ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Chance to Redeem the University

Student Elections in Mumbai

The announcement of the revival of student elections in the University of Mumbai has generated interest. However, the ground reality indicates that the future discourse of the university itself depends on the efforts taken by the upcoming student representatives. It is essential that they hit the ground running.

As a hectic campaign was building up in the October heat of 1989, the brutal murder of a student outside a busy Mumbai college sent shock waves across the country. He was none other than the sitting National Students Union of India (NSUI) district president, Owen D’Souza. While a political rival was blamed for this, the incident led to many questions in the larger context, regarding the necessity of student elections in the University of Mumbai. A few years later, student elections were banned altogether in Maharashtra, and the Maharashtra Universities Act of 1994 clearly specified nomination as the way ahead (Ashar 2017). However, it was a combination of factors, admittedly, that led to this decision. Student elections created positions of political influence and, thus, the intention of curbing such attempts at consolidation of power might have figured in the decision of the policymakers.

Another factor that added to the conundrum was the effect of the neo-liberal economic reforms on the city of Mumbai. Aspirations of the people had changed, and they wanted to focus exclusively on the perceived gains on offer. The politics of the dominant regional party and the Congress had lost its connect with the average student and, thus, people at large had little sympathy left for the fate of student elections.

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Updated On : 5th Oct, 2017
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