Why politics is necessary for students : Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

November 26, 1967, is the foundation day of the Baloch Students’ Organization and it is now 49 years old.

  In the intervening years, it has seen a lot of ups and downs  but has proved its mettle in the Baloch national struggle and remains as  its vanguard, the nursery for the future Baloch leadership. Now it has  to shoulder even more responsibilities: to educate, both politically and  academically, the Baloch youth because the Pakistani establishment  considers the politically-educated youth as the greatest threat to its  exploitation and injustices in Balochistan. The BSO-Azad upholds its  legacy faithfully.

  Baloch students and friends in Canada asked me write  something on “Why politics is necessary for students”. What I wrote was  read there at a seminar and here I am sharing it with you.

  Dear friends, fellow travelers, ladies and gentlemen:

  I have been asked by friends to say a few words on “Why  politics is necessary for students”. Now writing about it is as  difficult or as easy as writing about “Why is food necessary for life”  because politics for students is as necessary as food is for life.

  It is not only the knowledge that you acquire from the books  that determines the sort of person you become; to be what you become is  deeply influenced by the ethos that your society, your home, your  friends and of course your politics expose you to.

  We are the product of our environment and the politics that  we choose. But before we go further I would like to give an example as  to why politics is necessary for students.

  We all know that fires are devastating for forests as they  destroy the trees and the wild life but these fires also have another  role. Over time, the trees shed seeds in large numbers and these seeds  do not germinate because they are in a dormant state, and cannot  germinate until they are woken up. The heat of the fire wakes them up  and they begin to germinate. Before broadcasting seeds of acacia for  man-made forests the seeds are dumped into boiling water which then  ensures that they germinate. So politics too is the heat that ensures  that the seeds of society (students) germinate and mature up.

  A student without politics is like a dormant seed and a  dormant seed is not of much use to the forest. A student who has the  right political views understands society better and with better  understanding we can serve it better. To find the path in the maze that  all societies are, one has to have a moral compass and politics is just  that moral compass for a student.

  I know my use ‘right political views’ may seem odd to some  friends and may be construed as biased towards a certain school of  thought but I would like to make it clear that, yes, I am biased and as  Mark Twain said, “I know that I am prejudiced on this matter, but I  would be ashamed of myself if I were not”.

  Yes, I am biased and I support the political school of  thought that opposes imperialism and neo-colonialism; which opposes the  politics that deprives minorities of rights, that is misogynistic, that  promotes state-sponsored religion, imposes a certain language and  culture on the nations that come under their yoke.  Politics has to be  good to make students useful for humanity. Otherwise, societies would  regress.

  What I mean to say is politics though necessary for students  has to be the right type of politics. The politics that inculcates human  values in the student and provides a moral compass to walk along the  path that leads to salvation of the humanity by teaching then that  injustice, whosoever it may be from, should be opposed. That tolerance  should not only be reserved for them but should extend to others too.

  This can be illustrated candidly:  There are Baloch Students’  Organizations (BSO) other than the BSO-Azad but they promote submission  to and being co-opted by the Pakistani state and its institutions  regardless of the fact that this state and its institutions not only  deprive the Baloch of all their rights but also share responsibility for  the systematic and organized ‘dirty war’ against the Baloch people. How  can the politics of supporting the oppressors be the right politics?   Those without a moral compass end up supporting the oppressors and  tyrants, finding excuses of working with the system handy. No number of  excuses can justify submitting to injustices and supporting the  oppressors.

  Not all food will keep you alive and healthy; certain foods  will slowly but surely destroy your health. The politics, like the food,  has to be of the right type to be of any value to the students. It is  eventually the choice and discretion of the student to choose the  politics that they want to follow, but just a cautionary word at the end  that if you do not choose the right politics you will end up supporting  the wrong politics. So my dear friends, if we err lets err on the  correct side.

  Those who choose the right politics are often warned about  its consequences, futility and price exacted by it; yes, there are  consequences and a price to pay for the path that you choose and if you  are willing to pay the price, make your choice. In the end, I would like  tell my friends, my fellow travelers and all those present here today  that:

  I hold it true, whate’er befall;

  I feel it, when I sorrow most;

  ’Tis better to have loved and lost

  Than never to have loved at all.

  Lord Alfred Tennyson


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