The following is an Opinion Editorial written by Rahul Maganti, a fourth year student of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering & Material Sciences about the recently organized anti-war rally against War and Genocides in the IIT Bombay campus. Rahul also goes on to talk about the current state of Student Activism on Campus and gives his views on why it should improve.

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. – Desmond Tutu

This quote, which I first read back when I was a child, has since remained close to my heart. Being “neutral” is as good as being silent. When people consciously don’t talk about the injustice out there in the world only because the buck hasn’t come to them yet, they are only being complacent and giving an excuse, not a reason. Many people would rather talk about the injustice of one kind, while deliberately ignoring another simply because it is far from home. When I was inviting people to this march, a lot of them asked me difficult questions. “What do you intend to achieve with these kind of marches and protests? Will you be able to stop the genocide in Palestine by Israel?” asked a friend who apparently aims to serve the country in the capacity of a Civil Servant some day. I deal with his question in the later part of the article by discussing how such protests/marches actually create an impact.

Many people would rather talk about the injustice of one kind, while deliberately ignoring another simply because it is far from home.

Activism can actually change the policy decisions of the country. Many important struggles and movements in India and across the world have been spearheaded by students, and have effectively made an impact on the social, cultural, economic and political conditions. The Student Movement in London against the steep increase in fee and the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the US are among those that have impacted the society. The 1975 anti-Emergency movement was given a particular direction by the students from Universities like JNU and DU. Very recently, the 2012 Delhi protests against rape and violence against women were again led by students. As for the political angle, you can take a cue from the students of Osmania and Kakatiya Universities successfully fighting for a separate statehood of Telangana. The Govt. of India, which didn’t allow discussion on Gaza in the parliament, voted for Palestine in the UN only because of the pressure exerted on it through the protests in various parts of the country.