Student bodies may be anti-establishment, but must not divide society: RSS gen secy

Student organisations are supposed to be anti-establishment, but they should not raise voices of division and speak about the country’s culture with disgust, RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said on Friday.

“Every student organisation will be anti-establishment. There is no doubt about it. Every generation has raised its voice against established power. Lekin wo desh ke tukde tukde karne wala to nahi hona chahiye (But that should not be shaped by the idea of balkanising the country). It can’t be with the objective of spreading hate in society. It can’t be about speaking of the country’s culture with disgust. Is it there for creating anarchy? Is it for shedding blood in the country in the name of revolution? Will there be any revolution by killing your own people?” Hosabale said, while addressing a gathering of ABVP workers at an event to release a book, Dhyeyay Yatra, that chronicles the student organisation’s journey.

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Former Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora was the special invitee at the event.

Hosabale said ABVP workers had sacrificed their life to “stop those in universities who want to bring revolution through the barrel of the gun. In Kerala, in Andhra, in Telangana.”

His statements come at a time when there have been clashes in JNU over non-vegetarian food during Navratra and if a havan could be performed. The statements make a veiled reference to alleged slogans of “Bharat tere tukde honge” on JNU campus in 2015.

“Student movements have contributed greatly to the world. They have contributed in the freedom struggle of many countries, in social and political change, even on issues such as environment, social equality, human rights, disarmament… But today some forces wanting to divide the country are raising voices. They look at this society and its culture with disgust and are working against the country,” he said.

Hosabale said that even the ABVP wants change and that every student community wants it. “But what is the form of that change, what is the way? So, with a creative and positive attitude, we will determine what we need to do personally and also advise those sitting in power. That is the kind of organization that ABVP has created in the last 75 years,” he said.

Hosabale said the ABVP had been following what Left stalwart EMS Namboodiripad had said in an interview. “He said that the decision to turn student organisations into an attache of party politics was wrong. The second thing he said was students must also contribute in nation building and not just making demands,” Hosabale said.

The RSS general secretary said the ABVP was bringing two volumes of the book recording its history as those who wrote student movement history were unfair to the organisation.

“Among the reasons to record history is that the books written on student organisations and movements in India have not done justice to the ABVP… In the last one month, I have gone through more than 100 articles. This has happened because the history has been written through the prism of a certain ideology. In this, the work of ABVP has not been projected appropriately,” he said, adding that the organisation had worked on the ground to strengthen democracy.

“Election is one identity of democracy. It is not the only one. ABVP has worked on the ground to strengthen democracy. In these two books is the story of those who have sacrificed everything for the nation. We are not those who write history, we are those who make history. ABVP has worked to prepare generations. The objective behind these books is inspiration to next generation and to have a reference point for work in future,” he said.

Hosabale said having more than 35 lakh members was an achievement but not a contribution. “Its contribution is reflected in producing people like Milind Kamble who started Dalit Chamber of Commerce so that people from the Dalit community don’t just seek jobs but become industrialists. ABVP understood that organisation is not just for articulating demands of students, but also to connect the students with the country, its culture and its glorious history. This is not student politics, but student activism,” he said.

Hosabale said ABVP had participated in many student movements beginning from a 1970 demand for voting rights at 18 years and then starting a public movement against Article 370 in 1981.

“Be it movements in Kashmir, movement against illegal immigrants in Assam, the JP movement, we actively participated in all,” he said.

He narrated how Marathwada University’s name was changed to Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar University by consistent but persuasive movement of the ABVP and achieved without any bloodshed. “Later, even Sharad Pawar and Ramdas Athawale said this was done smoothly because of ABVP’s efforts,” he added.

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