Unlike the DU and JNU campus, the walls in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) have no posters, paintings, or graffiti reflecting the political mood of the campus and its students.
Unlike the DU and JNU campus, the walls in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) have no posters, paintings, or graffiti reflecting the political mood of the campus and its students. Instead, there are signs warning students that they are under CCTV surveillance.
For years, the poll process for electing new student representatives is in force at DU and JNU, but students of Jamia till today are fighting for their demand to reinstate the students’ union that was scrapped ten years ago.
The officials maintained that the students’ union elections have been banned in JMI since March 2006 after students allegedly interfered with the university’s administrative matters. “The student polls were suspended in order to ensure that there was no disruption in normal academic transactions. The students have been regularly requesting us to bring the student union back but we are helpless as the matter is sub judice,” the official said. Since then, the students have also been writing repeatedly to vice-chancellors and the University Grants Commission (UGC). Three students even filed a series of RTIs and a PIL in the Delhi high court in 2011, just after JMI was declared a minority institution by NCMEI. But the matter is still pending.
On the other hand, students are of the view that instead of eliminating the whole process, the varsity should at least allow political activism among students in a manner that did not affect academic activities.
Jamia unit of Students Islamic Organisation (SIO), the students’ wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, has been active on campus by staging various protests demanding the reinstatement of the union.
“As a student organisation, we believe that a university should play a key role in the process of political socialisation. Students’ union gives a common platform to students in universities to fight for common interests. But this opposition to student union and political activities on campus makes one assume that having political democracy produces evil consequences,” an SIO member said.
But despite spending a decade without student union elections, student parties in Jamia have not given up on activism. The ‘Pinjra Tod’ campaign started from Jamia against alleged discriminatory rules for women students living in the college hostels and PGs. A member from AISA feels where a community has no participation in national politics, the administration there ends up becoming slave and the same is happening with them.