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Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad

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Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)
Formation9 July 1949 (70 years ago) (1949-07-09)
TypeStudent Organisation
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersMumbai, Maharashtra, India
Region served
Membership (2014-2015)
3.2 million[1]
Parent organization
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) (transl.All Indian Student Council) is a right-wing all India student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).[2][3][4] It claims to be India's largest student organisation with more than three million members.[5]


The ABVP, founded in 1948 with the initiative of the RSS activist Balraj Madhok, was formally registered on 9 July 1949.[6] Its primary purpose was to counter communist influences on university campuses.[7] Professor Yeshwantrao Kelkar, a lecturer in Bombay, became its main organiser 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'.[8]

Various branches of the ABVP have been involved in Hindu-Muslim communal riots since 1961.[9][10] 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.[9] 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.[11]

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.[9] 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. [12] It claims to be India's largest student organisation.[5]

Links to the Bharatiya Janata Party

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.[13] However, both the BJP and the ABVP are members of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS's "family of (affiliated) organisations".[14] The BJP is said to gain handsomely from the ABVP's support base and several politicians of the BJP, including the former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, had their ideological foundation in the ABVP.[15] 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.[16][17][18][19]

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.[15][20] ABVP was able to resurge in the year 2018 by winning the key posts of president, vice-president and joint secretary of students polls of Delhi university[21]. Abvp had won the Hyderabad central university students union polls after eight years[22]


The ABVP's manifesto includes agendas such as educational and university reforms.[23] 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.[24] The official ABVP magazine is Rashtriya Chhatrashakti, which is published monthly in Hindi in New Delhi.[25]

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.[26]
  • 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.
  • 26 August 2006: Members of the ABVP beat Prof. Harbhajan Singh Sabharwal and two other professors of Madhav college, Ujjain during students union polls. Prof.Sabharwal died on the spot due to cardiac arrest.[27]
  • 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.[28]
  • 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.[29]
  • 26 February 2008: Members of the ABVP vandalised 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.[30] They were also alleged to have assaulted a history professor there.[30]
  • 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.
  • 9 March 2011 : ABVP members attacked Prof. Sundar Singh Thakur and Prof. Ashok Choudhary. Prof. Sundar Singh Thakur died of a heart attack few days later.[31]
  • 18 August 2011 : ABVP cadres ransack missionary school over Anna protest in Jharkhand.[32]
  • 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.[33][34][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]
  • 2 August 2015: Members of the ABVP stopped a screening of a documentary Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai on the 2013 riots in Muzaffarnagar. The ABVP claimed that the documentary, titled 'Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai' hurt their religious sentiments.[39]
  • 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.[40] ABVP activists subsequently held a violent protest outside the office of Amnesty, many of them getting arrested by state police.[41]
  • 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 vandalised the office of Narayana Junior College, Narayanaguda (in Andhra Pradesh), during a protest. They also vandalised a police car.[42]
  • 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.[43]
  • 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.[44][45]
  • 19 September 2019: Members belonging to ABVP committed arson at Jadavpur University gate and ransacked rooms on college campus.[46]
  • 5, January 2020: According to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union, masked ABVP members attacked JNU students, smashing cars and pelted stones, while ABVP accused the left wing organisations. A total of 28 people were injured, including students and teachers.[47][48]


  1. ^ "Enrolled 10 lakh new members in last one year: ABVP". The Indian Express. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  2. ^ Nilanjana Bhowmick, India’s crackdown at college campuses is a threat to democracy, The Washington Post, 21 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Protests by BJYM, ABVP mar ICET counselling". The Hindu. 17 July 2007.
  4. ^ Dubey, Priyanka (October 2017). "The age of ABVP". The Caravan. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Controversial student activists turn India's universities into ideological battlegrounds". LA Times. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  6. ^ Christophe Jaffrelot (2010). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-93-80607-04-7.
  7. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (1 January 2010). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 47. ISBN 9789380607047.
  8. ^ "About". Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Mazumdar, Sucheta (21 April 2003). "Politics of religion and national origin". In Vasant Kaiwar; Sucheta Mazumdar (eds.). Antinomies of Modernity: Essays on Race, Orient, Nation. Duke University Press. p. 239. ISBN 0822330466.
  10. ^ Graff, Violette; Galonnier, Juliette (2013), Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India I (1947-1986), CERI, Sciences Po
  11. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (1 January 2010). Religion, Caste, and Politics in India. Primus Books. p. 193. ISBN 9789380607047.
  12. ^ "JNU row: Behind ABVP's confidence, govt and growth". The Indian Express. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  13. ^ Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad is not the students' wing of BJP: Shreehari Borikar, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad web site, retrieved 22 April 2018.
  14. ^ Spitz, Douglas (1993), "Cultural Pluralism, Revivalism, and Modernity in South Asia: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh", in Crawford Young (ed.), The Rising Tide of Cultural Pluralism: The Nation-state at Bay?, Univ of Wisconsin Press, pp. 242–264, ISBN 978-0-299-13884-4
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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."
  17. ^ 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."
  18. ^ Amaresh Misra, Growing Social Unrest, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 32, No. 12 ( 22–28 Mar 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."
  19. ^ 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."
  20. ^ ABVP loses student union polls on PM Modi turf, The Times of India, 5 November 2017.
  21. ^ "ABVP wins president's, two other posts in DUSU polls, NSUI one". The Economic Times. 14 September 2018.
  22. ^ DelhiOctober 7, India Today Web Desk New; October 7, 2018UPDATED; Ist, 2018 13:42. "ABVP sweeps Hyderabad University students' union polls after 8 years". India Today.
  23. ^ "ABVP educational reforms". The Hindu. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  24. ^ "SFD". Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Обновление FLV Player". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  26. ^ "The Hindu : ABVP activists turn violent at CET Cell". The Hindu. 11 July 2003. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  27. ^ "Prof murder: two ABVP men arrested". Times of India. 1 September 2006. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  28. ^ "Stone throwing during protest by ABVP in Hubli; 20 arrested". The Hindu. 15 May 2007. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  29. ^ "ABVP activists go on the rampage on college premises". The Hindu. 25 May 2007. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  30. ^ a b "ABVP activists vandalise DU History Department". The Hindu. 26 February 2008. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  31. ^ "Khandwa prof dies after ABVP assault". Hindustan Times. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  32. ^ "Jharkhand: ABVP cadres ransack missionary school over Anna protest". India Today. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  33. ^ "Kashmir seminar postponed after ABVP protest". NDTV. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  34. ^ Byatnal, Amruta (28 February 2012). "In Jaipur replay, university bows to ABVP film fatwa". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  35. ^ "ABVP pushes Symbiosis University to call off seminar on Kashmir". India Today. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  36. ^ Byatnal, Amruta (24 August 2013). "ABVP thrashes FTII student for not saying 'Jai Narendra Modi'". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  37. ^ "Right-wing hooligans and a complicit State". The Sunday Guardian. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  38. ^ "Right wing activists target Kashmiri film fest in Hyderabad". IBN-Live. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  39. ^ S.n, Vijetha; Sunny, Shiv (2 August 2015). "ABVP stops film screening". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  40. ^ "Amnesty event: ABVP activists storm into college campus, detained". The Hindu. 15 August 2016 – via
  41. ^ "Protesting ABVP Students Lathicharged Outside Amnesty Office". The Wire.
  42. ^ "ABVP 'activists' ransack Narayana college". The Hindu. Special Correspondent. 3 November 2017. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 November 2017.CS1 maint: others (link)
  43. ^ "Run-up to ABVP's 'Chalo Kerala' begins on wrong note – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  44. ^ "Teesta prevented from conducting workshop in Kashi Vidyapeeth". Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  45. ^ "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.
  46. ^ Banerjee, Tamaghna (20 September 2019). "ABVP supporters commit arson at Jadavpur University gate, ransack rooms on campus | Kolkata News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  47. ^ "As it happened: Masked goons strike terror in JNU, none arrested". The Hindu. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  48. ^ "ABVP members barged into JNU hostels, attacked students with sticks, claims JNUSU". India Today. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2020.

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