Last week, on the third day of Crossroads, the annual cultural fest of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), the runway became the scene of drama and subsequently solidarity.
The curious case of three results
Demeanor, the fashion society of SRCC, organised Fashion Walk, a fashion show competition. The problem started at the very beginning when the participating teams accused the host team of misbehavior. After the show, the organisers refused to announce the results live, but due to the pressure from all teams, they announced IVOGUE of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce (SGGSCC) as a winner and Glitz, the fashion society of Kamala Nehru College (KNC), as the runner-up. This announcement was followed by heated exchanges between the participating teams and the organisers when the host team refused to release the score sheet.
During the exchanges, a member of Demeanor gave written a statement to Medha Singh, President of Glitz wherein they admitted a mistake in result announcement and declared KNC as first and SGGSCC as second.
Later in the day, the organisers announced another result on their Facebook page and cited ‘technical issues’ for the change. According to the new results, Glitz secured the first position and Prophecy, the fashion society of Lady Irwin College (LIC), emerged as a runner-up. IVOGUE was seen nowhere near the winners tally.
The ‘secret’ score sheet
“There can’t be any technical error that the first team is nowhere in the new results. By announcing us as the winners unofficially and changing the results thereafter is not justified in any way. In all probability, mark sheets were fudged. The results have been announced twice, both times without the judges, hence, no one knows which result is the correct one,” Chayan Jain, President, IVOGUE, contended.
Kunika Sharma, President of Galore, the fashion society of Maitreyi College commented, “The calculations didn’t run in hundreds, it was basic addition and subtraction. They (the organisers) want us to buy this excuse of ‘technical glitches’ and ‘miscalculation’ which took hours to rectify. However, we are not that naïve.”
After repeated attempts to get in touch with Demeanor, the fashion society of SRCC, a member of Demeanor, on the condition of anonymity, briefly spoke to DU Beat and said, “There were some calculation mistakes which is why we released two results. A simple situation was escalated because the participants turned very aggressive. We had to lock ourselves in a room for our safety.” When asked about their refusal to disclose the original score sheet, the member said, “We are not bound to disclose it” and disconnected the call.
As a common practice, the score sheets are shared with the participants so that they know where they are lacking; this uncanny defensiveness about the marks sheet points to something disingenuous.
Things get heated up
Responding to the allegations of manhandling the organisers, Medha Singh, President of Glitz, the fashion society of KNC, attested, “When we insisted on about having the scoresheet, the organisers locked themselves up inside the room. When we started recording all this, they came shouting at us and tried to snatch away our phones.”
She further added, “They called bouncers and female constables to heckle us. Who gave them the right to call force on female participants? That’s legally wrong. They sought female constables because we weren’t budging without checking the scores, not because we manhandled them. At the end of the day it’s seven teams against one college why would that be?”
“A major part of hosting an event is hospitality, if you can’t treat your guests with basic decency, literally shout “Shut up” at them, and refuse to engage in a conversation, then you lose the moral right to accuse them of getting angry. By blaming teams of being rowdy, when they were merely asking for a look at the score sheet, you are shifting the blame,” Chitra Dabral, President of Prophecy, the fashion society of Lady Irwin College said.
“As participants who have paid the registration fees, and that too an exorbitant amount of more than INR 1200 which is way more than any DU college, we refuse to be treated like a liability. The organisers even asked a stand-up comic who was there as filler to make fun of us,” Muskan Vohra, a participant told DU Beat.
A DU Beat correspondent who was covering the event saw Abhijit Ganguly, the stand up comic, make pointed remarks at girls who belong to these fashion societies, calling fashion shows useless.
The Award Wapsi
The suspicion of unfairness and misconduct of the hosts prompted the winners (KNC and LIC) to give back their awards in a show of solidarity with the rest of the teams. They used #UnitedWeStand to renounce their prizes. Explaining their decision to return their second position, Chitra Dabral, President of Prophecy, the fashion society of Lady Irwin College, said, “By not accepting any validation from SRCC we want to signify that if you don’t respect us or our fraternity then we won’t respect your awards. It’s as simple as that.”
We do not want a position from a college that does not know how to respect their ‘cordially invited’ participants. Hence, we, Prophecy: The Fashion Society of Lady Irwin College, proudly return the second position which we won in Crossroads, Annual Cultural Fest of SRCC. To all the teams who suffered their rude behaviour and mismanagement during on and off stage, we are with you. @ivogue.sggscc @galorefashionsoc @glitzfashionsociety @glamorratti_dsc #Unitedwestand
We have always stood up against the wrong and we will still. We @glitzfashionsociety give up our first position that we got at @crossroads.srcc and with that we would also bring into light what all the participating teams had to face because of the mismanagement by the student union of the college. What happened yesterday was wrong and we are with all the teams that faced injustice. @ivogue.sggscc @galorefashionsoc @prophecy_lic @glamorratti_dsc We are with you and we’ll be because what’s wrong is wrong and we will not tolerate that. #unitedwestand
A post shared by GLITZ | Fashion Society of KNC (@glitzfashionsociety) on
We can’t express how proud we are, to see all the teams unite and stand for each other in this complex time. The motive of our fraternity is clear that we won’t entertain any manipulation, indecency, mismanagement & this is what we all stand against. Courageous are the teams @prophecy_lic & @glitzfashionsociety , who have decided to give up their positions, we stand in awe of your brave decision. Let’s give it back to them their way. #UnitedWeStand
Why this incident is important
At first, this incident seems like a petty altercation fueled by competitiveness. However, if you look beyond the accusations and counter-accusations three things emerge at the surface. Firstly, the possessiveness towards one’s performance. This stems from the insecurity that prevails in the fashion circuit, thanks to the widespread norm of choreographer-led rigging. Secondly, the insensitivity that some organisers display without any pretense which comes from the confidence of knowing that they can get away with it. Thirdly, #UnitedWeStand displayed that despite the competitiveness there is a sense of community between the societies and this is something that needs to be celebrated.
We as consumers of the art that performing societies in DU make should be aware of things that go onstage as well as the backstage and we should stand up for what’s right. When art that takes months of hard work gets disrespected then it’s time to get involved.
Feature Image Credits: PV Purnima for DU Beat