In Bharat’s student activism and politics, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is an influential and powerful force. Over the decades, ABVP has played an important role in not only raising and highlighting the grievances of the students but also nurturing and creating leaders who are playing a crucial role in Bharat’s current political landscape. As Delhi prepares to host the 69th ABVP National Conference from December 7 to 10, 2023 , it is an excellent time to reflect on its extraordinary journey and its impact on country’s social and political scenario.
ABVP was founded in 1948 and registered on July 9, 1949, with the spirit of rejuvenating the young minds of Bharat. This was a time, where one side the echoes of the Bharat
freedom struggle were still resonating through the air and on the other side, the horrors of the partition still haunted the country. Bharat was moving into a new era with a load of aspirations. While educational institutions were being set up across the Bharat, a need for a nationalist organisation among the students was felt and recognised. At the core of ABVP’s
ideology lies Swami Vivekananda’s thought of nurturing young minds and creating a cadre of nationalist youth. One of the early pioneers of the organisation was Sri Yashwant Rao Kelkar, who sowed the seeds of ABVP in Pune, Maharashtra. Sri Yashwant Rao Kelkar is the architect of the present-day ABVP. To this day, when Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is the largest student organisation in the world ,each ABVP worker embodies his life, and his ideas are still driving the work of this organisation. Different to the popular belief , activities of ABVP have always been above partisan politics.
Over the years, ABVP has become an integral part of Bharatiya student community. With its cadre-based structure and ideology-driven approach , it has been able to make a formidable presence in educational institutions across the country. Today, ABVP has a massive student membership representing all segments of society and providing a platform for student participation and activism. The numerical strength of ABVP is a testament to its undying commitment. With a vast and dynamic network of student volunteers, the organization
embodies the true spirit of unity in diversity. ABVP connects with students from diverse backgrounds and regions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. Its presence in urban and rural areas alike reflects its deep connect with the Indian society.
ABVP has been at the forefront at numerous movements for the issues of Students. It has been tirelessly pursuing for comprehensive educational reforms from time to time to
modernise the education system. ABVP’s journey is marked by a series of remarkable movements and initiatives that have left an indelible mark on Indian student politics. These movements, far from being historical footnotes, are significant milestones that have shaped the organisation and, in turn, influenced Bharat’s socio-political landscape. To name a few, ABVP was at the forefront of the famous Student agitation of Gujarat in 1973. ABVP was also actively involved in the JP movement of 1974. A nationwide Emergency was imposed in the country, and democracy was facing an attack from an arrogant dictator. ABVP workers were arrested across the country. More than 10,000 workers offered Satyagraha under the aegis of Lok Sangharsh Samiti. Many workers offered their active services for underground struggle. Six hundred fifty workers were imprisoned under MISA, more than 4500 were arrested under different sections of law and jailed.
ABVP has been a torchbearer of nationalism on educational campuses across the country. It is a known fact that university campuses have been for long used by the communist
organisations and idealogues to peddle their anti-Indian propaganda and brainwash the students. ABVP has stood against these activities and has played a crucial role in countering their agenda among the students. It was possible only because of the tireless efforts of this organisation that the institutions that had once become the recruitment centres for Naxalites and terrorist organisations in the name of “Revolution” ,now witness the rise of a cultural renaissance and an optimistic environment of growth and learning. Many ABVP activists have lost their life fighting the Inhuman menace of the Communist violence , these sacrifices have only flamed the fervent belief of patriotism among the workers of this selfless organisation.
In this digital era marked by rapid social media growth, ABVP has adeptly embraced modern communication tools, using them to forge connections with students and amplify its message. Undeterred in its mission to serve the best interests of students, ABVP persistently champions for their rights, pushing for access to affordable education, better amenities, and scholarships for deserving individuals. ABVP’s organisational endeavour of ‘National Reconstruction’ has acted as an impetus for its growth and outreach efforts.
ABVP also has different Forums (popularly known as Aayam).These forums work in their respective specific domain. For example ,WOSY(World Organisation Of Students and Youth); is a forum for foreign students pursuing their studies in Bharat that works with a vision of creating a new world order having the approach of ‘World is one family’ and with the firm belief in the unity of the entire universe for the happiness and fulfilment of the humankind. SFD(Students For Development) , works between the Environment and the Bio Diversity students to promote the need for sustainable development in its right form. Similarly , MeDeVision is active among the Medical Students. These are a few examples of the different forums initiated by the ABVP. Conceptualisation of these forums or Aayams talks about the inclusive vision of the organisation where the focus is to connect and work with students from each and every field.
I had the opportunity to work with ABVP during my student days. Like thousands of workers, it had an ever-lasting impact on my personality and life. The principles I embodied as an ABVP worker will guide me throughout my life. It was only possible in an organisation like ABVP that an ordinary student like me was not only inspired but supported to contest the election of Delhi University Student Union , one of the biggest and most prestigious Student Union in the country. As the President of DUSU , I followed the same principles to work with and for the students around the clock.
As we look at ABVP in the context of today, its significance remains undiminished. In a rapidly changing world, where young minds are the driving force behind societal transformation, ABVP’s role becomes all the more crucial. It continues to be a platform for students to express their views, advocate for their rights, and work towards a better Bharat. The 69th ABVP National Conference is an opportunity to celebrate its journey, reflect on its achievements, and look forward to the continued contribution of this Spartan organisation to the nation.