Debating India

EDUCATION

Jamia a hotbed of politics

Thursday 27 July 2006, by NAYAR?Mandira

Except for the banners on the tall black iron gates demanding resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and the unprecedented number of men in khaki standing at attention, good old Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi seems back to normal. But things are really not quite as simple as they look.

Left to cope with the reality of student politics, the campus is fast becoming a hotbed for different parties to score political points. There is also the murkier hand of the land mafia that the University has tried to battle for years, which has vested interests that can’t really be discounted from this equation.

With allegations of students’ union representatives asking for money to fund their activities from contractors, there is a darker side to this affair.

Also, some of the protesters now on hunger strike are no students, which raises a big question mark about their motives.

"Jamia is becoming a platform for students who want a political career. A lot of groups want to gain a foothold here. There is Aligarh Muslim University, Students’ Federation of India and All India Students’ Association that wants to be able to expand their base here. Even though the union is not affiliated to any political party, there are links with parties in Uttar Pradesh,’’ says a professor.

And while the agitating students have got moral support from other student groups in the Capital, they have not managed to get much more. Not satisfied with the way things have turned out, most student leaders are afraid of being associated with the students’ union too closely.

And as democracy is still a new concept on the campus for students, their leaders will have to learn the rules of this game too.

***

There is still some space at Delhi University for those with science dreams. Acharya Narendra Dev College has seats available in B.Sc. (Honours) Botany, B.Sc. (Honours) Chemistry, B.Sc. (Honours) Zoology and B.Sc. in Applied Physical Sciences. The marks required for B.Sc. (Honours) Botany are 65 per cent in PCB and 68 per cent in Biology.

See online : The Hindu

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