Published: 10th September 2018
Universities have cancelled elections because SFI wins every time: V P Sanu
V P Sanu, National President of the Students Federation of India talks about college administrations' strategy of canceling college elections because they keep winning and other contemporary issues
The building was dark and dingy. As we struggled to find a board that said SFI somewhere, we began to wonder if we were at the right address, until a white flag being carried by a young man caught my attention. There were three words — Independence, Democracy, Socialism — written with a blood-red star next to it.
If you're from Kerala, It is nearly impossible for you to have not seen it before. "Where is your office?" I asked the bearer of the flag. "Second floor," he replied. Rushing up the stairs, towards the end of the second-floor corridor, we reached a door that had a dusty board in front of it. It read simply 'SFI/DYFI'.
Five minutes later, a gentleman in a khadi kurta entered the apartment, followed by a few comrades. It was V P Sanu, the organisation's National President. He had just returned from a meeting outside the Madras Christian College in Tambaram — a visit that was part of the Kanyakumari to Kashmir trip that the student group has undertaken called the 'SFI All India Jatha' — for quality and scientific education without discrimination.
Without wasting a minute or even belying even a hint of tiredness, he sat down, ready for an interview, while I wondered if exhaustion was alien to the average revolutionary type. From gay rights to urban naxals to nationalism, he had a lot to share over the next 15 minutes. Excerpts from the conversation:
Decriminalising of Section 377 of the IPC is the hot topic now as we speak. What's your take?
The SFI's central executive community has always been supportive of the VIBGYOR movement. We've always stood for the rights of the community. We have participated in the movement in different cities and stand for the human rights of the LGBT community. Therefore, undoubtedly, we are all very happy to hear this verdict of the Supreme Court.
SFI recently won most of the student unions in Kerala. Nevertheless, the organisation's presence is limited to a very few colleges. Why is this?
Elections are restricted only to a few colleges in the country and the SFI has won them in most places. Our presence and continuous winning has led to the ban of elections in many universities including the Madhya Pradesh State University and Kurukshetra University. Same is the case in the Dehradun varsities and Karnataka Central University. In the last one year, even Mamata Banerjee's government has banned college elections in West Bengal, owing to the same reason.
Red salute: Sanu during an SFI event
Why don't we see that support in the general elections?
Only 24.6 per cent of the youth gets the opportunity to go to college. More than 75 per cent is outside the education system. Most of the political campuses have very few students. That's the main barrier.
So are you saying that the educated young people of India are in support of the Left Liberals?
Do you ever fear that the same people who targetted Gauri Lankesh are watching you?
We're already termed anti-national. There's nothing new in it. But we're not fearful. Fear wouldn't make us SFI. Anyone who fears the fascist BJP government will not be able to call themselves activists. Basically, they fear our voices and slogans. That's why the intellectuals were killed. That very fear is the root of all these terms like Urban Naxals.
Kanhaiya Kumar recently told us that he isn't anti-national, while the current government is. Do you agree?
Surely! The BJP is anti-national. They weren't present in the Independent movement. In fact, they even betrayed us. Even now, in Kashmir, they were with PDP. In Tripura, they're with IPFT. They're looting our money through corruption and are killing our people. For them, the country is just about borders and the soldiers. But our country is much more than that. There are lots of people who give their life to feed us and are working hard for the country. This government is against them. They're against free education.The government is with 1 per cent of the population, which are the corporates. If the corporates form the nation, then the government is undoubtedly nationalist.