A serious problem—Our National Government has faced many problems. The most important had been the food problem which has now been solved to a great extent. At present a serious problem has drawn the attention of the Government and the public. It is the problem of student unrest. It has increased over the past few years. It has now assumed a serious form. This unrest is part of worldwide student agitation. Our Government has realized the seriousness of the problem. Some time ago the Central Government arranged conferences of high police officials and of Vice-Chancellors of Universities to find out the causes and suggest remedies.
Nature of the unrest
There has been student unrest all over India. The unrest has not been confined within educational institutions. There have been student strikes. There have been student demonstrations in the streets. Many valuable properties of the universities, colleges and schools have been destroyed. Even railway properties and other Government properties have been damaged or destroyed. Students have resorted to violence. Considering it a problem of law and order, police have come to stop it. They have opened fire. There have been case of death as a result of firing. But the police interference has not been able to stop the agitation of the students. Rather, the disturbance has spread over new areas.
Causes of unrest
We may ask why this student unrest has spread over the whole country. Students are generally emotional by nature. They are more or less idealists. They are inspired by noble ideals. They are prepared to sacrifice their lives for the good of the country. We have seen examples of this. If this be the case, we should seriously think why they have followed this ignoble path. There must be some genuine ground for this unrest. Every thoughtful man should seriously think over the matter and find out the causes of this unrest. When the causes are found out, there must be remedies for the removal of those causes of unrest. It seems to us that various causes have acted on the minds of the students and their reaction is the present unrest. These causes are social, economic and political. Corruption has crept into our society. We notice moral degradation in our present society. Many of us do not hesitate to take dishonest means to gain our ends.
This is again partly due to economic causes. The price of things have shot up beyond the purchasing power of most men. They can hardly make both ends meet with their limited income. There is the serious problem of unemployment. There is, therefore, want in most families. The head of the family cannot properly house, feed, dress and educate his wards. Pressed by poverty he cannot retain his moral standard. Children are being brought up in such environments. When they are grown up students, they do not see before them any noble ideal. At school they receive practically no moral training. They see indiscipline and dishonesty all around. This acts on them. These boys grown up without any definite aim before them. When they read in the college, they do not come in close touch with their professors. There is defect in the educational system. Students have got grievances against college and university authorities. Some of these grievances are just. But these are not removed. There is no bright prospect before them. There is only a picture of frustration before most of the students.
Students of the present age have become more or less politically conscious. Study should be their sole object in student life. But they cannot keep themselves completely aloof from the political movement of the country. Moreover, different political parties make use of the students to serve their purpose. Political leaders also are not sincere, honest in many cases. They cannot inspire the students to noble activities. All these causes work together to create a feeling of dissatisfaction in the students. So the present unrest is an expression of that dissatisfaction. As a result they begin agitation to get their grievances removed.
Some say that lawlessness cannot be tolerated. It should be put down with a strong hand. Nobody will support lawlessness. But before trying to put down lawlessness, they should go to the root cause of the lawlessness and should try to remove the root cause. There will then be no more any case of lawlessness. Students are sensitive. So some suggest that they should be handled with care, love and sympathy. The authorities should listen to their complaints patiently and sympathetically and try to remove their legitimate grievances. The authorities should try to make the students understand their difficulties. Students will not be unreasonable. All problems can be solved satisfactorily if the students are taken into confidence. So it is suggested that the charge of universities should be left with true educationists with broad outlook. They will try to understand the problems of the students sympathetically.
If the present social, economic and political conditions improve, if students think there is hope for them in future, few will join agitations. Some suggest that there should be provisions for students to earn something while they learn. This will help them to solve their pecuniary troubles and draw away their minds from undesirable activities. Some suggest that leaders of the country should set before the students bright examples of patriotism, loftiness of character and selfless service. This will surely influence them to build up their character.
Nobody will support student indiscipline. Nobody will support their acts of violence. But the essential step to stop this is to remove their legitimate grievances.