Mohammad Ali Sattar
When a senior columnist of The Daily Observer commented that this has become a land where students beat up teachers I couldn't agree more. However, I have my own words to express my shame, resentment, remorse and what have you. I am least interested to dwell on the political aspect of these acts and the unholy garb that these so-called students wear and chant a party slogan.
Politics has in many ways eaten up the innards of the young souls. The potential faculty of morality, enlightenment, education and creativity has been unceremoniously buried by the voodoo magic of politics which has become a strange 'occupation'. Students and national politics have started growing mouldy immediately following the liberation --- a truth that many would now reluctantly but shamefully agree with.
A chronological account of students going wayward is now an issue that causes only boredom. No one for a moment is interested to listen to or talk about students affairs - be it politics, admission matters, or securing good marks in exams. There is something very wrong with the functioning of the whole student community. The degeneration is there. It stares at us with broad open eyes and anaconda teeth. The draconic ferocity in them is now at a dangerous point.
Under growing unsettled socio-political climate the new generation students are coming into the educational institutions that are mostly manned by infected individuals. Each and every campus of schools and colleges are somehow viral. When the tiny tots kick off their student career in play groups or nursery they have no idea about the forthcoming days. They are automatically absorbed by the time and system that run the higher classes in their schools, colleges and universities.
More stunning is the news that now a day school boys are smarter and geared up even before they enter the college or university campus. So in a way, a portion of the new entrants are all set to merge into the rotten part of the system in these institutions. The adventurous and ignorant urban elite and middle class lads are easily taken into the strides of misadventures.
And then there is the huge lower middle class from the rural and countryside young men and women who come to Dhaka and other bigger towns to pursue their education career. They get admitted by hook or by crook into the institution of their choice. Or land up in those where they could just make it. Who doesn't know the tale of admission trade carried by a part of students and teachers?
And in the broader corridors of universities the political hype is always there to perturb the gullible and the spoilt. He or she will be carried away at one time or the other by these politically motivated group.
The idealism is long gone. The student's role in these institutions is now dreams and stories of the past. We don't even recall them who laid down their lives for us. Glorious student movements of the past that made possible the eventual liberation of this country are typically bunged in the books. Significant dates and events are seldom discussed as though these pioneers have run out of steam to inspire this generation.
However, if we leaf through the pages of their valorous accounts, we find their politics were way elevated than ours. Their thoughts and actions were topped with sophistication of speech and aristocracy of postures. The manner of debate and understanding had an elitist touch, the fiercest battle of words were fought in the friendliest ambiance. They had genuine enlightened minds with broadest of visions and outlooks.
This ideal generation soon faded. Especially with the liberation in 1971, there appeared to be 'no need' for this quality leadership. Gradually (or quickly?) the other group took over. Spent was the glorious past, almost overnight.
The DU and other campuses witnessed regular conflicts and massacres, more grisly were the murders at different student hostels. Use of arms and brandishing of weapons became a regular do until it turned out to be the standard practice.
Along with all these we cannot overlook the teachers who also got polluted by the system. There was the rapid division in the ranks and files of the teachers of these high institutions. Panels and groups soon picked up colours more prominent than the past. The teachers gradually drifted from their main job to other activities. Power-play and politics became their past times. Some of them started using students to meet their aims.
Today, when we see the students beating up the teachers we are ashamed. I am sure that not too many are; only a few would be taken aback by the news. But I would like to know from the teachers, are they doing their bit correctly?
The rot is on; it will not stop any time soon. We shall meet more such incidents now and then, because at this time we have a strong group of teachers and students who are engaged in conspiracies and violence on the campus. They lost their heads, shame and morality. Although they are redundant for a civilized society they survive in our system. When should we declare them uncalled-for and root them out?
Mohammad Ali Sattar is a journalist and columnist