To commemorate the name of Murari Chand Roy, his fourth generation Raja Girish Chandra Roy established the MC College in Sylhet, a city in the then Assam region, in 1892, as the seventh oldest college in present day Bangladesh with only 16 students and four teachers.
The first location of the college was beside Raja GC High School near Bandarbazar in Sylhet metropolis. In 1891, Calcutta University allowed the college to open FA (now higher secondary) classes. Later, on June 27, 1892, the MC College started its journey officially. It was declared a government college in 1912. The next year it added higher secondary science classes and graduation courses.
During the First World War, the college was relocated to the Tilagarh area in Sylhet, three kilometers from the city, on a 144-acre plot of land. At that time there were only 56 students in the college.
In 1919, the students of MC College gave a reception to Rabindranath Tagore when he visited Sylhet. There are many famous students of MC College including Colonel Taher, Saifur Rahman, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and Nurul Islam Nahid.
The library of this famous college has more than one lakh books including many rare books. This glorious college has been standing tall in the education sector of the country for many years.
But recently, a horrific incident brought the name of the college in the headlines. That incident is a rape case.
Almost every day, news of rape is reported in the media from different parts of the country. Once, the country topped the list of corruption and stayed in that position for a few years. And now, have these regular incidents of rape taken the country to the top of the list of rapist countries?
The country has strict laws which includes the highest punishment, the death penalty, for committing violence against women. Despite this the reports of violence against women or rape has not decreased in the country.
In the current situation of the country, people from all sections of society have to think deeply about the root of the crisis. Rape has spread like a social disease everywhere, from general educational institutions to religious educational institutions, and in moving buses or trains.
If we turn the pages of history, we would see that the practice of religion in our land has increased more than ever before, and the strictness of the law has also increased- yet what is the reason behind the deep wounds like rape in society?
Almost all the people being convicted as rapists are young. Why the condition of youths has deteriorated to such an extent is a matter of in-depth review. We have got important leaders and workers from this youthful section of society in many crises and movements of the country.
The youth of this country played a leading role in the language movement, education policy movement, mass uprising of 1969, liberation war, demanding justice for Bangabandhu's assassination in post-independent Bangladesh, anti-military movement.
In 1971, the Ducsu leadership made and displayed the flag of independent Bangladesh. The brave youth of that period showed the way to the political leadership of the country. They also had a heroic participation in the liberation war.
The organised form of this youth section of society has gradually begun to fade since the overthrow of the country's military dictator Ershad in 1990. The election of student unions in educational institutions was stopped to block the ways of political reforms by sending youths on a different path.
In 1991, the BNP won the elections and came to power. After that the student union elections of all the educational institutions including universities were stopped. Even though the BNP was in power, the student organisation of the leading political parties of independence has never raised a demand for the election of student unions at educational institutions including the universities. And this trend has been going on for the last thirty years. Today's young students do not know what a student union is.
The history of student union elections precedes the birth of Bangladesh. Even, when we were a colony of Pakistan for 23 years, there were student union elections in almost all universities and educational institutions. Our honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also a part of that history. She was the VP of the student union of Eden University College. And Tufail Ahmed was the VP of Ducsu. Bangabandhu nominated Tofail Ahmed as his political advisor.
At that time, many people were involved in student politics. Some of them were elected in student union elections. Rizvi Ahmed of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party was the last elected VP of Rajshahi University Students' Union (Rucsu). Another VP of Raksu Fazle Hossain Badsha is an MP from Rajshahi Sadar constituency.
A students union creates the future leadership of the country as well as forces students to maintain a common code of conduct. There was no known incident of rape in any educational institution during the colonial period or in pre-independence Bangladesh. Student organisations in that period did not have to demand elections as elections were held regularly.
In the early 90's, the demise of student politics created disorder in this arena. The dissident student organisations started to be disappeared from all universities of the country. The student organisation of the ruling party got absolute power. They started to get priorities in getting jobs. The reign of party politics spread everywhere from universities to the administration. Party loyalists were privileged in even the VC elections too. As a result, the presence of dissenting student organisations was banned.
After the BNP came to power in 1991, the Chhatra Dal expelled the main student organisation Chhatra League, just as the opposite is happening today. As a result, these student organisations do not have to face any moral challenges and due to this there arises the practice of widespread immoral activities.
At one time, Chhatra Dal played an important role in the appointment of the administration, in development tenders. Today's Chhatra League is playing the same role but with more power. Recently, the central leaders of BCL were removed from their posts in a tender scam at Jahangirnagar University. The youth section of society is out of control today after all these countless incidents happening every day.
There are students' unions in the famous universities of the developed world including Harvard, Oxford. Almost all the public universities in India also have students' union. These unions teach many things to the students, the future generation of their country. They know how their parliaments work, how laws are created. Famous people of the world tell them how to reform society.
The quota reform movement of the youth is one of the major incidents of our country in the last decade. The Ducsu election was held after a High Court decision after 30 years. It was expected that it would change the situation, but it did not happen.
The students' union election in universities and colleges can bring the out of control youth back to the right path if the state does not interfere.
Monwarul Huq is a political analyst