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Student’s Movements & International Student’s Day

by Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
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Students are the future. These are the people and the minds that are going to take our countries forward. No matter their background or their field of study, we should always celebrate those who want to further their knowledge, with a lot of students going to great lengths to do so.
International Students’ Day is on November 17. It’s a day when we remember the bravery of thousands of students in Prague who fought for national pride and the right to higher education. In 1939, Nazi forces arrested and executed nine protesters without trial and sent over 1,200 students to concentration camps. Many did not survive. International Students’ Day commemorates their sacrifice. And while it seems worlds apart today, the right to education and peaceful protest remains a struggle in many countries. On International Students’ Day, let’s strengthen and resolve to protect the rights of our youth and support them by directing them towards the right resources such as Schoolroom — a platform providing information on scholarship and resources for acquiring education. International Students’ Day is the perfect opportunity for us to pay honor to the students of the world. From all corners of the globe, students are working hard to achieve their career goals and make a difference. Some students leave their families and travel far and wide to have a place in a university that will help them to have a better life and provide for their loved ones. This is something that we should definitely honor and celebrate. While student life is difficult for everyone, there is no denying that international students face a number of challenges. This includes homesickness, cultural differences, currency differences, financial troubles, and language barriers.
For insights into International Students’ Day, let’s first trace the events leading up to it. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Third Reich staked aggressive claims over territories outside Germany’s borders. The Nazis first annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler’s home country. Next, they forced Czechoslovakia to give up parts of its territories. Germany occupied the Czech regions, forcing Slovakia to split into a satellite state. In 1939, students of the Medical Faculty at Charles University in Prague held a demonstration to commemorate the formation of an independent Czechoslovak Republic. The Nazis brutally suppressed the gathering, resulting in a student Jan Opletal’s death. Thousands of students turned up at his funeral procession – an event that transformed into an anti-Nazi demonstration. The Nazis responded by shutting down all Czech education institutions. In a shocking display of brute power, they arrested over 1,200 students and sent them to concentration camps. But the worst was yet to come. On November 17, the Nazis rounded up nine protesters, executing them without trial. Historians believe that the Third Reich allowed the funeral procession because they anticipated a violent outcome. It would give the regime the validation they needed to close down all Czech universities, dealing a severe blow to rebellion from academics and student activists. November 17 is International Students’ Day, to remember the courage of student activists during the 1939 Nazi storming of the University of Prague. The first observance took place in 1941 at the International Students’ Council in London. It was there that students decided to introduce International Students’ Day, to be observed every November 17.Since then, many organizations and international student groups have continued to observe the day. The day is a public holiday in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is formally called the “Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day.”
Post-1939, the wave of student unification and protesting against unfair systems and politics was seen in other parts of the world as well. Here are the three stories that perfectly sum up how good habits for students together can flip the geo-political landscape. 
An inspiring aspect of Bangladeshi history is the historic mid-20th century Bangla language movement. Bangla became one of the official languages of the country after the bravery, sacrifices, love for the mother tongue, and devotion to the homeland forced the then-powerful rulers of Pakistan to accede to popular demand. In a nutshell, the Language Movement is a wonderful illustration of the perseverance of people. The movement’s leaders, who included teachers, writers, and majorly students organized millions of young people for 20 years (1952–1971) by walking barefoot in the early hours of February 21st on the streets in the direction of the Shaheed Minar (Martyrs Memorials) in Dhaka (and to the thousands of replicas throughout the country) and the Azimpur graveyard in Dhaka, where the martyrs are buried. Organizing a political movement under the guise of a cultural movement by the students, ostensibly to lament the unjust killing of students and commemorate February 21 as a day of remembrance, was simply a wonderful way to inspire patriotism and a sense of belonging to the Bengali Nation.
A turning point occurred in Burma (now Myanmar) with the 1988 demonstrations and crackdown. Thousands of people were killed by the military and other security forces during the suppression of widespread pro-democracy protests in Burma from March to September 1988.On August 8, 1988, protests for a democratic transition and an end to military rule broke out simultaneously in cities and towns all over Burma as a result of a statewide strike involving thousands of students, monks, and regular civilians. The administration was taken aback by the number and scope of these protests, so it sent forces to violently put an end to them. Armed forces shot at unarmed protestors, killing dozens and injuring many more. With the help of swords, poisoned darts, and sharpened bicycle spokes, some demonstrators retaliated, killing some police officers.8th August, 88 is remembered as a day when students together fought for democratic rights. 
Czechoslovakia brought an end to the nation’s more than 40 years of communist governance. Eastern Europe experienced an uprising against the communist government in 1989. Students in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, assembled for a nonviolent protest on November 16, and the next day, a student march in Prague was sanctioned by the government. The Prague March was meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the police’s savage suppression of a student protest in German-occupied Prague, but as soon as students started to criticize the government, the police reacted violently. The Velvet Revolution was started by this occurrence, which intensified across the nation’s industrial hubs. Negotiations with the opposition were pushed upon the communist government. Gustáv Husák resigned on December 10 and a transitional administration made up of members of the Civic Forum and Public against Violence was established.
The international students’ day date is the same around the globe- 17th November. This day is observed by numerous universities all over the world as a chance to highlight diversity and multiculturalism. On International Students Day, some universities host a number of activities to promote young involvement. On International Student Day, a number of student organizations in addition to colleges host numerous events. Other than performing a single act of social service, students can show their support by taking part in other activities. They can even use social media to provide information about the significance of International Student Day. Every year, International Students Day is observed with the goal of promoting the importance of education and its access for all students. The purpose of the day is to guarantee that every student has access to education worldwide. Because of the events that occurred in Prague during World War II, November 17 has been designated as International Students Day.
International Students’ Day is a celebration of multiculturalism, diversity and cooperation among students across the globe. Though originally a day of commemoration of the more than 1,200 students from the University of Prague whose lives were taken in WWII, International Students’ Day has become an occasion for universities the world over to boast their masses of international students, and the good they do for the local community. Students display and celebrate their acts of social responsibility and have gatherings on campus to showcase the causes they volunteer for, take part in gleeful competitions, indulge in student food, gossip about the student unions and complain about their student fees. Although decidedly not as elevated or as relevant to mankind as the activities of the forefathers of International Students’ Day, these gatherings attract a good deal of involvement, donations and attention for organizations and charities.
(Writer can be reaches at: [email protected])

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