Rakesh M Krishnan
When most observers had written off ABVP after the unfortunate incident of Rohith Vemula, the organisation has bounced back. The inclusivity of the organisation and an urge to reach out to everyone has facilitated the victory in HCU
After eight years, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) retained the full control of Students’ Union at the University of Hyderabad. The last representative of ABVP to be part of the Union was in 2014. It is a historic moment. Post-Rohith Vemula movement, the fate of ABVP was written off by many, even though in every election it retained its pole position as the largest student organisation on campus.
L-R: Praveen (Jt Secy), Amit (VP), Laxmanji (National Joint Organising Secretary, ABVP), Mrs Aarti (President), Dheeraj (General Secretary), Aravind (Cultural Secretary)
In the 2018 Students’ Union Election, ABVP allied with OBCF (Other Backward Classes Federation) and SLVD (Sevalal Vidyarthi Dal) and defeated the two panels headed by SFI and Ambedkar Students’ Association led an alliance of 7 organisations. For the post of the President, Mrs Aarti Nagpal (PhD Health Psychology) defeated the nearest rival Mr Erram Naveen Kumar of SFI by a margin of 334 votes. Mr Dheeraj Sanghoji of OBCF defeated Mr Abhishek Kumar of SFI by 247 votes for the post of General Secretary, and Mr Praveen Kumar of SLVD defeated Ms Anupama Krishna of SFI by a margin of 39 votes for the post of Joint Secretary. Mr Amit (Vice-President), Mr Aravind (Cultural Secretary), Mr Nikhil (Sports Secretary) and Ms Krishnaveni (GSCASH-Research) won from ABVP.
Swelling Support of Students
ABVP released a vision document. This document that recorded ABVP’s vision of a university. It envisaged the University as a space for free and unbiased critical debate and enquiry. And it was perceived from a vital centre position. The University as a site, thus visualised, can sustain debates, dialogues and enquiries if and only if we have institutional structures and practices in place.
Unfortunately, today, not only HCU but also all the universities in our country are sieged from within, by engineered chaos. The enquiry is replaced by dogmatic perusal tempered by political considerations. It has led to the obfuscation of the truth and distorted reality. We attempt to rescue the university space from the echo-chambers that are creating confusion by propagating falsities like ‘intolerance’, ‘death of university’, ‘lack of academic autonomy’, etc.
The election result from HCU is loud and clear. Students want development, accountability and transparency in the affairs of the university. They vehemently rejected false propaganda, politics of hatred and subversive activities in the name of marginalized communities
The most important point to be noted is that the Sports Secretary-elect, Mr Nikhil Raj (Sports Secretary) was formerly an office bearer of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA). It shows the intellectual bankruptcy of such student formations in the university spaces, who exist for the sake of power and privilege. In the previous years, members of SFI, including their state committee members have joined or cooperated with ABVP in HCU.
SLVD is an association of tribal students in HCU. This student association, formed recently, is a reaction against the existing Tribal Students Forum (TSF), who failed to address the needs of the tribal students, even though they were part of both SFI and ASA led Students Unions in the past. The fake propaganda of the left-liberal politics have been exposed, and the student support to this new group is evident in the way TSF candidate from the ASA led alliance fared in the elections. The TSF candidate got the lowest vote among the ASA led alliance candidates.
OBCF has been in alliance with ABVP in the last three years. The neglect of the OBCs by the votaries of the subaltern politics both on and off campus as the dominant social groups have cornered and isolated them in the everyday affairs of the university. The narrative of OBCs as the dominant social group perpetuating social and political violence against the subaltern classes have been unequivocally rejected by the student community of HCU.
SLVD and OBCF represent socio-cultural mobilisation of students beyond the narrow confines of identity liberalism and casteist politics. The alliance with ABVP indicates their readiness to build solidarity beyond the exclusionary self-definitions imposed by identity politics and forge a platform based on nationalism and developmental issues.
The election result from HCU is loud and clear. Students want development, accountability and transparency in the affairs of the university. They vehemently rejected false propaganda, politics of hatred and subversive activities in the name of marginalized communities. It was a mandate for an all-inclusive developmental agenda irrespective of caste, creed, region, religion and language.
For all those who were worried that the university space is slipping into the hands of anti-nationals, HCU results is a welcome relief. The tornado effect of it, wherein students from all diverse background came together to kick out the pied pipers of hatred, will reverberate in the campuses across the country.
(The writer is a doctoral student at University of Hyderabad)
*Read a more detailed report in Organiser (Print Version), dated October 21, 2018