Students contesting for the cultural affairs secretary post in the March 11 Dhaka University Central Students’ Union elections observed that cultural atmosphere of the Dhaka University now stood diametrically opposed to the spirit of the Liberation War due to parochial political practices over the years.
Talking to New Age on Monday, they said that the university was no longer a democratic space for free thinkers as the existing political hegemony has not only suppressed progressive students but also the teachers’ communities supposed to contribute in linking the students with dynamic thought processes.
Moreover, tolerance for cultural practices of diversified communities and different idealisms was under threat due to authoritative surveillance, they said adding that they would restore the cultural openness needed for the students to thrive if they were elected.
Md Quayum-ul-Hasan, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal nominated contestant for DUCSU cultural affairs secretary post, said theatre organisers needed to submit script to the DU authorities before staging play at Natyamandal or TSC auditorium.
If the play went against the ruling political party, permission for the show was rarely given, Quayum said, who deems such provision as authoritative.
Cultural organisations that promoted free thinking faced many obstacles by the DU authorities as well as the ruling party affiliated students, he said.
He said, he, if elected, would take initiatives to promote freedom of thought besides creating a fear-free atmosphere for the emerging writers, poets and lyricists.
Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrankshan Parishad nominated cultural affairs secretary candidate Md Nahid Islam said that the university should be a prime centre for intellectual and cultural practices.
‘The overall cultural practices of DU students were TSC-centred. Organisations which were mostly politically affiliated were active participants in various cultural events and activities. Yet, there was no coordination among the organisations which affected the unity of the students,’ Nahid observed.
He promised that, if elected, he would take steps to free all cultural practices from the dominance of parochial politics.
Satantra Jote nominated cultural affairs secretary candidate Md Farhad Hossain promised that he would reorganise dormitory-based cultural wings, if elected.
On a regular basis, influential seniors compelled seat-aspirant juniors to attend events at the guest-room where ruling-party student organisations held different activities. These gatherings were often termed congregations of seniors and juniors.
Farhad found such political activism unfair to those who were reluctant to get involved in politics.
He said that vibrant cultural practices in the halls would be effective in creating senior-junior integration.
In the DUCSU polls, 12 candidates would contest for the position of cultural secretary.
DU authorities published the final list of candidacy on Sunday.
At least 20 candidates would vie for the position of vice-president, 12 for general secretary and 13 for assistant general secretary.
In the polls, 11 students are contesting for liberation war affairs secretary, 9 for science and technology affairs secretary, 9 common room and cafeteria secretary, 13 for international affairs secretary, eight for literature secretary, 11 for sports secretary post, 10 for student transport secretary, 15 for social welfare secretary and 88 for the position of members.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics