As students, we all came here to study. And that is what we do. We come to our classes and return home, in scattered little groups of friends and fellow thinkers. With our departments located distantly in a vast campus, we seldom get a chance to know our neighbors. We meet occasionally, five or six days a year, on particular cultural events marked by the institution. Our ideas and visions are exchanged within small, comfortable circles. In such a circle, comprised of one or two students from all the departments, an idea was exchanged. It was about bringing all the little circles together to create a big one: a united community of students.
Why do we need unity? We need to come together for ourselves; to do something constructive, collectively. So that we can discuss our thoughts, have debates, and raise voice when it is necessary. That is why we need a forum. We need a platform to bring up our tea-stall discussions, our classroom-disputes or our hostel-problems. We can watch a film together, talk about our favorite books, we can organize a protest march when needed or just sit together, banter, and have tea.
Several issues over the last few months worked as a catalyst to bring some of us together: the protest against the fee-hike or the act of demanding security of the students. But let us, all of us, those who did or did not come, meet again with or without such burning issues. Let us come together to organize our independent discussion groups, seminars or performances. Let us talk about our hostel-allotment problems, our medical-insurance, our kitchen-issues, or the always late result-out.
The unified forum that we propose is for all the students, irrespective of their ideological and political standpoints. This forum shall never be a part of any one political party or have any religious or racist bias. No matter what language we speak or where we come from, we are part of one commune. We might call it Independent Students’ Forum.
Initially, we have decided that this forum will not operate through one or two elected members. We would not have a power center. Every voice, every opinion would be counted equal and decisions would be taken through a democratic process in a general body meeting.
We have also decided that any decision taken in one meeting can be completely discarded in the next, by the approval of the majority.
To maintain the nonpartisan and flexible nature of the forum, we have formed a primary committee as a starting point. The committee has thought of certain common minimum agendas which would be part of our motto. They are following-
1. Maintain student democracy in the campus
2. Protect our human and natural environment
3. Show equal respect to all religions, castes and races
4. Maintain gender equality
5. Stand against moral policing
How would we implement these features in our works? How would the forum operate further? What would we do here? Who are the organizers? Like we said, there is no power center; there is no “head of the organization”. It is just another small group, reaching out to others. And as for the queries, let us meet on 14th November at 4 p.m., Gour-Prangan, to have a face-to-face discussion.
We want you- no matter what your standpoint is. We ask you to share your views. Your opinion is important to us; even if you do not come on 14th, you can join us any day.
Primary Committee for the Independent Students’ Forum (Visva Bharati)