While some sat on an indefinite fast in the blistering heat, others raised slogans and highlighted the programme’s many pitfalls. To their surprise, a group of first-year students from different colleges in the university turned up at the protest venue to tell them that they were happy with the new format.
In the hour-long discussion that followed, members of BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) tried to “sense into their simple minds”, giving them all possible reasons as to why the programme was a bad idea.
The students, however, would not be deterred. Their argument was simple: They had studied the programme for a whole year, unlike the student leaders who were protesting against it, and they had enjoyed it.
“For the last few days, I was watching news about the FYUP is detrimental to the university in general and students in particular. Most of these views come from student outfits such as NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) or ABVP, or teachers groups affiliated to one party or the other. But, no one has bothered to consult the students,” Ansh Goyal, a first-year student at Maharaja Agrasen College who came to venue, said.
Even as the ABVP leaders apprised them of the survey about the “general dissatisfaction among students” about the programme, the students reminded them how the survey was conducted just two months after the implementation of the programme. “A short time to gauge major dissatisfaction, don’t you think?” a first-year student from Hindu College said.
As the protesters listed the many faults with the FYUP, they were countered by the students who counted of their fingers the things they enjoyed about the programme.
“I am not saying that FYUP is perfect. Yes, there needs to be better co-ordination between students and teachers. Many things still need to be streamlined. But, FYUP offers a scope for versatility, for learning things beyond your specialisation. It could offer a lot of opportunity to students if the university plugs the loopholes,” Sparsh Singhal, another FYUP student, said.
“We tried to reason with them, but they just don’t understand. It is not just the programme, but the entire politics behind it that is not good for the university. The whole fight is more complex than they think,” an ABVP leader told Newsline.
The students, though, didn’t know or care about the “politics”; or “complexity” of it all. They seemed to be satisfied with all the fun they were having studying the course.