A political enlightening- an evening with student activist Ashish Chauhan

A political enlightening- an evening with student activist Ashish Chauhan

Magna Mishra Sibasis Sahu | Oct 28, 2019

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Politics affords us the opportunity to watch human dysfunction in action on a daily basis.  If we cannot recognize a problem, we cannot truly resolve it. So, we've got that going for us. Politics is the poster child for trying to solve a problem with the same mind that created it. To help keep the students of NIT Rourkela up to date with the ever-changing world and arouse interest in politics Think India organised an evening decorated with the name of Aalap featuring Mr.Ashish Chauhan, the National general secretary of ABVP(Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad).

However, there were multiple instances of mismanagement on the part of Think India and Cognizen. Earlier, Aalap was to be conducted by Cognizen at BBA on the 21st of October and Nupur Sharma, a practising lawyer at the Supreme Court of India and the former president of Delhi University Student’s Union was also supposed to attend. There was no prior information regarding the change of venue and time. Ultimately Think India ended up hosting it. Nevertheless, the event started off in the community centre and went on well.

 

Ashish Chauhan struck the first note with an inspirational message to all about coping up with adversities as follows:

One might not be in the good books of the professor, they might see that you are not performing well. Your boss might not be on good terms with you, he might dislike the pace with which you are working. Yes, of course, it is a risky business to take key initiatives in an ever-challenging world. I have spent most of my student life in government schools except for the last three years that spanned in Saraswati Vidya Mandir. Then after I did my +2 in place that could be considered as the last of the destinations that one can possibly go to study for. Beyond that temple of learning were only the snowy mountains grazed by the Himalayas. Then after I did my MBA in university.

He further added:

During my tenure whenever I was faced with the task of delivering a talk pertaining to a certain topic I never backed out. I had never said ‘no’, except for that one time when I was asked to contest for the post of president in my university as the youngest ever candidate to contest for the post. I was at a tender age of 21 whereas my counterparts were around 25-27 years old. I knew very well that even if I contest and fight till the end I won't be able to win. I had a grasp of my situation. Owing to that I asked deliberately to my party head to let me contest for any post excluding that of the President.I was certain of being triumphant. Unfortunately, the whole contingent lost and I was the one to lose by the least margin among all of my fellow organisation mates. After that, I started working as a full-time member. We were asked who would like to go and contribute to the north-east. I was foolish enough to be the most excited one about it. I was stationed at a place in Shillong. I was chosen by the organisation to go to the NITs and IITs to go and interact with the students over there. I continued in the same line of work from 2010 to 2017. It was during these seven years I felt as if I am not in the limelight, I am on the sidelines. But here I am in front of you. So don't back down because of the position of fear or place. Never say no to anything. Believe in yourself, your organisation, your superiors, your company. Keep doing what you should and people will acknowledge in the end. Make sure that both you and the organisation you are in are mutually growing steadily.

Mr. Ashish put forward his theory of how RSS came into existence as jotted below:

Several sects, cultures, beliefs are in existence as of today. There is a beautiful saying in the Mahabharata which when translated depicts that there are various shrutis, Vedas and smritis. There is no limitation stating that only a single rishi's or veda's quotes are important. All of them have their special significance and carry along with them their own gravity. They are intertwined to help figure out what is the truth and what actually life means. To comprehend what is right and what is wrong, to have rational thinking is what these vedas together as a whole aim at. Akin to the Hindu philosophy there have been several platforms, organisations that have come together to build up the essence of RSS. There is no central line of authority and this is how the whole of the organisation evolved in the due course of time.

 

Regarding the contributions that ABVP has been making in nation-building Mr. Chauhan had a say as such:

Delhi University is a cluster of several colleges among which only 51 or 52 of these take part in Delhi University elections. These are referred to as the DUSU colleges and the ones which don't are called non-DUSU colleges. Four persons from each college participate in the elections. Taking into account all of the colleges, the total scholar population amounts to more than 3 lakhs. Out of these very few vote in the college elections, take part in political discussions and are active during the time of elections. Unlike these DUSU colleges, my university is a closed campus which comprises mostly of Masters and P.G students. The percentage of people who vote on my campus goes as high as 70 percent. It is the views and ideas of these people that spur the very feeling of nationalism. And this is how the literature of India has grown with the introduction of newer terminologies, newer ideas. ABVP has thirteen different platforms to cater to the students of all disciplines. We try to reach out to students who have diverse cultures.We try to bring out the unique talent of students through a medium known as "Rashtriya Kala Manch" where the students showcase their talents.

 

“We are the first organization of the country who have openly demanded the abrogation of article 370” 

On being questioned about the upliftment of the Kashmiri students, Mr Chauhan specified that ABVP has actively encouraged the idea since it’s inception. He said:

In 1990 19th of January, the whole campaign which went on for a month from December of 1989 came to an end. Kashmiri Pandits were being forced to flee the valley in the dark of the night. Many of them were butchered. ABVP was the first of the organisations to hold a protest. Thousands to students who were a part of us marched from every nook and cranny of the country into Kashmir. There were restrictions along the route from Delhi to Jammu and Kashmir. We entered Pathankhot, Kathua district, Samba district and finally at Udhampur where were stopped by the BSF( Border Security Force). They gave us a commitment that our wish of hoisting the National Flag at the Lal Chowk (where it had been burned earlier) will be fulfilled by the government. Six months after this, BJP also took part in our movement. Murli Manohar Joshi Ji was the president of BJP then and Narendra Modi was heading the campaign. 

He also said:

We had a commitment to that cause. We campaigned for 6 months across India, telling people what was actually going on in J&K, why the Kashmiri men and women, boys and girls had been thrown out of their houses and denied their rights. Were we living in a free country? Was there a rule in the constitution? You need to understand that the key aspect of 35A denied the Kashmir girls a fair right in inheritance. 

A sophomore, Aditya Tripathi questioned the curfew and the subsequent lockdown that followed the abrogation of article 370.

While giving his clarification, he said

There was no lockdown. Only people of very high political power who might provoke the people were put on house arrest. Only one Habeas corpus had been filed and that will be addressed by the law. This( referring to Habeas corpus) was used during The Emergency(  21-month period from 1975 to 1977 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had a state of emergency declared across the country) when people were actually locked up.  The words which are used by media bodies like BBC and CNN amaze me. What kind of leadership are we creating in our institutions? We don’t see any collateral damage after the abrogation. We can hope for long lasting peace within the system of our constitution.

Speaking on the inception of Think India, he said 

We started in 2006. We thought on creating an event that can host discussions between young men and women across India. They started with one day seminars in places like NIT Trichy and NIT Calicut. It was decided that the name would be Think India and the first event was held in 2007. 

All in all, the evening proved to be a treat for lovers of politics. A wide range of ideas was discussed. Events as such bring out the non-technical side of the students our institution. Kudos to Think India for succesfully pulling it off against all odds. 

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