Students involvement in politics and its futility

/ Guest Column / Thursday, 12 May 2022 17:13

By: Mangkholun Touthang
The purpose of being a student or the responsibilty of a student is to go to school, learn new things, work hard to be a successful person someday and nothing more. But these days, when we look at our Manipur, students’ involvement in politics has become out of control. Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, protests and strikes have been halted for over two years and it’s a good thing. But before the pandemic, in almost every peaceful and violent protest students took part in it. But you’d be mistaken to think that these students got caught up in protests in their on will, there are reasons behind it. Some politicians and political parties have been brainwashing and manipulating students in order to achieve their political goals while in the process ruining the students’ career. Students are being sent to the frontline to face the police only to be dispersed by the police using lathicharge and teargas. They sometimes become violent and wild towards the police, some would even sacrifice their lives. We all know the unfortunate incident that occurred back on 8 July 2015 when a young student named Sapam Robinhood died in a clash with the police over the ILP issue. I’m not saying (L) Robinhood died as a result of his violent action towards the police, I’m just saying that when a good and innocent student like Mr. Robinhood is totally brainwashed by some people to act on their behalf, he/she is willing to sacrifice his/her life for the cause.
Since India is a democratic country and not a communist country like North Korea where people are not allowed to enjoy their rights, where students are not allowed to read books that the state doesn’t want them to, it’s a must for students to know a lot about politics and to read a lot of books related to politics. Students should know how governments work in different countries, how politics is done in different parts of the world, and a lot of other things related to politics. They should be aware of the affairs of the country, they should keenly watch the activities of politicians but not take part in active politics. Even if they have to, it should not necessarily be in the form of protests and strikes, there are lots of alternatives. They could express their opinions or discontentment in the form of writing letters to the government officials, writing articles in the newspaper, sit-ins or dharnas because this form of protest is peaceful, and such other non-violent methods. Students should realise that all these protests, strikes, rallies, where they are placed in the frontlines to meet with the lathi-holding-police are all done at their expense. They should learn to say no when people invite them to take part in a protest. In case a student is being threatened for not wanting to join a protest, that individual could go to the police station and inform the police about it. In a democratic country like India, nobody can force somebody into doing something that he/she doesn’t want to.
There are only little benefits for students who are involved in politics. One of them is that they learn how to speak in public places confidently which could be very helpful for them in case they become a politician or leader someday. Being an executive member of students’ union in a particular school or college and being the leader of a protest could really boost the student’s morale. But nobody even the student cannot certainly tell he/she is going to be a politician or great leader someday. It’d be really great if the student becomes a well-known leader in the future but what if he/she doesn’t? That means everything is lost and the student’s career is ruined: the leadership in the student’s union, the pain suffered as a result of being beaten by the police during protests, the hardship of being in jail for being a protest leader, all the precious time invested on politics, they have all become futile. Therefore, since there are only little benefits in involving in politics, students should invest their time only on reading books and learning new things everyday and working hard to create a better future for themselves. Let the politicians and political parties do their work i.e. politics, and stop letting students get involved in the game, and let students do their work i.e. education, and nothing else. By being involved in politics, they lose their valuable time and regret the same at a later stage. Therefore, through weighing the pros and cons, there is absolutely no need for students to indulge in political activities, education should be their primary aim. 
Schools, colleges and universities’ authorities/staff should also teach students to not interfere or get involved too much in politics. They should be encouraged to join classes regularly and to give priority to reading books instead. Every student needs to know that education comes first and then other things. Let’s say a student wants to be a politician or wants to enter politics and he knows his responsibilities and sticks to his routine and prioritize education over everything, I’m sure he’ll make a great politician and make our state even better. And if all our politicians and MLAs were smart and sophisticated back in their school and college days, I’m sure our state will be much even better. Truly speaking, one of the reasons our state is not very developed compared to other states despite the 60 MLAs we have is mainly because of the fact that some of our MLAs are not very well-educated, are lacking knowledge on how a government works, and are self-centered. Worse, there are some MLAs who didn’t even finish class 12 and it’s a fact. To run a state like Manipur where things are very complicated, a politician should mandatorily be well-educated and reasonable. And in order to let educated and reasonable people run the country or the state, educational institutions should make their pupils aware that education is the most important thing and not political protests or strikes or bandhs. This way, educational institutions could also become great players in shaping the country or state.

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