The student community signifies bubbling youth. The irresistible youth is restless today, seeking recognition and understanding. Students are the hope of tomorrow and yet, student unrest is a global phenomenon of today. One has grown accustomed to strikes, boycott of examinations and classes, gheraos of vice chancellors and processions, demonstrations and violence in which the students are involved. Student unrest has thus become a part of our lives.
Student unrest is universal and it is interesting to note that according to an opinion poll recorded in Fortune – an American magazine, 40% of American students joined the universities with the idea of reforming the world. The students believe in a new order of things. They want to do away with the old systems and institutions, the conservatism and rigidity of the older generation which they consider decadent and archaic. The youthful student wants to break the taboos set by the society and does not believe in the values and morality of the older generation. A clash is inevitable in the circumstances which lead to a deadlock and the so-called generation gap. The elders usually insist on having things their way which leads to frustration and crisis among the students. They feel forsaken and visualise an utopian ‘brave new world’. For them the social, political, economic and educational systems are defective.
Students are fed on theories and ideals. Untouched by the realities of the world in which they live, what they see of life around disillusions them. A student is thrown into a virtual whirlpool of utter confusion where he can neither judge anything for himself nor seek any effective guidance or support from any person. He comes to suffer from a lurking sense of insecurity, lack of emotional satisfaction, social recognition and acceptance.
Students and the youth crave for emotional satisfaction. They yearn for an exposure of their talents, abilities and demands. As often they do not get satisfied, the students resort to an ugly display of their emotions, given vent to their feelings in the most unbecoming manner. Violence and arson, hooliganism and vandalism, rowdyism and vulgarity are let loose. They throw discretion and all sense of reason to the winds, all to no use. It is surely not a catharsis of their grievances and troubles.
It is futile to attempt to assign responsibility for student unrest to any particular section of the society. The student youth has an impressionable mind which can be moulded in any way. The parents, teachers, and educational institutions, however should be responsible for character building among students and for imparting to them a right approach to life. Life should not be depicted as full of evil monsters but as worth living and enjoying, provided one has the grit to face its challenges.
Students are often toyed with by anti-social and unscrupulous elements. They are used as puppets by unprincipled politicians playing the game of politics who feed students with ill cooked ideals. Politics are often been dragged into colleges and universities and students are lured into violence and arson which does them no good but only tarnishes their image and mars their career.
Students are the most potent force in the society who would hold the reigns of society in the future. It is the duty of the older generation to give the students a balanced view of life and its responsibilities. What they need is proper guidance, encouragement, recognition and acceptance as an important section of the society. Student unrest is a tricky problem and volatile student have to be handled tactfully.