An account from the perspective of a first-year student trying to find his voice in the clamour of the Hindu College elections.
The first year in DU is like the age of discovery. You get to breathe new air, walk on a new road and see new faces and new places. One such exciting phenomena which these “straight out of school” recruits get to experience is the politics. The DUSU elections obviously create the most buzz in the campus, but the college elections have their own charm too. Hindu College is no exception. In fact, it is the only educational institution in the University which has an exclusive Parliament of its own. Over time, some have regarded it as an unnecessary dramatic institution of power while some feel it can actually be an effective collective to bring a change. Whether you love it or hate it, you just cannot ignore the Hindu College Parliament.
I still remember my first year when I was all too naïve in this politics game (I think I still am). As the days towards the Parliament elections grew close, Facebook friend requests to random juniors started being sent and Whatsapp screenshots exposing each side’s fallacies began to be circulated. There were two major panels, each of which got engrossed in beating the drum of their achievements and aspirations, trying to draw in as many juniors as they could.
There were some freshers who genuinely began to understand the issues highlighted by these panels and started getting actively involved in the electoral melodrama, while there were others who just regarded this as a quirky shouting match between two sides and distanced themselves. There was also a category which hardly understood what was going on around them but were just feeling a mixture of emotions, eager to get into the crowds and experience this parliamentary hullabaloo. I was one such curious fresher.
The leaders on each side, the representatives for the post of PM and CC, they all talked in mature voices with mature promises. The clash of words in the crowded canteen and the PM debate in the even more crowded auditorium gave a very Athenian aura of democracy. Funnily mature Athens turned into an immature Sparta during the marches and the slogan shouting where opposite sides got as petty as showing each other middle fingers and exchanging cheap profanities. Ah! These were a few moments when college began to feel like it’s high school. “5 saal Bemisaal.” “arey kyu pade ho chakkar mei, koi nahi hai takkar mei.”
Everyone was being dragged into a particular side, so I shouted slogans too, even though I hardly understood the leader I was supporting and his objectives. Come to think of it, I was supporting this particular candidate as he had been very warm with me and I hardly cared to understand the other panel. In my first year of college, I can still excuse my lazy unaware self, but I hope people don’t follow this pattern while voting for their actual parliamentary leaders of the state and national level.
Finally, the D-day arrived. Crowds were assembled in the auditorium with sweaty students clutching on their identity cards waiting to be done with the voting. While sitting at my usual spot in college, I could feel a rumbling under my feet as if some hundred mad bulls were running together. Looking ahead, I saw it was a bunch of enthusiastic fellows, members and supporters of the other panel. As they ran together in a fit of merriness, dust flew all over and I knew my panel had to bite the dust. I don’t remember my exact feelings at that moment. In fact, I hardly felt anything. “Cool. One panel won. One panel lost. That is democracy.”
The elections for the college parliament had been a tumultuous journey indeed. Lectures had been cancelled. Factions had been created in classes during this phase. Throats were affected with the constant shouting (I myself began sounding like Farhan Akhtar for a few days!). Each side had portrayed themselves as the side of righteousness with the other one being a collective of Inferno-dwellers.
Still, on the next day, I stepped in my college and I felt no change. The aura was all the same only that the people seemed less hyper now. I stepped in my college a week later and it felt normal again. The storm had started settling. The lines between factions got thinner and I could meet and greet anyone without thinking about their economic background or which state they belonged to. My panel had lost but it’s not that the other panel turned the college into a rotten wasteland. The normal circle of life in college had resumed.
Now I have entered my second year and I see a couple of freshers sitting at the same spot where I felt the rumbling of a hundred bulls. There is no rumbling at the moment. It’s a calm atmosphere. Maybe, they are judging their seniors or talking about any expectations they had from this institution. Their conversation gets interrupted as a senior appears out of nowhere. This is no joke session. The senior is mentioning some names and terms like ‘candidature’, ‘department’, ‘panel’ and ‘elections’. I laugh and I walk on. I can feel a few stormy clouds above me…
Shaurya Singh Thapa