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December 15, 2019

A big no to violence on campus

Lahore

December 15, 2019

Of late, it has been witnessed that the volume of violence has been surging gradually. Usually, Islamabad is considered a cool city where universities remain calmer than other parts of the country. But the recent death of a student in an incident of violence involving arms and ammunition has given the thinking minds a rude shock.

Where and how does not matter as it can happen anywhere and in any manner. ‘Why’ is the most relevant question. Campus life has changed a lot. Like a traditional elder, I can console myself that universities were decent places in my time and God knows what has happened to the modern youth. But it is not the case, unfortunately. My generation and the one before us lived violence in their college and university days, which in some cases was worse than what we see at present.

But the difference is that in our time the narrative to attract youth towards non-violent means of struggle was very strong. Today, this narrative is almost non-existent. Every teacher with his heart at the right place is having wet eyes on this death.

Time was when BA degree was a must to get admission in a university. To get a BA degree, a lot of hard work was needed and much of the most of students would flunk English exam. Corridors of universities were not very crowded those days. Then the authorities introduced BS programmes opening gates of universities for who used to be college students and corridors were flooded.

These students are younger and need extensive care. In all my classes, I used to tell my students that there is a difference between human being and a beast of burden. And that difference is that a human being carries his own weight while a beast carries someone else’s weight.

No harm if students are associated with political parties. But they should keep in mind that these parties are like fuel which they could use to hone their political insight. If they do so, it needs to be encouraged. But some untrained minds end up burning themselves in this fuel which is foul. Responsibility has to be fixed in such cases and someone somewhere has to answer questions.

Islamabad houses three out of four top-notched universities of Pakistan. This is the reason that the federal capital has a great pull for students from across the country.

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