Strikes are a common feature of School and College life in India, more specially in Uttar Pradesh. There is hardly a session in which students do not abstain from attending the classes and indulge in acts of violence and hooliganism. Everyday the newspapers brings news of strike in some school or college or the other in the state. Students go on strike even when there are no solid reasons for it. In this respect, my college is no expectation.
As in the previous years, this year also there was a strike in my college in July, the students voiced a number of complaints and grievances. First, there was no suitable arrangements for drinking water. More of water-taps were needed. Notice-boards were few, more of notice-boards in different parts of the college campus must be provided to avoid inconvenience to the students. Thirdly, students who had not been granted admission, must be admitted. Fourthly, the entire Proctorial Board must be suspended as it was too strict. Fifthly, the hostel wardens, too, must be changed. Sixthly, students must be given representation on all the administrative bodies of the college. Pamphlets, containing these and many other demands, were distributed and in this way ‘public opinion’, was built in support of the demands.
Then the President and the Secretary of the college Student’s Union met the Principal and presented to him the charter of demands. The Principal gave them a patient hearing. The demands were sympathetically considered. More reasonable of the demands were soon granted. For example, more of water-taps and notice-boards were provided in different part of the college campus. Tube-lights were fitted in classrooms. But the student’s union was not satisfied, and a call for a general strike was given.
So, the next morning when I went to college I found the words “A general meeting of the students at 10 A.M, outside the College Hall” written on the notice-board and on the walls. Exactly at 10 O’clock, the bell was rung by a student. At once, all of us came out of our classes. There was a large gathering outside the Hall. Slogans like, “”Student unity Zindabad were shouted loudly.” Then the Union President and Secretary addressed the students. There was repeated clapping and cheering. The upshot was that the strike decision was confirmed. Then the students moved in a procession through the college campus. Here and there a few classes were going on.
They were disturbed and the students were forced to come out. During the night, some miscreants even tried to set fire to the college office. However, such actions did not have the sympathy of the students in general. It was a successful strike. There was picketing at the college doors and no students could come in. Soon the negotiations between the college authorities and the students began again. The representatives of the students knew that the strike could not go on for ever. There was pressure from the guardians. So, they part conceded some more of the demands of the students. The result was that the strike was called off. It had already lasted for fifteen days, and we were all glad when it ended.
Strikes mean a great wastage of time and energy. As far as possible, students should avoid going on strikes. They should first see to it that their demands are justified and reasonable. A strike based based on unreasonable demands can never be successful.