I for the first time saw girl students in good numbers participating in a rally
Now my peers and I, were no more children, we were boys – teenagers brimming with enthusiasm and bursting with joy and fun. We had just joined the college.
It was a dream realized- now we had to wear no uniform and carry no school bags, stuffed with books and notebooks. Our college, was just five years old, but for its founder having recruited the best faculty from the state and outside, it had earned a place of distinction.
For sending larger number of students to professional college, it was rated as a good college.
The year we joined the college, student unrest had started- I think, it was our second or third day in the college that five senior boys of the college were rusticated for participating in a student rally organized by another colleges.
On reading the notice on the school billboard, they cried “Our Morale Still High, We want Plebiscite”. Their faces glowing with rage are still fresh with me but their names have got buried somewhere in hinterland of my mind…..
Some boy repeatedly hit the college gong. And all boys gathered in the lawns and started demanding withdrawal of the rustication notice against the boys.
After sometime, a procession started from the college towards S.P. colleges, an older college with bigger roll.
Someone, informed that boys from other colleges had already started towards coming towards the Muslim Park, Jamia Masjid – a park that been witness to great political events from 1931, had seen on June 17 1944, Mohammad Ali Jinnah addressing hundreds of thousands people late at night, ironically this historical park has been converted into a shanti-market as good a slum market as in Dharavi, Mumbai.
In 1963, it had again emerged as epicentre of the Holy Relic Movement, and during the 1965, and during the students resistance movement, it had emerged as an important venue for holding student rallies.
Students from other college also joined boys from our colleges.
It was here, I for the first time saw girl students in good number participating in a student rally…perhaps also heard the song ‘Yeh Srinagar Key Betiyan Ne’dar Mujahidin Key Betiyan.
I have vivid impression about a girl student covering her head with black scarf who in chaste Urdu spoke eloquently about the Algerian freedom struggle- in her speech she thunderously quoted Djamila Boupacha:
“I made up my mind, to fight for my country’s independence …because ours is a just cause….Come what may we shall achieve it.”
Calling Djamila Boupacha, as an embodiment of sacrifices, she spoke about the role played by the rural and urban women in the NLF. I have no idea, who this girl was, but she was in higher age group. After her, many other girls and boys addressed the meeting.
In our information starved world, when only source of information was Radio and some vernacular newspapers, not only name of Djamila Boupacha, but also of many other revolutionary people had entered into our discourse.
In popularizing the names of revolutionary leaders and introducing the struggle of Algerian people against France to the students, the Students and Youth League, had played major role.
Its President was Sheikh Ghulam Muhammad, an M.Sc physics student of Kashmir University and General Secretary was Anwar Ashai, a third year Engineering student of REC…The Students League born on 20 March 1964, suffered the worst under Chief Minister, G.M. Sadiq’s “Policy of Liberalization” ….