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     Volume 4 Issue 17 | October 15, 2004 |

   Cover Story
   News Notes
   A Roman Column
   Human Rights
   Straight Talk
   In Retrospect
   Time Out
   On Campus
   Slice of Life
   Book Review
   Dhaka Diary
   New Flicks
   Write to Mita

   SWM Home


On Campus

Thoughts on Student Politics

The people of Bangladesh are widely misled by the term "student politics". I was involved in politics during my student life in a foreign university. Now, I personally believe the term student politics is misunderstood here.

We have to understand that when we use a term such as student politics, the body to benefit maximum from its decision and policies should be students. Unfortunately, it isn't really that way in Bangladesh. In fact, students are the worst sufferers in this war of power. There is only one reason for this: the financial benefit these so called student leaders are receiving for actually promoting the mission and vision of external national political leaders.

The reason why I came down to finances is because, at my University, I prepared the yearly student union budget of over 500,000 dollars. Now, every student of the University paid this money that I was asked to allocate for the year and thereby I was answerable to the University Senate body.

If I didn't utilise the funds to the best interest of the student body, my committee could be dissolved with a no-confidence vote and I would have been brought to legal justice headed by the University Senate and Board of Governors.

Now let's compare this with Bangladesh. The so-called student leaders here hardly receive any fund from the university to run their party expenses. In fact, 99 percent of their expenditures are paid for by national political figures and thus they are answerable to those national warlords and not the students. Therefore, I can conclude that the student wings of politics are mere helpless idols of national politics with a student banner.

Leaving aside the fund issue, while I was abroad and into University politics, I was accountable to student transparency bodies. I had to report budgets of expenditure and it had to be signed by the Senate and Board of Governors. I had to lay out plans and implementation sheets of my party.

All these activities sound alien to the student community in Bangladesh. The truth is it really isn't. Your leaders are doing it here too -- the difference is, the auditors are not the students but the political leaders who are the patrons of these leaders.

I would like to end by saying that student politics at my university was a worthwhile experience to learn what the constitution is all about and what activities and leadership qualities would be required to lead a nation. Out there it was like a proto-type of real national politics but any involvement with national politicians would have us sacked in no time.

On the contrary, in our country student politics 'IS' the national politics, it isn't a replica as it is in other countries of the world. This is a tragic story to those students who sincerely want a body that could lead and frame policies for their betterment. Instead, they are joining rallies and singing songs for some leaders who hardly have the interest of students in mind but instead chant slogans of questionable national concerns, which hardly have anything to do with the student community.

Readers are invited to send in write-ups along with pictures for the On Campus column.

Men in Different Guises

I am a third year student of Dhaka University. A few days ago, while I was chatting with a group of friends in front of our department, a man of about 25 came up to us asking for money. He said he needed it for his sister's wedding. He added that he was from Rajshahi and worked at BUET canteen. One of my friends got irritated and said, "If you work at BUET canteen, why don't you ask the BUET students for money?" I remembered seeing the man asking for money for his sister's wedding two months before. But another of my friends got really angry at the man. When I asked my friend why he was so angry, he said it was because he knew the guy was a drug addict. It occurred to me then that there are so many people in our society involved in different professions and in various guises.

Moazzem Hossain Department of English, University of Dhaka

University Day at RUET

The first anniversary of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) was observed on September 1. A number of programmes were arranged by the "University Day Ujjapon Committee" along with other organisations. A University Day Programming Contest was organised by the Computer Science and Electronics (CSE) Department and the Central Computer Centre. A friendly football match was played between teachers and 4th year students of the university. A blood donation programme was held in collaboration with Shondhani. The next day, a large and colourful rally was taken around the city. The celebration programme ended with a cultural evening and band show at RUET auditorium.

Shameem Mahbub, RUET



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