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Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) (translation: All Indian Student Council) is a right-wing all India student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).[1] It participates in joint activities with BJP's official youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.[2][3] It is said to be India's largest student organisation with more than three million members.[4]

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad
All Indian Student Council
Abbreviation ABVP
Formation July 9 , 1949
Type Student Organisation
Legal status Active
Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Region served
Parent organization



The ABVP, founded in 1948 with the initiative of the RSS activist Balraj Madhok, was formally registered on 9 July 1949.[5] Its primary purpose was reportedly to counter communist influences on university campuses.[6] Professor Yeshwantrao Kelkar, a lecturer in Bombay, became its main organizer in 1958. According to the ABVP website, he built the organisation into what it is now and is considered to be 'the real architect of the ABVP'.[7]

Various branches of the ABVP have been involved in Hindu-Muslim communal riots since 1961.[8][9] However, in the 1970s, the ABVP also increasingly took on issues concerning the lower middle classes like corruption and government inertia that were also being taken on by communist student groups.[8] The ABVP played a leading role in the agitational politics of the 1970s during the JP movement. This led to collaboration among student activists in Gujarat and Bihar. The ABVP gained significantly from such efforts after the Emergency and experienced a growth in membership.[10]

By 1974, the ABVP had 160,000 members across 790 campuses and had gained control over several prominent universities, including University of Delhi via student elections. By 1983, the organisation had 250,000 members and 1,100 branches.[8] ABVP grew during the 1990s, receiving more support as a result of the Babri Masjid demolition and the economic liberalisation pursued by the P. V. Narasimharao government. It continued to grow after the United Progressive Alliance came to power in 2003, trebling in membership to 3.175 million members as of 2016. [11] It claims to be India's largest student organisation.[4]

Links to the Bharatiya Janata PartyEdit

The ABVP spokesmen insist that the ABVP is not affiliated to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They describe it the "student wing" of the RSS.[12] However, both the BJP and the ABVP are members of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS's "family of (affiliated) organisations".[13] The BJP is said to gain handsomely from the ABVP's support base and several politicians of the BJP, including the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had their ideological foundation in the ABVP.[14] Several scholars make no distinction between the RSS and the BJP, and regard the ABVP as a student wing of both of them or either of them.[15][16][17][18]

In 2017, the ABVP faced a string of losses in student body elections. They included not only Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, but also the Allahabad University and Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth in Uttar Pradesh, the Gujarat University and the Gauhati University. The loss in the Kashi Vidyapeeth was considered especially significant since it is in Varanasi, the prime minister Narendra Modi's home constituency. This is said to have caused alarm in the BJP, which set up a committee to study the issues causing the ABVP's decline.[14][19]


The ABVP's manifesto includes agendas such as educational and university reforms.[20] It competes in student-body elections in colleges and universities. Students for Development (SFD) is an initiative by the ABVP to promote "right perspective towards the need of holistic and sustainable development" in students.[21] The official ABVP magazine is Rashtriya Chhatrashakti, which is published monthly in Hindi in New Delhi.[22]

ABVP has been in the news due to violent incidents on university and college campuses:

  • 11 July 2003: 12 policemen were injured when 300 members of the ABVP committed vandalism and assault during a protest concerning college admissions following the Common Entrance Test, in Karnataka.[23]
  • 1 September 2005: Members of the ABVP attempted to enter the Secretariat of the Andhra Pradesh State Government in Hyderabad by force, resulting in police action against them. Several ABVP members were injured.
  • 15 May 2007: 20 people, including ABVP members, were arrested for throwing stones during a protest against admission fees at Chetana Pre-University College in Hubli, Karnataka.[24]
  • 25 May 2007: ABVP members protesting admission policies at Marimallappa College in Karnataka destroyed college property and were involved in a scuffle with college authorities. Six members of the ABVP were arrested as a consequence.[25]
  • 26 February 2008: Members of the ABVP vandalized the Delhi University's History Department, protesting the inclusion of an essay by scholar and linguist A.K. Ramanujan, in the B.A. History syllabus.[26] They were also alleged to have assaulted a history professor there.[26]
  • 7 November 2008: Members of the ABVP vandalized the Arts Department at the University of Delhi to protest against an invitation to S.A.R. Geelani, who was acquitted of involvement in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack. The vandalism occurred during a seminar, and several ABVP members were subsequently detained and released by the Delhi Police.[27]
  • 27 April 2009: Hitesh Chauhan, a member and M.P. university election candidate of the ABVP, attempted to assault then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by throwing a shoe at him. He was detained by the police but was released after Dr. Singh declined to pursue charges against him and recommended that he be released.
  • 23 April 2011 : Student activists of ABVP attacked the anchors of MTV's Roadies show in Pune.[28][29] An MTV anchor, Raghu Ram, was assaulted by members of the ABVP, and the ABVP made a statement demanding censorship of the show.
  • 18 August 2011 : ABVP cadres ransack missionary school over Anna protest in Jharkhand.[30]
  • 26 January 2012 : ABVP members set ablaze reels of Telugu film Businessman on the Osmania University campus.[31]
  • 29 January 2012 : ABVP protested against the screening of Sanjay Kak's documentary Jashn-e-Azadi, forcing Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune to indefinitely postpone the seminar Voices of Kashmir.[32][33][34]
  • 14 April 2012 : ABVP members attacked Beef Festival in Osmania University.[35]
  • 24 August 2013 : After the screening of Jai Bhim Comrade and the performance by Kabir Kala Manch, ABVP attacked students of Film and Television Institute of India, Pune and KKM members blaming them as Naxalite, and asked them to say Jai Narendra Modi.[36][37]
  • 7 September 2013 : A Kashmiri film fest was allegedly targeted by the group of right-wing extremists in Hyderabad. A group of ABVP workers entered the venue just few hours after the programme started and indulged in vandalism.[38]
  • 30 December 2014 : ABVP protested the film PK.[39]
  • 2 August 2015: Members of the ABVP stopped a screening of a documentary on the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar. The ABVP claimed that the documentary, titled 'Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai' hurt their religious sentiments.[40]
  • In August 2016, ABVP volunteers filed a complaint against Amnesty international for hosting an event in Bangalore seeking justice for victims of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.[41] ABVP activists subsequently held a violent protest outside the office of Amnesty, many of them getting arrested by state police.[42]
  • 13 October 2017: 70 ABVP members were detained by the police in Bengaluru, after they attempted, along with members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha (the seat of legislature in Karnataka).
  • 3 November 2017: Members of the ABVP vandalized the office of Narayana Junior College, Narayanaguda (in Andhra Pradesh), during a protest. They also vandalized a police car.[43]
  • 9 November 2017: 18 members of the ABVP were arrested in Calicut, Kerala by members of the Railway Protection Force for travelling without tickets, locking the door of a train compartment and preventing other passengers from boarding, creating disruptions, and misusing the emergency stop brake. They were fined a sum of Rs. 11,250 for travelling without tickets.[44]
  • 27 February 2018: A workshop on the role of media organised by the students' union of the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith University, where Teesta Setalvad was invited to participate, was blocked by ABVP activists with active support from the local police.[45][46]


  1. ^ Nilanjana Bhowmick, India’s crackdown at college campuses is a threat to democracy, The Washington Post, 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ "Protests by BJYM, ABVP mar ICET counselling". The Hindu. 
  3. ^ "BJYM, ABVP protest against incursion by Chinese - JK Newspoint Newspaper Jammu Kashmir". 
  4. ^ a b "Controversial student activists turn India's universities into ideological battlegrounds". LA Times. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  5. ^ Christophe Jaffrelot (2010). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-93-80607-04-7. 
  6. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2010-01-01). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 47. ISBN 9789380607047. 
  7. ^ "About". Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  8. ^ a b c Mazumdar, Sucheta (2003-04-21). "Politics of religion and national origin". In Vasant Kaiwar; Sucheta Mazumdar. Antinomies of Modernity: Essays on Race, Orient, Nation. Duke University Press. p. 239. ISBN 0822330466. 
  9. ^ Graff, Violette; Galonnier, Juliette (2013), Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India I (1947-1986), CERI, Sciences Po 
  10. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2010-01-01). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 193. ISBN 9789380607047. 
  11. ^ "JNU row: Behind ABVP's confidence, govt and growth". The Indian Express. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  12. ^ Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad is not the students' wing of BJP: Shreehari Borikar, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad web site, retrieved 22 April 2018.
  13. ^ Spitz, Douglas (1993), "Cultural Pluralism, Revivalism, and Modernity in South Asia: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh", in Crawford Young, The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism: The Nation-state at Bay?, Univ of Wisconsin Press, pp. 242–264, ISBN 978-0-299-13884-4 
  14. ^ a b Atul Chandra, A string of losses on campuses across India: Is the ABVP losing its appeal among students?, Catch News, 29 November 2017.
  15. ^ Sonntag, Selma K. (1996). "The political saliency of language in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh". The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 34 (2): 1–18. doi:10.1080/14662049608447722. : "Protests and lathi-charges continued throughout January, the former organised by a transitory student organisation...although the role of the BJP-affiliated ABVP student union seems to have been more conspicuous."
  16. ^ Thapar, Romila (2014). "Banning Books". India Review. 13 (3): 283–286. doi:10.1080/14736489.2014.937277. : "Thus, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), currently in power in India, demanded the removal of an essay by A. K. Ramanujan from the reading-list of the History syllabus for the BA Degree at Delhi University."
  17. ^ Amaresh Misra, Growing Social Unrest, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 32, No. 12 (Mar. 22-28, 1997), pp. 571-573, JSTOR 4405193: "To pre-empt this, the ABVP (the student wing of the RSS and the BJP) and allied forces let loose the spectre of violence which the administration, instead of controlling, instigated further."
  18. ^ Navneet Sharma and Anamica, "Imbecility and Impudence: The Emergency and RSS", Mainstream Weekly, VOL LV, No 30, 16 July 2017: "The ideological parent of the BJP, the RSS, and its student wing, the ABVP, have their own crucial role in the BJP’s anti-democratic-secular India agenda."
  19. ^ ABVP loses student union polls on PM Modi turf, The Times of India, 5 November 2017.
  20. ^ "ABVP educational reforms". 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  21. ^ "SFD". Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  22. ^ "Обновление FLV Player". Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  23. ^ "The Hindu : ABVP activists turn violent at CET Cell". Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  24. ^ "Stone throwing during protest by ABVP in Hubli; 20 arrested". The Hindu. 2007-05-15. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  25. ^ "ABVP activists go on the rampage on college premises". The Hindu. 2007-05-25. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  26. ^ a b "ABVP activists vandalise DU History Department". The Hindu. 2008-02-26. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  27. ^ "ABVP activists vandalise Delhi varsity building". The Hindu. 2008-11-07. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  28. ^ "ABVP activists blacken faces of MTV Roadies anchors". NDTV. 2011-04-23. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  29. ^ "ABVP activists blacken MTV anchor's face". The Hindu. 2011-04-24. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  30. ^ "Jharkhand: ABVP cadres ransack missionary school over Anna protest". India Today. 2011-08-19. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  31. ^ "'Businessman' reels burnt by ABVP men". IBN-Live. 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  32. ^ "Kashmir seminar postponed after ABVP protest". NDTV. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  33. ^ "In Jaipur replay, university bows to ABVP film fatwa". The Hindu. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  34. ^ "ABVP pushes Symbiosis University to call off seminar on Kashmir". India Today. 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  35. ^ "Violence in Osmania University as right wing students groups attack Beef Festival of Dalit students". India Today. 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  36. ^ "ABVP thrashes FTII student for not saying 'Jai Narendra Modi'". The Hindu. 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  37. ^ "Right-wing hooligans and a complicit State". The Sunday Guardian. 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  38. ^ "Right wing activists target Kashmiri film fest in Hyderabad". IBN-Live. 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  39. ^ "PK row: ABVP burns Aamir Khan's effigy in Muzaffarnagar". Times of India. December 30, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2015. 
  40. ^ S.n, Vijetha; Sunny, Shiv (2015-08-02). "ABVP stops film screening". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ "ABVP 'activists' ransack Narayana college". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 2017-11-03. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  44. ^ "Run-up to ABVP's 'Chalo Kerala' begins on wrong note – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  45. ^ "Teesta prevented from conducting workshop in Kashi Vidyapeeth". Retrieved 2018-04-21. 
  46. ^ "Hindi News Coverage of attack on CJP in Varanasi". Citizens for Justice and Peace. 1 March 2018. : It was on Monday when ABVP first threatened to disrupt the workshop. But it was the student organisers and the Students' Union who decided to go ahead nevertheless.

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