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      Volume 12 |Issue 04| January 25, 2013 |


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BUT… Let the Silence be Broken


University administrations are reluctant to shut down their institution (specially on account of student disturbance) because it does not reflect well on the university or the government, BUT Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) at Mymensingh had to do just that last Saturday, as rival factions of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) traded gunshots causing the very tragic death of a 12-year-old boy. This will not add votes to Awami League. People are watching, silently.

We have heard of tensions prevailing between academic institutions and neighbouring residents, sad though it may be, but the torching of student halls by angry local people has never happened in the history of this land even when it was not Bangladesh, BUT it did after the death of the innocent child. Just spare a thought for the parents. They cry alone, silently.

A party exists to work together to uphold its mission, to fulfil its vision, to strive towards its aims and objectives, to achieve its goals, BUT the activities of the student wing of a party in power, now BCL, belie that notion. It is self-defeating that party adherents and branch organisations should lament, silently.

Over the past four years the Awami League government has made massive gains in some sectors, BUT the disruptive activities in the name of its student wing are eroding their popularity, silently.

One has to assume that the very purpose of the being of a student wing is to uphold the ideology and manifesto of the parent organisation, BUT egocentricity, differences over pecuniary interest, and misplaced philosophy of student politics have and are giving the opposition a shot in the arm. Party adherents realise, silently.

Universities are the highest institutions of learning, and the citadel of knowledge for the service of mankind, BUT what truly are they learning, what service is the nation getting. We are by the decade becoming poorer in values, silently.

Their libraries should be packed with paperbacks, hardcovers, and manuscripts; students should embrace printed volumes of information, they should read books, learn from them, and venture to write, BUT universities as well as our colleges have become repositories of modern weapons and ammunition. They break the peace and quiet of their surroundings, usually so blissful, and the bodies are counted, silently.

Now is not the first time that some members of the student wing of the political party in power have tarnished the image that sat them at the government, BUT we do not care to learn from history. The law-breakers have often been excused and shielded as not students, but being intruders into the party. The culprits have a good laugh, silently.

There have been calls for harsh measures against the errant students, banishing the intruders (if that really be the case), and also banning the organisation whose goodwill they (supposedly) misuse, BUT not many have dared to touch the aged ambassadors of animosity. Many within their ranks feel that the activities of their name bearers are suicidal for the party, but silently.

There have been cases of BCL committees being suspended and/or dismissed at different institutions on account of their involvement in various unruly activities. This era of a government is not the first time that the student wing of the major party (one may recall JCD) has been involved in violence, intra-part feuds, misbehaviour against women and teachers... BUT, over the past four years police have been able to make dozens of arrest, which is a first in more ways than one. There is hope for our future if the trend of bringing to book the culprits continues. When our national leaders of all parties say publicly, 'a party is bigger than any individual, our country is bigger than the party', the thugs that switch parties have a laugh, not so silently.

One constant major problem at our universities, despite change in governments, has been the blatant partisan role of some vice-chancellors. There is one set of rules for the students supporting the ruling party and another for those opposing. This case is most rampant in places where the VC has been nominated undeservingly based on a vested coterie that promoted his and thereby their selfish cause. University teachers are to be neutral. All students are equal to them. BUT, as soon as a teacher is nominated top administrator, he often unfortunately becomes unnecessarily political. That is because he himself is the result of the execution of a nasty narrow-minded political agenda. Such a VC sinks, the party that appointed him sinks, the university goes to the dogs, who cares, the nation sinks, who cares. The nation does, silently.

Such silences need to be broken. Students of all political beliefs must understand their primary task is to study. Gone perhaps are the days when they were misused by politicians. Today politicians are often at their mercy. Politicians like to imagine that student 'leaders' are under their command, only silently.


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