Humans belong to the society and students are an integral part of it. Students cannot live without community-life. They are the best weapon for improving and strengthening the society. They can engage themselves in various forms of social work in their spare time, and in moments of crisis. During the struggle for independence, the Student mass mobilisation had just fuel the Indian national movement.
The student movement in India can studied in three broad phases which are discussed below:
1. The student’s scientific and historic society was founded by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1848 as a discussion forum. This forum is considered as the beginning student movement in India.
2. The student strike at King Edward Medical College Lahore was the first student strike regarding academic discrimination between the English people and Indians.
3. The realm of student movement increases between 1906 and 1918, when 184 persons out of 68 were students are convicted in Bengal in connection with revolutionary activities.
4. Swadesi Movement (1905): This movement organised the student movement in India and gave a revolutionary outlook such as boycott colleges as well as British Goods, Student clubs.
5. In 1912, All India College students Conference of Ahmedabad nailed the student commitment to work for the freedom of the India and gives moto of ‘Charka Swaraj first, and education after”.
6. Student Christian Movement of India (SCM) was started in 1912 against western colonialism with an aim to orient the students with Christian Faith through social realities.
7. During Non-Cooperation Movement of 1919 was largely supported by schools and colleges from Punjab, Bengal, UP and Bombay. Boycott of schools and colleges become an integral part of the non-cooperation movement.
8. The Hindu Students Federation (HSF) was started in 1936 with the ideology of RSS. This wing of student directly appeals to the sentiments of Hindu youth from its inception. It did not participate with the Freedom struggle.
9. The first All India Students Conference was held at Lucknow in 1936 in which 986 student delegates from 210 local and11 provincial organizations from Punjab, UP, CP, Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa attended the Conference.
10. All India Muslim Students Federation (AIMSF) founded by the Muslim League in 1937 to address the grievances of Muslim students and wanted a support for separate state for Muslims from the Muslim student wing. This wing of student did not participate in the Independence movement and was concerned only with defending Muslims whenever they were attacked.
11. After Non-Cooperation Movement, Quit India Movement was also got largest traction from the student fraternity. During the movement, the students successfully manage to shut down most of the colleges and involved most of leadership responsibilities and provided the link between the underground leaders and the movement.
12. In 1947, National Students Union of India (NSUI) was formed after splitting from the All India Student Congress Federation (AISCF) and became the student wing of the Congress party. This led to the formation of locality specific student movement for example- Nav Niraman Student Movement Gujarat (1973), Bihar Student Movement (1974), Assam Student Movement of 1979), All Jharkhand Students Union(1986) etc.
13. In 1948, the Young Socialist League was founded after splitting with Congress.
14. Akhila Bharathiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) founded in 1949 by the supporters of RSS Ideologies to mobilize student power towards the task of national reconstruction.
15. All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF) was founded in 1949 with the aim of providing faith orientation through the sociality for the students from the Catholic Church. It is a branch of the international student group ‘IMCS-Pax Romana’.
After Independence, the perspective of the student movements has changed because it became a weapon for localized forced on university issues or local political conflicts, rather than on rational or broader ideological questions. But in some instance, students responded to the critical issues and agitated in the forefront such as Naxalite movement, Chipko movement, Anti Emergency Movement, Anti-Mandal Agitations etc.
16. All India Youth Federation (AIYF) was founded by the Communist Party of India in 1959 as united platform for progressive and democratic section of young generation.
17. Naxalite Movement: It was started by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal, and Jangal Santhal in 1967. Further, large number of student and youth came forward against landlordism, feudal exploitation and social humiliation of the tribal’s, land less peasants and agricultural labourers at the hand of jotedars and moneylenders.
18. Dashauli Gram Swaraj Sangh (DGSS) under the leadership of Chandi Prasad Bhatt started a campaign at Gopeshwar for the jobs to the local men near their hometowns by setting up forest based small-scale industries in 1960.
19. Republic Yuvak Sangatan (RPI) in 1961 started the first dalit movement after independence against casteism and to provide protection to scheduled casts.
20. Student Federation of India (SFI): It was founded by the CPI (M) in 1970 to organize the students to fight a democratic and progressive education system and for the uplift and betterment of the lot of the student community.
21. Chipko Movement (began from 1973): This movement was started with the Gandhian methods of Satyagraha where both male and female activists played vital roles, including Gaura Devi, Sudesha Devi, Bachni Devi and Chandi Prasad Bhatt. The movement got strength when students to organise educational padayatras to villages during three vacations, which becomes the most important means of mass education.
22. The Republican Party Republican Students Federation was formed and renamed as Vidharaba Republican Students Federation (VRSF) with an objective to follow the path initiated by Lord Buddha and adopted by Ambedkar. It has been actively involved in college and university union elections as well as organising rallies and dharnas against social discriminations.
23. Anti-Emergency Movement: The anti-Congress feeling was mounted among the students and in their union. The ABVP and the Socialists first time join hands and formed the Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti. Lau Prasad was elected as president and Sushi Modi was elected as general secretary. But during a protest in front of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha, all students were brutally beaten up by police and students were arrested. Then, this movement got organised when a group of student invited Jai Prakash Narayan and after that he gave the name ‘Total Revolution’ (Sampooran Kranti) or ‘a struggle against the very system which has compelled almost everybody to go corrupt’.
24. Anti-Mandal Student Agitations: It was started by the upper-class student when VP Singh Government announces to implement the Mandal Commission report in 1990. It was well-organized student agitation. The fire of protest catches not only in Delhi but also in Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. The demand of the protest was to remove the reservation on caste and uphold the reservation based on the economic considerations.
Globalisation Period: Student Movements
In this phase, the student movements were inclined towards ideologies without any consideration of student welfare, such as left student movements and right-wing student movement. Dalit Movement was the only movement that emerged due to the postmodern scenario.
25. Women student's movements: This was the first time after independence; a group of women of Sanskrit College, Pattambi in 1990 came forward to address the problem of women in the campus.
26. Cyber activist student movements: It was started by the engineering students of NIIT Calicut against the monopoly of the Micro Soft corporations in the software industry. It is also known as ‘free software movement’. It was the creative resistance of the professional college students against globalization.
27. All India Students Association (AISA): It was founded by the CPI (ML) in 1990.
Initially the student movement was focused on schools, curriculum, and educational funding; student groups have influenced greater political events. Then their focus shifted towards the struggle movement of India's freedom. But after the independence, the student movement was shifted towards political ideologies and became puppets political parties.