Students' Federation of India
The Students' Federation of India (SFI) is an Indian left-wing student organisation politically aligned to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It claims to be India's largest student organisation with more than 4.3 million members (as of 2014–15).
|Motto||Independence, Democracy and Socialism|
|V. P. Sanu|
|V.A Vineesh, Pratikur Rahman, Y Ramu, Kota Ramesh, Balaji Kaletwad|
|Sachin Dev, Srijan Bhattacharya, Dipsita Dhar, Dinit Denda, Sandipan Deb|
Currently, V. P. Sanu and Mayukh Biswas are elected as the All India President and General Secretary respectively. Currently SFI leads the student unions in various universities across India, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University, University of Hyderabad, Pondicherry University, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Ambedkar University Delhi, Central University of Gujarat. SFI has strong presence in states like Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tripura, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, New Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana. Karnataka. In many universities in the country, like Madhya Pradesh State Universities, Kurukshetra University, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Central University of Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh University, Doon University, SFI has won student union elections several times; but recently elections were cancelled. SFI alleges that elections were cancelled because SFI used to win every time.
The origin of Indian students movement in its organised form can be traced to the formation of All India Students’ Federation (AISF) on 12 August 1936 to further anti-imperialist politics. AISF was aligned to the undivided Communist Party of India. In 1964 CPI(M) broke up from CPI. AISF was also severely affected with this ideological split. Several state organizations and local organizations previously affiliated to AISF started working independently. In 1970, delegates from such organizations held a conference in Thiruvananthapuram to form a new national students organisation. The all India conference was held from 27 to 30 December, and resulted in formation of Students' Federation of India. The elected leaderships from the first conference included C. Vaskaran, (first President), Biman Bose (first General Secretary), Shyamal Chakraborty, Baldev Singh, Babu Bharadwaj, Ranjan Goswami, Manik Sarkar, N Ram, Subhash Chakraborty, Umendra prasad Singh, P Madhu and Shaktidhar Das.
|No.||Year||Place of Conference||President||General secretary|
|1||1970||Trivandrum||C. Bhaskaran||Biman Bose|
|2||1973||Delhi (CEC Meeting)||Prakash Karat||Biman Bose|
|3||1974||Calcutta||Prakash Karat||Biman Bose|
|4||1976||Calcutta (CEC Meeting)||Prakash Karat||Subhas Chakraborty|
|5||1978||Patna||M. A. Baby||Nepaldeb Bhattacharya|
|6||1981||Bombay||M. A. Baby||Nepaldeb Bhattacharya|
|7||1984||Dumdum||Sitaram Yechury||Nepaldeb Bhattacharya|
|8||1986||Vijayawada||A. Vijayaraghavan||Nilotpal Basu|
|9||1989||Calcutta||A. Vijayaraghavan||Nilotpal Basu|
|10||1993||Trivandrum||Y. B. Rao||Sujan Chakraborty|
|11||1997||Midnapore||K. N. Balagopal||Bratin Sengupta|
|12||2000||Chennai||P. Krishna Prasad||Samik Lahiri|
|13||2003||Kozhikode||K. K. Ragesh||Kallol Roy|
|14||2005||Hyderabad||R. Arun Kumar||K. K. Ragesh|
|15||2008||Salt Lake||P. K. Biju||Ritabrata Banerjee|
|16||2012||Madurai||V. Sivadasan||Ritabrata Banerjee|
|17||2016||Sikar||V. P. Sanu||Vikram Singh|
|18||2018||Shimla||V. P. Sanu||Mayukh Biswas|
The SFI's flag has a red five-pointed, socialist-style star in the top left corners, on a white background and the words "Independence", "Democracy" and "Socialism" are written, in English or in a local language, one beneath the other, at the bottom right of the flag, also in red. The ratio of length and breadth of the flag is 3:2.
The Students' Federation of India in 2020–21 has 24 functioning state committees. Gujarat and a Unit in Central University of Gujarat Sikkim, Chhattisgarh and a unit in Central University of Jammu are newly formed committees. SFI is leading several student unions of universities in Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Kerala. In 2014–15, its total membership was 4,300,405.
- SFI has protested against the National Education Policy, 2019, hike in fees, and under-representation of reserved students in IITs.
- SFI members took part and organised multiple Citizenship Amendment Act protests in 2019. The SFI marched to the Parliament in one such protest. Further, the SFI even approached the Supreme Court against the act.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India, SFI distributed sanitary napkins to female students in West Bengal and demanded their inclusion in essential commodities in Himachal Pradesh. SFI set up COVID-19 helpline numbers in various states to help stranded students. To combat misinformation and reach out to the migrant labourers in various places, SFI launched a campaign named "My dear friend" where verified information from government sources are translated into various Indian languages and circulated through social media. Online art festivals, lecture series and online classes were also organised by various SFI committee's. SFI also produced face masks and hand sanitisers.
- SFI had won court cases for regulating private coaching centres in India. SFI and DYFI activists jointly posted 1.5 lakh letters to the Prime Minister's office for lodged FIR against 49 artists who condemned the lynching of people and the activities of cow vigilantes.
Women in SFIEdit
From 27 to 29 January 2017, the 5th All India Girls Convention was held at Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh and it elected a 23-member team of girls’ sub-committee.
Bleed Without Fear, Bleed Without TaxEdit
Protesting against the imposition of 12% tax on sanitary napkins, the women sub-committee of SFI protested nationwide in July 2017. The campaign was named "Bleed Without Fear, Bleed Without Tax". Petitions were submitted to the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for revoking the government decision. Thousands of girl students mailed sanitary napkins with protest slogans to Arun Jaitley's office. This campaign was similar to that of the Pink Chaddi Campaign in 2009. The campaign also demanded the installation of adequate sanitary napkin vending machines in schools and colleges and providing six packets of sanitary napkins for one rupee to the women below poverty line.
Female candidates of the SFI won all seats in a mixed college by fielding an all-women panel for students union elections in Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady in 2017. An SFI member became the first Dalit woman to be elected as the chairperson in Maharaja's College, Ernakulam in 2017.
In 2019, SFI members were elected as the first female chairpersons in Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, and the College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET). Earlier, the SFI had organised protests of the female hostelites of CET in February 2019 for extending the curfew timings for girls' hostels. This movement forced the government to accept the demands and Dr Usha Titus, the Higher Education Secretary of Kerala Government issued orders to enforce them.
The idea of GSCASH (Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment) was first experimented in Jawaharlal Nehru University by SFI's students union headed by Vijoo Krishnan in 1998–99. In September 2013, after the harassment of two women students of Pondicherry University, the SFI initiated a movement for GSCASH in the university and the activists approached Madras High Court for redressal. The movement later ended successfully with the High Court ordering university to constitute institutional mechanisms for grievances. In Assam, the Directorate of Higher Education (DHE) in 2018 ordered all colleges to set up GSCASH after the SFI's intervention.
In 2019, an informal probe by retired Justice PK Shamsudin, appointed to look into the discrepancies in college campus politics noted the anti-democratic activities of SFI in Kerala. However, the SFI denied these claims.
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