By Anil Rajimwale
History of AISF (All India Students Federation) is an inseparable part of the freedom movement of our country. The student community have added glorious pages and chapters to India’s history through their memorable struggles and contributions. The AISF and other student organisations have made singular contributions both before and after independence. The AISF has left the deepest and an everlasting impression on the history of this country, particularly on student history.The beginnings of students’ movements and organisations go way back into the 19thcountry. Many people think that the student movement began only in the 20thcentury, but that is not true. The role and place of the student movement has been under- estimated. Therefore, we will make a short reference to the student activities of the 19th century.History finds a mention of a student organisation of 1828 called the Academic Association. It was founded in Calcutta by Vivian Derozio. Derozio was a Portuguese youth settled in Calcutta. He became a lecturer in Hindu College there at a very young age. In the course of time he gathered together a group of brilliant and leading students around himself, which came to be known as the Academic Association. The Association used to regularly organise discussions on serious educational, social and political questions. At the same time, it used to run a regular campaign against social evils, religious obscurantism and superstition and for social reforms. The Academic Association included students of all the religions – Hindu, Muslim, Christians etc, but they were united in the struggle against obscuratism. They went to the extent of eating beef and other kinds of meat publicly, openly violated religious obscurantist practices, and actively propagated western liberal ideas of progress and modernism. They spread the anti-feudal modern ideas of French, Italian, English and other revolutions. Consequently, the Academic Association had to face the ire of the socio-religious obscurantists.On the basis of the researches done so far, we may state that the Academic Association of 1828 was the first student organisation of India.