Nowadays, here at Kathmandu University (KU), Dhulikhel, silence has taken precedence over peace. The grumbles and frustrations among the majority of students is about to burst like Tsunami that recently hit Japan.
Two weeks has passed since KU has been padlocked by few politically motivated students (which can be counted in fingers) and triggered by "non-visionary and short sighted" officials of KU Election Committee, the possibility of re-opening KU is becoming hazier and hazier.
More than 1700 Students pursuing their career in intermediate to Post-graduated level, especially of that final semester, are worried as the level of surety of their timely graduation is about to collapse sooner or later.
KU has always been boasting of its excellent academic records, being politically free university as one of its key USP (Unique Selling Point). Hardly one will find any students who didn't admit in KU despite getting their name published after attending entrance exam. The glory, the honor glows from the face of every student when he/she receives his/her graduation after his/her memorable four years of learning. If current havoc KU is undergoing didn't heal in time, I doubt I will have any honor and glory left in me to reveal in my graduation this September. When one try to dig out the real cause of the current muddle prolonging since 1 March 2011, one will sense the tip of guilt already pointing towards the officials of SWC (student welfare Council) election committee who represent KU administration. Their "Big Brother" (there were armed police force inside the election hall) tendency has invited this havoc; I can arguably claim it though I don't have sufficient premises to draw any kind of such nasty conclusion that favors neither KU administration nor my academic results.
On the Election Day i.e 1 March 2011 Tuesday, I heard, everything went fine for the post of Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-president and other working committee members but the post of President became the bone of contention for the student representatives. In the first round of election, the two of the three candidates racing for the President post, garnered equal votes (each 19).
Hurriedly, the election officials, based on the current election guidelines issued by KU administration, notified the CRs (Class representatives) that the president will be appointed through the "gola pratha". Instantly the CRs opposed the "gola pratha" method and proposed the re-election for the most awaited President post. CRs even collected signatures which summed to 28 (clear majority) in the support for re-election but the election officials ignored the students mandate for the re-election and sticked to the "Gola pratha".
One candidate, the name I don't know (even I had known I wouldn't have typed here) was appointed for the post as the outcome of that "gola pratha" during which other students affiliated to different political parties were already out of the hall. They protested the election procedures terming it "biased" and padlocked the KU administration building followed by posting Press release on behalf of their student wings affiliated to UCPN-Maoist. After one week of table talk, KU administration and protesting party agreed on the formation of Neutral Investigation Committee and the KU was padlock-free. In no time, the winning panel, showing their dissatisfaction with the agreement demanded KU administration to dismiss the "one-sided" agreement and legitimize the freshly formed SWC committee, padlocked KU again.
The problem which took off during election misunderstanding has been treading through the appointment of the Registrar of the University in the third week of indefinite KU strike. Recently I heard that there is a separate Umbrella act which regulates all the University of Nepal including KU. That means the "Bidhan" of Kathmandu University if in any case happen to contradict with any points in the regulations issued under that "Umbrella act" than the former will be void. In other words, if the students in TU can freely tag themselves with certain political affiliation, than the same applies for KU too and KU can't take any action against such political inclination. It might be sad news for other students, me too, who don't want to see any kind of politically motivated activities within premises of KU.
The story seems to take a disastrous mode when Kathmandu University's important positions like VC, Registrar, Administrator, Examination Controller etc will be appointed merely on the political basis as it has been happening in Tribhuvan University. That means, before the students of KU have sufficient time to get used to the name of these important University dignitaries, these heroes will have already been posted to different post of other universities following the change in government leadership which is certainly not a new fact in Nepal. TU and PU students has been bearing such circumstances for ages and its seems like the turn of KU students has eventually arrived. Personally I am not ready for that, are you? I have always opposed the idea of taking affiliation to any kind of Nepalese political parties which never seem to stick to their philosophical codes. Neither I possess that 'gut' to forcefully suggest anyone to avoid any kind of political inclination because that invites the never-ending arguments (which are often violent) filled with the vague words like political rights and freedom. I hate political debates because they can be turned to any side. People involved in such debate rarely call their self-righteousness before drawing any kind of controversial conclusions. But then I also believe that the act of spilling vulgar words and throwing arid stares to the politically motivated students, especially in KU where the number is significantly low, doesn't go inline with the moral codes of humanity and the Law as well.
There are certain advantages drawn by politically inclined students when they conduct politically motivated unruly activities (PMUA) like padlocking KU in this case. The list of the activities like padlocking, protest, table talk, causalities, press releases, media reports regarding their involvement in PMUA etc becomes the basis, the strength of these students (for ease imagine three KU students or candidate for the post of SWC president affiliated to three different parties) to get political appointment in the executive post of different government-owned office like I said, the appointment of VC, Registrar etc in KU in near future. If the few students' hunger for those advantages takes precedence over the future of more than 1700 students of KU, then personally I won't suggest any KU students to act with political motivation. If something has considerably more cons relatively less pros, I believe it's against ones wisdom to adopt it.
Kathmandu University Administration has been successful in great extent to suppress such protest in past due to its bizarre strategy of remaining silent rather than initiating the dialogue procedure and any other constructive efforts. Most of the time when such protest and padlock cases appears, KU administration waits for the vulnerable rift to be appeared within students that facilitate KU administration to dismiss such protest and resume the University's normal daily hours. But this time, that strategy doesn't seem to favor KU administration because the power of KU which lay in KU "Bidhan" earlier has been decentralized regarding the implementation of "Umbrella Act" which guides all Universities of Nepal equally.
Despite the hazy possibility of KU resuming its normal daily hours, I have no other option other than to pray for the success of the peaceful signature campaign like "Re-opening Kathmandu University" currently being initiated by small groups politically free KU students.
Still, there lies a million dollar question ahead of thousands of KU family and the concerned community: Will KU re-open?
(Writer is a 4th year Media Studies Student, at Kathmandu University)