Strictly speaking, there is hardly any need or justification for students to indulge in any political activity. Their sole aim should be to educate themselves. Through education, they can acquire knowledge, develop their personality and build their character. They can also equip themselves with some profession in life in order to earn their livelihood.
Leading educationists are of the view that the students should have nothing to do with the rough and tumble of politics. Politics is a dirty game. It has neither any rule nor any code of conduct. We find that in the sphere of politics, people easily shift their loyalties, change alliances, split parties, pay lip service, stoop to dishonesty and underhand means to win elections and capture power.
Students are in a very tender and highly impressionable age. It is an age when one should learn high moral ideals and principles. It is a time to improve one’s intellectual faculties and skills. If students participate in politics at a young age, they will feel demoralised because politicians will ditch them after their political ends are served.
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Besides attending classes, a student has to study at home for at least 3 to 4 hours a day. This hardly leaves him with any spare time for political work. If a student takes time off for politics, it will leave him with less time for his studies. So, a student can pursue politics only at the cost of his studies.
In reality, studies should be the prime concern of every student. He should not dabble in politics. Politics demands time and energy which the students cannot afford. If a student has aptitude for politics, he should wait till his studies are over. So long as he is a student, he should not join any political party or participate in any political rally, agitation or demonstration.
Students should be bewaring of political parties. These parties exploit the students for their own selfish ends. They sow the seeds of discontent and unrest among the students. They encourage indiscipline among the students. They also encourage students to resort to strikes. Exploitation of students for political purposes is deplorable.
In fact, student leaders also bank upon politicians for political support for their demands: The result is that the politicians inject political ideologies among the students. Nowadays, all the major political parties have set up their student wings in educational institutions to involve students in political activities to achieve their selfish ends.
When a political party gives out a call for an agitation or demonstration, it invariably presses into service the students who owe allegiance to their party. This adversely affects the academic careers of thousands of students. Students do not derive any material benefit from such agitations.
But this does not mean that students should not study politics. They should study this subject. They should read newspapers and magazines regularly to keep themselves abreast of the political trends and developments not only in India but also abroad. They should hold debates on the burning economic, political and social problems facing the country like population explosion, terrorism, regionalism, communalism, corruption, smuggling, black money, tax evasion, etc. However, students should avoid active politics. They should not become workers of any political party.
In fact, students should receive some sort of training in democratic and political processes. Such training is generally provided by students’ unions. Students should take keen interest in their unions and air their grievances through them. Students should, however, ensure that patrons and office bearers of these unions are chosen from among the students and not from outside. In •any case, no politician should be made its office-bearer.
Students are as much a part of the country’s ethos, its hopes and aspirations, as any other section of the people. When people fight for the independence of their country, students cannot be expected to lag behind. In India, this is exactly what happened. Students in India took an active part in the freedom movement of our country under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lai Nehru.
Now that our country is free from the clutches of British imperialism, students should concentrate on their education. But at the same time they must have knowledge and awareness of the affairs of the country. They should keenly watch the activities of the politicians who work for self-interest. As students form the educated part of the society, they should help other members of the society to understand politics so that the politicians are compelled to work for the country and not for themselves.