Tofail Ahmed, ruling Bangladesh Awmai League advisory council member and former Dhaka University Central Students’ Union vice-president, said Dhaka University Central Students’ Union is now ineffective even after holding elections after a long interval of 28 years. The DUCSU as well as student organisations led some major political movements before and after independence of Bangladesh in the greater national interest. A group of active student politicians later found their way into the national political arena as politicians after they had been successful in the campus.
Most of the DUCSU leaders, including Rashed Khan Menon, Matia Chowdhury, Ferdous Ahmed Koreshi, Mahfuz Khanam, Nazim Kamran Choudhuri, ASM Abdur Rab, Mujahidul Islam Selim, Mahmudur Rahman Manna, Akhtaruzzaman, Zia Uddin Ahmed Bablu, Sultan Mohammad Mansur Ahmed, Mushtak Hossain, Amanullah Aman and Khairul Kabir Khokon, were once engaged in movements that once impacted national politics.
‘But, student politics nowadays has hit the nadir. They had been the principal players in the language movement in 1952, liberation war in 1971 and other significant movements floated in national interest. These movements were carried out by the leaders of DUCSU, student unions of other universities as well as student leaders,’ he said.
At that time, elected student unions fought for students’rights and for the common people even at college level, he recalled.
In our times, student leaders from different quarters use to sit together to organise movement as a common believe of ‘politics for the people’ helped us to become united. But, what do we see now? Incumbent DUCU vice-president is Nurul Haque Nur facing obstacle everywhere. Why! That is not at all the beauty of student politics. It is heart-breaking for us, he added.
Dhaka University always worked like a ‘factory’ for the creation of the national-level leaders. Unfortunately, the ‘factory’ was now in decline. Now the DUCSU VP and general secretary had no relation and they are not co-operating with each other, he said, lamenting the existing state of affairs on the Dhaka University campus.
Bangladesh Chhatra League president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury and general secretary Golam Rabbani have been removed from their posts as they were reportedly engaged themselves in different immoral activities. Such activities of the BCL leaders was socking for us as it was embarrassing and it had set a bad example for student politics. I had no idea about the engineering department when I was a VP of the DUCSU. Now the student leaders gathered information about the department first so that they could exploit any opportunity that presented itself to earn money.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina sent a clear message to student leaders by removing the BCL leaders. She herself was a VP of Eden Mohila College during the student years. Student politics created several national political leaders, including prime minister Sheikh Hasina, he pointed out.
Student politics did not lose its appeal and the student society should raise their voice against injustices in the society. Though, the situation in the society is not like the regime under Pakistan, he argued.
‘Relations between students and teachers had deteriorated compared to that in our times. Our teachers used to join in processions organised by student organizations and they always tried to protect us from torture of police. Now student leaders are assaulting their teachers,’ he said, ruing the current situation.
In our time, meritorious students were involved in student politics as it was a matter of honesty and prestige, but now the meritorious students are avoiding student politics as it was being tarnished by those who were involved, he said, explaining the situation.
In our times, DUCSU leaders lived in the student’s dormitory and the elections of DUCSU and hall unions were regular, whereas the last DUCSU elections earned huge criticism, he said.
He believed in the fraternity between organisations and said, ‘All the student organisations should have a unity and be driven by a positive intention to help each other. Student leaders should remain alert of the allegations of corruption to keep themselves at a distant from corruptions which tarnished the image of the students.’
When we were students, we avoided taking seats in the stage of the political programmes organised by the mother party, but the student leaders are now happy to take seats on the stage alongside the national leaders.
‘Distance between a political party and its student associate body should be maintained to ensure a check and balance of power and to curb misuse of power,’ suggested Tofail Ahmed.
The student associate body of the ruling party needs to be concerned more about how to uphold the dignity of student politics. The associate body should avoid searching scope of opportunities to make money, he concluded.
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