Students are the repository of all that is vital and vigorous in society. They are the vital forces in the social organism. If the students do not come upto our expectations simply because they are led astray and their vigor is drained away, the radiance of our hopes is likely to be dimmed. It is essential, therefore, that students should realize this and make full preparations for playing their proper role in society and answering the call of the time to come.
Duties of students:
This leads us to the consideration of the duties which the students should discharge in order to become good citizens of tomorrow. When we talk of duties, the terms ‘rights’ naturally occurs to us. The students of today, unfortunately, are conscious of only their rights. It is good that they should have a consciousness of these too, for they are the basic conditions of freedom. But, what is more important to understand is the fact that rights do not stand by themselves. They grow out of duties.
Hence the need is to be more conscious about duties than about rights. Duties of students can be divided into four categories: (1) Duties to themselves, (2) Duties to the family, (3) Duties to the society and the (4) Duties to the humanity.
Duties towards themselves:
The first duty of students is towards themselves. They should try to have good health, for a sound mind lives in a sound body. One cannot do anything great without good health, however much one wants to do so. For this purpose they should take part in games and sports. They should be guided by the maxim “Read while you read and play while you play.” The second duty which they owe to themselves is character formation. Building up of good habits in the beginning is very necessary. The good habits that are formed in the student life last throughout. And character is nothing but a bundle of habits.
‘Simple living and high thinking1 must be the motto of their lives. They should develop decency, good manners and good behavior towards others. Thirdly, they should pay full attention to their studies, for it is their studies which shall determine their future course of life.
Duties towards the family:
Besides duties towards themselves, students owe duties towards their parents, elders and teachers. Parents who are responsible for their having come into the beautiful, delightful world have a moral claim upon their children, who should do everything to repay at least some part of the irreparable debt they owe to their parents. They should not do anything that tarnishes the image of their family.
Next to parents come teachers to whom students woe irreparable debt. The teacher who guides youth to course through this life as a respectable member of society deserves the most sanctified respect of the students.
Duties towards society and nation:
Man is a social being. He is what he can be; what he intends to become due to society. Social service leads to the liberation of the self which in turn leads to the ennoblement of the soul and the enlargement of the spirit. Besides these spiritual gains, students can get experience of an education in harmonious social living. They can also eke out their resources by earning some little money as a result of their social service. They can help in the eradication of social evils like infant marriages, casteism, untouchability etc.
During their vacation students can organize night schools in villages and thus be helpful in solving the problem of illiteracy. They can instill political consciousness in the villagers and can tell them their rights in the democratic set up of the country. During times of war students can organize civil defence operations and look after the families of these who are actively engaged infighting against the enemy.
Duties towards humanity:
Service to humanity is the crying need of the hour. Nationalism is an utterly crude term in the context of the modern times. The world is a family; this should ever remain on the conscious plan of their minds. Thanks to science that it has conquered barriers of space. Students of one country can communicate and establish contacts with students of foreign countries. They should try to develop sense of accommodation for the people of all countries without discrimination on the basis of social or political systems of their countries or the faith or religion of their societies.
In the world of today our lot is closely connected with the lot of people of every other country. Students should help in the formation of effective world public opinion against cases of injustice, tyranny of oppression in any part of the world.
Students and politics:
Politics is an integral part of our life. What Mahatma Gandhi once said of himself, “I take part in politics because it encircles us like the coils of snake” may with the same degree of emphasis be said of every one of us including students. And hence they should be allowed full participation in the policies of their country and that of the world.
Conclusion—duties and rights:
We have put before the students a plethora (superfluity) of duties. In fact, the performance of these duties is very essential particularly now when free India demands active participation of students in the task of social advancement and national development. But the society and the government should not lose sight of their duties and responsibilities towards students.
Those suffering from financial hardships should be rendered all possible financial help; for the proper execution of their studies. Employment after studies should be ensured with perfect fairness and non-discrimination.