Oinam Premchand Singh
CLASS BOYCOTT! UNIVERSITY BOYCOTT! Are there no other alternative forms of student protest? Manipur is without a doubt a land in excellence for its not so inviting class boycotts.The student’s organizations and intellects have appeared to be completely blind from what it has been seen up until now; it is quite obvious to all that what they seem to mind in all actuality is just for their interest or win and not so for the students. As a student (victim) we had witnessed some of the long over looked boycott of class in the discourse of human civilization; 9 months of class boycott in 2009 and 2010 enforced upon schools and university by some of our dearests, yet politically insinuated student’s groups (anonymous).What is really disheartening is that no one seems to even care for the gradual repercussions surely to befall on the students as a result of the ongoing class boycott at Manipur University. The class boycott of 2009 and 2010 stands out as a concrete undeniable example in this respect. The impact of this boycott was gradual, but hard to miss as a student. The class boycott was called by some of the student groups against the then government demanding for the resignation of the Chief Minister. Schools and colleges were boycotted as part of the agitation,some of them joined it eagerly and many others took part in it unwillingly. Even tuition centers were not allowed to have classes. It was continued straight for 9 months. After 9 long months of boycott, miraculously and suspiciously to the public opinion,it was pulled back achieving almost like nothing. But, it was a big relief to thousands of students who were gearing up for future careers. BOSEM, COSEM, and University exams were subsequently conducted without any disruptions. Astonishingly, students could score very good marks in these exams. In fact,the pass percentage of that year crossed the previous year’s record. It was assumed by the public that student’s performance could not be affected by the prolonged class boycott.When the exam result came people started to even forget that there was 9 months class boycott in the State! A bulk of the students who had passed COHSEM in particular applied in Delhi University and several other universities in India. They got admitted to these universities and started a new career venture.Unfortunately, the impact of the 9 months prolonged class boycott slowly fell upon a large section of the students. Since students did not have the opportunity fort horoughlearning process on the basic foundational courses of class 10+1 and 10+2, many of them found it quite difficult to digest the enlarged syllabus of the graduation classes. As tuition culture for the higher class is not so popular in other Indian states unlike in Manipur,an alternative option to manage the syllabus became an impractical solution to the students. Semester and yearly exams came up and students from Manipur in large number felt the gravity of the situation and the impact on them as a direct result of the class boycott. In the first semester exam, a large number of students failed. Many of them even did not tell this harsh reality to their parents and unexpected troubles that they were all going through. With hardship students could manage to pass the graduate exam; for many,it took more than three years to complete it. Also,quite a large number of the student also fizzled to clear the exam. It gave a lot of moral and psychological blow to a large number of students who had come out of Manipur with high hopes and the promises they made to their parents. In fact, students became helpless victims. The impact of the class boycott is not done yet. After graduation, majority of the students from Manipur usually opted to prepare for competitive exams. They did coaching and gave hard efforts to clear the exams for jobs. However, the disadvantage in terms of lack of knowledge to the students as a result ofthe lack of foundational courses became a challenge for them to crack through all Indian competitive exams.
Considering the catastrophic impact of 9 months class boycott, it is quite necessary to rethink the so called act of further boycotting classes in Manipur University. History has taught us enough that boycotting classes would only serve the interest of few people and not the students in general. It is high time for the student and teacher’s associations to rethink and realize the impact that students had undergone through as a result of 9 months class boycott in Manipur.
As of now, it is more probable that thousands of students of Manipur University would also soon undergo through the same pain in the near future. Other than boycotting classes there could be several other alternative forms of democratic protests and agitations that teachers and students must look at. Boycotting classes furthermore would be an act of insanity considering the present situation and in the end, it’s only the student’s career that would be affected and not the teachers.
The writer is a research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi