Miranda House

In Conversation with the MHSU President (2016-2017)

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The Students Union election of Miranda House was held in the month of September. The elections were hotly contested and the percentage of voters had increased. Shallu Chatta, was elected the students union President for the session 2016-2017

Miranda House Students Union elections were one notch fiercer than the earlier years. After a challenging and a controversial Students Union Election, Shallu Chattha emerged as the President of Miranda House for the session 2016-2017. Shallu is a Third Year Student, from Miranda’s Political Science Department. She has been actively involved in college activities. She has served through NSS and has been a member of Gandhi Study Circle. Shallu had also been one of the most active core committee members of MHSU in 2015-2016.

DU Beat got in touch with her over a cup of cold coffee in Miranda’s activity hub; the ever bustling Nescafe Lawns. The newly elected Miranda House Students Union President provided us with some fruitful insights:

Congratulations on your win, Shallu!  You have not been a stranger to most of the Mirandians since they have seen you involved in many of the college activities. Was becoming the President of Miranda House always on your vision board?
Thank you!  Becoming the MHSU President had not really been on my vision board. I always had a passion to work for the college, be it in NSS, Miranda House Students Union or any other college society. For two years I had been constantly working for the college and it gives me immense pleasure that I would be able to continually to do so.

 Miranda House witnessed a very fierce student’s union election this time. Had you anticipated such a competition?
No, I had not anticipated such a competition but I was ready to face criticism and opposition. The fact that four candidates were contesting for the post of the President was very challenging in itself. This is why the elections turned out to be fiercer than before.

Despite ferocious campaigning from all candidates, you managed to hit the chord with Mirandians. What was your plan of action and which one of them garnered you the support that you got?
The basic plan of action was to get involved with each and every person at a personal level. Every Mirandian is different and getting personally involved gave me leverage over the other candidates.

What is your plan of action for the session 2016-2017?
Action plan for 2016-2017 constitutes significantly, efforts to solve the problems of all the students which they face in the college. My focus would also be to organize college events in a more planned and a productive manner.

Many have blamed erstwhile students unions of a lack of accountability. Are you going to put in place a system to address that and bridge the gap? Or do you think there were other reasons for the same?
MHSU (2015-16) tried to bridge the gap between students and Union by creating WhatsApp groups with all the Class Representatives. I would like to continue with that.  In addition, we have also planned monthly General Body Meetings with the post holders of all the departments and societies. Co-ordination between students and Student Unions is central to this process. I will try my best to improve that. Everyone is free to put up their suggestions.

Renovation has been one of the hot topics in the cafeteria gossips. How soon should the students expect the College Auditorium to be functional again?
Well I can’t say much about that because the construction work entirely depends upon the college administration.

Miranda House has been in news about retrenching around 13 ad-hoc teachers. What are your views about it?
The immediate outcome of the removal of ad-hocs teachers was felt by us, the students as well. We are aware that the teachers are facing a lot of difficulties. However, looking through the lens of college administration also gives a different picture. However, as students we sympathize with the teachers affected.

Students Unions don’t have a lot of discretion as far as funds are concerned. As a president how are you going to tackle with it?
It is a fact that the college funds are not under the discretion of Students union. But I do think that the Students Union can chalk out certain ways in which the funds are utilized in a pro-student manner. We can propose a number of ideas for the fund utilization in ways that will prove beneficial for the students.

Last year has seen tremendous amount of coercion as far as the scope of dissent and debate in educational institutes is concerned. Where do you see Miranda in this war against the platforms of meaningful Free Speech?
Miranda has and should always stand in favor of debate and dissent. It is integral to our education. I have been encouraged and would like to encourage all Mirandians to preserve, protect and expand this fast narrowing space under attack.

Do you find some issues in college that you would want the students to think about? What is your message to fellow Mirandians?
Yes, we all know that Miranda has the most clean and green campus in Delhi University. However, a major problem faced by Miranda is regarding cleanliness especially in the Canteen and the mushroom hut areas. So I would request Mirandians to act like Mirandians! Students have to act responsibly, without which the maintenance and cleanliness of college cannot not be taken further. Co-operation and unity are the pillars of Miranda’s integrity. So I look forward for the same from all Mirandians. Let us all move together towards success!

Thank-you for all the support.

Featured image credits
Mahi Goyal

Tooba Towfiq
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