15
Indiscipline and Student Leadership
in an Indian University

JOSEPH DIBONA

In India no subject has been of more compelling public concern than indiscipline among college and university students. Riots, mass protests, and violence are but the poignant index of the gulf separating emerging elites from incorporation into the social and political order of their nation. The assessment of what causes such disturbances varies greatly. With rare exceptions, evaluations do not deal with specific cases, concrete in time and place, but attempt to relate the phenomenon to a general understanding of Indian society, history and culture. 1 This chapter attempts to contribute further to our understanding of student indiscipline through an analysis of student action and leadership on a single, north-Indian campus. Field research 2 for this study was conducted during 1963 and 1964 at the University of Allahabad, the locale of a number of student disturbances.


The Problem

At the time of Indian independence, there was an unquestioned acceptance of the dramatic link between universities and modernization, and substantial financial outlays were allocated to higher education in each of the Five‐ Year Plans. 3 Of the sum reserved for education, in the Third Plan 20 per cent was designated for higher education despite the disproportionately small number of students involved. In 1965-1966 primary through secondary enrollments (ages 6-17) totaled 64 million while all university enrollment was slightly over one million.

Despite high expectations and generous financial provision in terms of the limited resources of the country, there has been widespread dissatis

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