Now that the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections are finally over and you’ve voted to elect your leaders who claimed to transform your college into one that resembled an institution of the west, it’s time to rest. The ‘rest’ doesn’t refer to you relaxing, but rather to the Union.
Every year, the same sequence of events plays out. It has been running for so long that this silence which suddenly appears everywhere after this hullabullah of elections seems normal. The storyline is obvious; the passion and vigour of the student leaders to work for the welfare of the students is so short-lived that even the graffiti which carries their names and is used to deface the city during the elections lasts longer.
How does so much energy suddenly fade into oblivion at the end of the day?
“The leaders are, after all, students and are lazy just like you and me.” Even if one decides to buy this logic, the argument that follows fails to be convincing on any level. There is no reason for any sort of leader to ignore his or her responsibilities one he or she has come to power on the back of people’s votes. Accountability is key. Another reason might be that this vigour doesn’t actually belong to the students of the University but is, in fact, artificially created by the outsiders who are mostly the caste-based supporters brought into the varsity by these candidates. Hence, this ‘outsourced’ vigour doesn’t survive even a day after it has served its purpose. Out of both of these reasons, the latter portrays the reality.
If one digs deeper in search of the reason behind this inactivity, the story becomes clear. A simple look into the manifestoes floated by parties before the election uncovers the entire picture. This year, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) promised to start U-special buses and increase the number of hostels for students of the varsity. This is an unreasonable promise as out of these, one comes under the onus of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) which is a body of the Delhi government, while the latter entirely rests upon the university administration and governing bodies of the colleges. In both cases, the Union has no real power to do anything except for protesting and writing letters. Similar pictures emerge with the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and other parties. These tall promises by candidates and parties are akin to showing students the dream of reaching the moon when in reality, they don’t even have the technology of building a rocket. This is precisely why the same issues are raised every year, with absolutely no success.
In the condition of having promised the moon, and with no promises of the things that they can actually do within their power, these leaders embark upon the slippery slope of being absent for major parts of the year. They only make their presence known until something controversial pops up, such as the Ramjas College issue which can offer them another chance of greater media visibility.
In a scenario where our leaders are absent for the majority of the year, it’s we, the students, who suffer the most. It’s high time these elections stop referring to things that the Union cannot do, and instead start becoming a fight about what the Union can, and should, do.