STUDENT PROTESTS AGAINST LIQUOR POLICTY OF TAMILNADU GOVERNEMENT AUGUST 2015

There was a news item in the Times of India dated Aug 18th “Law student hits cop for stopping him from boozing on roadside”. A few days back there were lot of news items and discussions in the print and TV media about “manavarkal kothithu ezhuhirarhal”-students rising with anger in favor of complete prohibition. I am a cynic. I do not believe students as a whole rose against liquor. There are two kinds of student protests 1) just for the thrill of it. This used to happen even in Oxford and Cambridge against the police and authority. Our boys (never girls) protest against government buses, police and join whatever the latest protest is. At other times the male students tease girls students or otherwise. They are not very serious about these protests. Usually such protests are done by only students of particular colleges. Aspirational students from the other colleges do not join. You see the list of colleges from where students protested in this liquor problem and you can prove my contention. Students (now even boys and girls) booze in their hang outs. This is not a common problem for them nor is problem against their aspirations. 2) There are some problems which are against aspirations of the whole community of students. The classic case was Anti Hindi agitation. The compulsory Hindi was against the aspirations of the whole student community of this area, so they rose en masse to protest. Of course there are rare occasions when students of aspirational colleges protested against a social problem-e.g. during the French Revolution(1830s) and the protests in Sixties in Duke university and Berkeley in USA and Sorbonne University in France mainly against Vietnam war. But what happened then. It was said with derision in USA that most of the protester students joined arms manufacturing companies or major law firms. That is the irony of the student protests. I am not under estimating the effect of student protests. It is one of the two communities (laborers and students) which are together in specific locations (during college days, not during vacations in the case of students) and easy to organize. But the very same students when they become adults become most backward human beings. Regarding laborers they are most interested in themselves. There were no labor strikes against liquor. I myself was part of the student protests during Quit India movement. But at a distance of more than half a century and after going through the vicissitudes of life I wonder whether how far were we serious in those protests!

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