Introduction - All India Student's Federation was the 1st National level platform for the students of India, which was born out of the courageous struggle of the freedom movement, to dethrone the British imperialists and to establish freedom,peace and progress. Thus the heroic journey of AISF began on 12th of August, 1936.
Students sacrificed their lives under the banner of AISF for Independence.
1) "We won't salute the British flag"- Commencement of the struggle against British.
During the early days of 1938, the students of aisf denounced to salute the British Union Jack during the parade in Calcutta University campus. The founder of Bhartiya Jan Sangh(Parent party of current BJP) and the ideal of today's BJP Shyama Prasad Mukherjee instructed to beat up those students and rusticated them on charges of disobeying the British flag. There was a huge student protest all over the undivided Bengal under the leadership of AISF national leader Biswanath Mukherjee and they demanded to revoke the rustication. This huge upsurge of common students made the university to revoke the rustication of those students and take them back. Unfortunately or fortunately Shyam Prasad had to resign on 7th August, the same year.
2) Achievement of the most crucial Democratic students' right so far.
Students got the right to elect a student union in their college and university campuses.
This is the highest Democratic right students have ever achieved in India.
In the late 1938, under the leadership of AISF, students gave the call for students' union elections and demanded that there must be students' representation in the governing body or the management of their colleges and universities.
The movement started from the Scottish Church college, Kolkata but expanded to the whole Eastern region of India. Due to the impact of that student movement the British Government had to sanction the students' union election and universities were forced to amend their Constitutions during 1940.
3) Thousands of Relief kitchens all over India to support the poor people suffering from the Great Famine of 1943.
The great famine of 1943, was artificially created by the British, affected Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, Madras Bengal very badly.
At least one-third of India was affected by the most widespread drought and famine of modern times. Bengal’s condition was particularly grim. At least 3 million people died in Bengal alone.
AISF took up the challenge of the Great Famine in a big way, and unleashed a campaign of famine relief and related work all over the country. It collected money and food on a big scale, organised a number of cultural programmes, both to raise funds and create awareness. AISF also opened shops to sell food grains at reasonable prices in Bengal, in large numbers. At the same time it opened several kitchens providing free food for those affected by famine and hunger. Thousands of affected people used to visit the kitchens. The Bengal Provincial Students Federation alone conducted about 86 kitchens run by 3000 volunteers, where at least 26 thousand people used to take meals every day. This was a great struggle against the British-created famine. At the initiative of the Students’ Federation, a joint Famine Relief Committee under the chairmanship Dr B.C. Roy was organised in September 1943. During the 8th National Conference of AISF which held at Calcutta in 1944, Dr B.C. Roy and Sarojini Naidu highly praised the relief work done by the AISF which saved countless lives.
4) Indian Royal Naval Mutiny
Three officers of the Indian National Army (INA) were put on trial by the British government immediately after World War 2 ended – Sehgal, Dhillon and Shahnawaz Khan. A countrywide movement was unleashed demanding release of these INA officers. The town of Tamiku observed a general strike at the call of AISF on 31 October (1945) on this question. It was sought to be broken by the troops with the help of the goons. Several students were injured in the attacks that followed on them. More than 5 thousand students brought out a demonstration on 21 November(1945). The police lathi charged and fired without any warning, 3 people died and several got injured. There was a complete protest strike in all the schools and colleges the next day. There was police firing again, in which 11 people died. It was followed by a massive protest rally of more than 2 lakh people the next day. Again there were lathi charges and firings. There were countryside protests all over the country led by the AISF. 30 thousand students went on strike in Bombay. Rameshwar, a student was martyred in police firing in the movement in support of the INA officers in Calcutta. B. Golvala, the manager of AISF journal, was murdered by the goons of mill owners in Bombay.
The historic naval uprising took place in Bombay in February 1946. Workers and students also came out in support actively. AISF played an active part in mobilizing students in support of the Naval Ratings. The Bombay Students’ Union (BSU), affiliated to the AISF, brought out a handbill in support of the Naval uprising on 22 February, and called for a general students’ strike. The students strike, and come out in large numbers, fighting side by side with workers and naval ratings.
There was a people’s upsurge in Calcutta protesting against the arrest and imprisonment of Captain Rashid of the INA. The people fought bullets and police atrocities for two days. Bengal Provincial Students Federation (BPSF) along with other organizations, demanded release of Capt. Rashid and other INA officers. It organised meetings and processions on the question in February 1946. 15 thousand students and youth demonstrated in front of the Bengal Assembly on 25 July (1946) demanding release of the political prisoners. 4 million people took part in the general strike in Calcutta in support of the striking postal employees. Nearly one lakh students also went on strike.
5) 1946 - unforgettable role of AISF to save lives during the communal riots of 1946.
On 16th Aug 1946, the Muslim League called for the direct action day. The RSS and Hindu Mahasabha also tried to take political advantage of that situation. Due to this notorious politics of Muslim League and RSS-Hindu Mahasabha, a dreadful communal riot had spread. The student cadres of AISF sacrificed their lives in huge numbers to save the lives of the common people irrespective of their religion,caste and class.
6) Goa Liberation
14th conference of the AISF was held on 5-8 January 1955 in Lucknow. It paid special attention to organisation. AISF appealed to the students to participate in the Goa liberation movement on a large scale. AISF organised joint programmes in Delhi on 12th July. 9 August (1955) was observed as “Portuguese, Quit India” day. 250 volunteers including 59 communists entered Goa on 3rd August. The Portuguese soldiers opened fire in which many were killed including two Communists – V.K. Thorat and Nityanand Saha. Demonstrations were held on 5 August, students went on strike on 13 August. More than 4 lakh students and others came out on the streets and widespread strikes resulted. Satyagrahis from all over the country entered Goa on 15 August and were fired upon. 23 year old Karnail Singh was killed when he tried to save his leader V.C. Chitale. The general secretary of the AISF Sukhendu Mazumdar was present with SF leader C.K. Chandrappan on 15 August at the Goa border to help the student satyagrahis. A massive rally of over 2 lakh people took place in Delhi on 16 August (1955), which was participated in huge numbers by the students.
After attaing freedom, struggle still continues for the establishment of peace, progress and scientific socialism