2hittagong )niversity was closed for %.: days,
the B)>T for A6 days and 3haka )niversity for =% days. (ll these vacations
were the outcome of student politics, which seriously disrupted the students0
academic life.
The long closures are symbolic of a recurrent vicious circle in the realm
of higher education in the countryB political activism by students and teachers
followed by clashes, subsequent closure of institutions and the consequent
=
session jams. The jams can be of such a nature that a student on enrollment at
an
university$where graduation time has already increased to four years from
the earlier three$year period $ can realistically e"pect to get his or her graduation
degree in five or si" years time as a consequence of session jam. 3ue to these
session jams, universities fail to attract many bright and promising students and
remain confined to a minority section of the student community. The long$term
impact of session jams in universities and colleges has been a syndrome known
as 5brain$drain0.
3ue to chronic session jams in the college and university campus, students with
merit prefer to go abroad for higher studies. /ost Bangladeshi students are even
going to neighboring countries such as India to avoid late completion of higher
education. ,ession jam is not only destroying the students0 future but also the
future of our country by making our educational systems weak. Weak
educational system means weak work force. ,tudent politics is pushing us
behind. We are getting so far behind day by day that our goal of catching up
with the rest of the world is almost completely diminished.
A
STUDENT POLITICS &IILEGAL OCCUPANCY OF
HOSTELS
The triangular relationship among students, arms and
politics has resulted in the practice of occupying student hostels, referred to as
halls, by student political activist for the last .< years. This is a way to show
each party0s muscle power to its opponent. *all occupation, which invariably
results in gun firing with the opponents, cost the lives of many in the 3haka
)niversity. Ciolence is such a part of life in student hostels that in the waiting
rooms, instead of finding parents or relatives of the students, one will find
armed cadres.
In the name of student politics, activists engage in different kinds of
activities within and outside the campus that have very little concern for student
welfare. !wing to the linkage of political influence and availability of arms, one
finds the emergence of preferential treatments towards powerful students,
especially in the way they get to occupy dormitories if they were members of a
particular student wing of a political party. ,uch possession is a symbol of
strength for a student and his party. /oreover, each hall issued for the storage
;
of illegal arms. Det, the main political parties in Bangladesh remain silent on
the issue of banning student politics.
TEACHERS INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICS
Why should we only blame our students for taking
part in politics, when the teachers and the official staffs of an educational
institute are also involved in politicsE In our country, the FCice 2hancellor
7C28F is a political post. (lways only the ruling party decides who will be the
C2 of which university. There are (wami$panels or B#1$panels among the
teachers of our )niversities and 2olleges. The office staffs and even the normal
workers related to the educational institutions are also directly involved in
politics. /isunderstandings between them ultimately lead to student activists
getting involved in gun battles in the university campuses. ,o, it will not make
any sense to ban only student politics and at the same time allowing the other
two parts to take part in politics. (ctive participation of the university teachers
in national politics, inside and outside the campus is a serious matter indeed.
This is not the norm in other countries around the world. Teaching is a
profession that needs absolute dedication, and direct and active involvement of
the teachers and the students in national politics is neither necessary nor
desirable.
%<
(n article published in The 3aily ,tar on the ?th of (ugust, .<<6,
revealed that general
students of the 4ahangirnagar )niversity 74)8 and their guardians are e"tremely
dissatisfied at and severely critici-ed the teachers politics that disrupted the
students academic life seriously. In the last one and a half years, the teachers
resorted to movements several times to press for their various demands, causing
a session jam of seven more months. >arlier, the students had already been
confronting si" months session jam.
Hypothess
Would like to prove that student politics has more negative aspects
than positive ones. ,tudent politics results in violence, loss of life and poor
standard of education..
%%
RESURCH SCOPE OR AREAS
In my research paper I would like to prove that student
politics has more negative aspects than positive ones. (nd to prove this I will be
addressing the following research question
!" Why )niversity campuses have become the center of violence,
e"tortion and other evil deeds due to student politicsE
#" *ow ,tudent politics have taken away the life of many studentsE
$" *ow 1olitical leaders are using students for their own benefitsE
%" *ow ,tudents are getting access to illegal arms through this
student politicsE
&" *ow politics lead to lower standard of educationE
'" 1icketing to postpone e"aminations and thus intensifying the
problem of session jams.
%.
METHODOLOGY
I have used both primary and secondary data to complete my
research paper. The primary data were obtained through surveys. /y target
group was mainly the students of public universities. I have distributed around
:< copies of my questionnaire among them. They were very cooperative in
filling out the questionnaires.
( large portion of my research paper is based on secondary data. I mainly
collected those data from the Internet. Web sites of leading Bangladeshi news
dailies were my main source of data collection. I also took help from various
journals, books and maga-ines to enrich my information.
FINDINGS & DATA ANALYSES
T! 1G!C> that my hypothesis is correct, I have carried out
a survey among :< students. /ost of them are from public universities. There
were in total nine questions in my questionnaire. >ight of which were multiple
choice questions and one was an open$ended question.
%6
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN STUDENT POLITICS ?
40%
37%
17%
6%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
/y first question was 5(re you involved in student politicsE0 (round
:<H of the respondents said that they are not involved, while around 6=H said
that they are involved. %=H said that they were involved earlier and only ?H
said that they would like to get involved.
%:
WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU IS THE AIN RESION !OR STUDENTS TO ENTER INTO
POLITICS ?
13%
42%
12%
33%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The second question was 5What according to you is the main reason for
students to enter into politicsE0 !nly %6H of the respondents said political
idealism, while :.H said financial gain, only %.H said curiosity, and 66H said
to get a seat in the hostel.
DO YOU THIN" STUDENTS HAVE ANY ROLE TO PLAY IN THE PRESENT POLITICS
SITUATION ?
53%
31%
16%
0%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The third question was 53o you think students have any role to play in
the present political situationE0 (round @6H of the respondents said that they
%@
don0t think so, whereas 6%H said that students can play a vital role, around %?H
thinks that students0 involvement into politics will only deteriorate the situation
and <H said no comments.
DO YOU THIN" STUDENT POLITICS IS THE BREEDING GROUND !OR CRIE AND
VIOLENCE TODEY ?
72%
11%
13%
4%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
#0%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The forth question was 53o you think student politics is the breeding
ground for crime and violence todayE0 =.H of the respondents said that they
think so, while only %%H said they don0t think so, %6H said that it is responsible
but only to some e"tent and :H said no comments.
%?
WHO DO YOU THIN" IS RESPONSIBLE !OR PRESENT CONDITION !OR STUDENT
POLITICS ?
21%
60%
1$%
0%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The fifth question was 5Who do you think is responsible for the present
condition of student politicsE0 .%H of the respondents said that the students
themselves, while ?<H said the political leaders, %;H said the total education
system and none of them said others.
WHO DO YOU THIN" ACTUALLY BENE!ITS !RO STUDENT POLITICS ?
6%
17%
77%
0%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
#0%
$0%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
%=
The si"th question was 5Who do you think actually benefits from student
politicsE0 (round ?H of the respondents said the students, %=H said our
country, ==H said the political parties and no one said others.
HOW ANY O! THE STUDENTS DO YOU THIN" ARE ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN
STUDENT POLITICS ?
23%
17%
43%
17%
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The seventh question was 5*ow many of the students do u think are
actually involved in student politicsE0 .6H of the respondents answered most of
the students are involved, while %=H said very few students are involved, :6H
said people who are not students are more involved, and %=H said no idea.
%A
DO YOU THIN" REOVING STUDENT POLITICS WILL IPROVE THE STANDARD
O! EDUCATION ?
61%
13%
23%
3%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
OPTION A OPTION B OPTION C OPTION D
ANSWERS
P
E
R
C
E
N
T
A
G
E
The eighth question was 53o you think removing student politics will
improve the standard of educationE0 ?%H of the respondents answered yes it
will, %6H said it will remain the same, .6H said it might but they are doubtful
about it, and only 6H said it will lead to further downfall.
/y last question was 5Iinally please write your opinion about student
politics has more negative aspects than positive ones. Though few of the
students strongly opposed about the topic, but majority of them supported this
topic.

%;
Thus, from the above findings, it is clear that the outcome of the survey
was not at all a surprise and it is very much similar to my hypothesis.
CONCLUSION
,tudents are the major building block of a nation. Iuture doctors,
engineers, scientists, nurses, social workers, accountants, businessman, lawyer,
philosopher, historian, pilot, army, planner, technicians will come from this
enterprise. To be a successful politician, it0s not necessarily required that
someone has to practice politics from his'her student life. *ow many successful
and prolific politicians in terms of national welfare has the student politics
produced in last three decadesE It may be argued that the milestone of early ;<s
is the result of student politics. /aybe true. But it doesn0t necessarily mean that
had there been no student politics, that milestone would have never been
achieved. The dignities attained in :<s, @<s, or even before and after, may be
accredited to the student politics, no matter to what e"tent. But nevertheless, it0s
time to understand that the situation has changed. We can feel proud of those
.<
days0 student politics, but we0ve to think about the present situation and foresee
future prospects.

!f late we have witnessed different sorts of a few private universities
and colleges grow up mostly in 3haka which have kept student politics miles
away from their campuses. )nderstandably, these institutions have performed
phenomenally well in running academic session, delivering
education to students, maintaining academic discipline, pursuing cultural
and computer activities etc.
( wave of awakening has come around. If the ones at the helm of
power do not intend to work for the greater interest of the people they will be
the ultimate losers. *istory has proven that when the masses awake, they can
change the world. Ior many students at 3) the idea of a neutral platform is
becoming increasingly attractive. It is the only hope that someday student
politics will not be about who gets the tender or which party captures a hall but
about real issues that concern the welfare of the students and the ordinary
citi-ens of this country. It is the time to reali-e that we have to start at some
point. (s Jthe junks in the academic arena are begging to be stuffed into a
disposable garbage bin. It0s time for house cleaning.K
.%
RECOMMENDATION
The presence of student politics has been in our country for
decades.. I would like to recommend a few measures that might gradually lead
to the abolition of student politics. They are as followsB
Within a defined boundary of educational campus including the hostels
and dormitories, nobody 7students, teachers, office staffs and others8 will
e"press or introduce himself or herself as a leader, supporter or member of any
party involved in politics. (nd nobody will try to influence others by any
political activity inside the campus.
!" #o political meeting, procession, demonstration, wall writing or
slogan will be allowed in the defined boundary of educational
campus.
#" >ven any loud sound or speech having more than a certain level of
decibel will not be allowed in the campus. 7e"ception to e"pressing
joy on the success of national or institutional sports team or
cultural team8
..
$" #o political leader 7no matter how famous he or she is8 will be
allowed to enter the campus without prior
permission from the top authority of the educational institution. In case of
any permitted visit, he or she will not be allowed to make any
political speech in the campus.
%" >ven the 1rime minister and the 1resident of the 1eople0s Gepublic
will only visit the educational institutions as 2hancellor or *ead of
the nation. But they shall not make any political speech during
their visit in any educational campus.
&" The percentage of class attendance for every student should be a
minimum of ;@H. This will restrain the students from skipping
classes and getting involved into political activities.
'" The minimum marks a student should obtain to pass an e"am should
be fi"ed at A<H. This will force the students to put more efforts on
their studies and they will hardly get any time to get involved into
politics.
(" )se peaceful methods and deny any sort of violence
.6
)" 9odfathers and ,enior political leaders should not interfere in
student politics
*" >ncourage friendly relationships between the political parties
If all these measures, mentioned above, are undertaken, we can surely
ensure a safe and proper education facility.
.:

BIBLIOGRAPHY
!" )ddin, /d. 4ashim. JIt0s the Time to Tame the 3emon.K >/ela,
Inc. 7.<<.8.
a. .. #ovember .<<@. LhttpB''www.e$mela.comM.J&inkage between
1olitics and ,mall (rms.K Gegional 2enter for ,trategic ,tudies.
%% (ug. %;;A. .% #ovember .<<@
LhttpB''www.rcss.org'policyNstudies'psN=N:.htmlM.
#" J1rovosts or 1uppets.K >ditorial. The 3aily ,tar Web >dition . Ieb
.<<:. %; !ctober .<<@. LhttpB''www.thedailystar.netM.
$" J,tudents, 9uardians )nhappy with 4) Teachers0 1olitics.K The
3aily ,tar Web >dition <? (ug. .<<6. .? #ovember .<<@
LhttpB''www.thedailystar.net'dailystarnewsM.
.@
%" JThe Ouestion is Whether We Geform ,tudent 1olitics or Ban It.K
>ditorial. The 3aily ,tar Web >dition <? 3ec. .<<%. % 3ecember
.<<@ LhttpB''www.thedailystar.netM.
&" (shraf, #a-mul. JBan on ,tudent 1olitics &ikelyK 9# online .;
,ept. .<<.. <6 3ecember .<<@. LhttpB''www.gulf$
news.com'articles'newsM.
'" 9hosh, 1roshenjit. J,top Brain 3rain.K The 3aily ,tar Web
>dition <6 4une .<<:. .= #ovember .<<@
LhttpB''www.thedailystar.netM.
(" *ossain, /oa--em. JBangladesh ,tudent ,hoot$out Pills !ne.K
BB2news.com ; 4une .<<.. .= #ovember .<<@
LhttpB''www.BB2news.com'world'southasiaM.
)" Phan, Pamrul. J,tudent 1olitics.K The 3aily ,tar Web >dition <A
Ieb. .<<6. %; !ctober .<<@.
LhttpB''www.thedailystar.net'dailystarnewsM.
*" /uhammad, (bu ,adat. J#ot the ,tudent 1olitics but the 1olitics
in 2ampus should be Banned.K Bangla/elaQaticle 7.<<%8. ..
#ovember .<<@. LhttpB''www.banglamela.net'banglaNnetM.
!+"Gahman, /i-anur. J3haka )niversityB =. /urdered in 66 Dears.K
The 3aily 1ratham (lo .= #ovember .<<@B %
.?
!!"Gahman, ,ultana. J#o Gespite from ,ession 4ams for 3)
,tudents.K The 3aily ,tar Web >dition %% (ug. .<<6. ..
#ovember .<<@ LhttpB''www.thedailystar.
a. net'dailystarnewsM.
.=