The much-awaited election to Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) has finally happened, for better or for worse.
I, like many others, was not very optimistic about the election when the polls schedule was announced, especially after recollecting the memories of December 30 general election and assuming that the ruling party-backed students would hardly let any opposition to stand in their way. But afterwards, we observed that a group of individual candidates emerged against the fortress of Bangladesh Chhatra League with a strong commitment to lead their university and raise voice for the rights of general students.
Some of these candidates are among the brightest students of their respective departments. In a situation where a significant portion of the country’s youths have grown up considering “I hate politics” to be their political outlook, emergence of such students should not have been entirely overlooked. While many of their peers are busy preparing for the government recruitment tests or on the lookout for higher studies abroad, these students have at least showed the preparedness to compromise their careers or academic progress to realise their passion to represent the general students.
Students’ unions in different public universities had always been the breeding grounds of the country’s future leaders. Most of the student leaders, who played crucial roles in mobilising the movements prior to our Liberation War in 1971, were the by-products of these unions. But unfortunately, no election to any students’ union had been held almost in the last three decades, creating a serious crisis of talented leaders in our national political scene.
In such a circumstance, holding of the Ducsu election was indeed a great decision on the part of the Dhaka University authorities as well as the government. Though it was unfortunate that the authorities, according to several media reports, could not arrange a free and fair election remaining aloof from the sphere of BCL’s influence, the election has introduced the nation with a number of promising leaders who got the courage to stand up for their democratic rights against all odds.
The government should closely monitor the potential of these students and let them exercise politics within their realms of interest, so that they can be incorporated into the greater political spectrum in the coming days. The prospects of these candidates should not be judged by the number of votes they received, but rather by their merit and leadership skills, and most importantly by their honesty, dedication and integrity to serve the people.
Bangladesh is currently on the stairway to becoming a developed country and it would require a large number of brilliant leaders to usher the country towards the destination. And to assure an uninterrupted supply of those future leaders, there is no alternative to the functioning students’ unions in the universities.
It is expected that the government would perceive the necessity of these unions in no time and instruct all the universities and colleges under the National University to hold elections to their students’ bodies.
Shahariar Shajib is a journalist of The Daily Star.