Published: 30th October 2018
How Junaid Nazar, Pondicherry University's newest left-leaning Student Council President was inspired by his brother in UoH
Junaid, a second-year MA Sociology student has been active in the SFI ever since he was in school and is now at the helm of Pondicherry University's Student Council at a dicey time
Junaid Nazar started bearing a red flag ever since he was a high school student. Right from an early age, this 22-year-old was introduced to the ideas of left-liberalism, communism and socialism and was told tales of revolution and liberation by his older brother, a student of the University of Hyderabad. Inspired, this second-year MA Sociology student was eager to work for the betterment of the society, fighting the ideals of fascism and saffronisation. He got a chance, a few days ago, when he was elected as the Pondicherry University's Student Council president.
Recently, the university's SFI unit was in the news for emerging as the single largest majority organisation in the recent student council elections. SFI members won 10 out of the 11 main panel seats. It also didn't have any alliances this year. Prior to the new council's internal meeting and a face-to-face meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Gurmeet Singh, we caught up with Junaid for a quick chat. The newly elected president is happy about the victory, but at the same time, he says that a lot has to be done in the university.
Junaid notes how several departments in the university lack even the basic amenities and says that the council's first fight is to improve facilities. "The new hostel block in the university still doesn't have a WiFi connection. Not just that, some departments do not even have proper classrooms. The first and the second-year students are forced to share the same classrooms," he says. He also blames the previous council, which was a rainbow alliance of eight organisations, for overlooking these issues. "The last council also had the same issues, but they didn't try to push for it. There was turmoil within the council. In fact, there wasn't even a proper council inauguration," he says.
Political rivalry is still rampant in the university and Junaid alleges how 'money-politics' always played a role in the previous councils. He says that the university's political environment is still maturing. "I think the current post provides me with a lot of opportunities. Compared to the other central universities in the country, PU is not very active when it comes to politics. It is still growing. And I'm very happy to play a role in it," he says.
Junaid adds that the council will unanimously fight against the efforts to saffronise the university. Two months back, the students held an indefinite strike in the university alleging the authorities of implying Hindutva ideologies and policies. A pro-Hindu quote by Aurobindo, which was hung in the university had also incited trouble. The Vice-Chancellor had dismissed the allegations. But Junaid asks, "Didn't we all see the photograph and the quote? On what basis can it be said that there is no saffronisation?" Junaid is adamant to bring changes in the existing society and help increase the political awareness of the youngsters around him.