Social Scientist. v 3, no. 33 (April 1975) p. 45.

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Student Leadership in Lucknow


IT is generally said that the growing student unrest in the country is the handiwork of a few "professional55 student leaders, who are at times branded as malcontents, rowdies, or anti-social elements. The assumptions of this conspiracy theory of -'student trouble55 are: (1) the vast majority of students are interested in their studies and in a "peaceful" atmosphere on the campus, and (2) the "student trouble55 can (therefore) be met and contained by setting the student leaders right, so to say.

This report deals with some characteristics of the student leadership, but without accepting the aforesaid view of student unrest—an unrest which is, in fact, rooted in the maladies of the wider economic-political order. This report presents the results of a survey of 220 student leaders1 of Lucknow University, a centre of recent student protest in India.

Age Groups

There are two important aspects of the relationship between age and leadership, namely the age at which leadership first appears and the age-differential between the leaders and the followers. But we shall only note here two things: the evidence on both these aspects is contradictory;

secondly, the factor of age is given special significance in the context of student leadership and student protest. As most students are young persons, the student leadership all over the world is, in the very nature of things, in the hands of youth; and student protest is youth protest. This partly explains the special character of student protest, which is marked by spontaneity, direct action and idealism.2 But surely age is not nie only factor which makes the student protesters disregard the more peaceful channels of protest. Deepening social malaise on the one hand, and vested interests and rigidity or woodenness of established authority on the other, are also to be taken into account in this connection.

The majority of student leaders, 53.7 per cent, the study revealed, were in the age group of 20-24 year?. The average age was 23.5 years; and as the average age of the general student in UP is 20.13, the leaders

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