Former DUCSU Vice-President Tofail Ahmed has underscored the need for maintaining unity and harmony among all active student bodies to make the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) effective for creating future leaders of the country.
“If the DUCSU could be made effective, students’ representatives from this platform will lead the nation in future taking lessons from the golden past of student politics, including the 1952 Language Movement, the 1969 mass upsurge and the 1971 Liberation War,” Tofail, who was DUCSU VP in 1968-69 term, told BSS in an interview at his Banani residence in the capital on Tuesday.The veteran Awami League leader and parliamentarian, Tofail recalled that everything in the country was virtually under the control of student bodies at the time the 1969 mass upsurge.
“The student bodies ruled the country under the banner of Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad led by Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU),” he said.
Asked about the current scenario of student politics, the former Chhatra League president said now ideological student politics is not prevailing in the country.
“There is no student politics based on ideologies now. After Bangabandhu’s assassination, the military rulers, particularly General Ziaur Rahman and General Ershad, polluted the student politics by using them for their personal purposes,” he said.
He said Zia, as a president of the country, took students on river cruises with a view to polluting the student politics. “Military rulers wanted to destroy the student politics so that students could not wage movement,” he observed.
Before the independence, Tofail said the characteristics of student politics were different as student bodies did politics maintaining ideologies and principles having individuality apart from the mainstream politics.“We, the student leaders, never went to the dais of Awami League. On the other hand, Awami League leaders too never used to sit on our dais,” he said.
Tofail said only Bangabandhu, as an Awami League leader, was present on the dais of a programme of students when he became the president of Chhatra League.
“We made intellectuals chief guests in our programmes. Intellectuals Agartala case accused Shamsur Rahman Khan, Ruhul Quddus, Fazlur Rahman and journalist Sirajuddin Hossain were made our guests,” he said.
Now the scenario of student politics is getting changed as students go on the dais of national leaders and the mainstream politicians also do that, he said adding, “The political culture changed following Bangabandhu’s assassination and the student’s politics got harmed.”
About the long overdue DUCSU and hall union polls slated for March 11, the former minister said a neutral and transparent election should be held and it doesn’t matter whoever will be elected.
“In our time, we, the student bodies, had differences of opinions and paths but we were friends. We had very deep social relations. We stood by each other in our well and woes. But in tables, we used to debate,” he said.
He said from DUCSU election, the journey of holding students union polls should begin and election to RUCSU, CUCSU and JUCSU and other universities and colleges, including private ones should be held.