Kerala's two main students' political outfits – Students' Federation of India (SFI) and Kerala Students' Union (KSU) – are known for their perennial rivalry.
SFI is the students' wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and KSU is the pupils' arm of the Congress.
Colleges and schools in the state have been witnessing fights - both verbal and physical - between the two sides, often with the support of their political mentors. Both the organisations are considered to be the grooming grounds of future political leaders.
But the leaders of the two outfits did something quite different recently, much to the surprise of those who watch campus politics keenly.
Keeping aside their ideological differences, leaders from both sides joined hands to donate a television set to a poor student in Malappuram district whose parents could not afford to buy the 'luxurious' gadget.
In Kerala, the state education department had started virtual academic year in the first week of June.
The lessons are being beamed through television and various online platforms.
A survey in May this year showed that Kerala had 2.60 lakh students without access to television and online platforms. But efforts from political parties and social organisations have ensured virtual learning facilities for many of them. On June 17, Kerala's Education Minister C Raveendranath claimed that virtual classes cover 99.95 per cent of the students.
WhatsApp status & surprise offer
KSU Malappuram district president Haris Muthoor came to know about one such student in his district last Thursday.
He did not use it for political blame game. Instead, he decided to ensure a television for the student. He immediately put out a WhatsApp message seeking help from philanthropists. "Need a television for a poor student," read his WhatsApp status.
With in a few minutes, Haris got a call from an unexpected person.
SFI district secretary K A Sakeer was at the other end.
After inquiring about the student, Sakeer made an offer that the KSU leader couldn't resist. "We will buy the television. You can hand it over to the student," Sakeer offered.
Haris agreed, opening up a new chapter of ties between the two rival outfits.
On Friday, SFI leaders handed the television to their KSU counterparts at a low-key ceremony held near the Malappuram Press Club.
Leaders from both sides waxed eloquent about their collective effort.
Sakeer said he wanted to prove a point that political affiliations should be kept aside while fighting for the students' cause. "That is why we offered to buy the television for the poor student," he said.
Haris too agreed with his political opponent. “We have no issues in joining hands with political rivals on issues affecting students. Politics comes only next," he said.
KSU leaders will hand over the television to the student on Sunday.
SFI state committee member Harikrishnapal, district committee members A Gopika, K P Sreejith, and KSU Vengara assembly unit president Jaseel Moochikaadan were present at the function.