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Ahead of Polls, Chandrashekhar Azad Launches Bhim Army's Student Wing in UP, Says Youth Future of Politics

After Uttar Pradesh, Chandrashekhar Azad is scheduled to launch BASF in Pune. The aim is to expand the network across the length and breadth of the country.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:August 19, 2019, 10:46 AM IST
Ahead of Polls, Chandrashekhar Azad Launches Bhim Army's Student Wing in UP, Says Youth Future of Politics
file image of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad . (News18)

Lucknow: With a keen eye on the youth electorate in the state, Chandrashekhar Azad ‘Ravan’, the fiery Dalit activist from Uttar Pradesh launched the Bhim Army Students Federation (BASF) in Lucknow on Sunday.

Chandashekhar, who inaugurated the first leg of the student wing in the state capital, told News18 that the aim of BASF is to make students of Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Religious Minorities aware about both their rights and duties.

Donned in his signature whites, with the symbolic blue scarf hanging loosely around his neck that signifies the Bahujan struggle, the Bhim Army head said, “Students from backward classes are charged exorbitant fees and are exploited in the university space. The BASF will not just prepare the Bahujan students to lead the society but instill in them, a sense of responsibility towards the country.”

After Uttar Pradesh, Chandrashekhar is scheduled to launch BASF in Pune. The aim is to expand the network across the length and breadth of the country. “Last time there was a budget of 630 crores for SC students in Higher Education, this time it is brought down to 283 crore. There is a huge dearth of good avenues for education,” he said as he explained his vision for BASF

When asked about the role of youth in the assembly elections of 2022, the activist posed immense faith in them shaping political discourse of the country. “At the moment our effort is to make such youth leaders who cannot be lured by money.” This, he explained is paramount as, “Politics cannot be practiced from the air-conditioned confines of your room, it is made up of what transpires on ground, of people and the atrocities they face.”

The youth will not just lead the society, but will also break the nexus between the businessman and the politician, he added.

The Bhim Army, which gained popularity among the youth from Dalit and backward communities, has been steadily expanding its support base in the state, particularly in the western region.

Chandrashekhar or Ravan, as he calls himself, was born in Dhadkuli village near Chatmalpur in Saharanpur. A law graduate from a local college in the district, he first courted controversy in 2015, when he put up a board at his native place that read ‘The Great Chamars of Dhadkauli Welcome You’.

The move led to tensions between the Dalits and the Thakurs in the village. While the situation was brought under control, the then 28-year-old, who soon became the face of the Dalits in the village, came into spotlight. Soon after this incident, he started putting together the Bhim Army and got young Dalits under the banner.

Within two years of its formation, the Bhim Army has expanded base by focusing on education of Dalits in the region. Though there is no concrete data available, sources said there are around 300 study circles being run by the Bhim Army. The organization has also been active in directly intervening and confronting cases of atrocities against Dalits in the region.

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