With the onset of the election season in the University, there are students who distance and disassociate themselves from the whole process because the politics of DUSU are too “dirty” for them. How problematic is this? Why do we forget about the students who cannot afford to be indifferent to the “dirty” politics?
Often, when the election season prevails in the University of Delhi, social media are flooded with posts and pictures of how campaigning by the parties cause inconvenience for students. The posts are usually captioned with something along the lines of: ‘This is why I hate the election season’ or ‘This is why I chose to be apolitical.’ A lot of students in the University decide to be indifferent to the politics because they think it is “dirty” and “tiresome” and that the political parties are the reason for a lot of ruckus within the University. These students chose to distance themselves from everything and anything related to the elections by not exercising their right to vote, amongst other things. This is problematic for a lot of reasons. The first and foremost being that being apolitical in a democratic location is equal to being indifferent to a flood in your city because you live in house on stills.
The voter turnout for the DUSU elections of 2016 was merely 35.3%, and it is evident that the rest made a conscious decision to stay neutral. Desmond Tutu very aptly said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Students decide to remain apolitical even after injustice and oppression has prevailed in the campus for years; they don’t turn up to vote because they feel both sides – the left and the right – are iniquitous. But these students often forget that they hold the power to choose NOTA (none of the above) in the election polls. NOTA is quite a convenient way to tell the student parties that they aren’t the right ones for the job, even with their money, muscle and political backing.
As students, the right to vote is the power that we hold to choose who works for us. Often, amongst our privileged background, settled family and a stable financial income, we forget what it is like for the other people of the equation. There are colleges within Delhi University where metros, or even local buses, aren’t available, where there aren’t any hostels and where many basic facilities aren’t accessible. There are a lot of concerns within the University that concern the colleges outside North Campus that we aren’t even aware about. So, with every student who declares him/herself as “apolitical”, there is also a student who has to wait for hours just to get on a bus to a college that is on the outskirts of the city.
Granted, the election season does cause a lot of inconvenience for everyone; the protest marches cause traffic, the entire campus is covered in pamphlets and party posters, and classes are interrupted on a daily basis because of the campaigning. But that shouldn’t be a cause to hate the entire political procedure. If you don’t support paper wastage, then vote for a party that has a paperless campaign; if you think the ruling party did not make any progress in the last tenure, then vote for the opposition; if you think none of the parties deserve to win, the cast your vote as NOTA. The point is: go out and vote. It might sound like a cliché but every vote counts, and help make a huge difference. Your privilege may allow you to become indifferent to which party wins, but privilege can cause you to become silent in the times of need. And silence is just another word for a death sentence.