Is DU a University or political Centre?

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness...
I see a wild civility...

During our first year at university, while giving a lecture on Robert Herric’s “Delight in disorder”, Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam asked us, “Do you see disorder in the university?”
All the students immediately replied in unison, “Yes, Sir, everywhere!”
Like Ulysses, a restless warrior, in our first year at DU, we were busy all day long simply having fun. University was a mew world for us, DU being the centre of everything. But the joy didn’t last long. Jatiyatabadi Chatra Dal (JCD) called an indefinite strike preceding the national election of 2001. Now a 4-month session jam every year has become common for us at DU. We don’t understand the need to close the university. Even during movements, like those protesting the police raid on Shamsunnahar Hall and the attack on Prof Humayun Azad, wouldn’t the university remaining open mean more people taking part in them?
In our country; nothing is free from politics, including public universities. Our university teachers are members of the White, Blue, etc. panels. No other country in the world has teachers the architects of the nation, involved in politics as they are in ours. Students of the Arts Faculty cannot concentrate in class because of noisy political meetings and processions at Aparajeyo Bangla, which sometimes feels more like Muktangon or Paltan Maidan than university campus.
One morning when I went to my university hall office for some paper work, some JCD men stopped me and asked me to join a political procession. “But I don’t live in the hall,” I ventured. “Shut up! That doesn’t matter,” said a cadre angrily. They stopped everyone entering and leaving the halls and made them join the procession.
It has now become an established fact that meritorious students get admitted into DU and lose all their talent in the volatile environment. They gradually lose interest in their studies due to all the turmoil. They become frustrated even to the point of taking drugs.
I am a third year student. My third year exams have been postponed three times already. Right now, it seems wiser to go to private universities or else abroad for our higher education. But both options are difficult for middle class families because of the expenses involved. Those who try are either refused visas at the various embassies or financial aid from the different universities.
We don’t know what awaits us in the future. We are victims at the mercy of the shameless and corrupt political parties and their wrong, mindless politics.

Published on 29th October 2004 in The Daily Star supplement Star Weekend Magazine