There is something wrong about the student-teacher relationship in our country, India, or more specifically in my case, the student-professor conduct in my college. I’m not going to talk about any controversial incident that took place in a college classroom, no. Instead, I’m going to give you my perspective of the entire scenario as an Indian college student and share five iconic songs which understand my sentiments accurately.
Everything about life in college is pretty typical. There is a decent student life culture, people always find an excuse to join some club in order to become more socially relevant. Students are sprawled across the entire town, living in dodgy overcrowded apartments. There are drugs, there’s sex, there’s crime (yes, there is) and there’s all the overhyped spectacle that comes with it. I have always been able to separate myself from the unending cycle of drama and critique it from far. Maybe it’s my constant fear of confrontation that naturally makes me avoid it, but it has helped me to rise above all the hate and judgement that makes our world go around.
I previously thought that it was us the millennials or how they like to call us – kids, who are fucked up beyond repair. But ultimately, upon close observation of daily life and quiet introspection on dazed and confused nights that I have slowly come to realise that our constant fight against authority to be represented and taken seriously and to be treated like adult citizens in our colleges have often been shrugged off by college officials on a regular basis by using the same subtle discriminatory and derogatory conduct we all are familiar with. Most of us have internalized this treatment and are too scared to protest student injustice on campus. The word “future” that we are always so terrified of are used against us to get the better of us and to keep us in check.
Indian students in college, almost all of whom are 18 years and above, aren’t used to being treated as an adult in their home-grown institutions. A large number of unqualified “assistant” professors with negligible teaching ethics and zero enthusiasm are employed to teach the next generation their respective majors. There is blatant bias on grounds of gender, race, regional and religious identity towards students. It should be kept in mind that an average Indian college student is an adult and rightfully old enough to make his or her choices and in return deserve basic respect and decency from professors alike. We are constantly patronised, banned from wearing clothing of our choice and express ourselves. Also, prohibited to go out after 10 pm if you are living in hostels and worse, 7:30 for women. We are shouted at, judged, and compelled to attend classes at any cost. The choice of classes we wanted to take, however, was never ours. The urge to know more isn’t why we go to class anymore, it’s because we would rather attend enough classes so we don’t have to retake them.
There are rampant moral policing and sexist rules imposed as college laws and regulations. From curfews to sexist and homophobic remarks from professors we get to hear loud and clear every other day may boil our blood momentarily, but little do we do about it and then eventually, we forget about it. This reassures our so-called mentors of their detestable demeanour as an acceptable approach to communicating to us, “kids”.
As for music and culture, we never had our punk or hippie movement. Our previous generation didn’t live the 60s and 70s like the West did. It has been such a long stretch and a long wait to this moment that we need to realise thoughtfully the time in history we are living in (caged in). This is a call out to every Indian college student, to protect themselves from being moulded every day by professional brainwashers and being taught to fear authority. It’s time to take a stand and not to accept our decisions being made for us and handed to us.
As for example, 90 percent of engineering graduates in our country are unemployable. It does not take a genius to figure out why that is. There are talented musicians, artists, dancers, writers, and speakers, athletes, and performers walking our campus grounds every day, struggling at doing what they think is the only way out of this mess called engineering.
Since our childhood, all we have learnt by our direct and immediate influences around us is to give up on our dreams. Our parents probably couldn’t live theirs either as their challenges overcame them. There seems to be no joy left in students in this passionless world of competitive education. We are feeling deeply unsatisfied with our college and work environment, primarily because most of us choose to ignore our calling caused by the undue stress put on us to perform and score and be relevant since day one. Suicide rates among teenagers and young adults have shot up in recent times and it does not take much to connect the dots. It definitely does take an ignorant and selfish authoritative figure to un-see it, however. What does the peevish looking, obnoxious, and uninspired hack of a man in a buttoned-up shirt next to the chalkboard know anything about who we are and who we want to be?
Here are a few songs from new school rap to 90s grunge to 2000s pop punk to modern psychedelic rock to art rock geniuses that speaks louder for everyone at the back. Listen.
“…When you know, we been hurt, been down before, n#gga
When our pride was low, lookin’ at the world like, “where do we go, n#gga?”
And we hate Popo, wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, n#gga
I’m at the preacher’s door
My knees gettin’ weak and my gun might blow but we gon’ be alright…”
Kendrick Lamar’s music talks intensely about the misunderstood but proud African-American culture, his songs and his lyrics can go a long way to inspire us.
“With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us”
Kurt Cobain did not become the spokesperson of an entire generation overnight. It was a steady sound and a voice unlike anyone else rising up from the underground waiting to be heard.
“They’re gonna clean up your looks
With all the lies in the books
To make a citizen out of you
Because they sleep with a gun
And keep an eye on you, son
So they can watch all the things you do”
My Chemical Romance was a phenomenon in 2000s pop punk scene, delivering a more punk influenced pop sound. Their song “Teenagers” would be the perfect fit to this segment.
“You were a child
Crawling on your knees toward him
Making momma so proud
But your voice is too loud
We like to watch you laughing
Picking insects off of plants
No time to think of consequences”
MGMT’s music is one of a kind and the track named “Kids” perfectly exposes the insecurities of the kids we used to be.
“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone”
This one needs no introduction, neither does the song. Some sounds and songs are meant to live through generations and keep inspiring the uninspired.