Thursday, November 14, 2013
"FOURTH CONSECUTIVE WIN FOR SFI IN UNIVERSITY OF HYDERABAD POLLS" - Sampath V Sambasivan
THE Students’ Federation of India has once again emerged victorious in the Students’ Union elections of University of Hyderabad (UoH) for the year 2013-14. This is the fourth consecutive victory of SFI in the university. Sirisha V, who secured 1197 votes, has been elected as the first ever woman president of Students’ Union of the university. SFI has also bagged the posts of general secretary and joint secretary, which were won by Sandeep Kumar and Adithya Harish respectively.
This victory has been secured in the midst of the joint anti-SFI campaign launched by all other organisations in the campus, foregoing all ideological barriers. The corporate bourgeois media also joined hands with them by unleashing baseless slanderous campaigns against SFI. The NSUI exposed its pseudo-secular face by resorting to rampant cross voting in favour of ABVP. The mandate in favour of SFI, despite all such efforts from the part of the anti-SFI camp, is indicative of the acceptability and faith that the student community has invested in SFI.
SFI approached these elections with a clear-cut manifesto, upholding its unflinching fight against communal politics and commercialisation of education. The promise to continue its steadfast struggles for social, economic and gender justice was well received by the student community.
The Students’ Union election results of this year are of historic significance since the University has elected its first ever woman president, Sirisha. The candidature of Sirisha has been a bold step taken by SFI to strengthen its fight for a gender sensitive society. Her candidature has been revelatory in various respects. It revealed the depth and influence of patriarchal values in the campus. It also exposed the gendered prejudices upheld by certain forces on campus. Posters and banners with Sirisha’s pictures were torn down by certain conservative groups showing their intolerance towards the participation of women in public life. This was nothing but an alternative manifestation of the patriarchal intolerance displayed by the conservative patriarchs of the RSS and other religious fundamentalist groups. The mandate in favour of SFI by the politically conscious students of UoH is a strong blow to the lumpen elements.
LEGACY OF STRUGGLES
The clear mandate secured by SFI must be read in close connection with the uncompromising stand taken by the organisation against the implementation of neo-liberal educational policies in the university. The struggles of SFI and the SFI-led Students’ Union (2012-13) against the imposition of hostel fee hike in the form of service charges to the tune of Rs 6000 upon the student community, reinforced the SFI’s staunch opposition to the neo-liberal policies being followed by the UPA government.
The organisation could also effectively thwart the move on the part of the administration to scrap the fellowships provided to the students of the university. These struggles, aimed at preserving the rights of the socially and economically backward sections of the student community, have to be seen in the larger context of socio-economic justice. The mandate is also a recognition of the pertinent role played by SFI in the struggle against the allocation of university land to corporate houses. SFI could also resist the well-crafted plans of the gender-biased administration to impose restrictions on the mobility of girl students. Thus the mandate, in short, is the student community’s recognition for the relentless struggles waged by the organisation against the corrupt, neo-liberal, gender-biased system.
We are well aware of the fact that the path ahead is tough and the journey arduous. We are conscious of the enormous responsibilities vested on us as the torchbearers of the progressive Left student movement of the country. We are solidly committed to carry forward the legacy of the struggles upheld by our dear comrades, Sudipto, Rohit, Sajin Shahul, Fazil and many others who sacrificed their lives in the fight for campus democracy, gender justice and secularism. We stand in militant solidarity with our dear comrades of Pondicherry University who are engaged in a staunch fight against the gender-biased decisions of the administration.
Our fights shall continue. We shall fight! We shall win!!
(The writer is secretary, SFI-HCU Unit)