The All India Students' Federation (AISF) is the oldest surviving student organisation in India; it was founded on 12 August 1936 with the guidance of freedom fighters and revolutionaries of that time.
The foundation conference of the AISF was held at Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall in Lucknow. 936 delegates from all over the country participated in the conference. The conference was inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru while M.A. Jinnah presided.
The conference resolved to establish an All India Students Federation (AISF). Prem Narayan Bhargava was elected the first general secretary of the AISF.
The second conference of the AISF was held after a short interval of only three months, beginning on 22 November (1936) in Lahore. It mainly discussed and adopted the constitution of the AISF. The conference was attended by about 150 delegates under the presidency of Sarat Chandra Bose, who called upon the students to derive inspiration from the Russian revolution. The conference was also addressed by Pt Govind Ballabh Pant.
It through a resolution condemned the intervention by Nazi Germany into the affairs of Republican Spain. The conference decided to affiliate the AISF with the World Students’ Association.
Hemu Kalani, an AISF leader, was arrested by the British army in 1942 for leading the Quit India Movement and he was publicly hanged in 1943 at the age of nineteen. AISF leader Kanaklata Barua was a martyrdom student who participated in the freedom struggle.
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.
After independence, AISF concentrated its activities mainly on educational issues, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle. It addressed various daily problems of students after independence and worked for students’ unity against communal threats. AISF played a main role in the Telangana armed struggle against the imperialism of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
AISF continued to fight for Indian unity leading to liberation of Goa. Satyagrahis from all over the country entered Goa on 15 August 1955 and were fired upon. 23 year old Karnail Singh Benipal was killed when he tried to save his leader V.C. Chitale The general secretary of the AISF Sukhendu Mazumdar was present with AISF leader C.K. Chandrappan on 15 August at the Goa border, to help the student satyagrahis.
The AISF played a huge role in completing the Kothari Commission report which is the basis for all the educational reforms in India.
In the 1980s, during the Khalistan movement, AISF under the leadership of its former General Secretary Satyapal Dang underwent armed training to counter Khalistan militants, with his base at Ekta Bhawan, a centre he had built in Chheharta. Harpal Mohali who was the AISF leader from Mohali lead movements in Punjab University. In response to his attempt to counter Khalistan ideologically he was shot by the militants and got paralyzed. A lot of AISF activists lost their lives in the struggle against Khalistan separatism.
During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in India, demanded their inclusion in essential commodities in various states. AISF set up COVID-19 helpline numbers in various states to help stranded students. AISF also distributed face masks and hand sanitisers.
AISF hold hunger strike in August 2021, demand fresh job calendar in Andhra Pradesh.
AISF has protested against the privatization of schools and colleges in Andhra Pradesh.
AISF activists take protest against alleged erroneous results of the Railway Recruitment Board's Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB NTPC) exam, during Bihar Bandh, in Patna on 28 January 2022.
AISF organised a national convention “Reject NEP 2020” against the National Education Policy (NEP) on 15 May 2022 at Chennai. The convention called for a united struggle of students and teachers of all educational institutions for the withdrawal of the NEP, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUET).
AISF has actively supported LGBTQIA+ rights. AISF state committee member Nadira Mehrin is the first transgender person to contest in a student's union election under Kerala University. And she also contested as chairperson candidate for AISF in the elections of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit (SSUS). In a first, a transgender youth is leading the candidates' panel for a university election in the state.
The organisation now works for the betterment of students with its focus on peace, progress and scientific socialism. The motto "Freedom, Peace and Progress", which had been raised since its formation, was amended
at the 1958 National Convention. Since then, the AISF has come up with the motto "Study & Struggle".
The administrative structure of the federation is as follows:
In 29th National Conference held in September 2018 at Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh) Shuvam Banerjee of West Bengal was elected as New National President, Vicky Mahesari from Punjab was elected as New General Secretary of AISF. In Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union 2019–20, Md. Danish was elected the joint secretary with huge majority.