When spines hijack the brains

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
25 January 2010 13:27 IST

The Rahul Gandhi visit to Goa University and his interaction with the students for NSUI (National Students' Union of India) elections has thrown up, not just  one or two, but many questions.

Is it right on the part of any university to welcome political figures in the campus? Is it right on the part of the Goa Youth Congress to ‘cheat' the university authorities for an election campaign? Is it right on the part of the BJP party workers to ‘enter' the university campus, to protest against the ‘entry' of politicians in the campus? Is the Goa University becoming political? Is it right on the part of the Registrar to succumb to political pressures, initially to issue a circular, then to withdraw the circular and then to resign?

The whole episode in fact has exposed how confused the university authorities are. Without any hesitation, the registrar tells students to attend Rahul Gandhi's interaction at the university ground, especially when exams are on. Then the registrar succumbs to the pressure of the BJP. He withdraws the circular, without any hesitation. Now, which was his right action? Issuing the circular or withdrawing it?

Then comes Rahul Gandhi to interact with the students. But all students are not allowed inside. "You need the NSUI card to enter", they are told. Even the media is not allowed. When media catches him outside, Rahul throws a bombshell: "I am here for NSUI elections". Oops! The "interaction farce" is exposed by the leader himself.

And what's the real scene ‘inside'? On the stage, chief minister Digambar Kamat, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar, AICC Goa observer B Hariprasad and Youth Congress state president Sankalp Amonkar are escorting Rahul. In the front row are all the ministers, thrown-out ministers, ex-ministers and aspiring ministers. The students are ‘secondary', behind them. And no sign of NSUI. Because it simply does not exist in Goa. What exists is a students' wing of the Youth Congress. Now, at Rahul's initiative, they plan to revive it.

But few wise students don't keep quite. They bombard Rahul with questions. About SEZs, Babush Monseratte, chargesheeters in the cabinet etc etc. He tells Digambar to answer it. Rahul only appeals to join the NSUI. Then he conducts Youth Congress meeting in the university hall, because the NIO has declined to provide their conference hall for political meeting.

The scientists appear wiser than the academicians. Registrar Dr Mohan Sangodkar then cries foul play by the Youth Congress. Youth Congress bounces back, claims that the function was organised by the university. Then roars the BJP. Opposition leader Manohar Parrikar demands Sangodkar's resignation. Next day, the BJP gheraos the VC and the Registrar. They claim to be Bharatiya Yuva Morcha. But, the crowd included councilors and lost candidates of Assembly polls. Dr Sangodkar bends and offers to resign.

It's crystal clear. The centre of all brains - the university - has not used its brains while handling this issue. Or have the flexible spines hijacked the brains? It was proved not once or twice but thrice. While issuing the circular, while withdrawing the circular and also while offering to resign.

It has not happened for the first time. This has been the tradition of Goa University. If there is little political pressure, the spines bend instantly to hand over its prime land to any party. The university overnight reverses its decision to make it a central university. Makes us wonder whether it's a university of academicians or university of politicians.

And where are the students? I could understand even if students' wings of political parties, like the NSUI or the ABVP, had raised their voice in this whole episode. But they are seen only at the time of university students' council elections. Neither were they seen when the university was ‘donating' its prime nor when the state university was getting converted into a central university. Similarly, they were not bothered in this case too.

As far as politicking is concerned, one wonders who is a better politician, the one who sits in the Goa Assembly or the one who teaches in the university. Goa University has more islands than the actual islands in our state. They call them "lobbies". The Karnataka lobby, the Andhra lobby, the Maharashtra lobby etc etc. It seems they keep on fighting and even the executive councils and academic councils are busier resolving these internal squabbles than to take policy decisions on the academic future of Goa.

In fact what's required at this stage is to prohibit all kind of politicking in the campus and teach good politics to the student community. There is nothing wrong if politicians interact with the students. In fact it's necessary. But then it should be pure interaction, without any petty politicking agendas. Politics is not a bad word. It needs to be converted into a good word. India, at this stage, needs a progressive political thought. The student needs to know all kind of existing political trends in the country. From Gandhism to Socialism to Naxalism, the political line of the Congress, the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party and even the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

But sadly, this is not happening. The little interaction of students with Rahul has proved that the student community is fuming with the existing bad trends in the ongoing politics. The university needs to act as a torch-bearer at this juncture. But, instead, the university is involving itself in politicking and the politicians are politicising the issue.

Will anybody come forward to debate and decide the role of the university to raise the level of political consciousness of the student community? It's necessary because they need to build tomorrow's Bharat. That too, with a good political thought.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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Good. This writeup should reach to maximum number of students.

(you should add e mail option on this page for forwarding this article to friend )

- Sanjay p Sawant Dessai, Curchorem goa | 06 th February 2010 13:04


Sandesh, gone are the days of PSU wherein students would bounce back to any injutice incurred and fight for their rights. Today`s students are so self centred that they have become insensitive to everything. May be it's the extension of the moral degeneration of our overall society. As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, i think he himself is a confused lot and always takes more than he can bite. And our politicians have a herd mentality, to follow without questioning "why". How can we expect a change when they themselves do not know what needs to be changed. Persons of conviction are almost on the verge of extinction.

- Dr Babita Angle., Margao | 28 th January 2010 15:30


How about seeking advice from Political science (if there is one) faculty at Goa University ?

- m r samant | 26 th January 2010 15:29


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