DUB Speak

Electoral Friendships: Of Facade and Fantasies

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Screaming claims of the space for
dissent in the University of Delhi (DU)
inspire political actions in the young
students. But all that is political is
about power, and power is corruptible.
Or is it?

Places are political, period. George
Orwell believed that the very claims
which state art should not be political
are themselves political in nature.
In light of such factual pervasiveness
of politics, institutions dedicated to
free thinking- from schools to colleges-
inspire ideologies that divide people
into disjoint groups. These groups
are very easily identifiable when it
comes to college politics. Colleges,
no doubt, invite the voice of dissent,
and to some extent, dialogue, but the
objectivity is blurred by the division
and distance between ideologies.
The problems are there, and they are
amplified when inevitably, the personal
and the political mould into one.
What happens to friendships when
they are based on politics? Or, are they
simply alliances?
Every year, thousands of students
are added to the vast network of
thinkers in the DU. With this injection,
there is a surge of social demand
for validation and the need for a
definition. College politics gives an
ideal view of a pedestal to actualising
these aspirations for the new members
of the varsity. The problem, however,
swoops in not-so-subtly, in the likeness
of that third-year hunk at the college
orientation programme. It begins
with a chai at Sudama Tea Stall, and
sometimes even extends, to AMA
Cafe. It presents itself in the form of
trips to Kamla Nagar, to Satya Niketan,
to Ridge, and so on and so forth. It is
all very charming as long as you are
with seniors, because “you do not pay
for food when you are out with your
seniors,” and it gives one the idea of a
having a ‘friend’.
The first two months are spent in
extravagance because that is how we
‘sustain bonds’. But soon, elections
come into play, and all the laugh
is submerged in the cries of corny
sloganeering and pointlessly furious
campaigning. Questions like “Oh, but
what about the time we spent till 7
p.m, doing nothing and sitting in the
sports ground in a huge group of 17
people?” inculcate guilt and pressure
at the same time. The “too bad” in
response to this question hits for real,
and yet, it is never heard.
The substance to maintain a political
relevance extends dramatically for a
first-year student in the varsity. Almost
all DU students witness a working
democracy for the first time in their
first year of college. This working
model, however, is obsessed with
winning personal favours to sustain
its structure. For a lot of unsuspecting
first-year students, the induction into
the political circuit is as great as their
inevitable disillusionment of it is.
Diplomatic conversations, insinuations,
and indirect implications against the
‘opposition’ create an exclusive bond
between two people. But it is sad
how youngsters who look forward to
spending time with their seniors and
friends become a mere projection for
the latter. They become a crop to be
harvested in election season and it all
reeks of betrayal.
Politically, there are usually two kinds
of groups preaching the same thing:
advising caution against the other.
In this mental rift, it cannot be
expected for the subject of this
sermon to make a wise choice
instantly- which would be different
according to both (or more than two)
groups, as per their ideologies. In
the transitional phase, and in most
cases, far from home, first-year
idealists fall for the subtle shams and
promises of fantasies of the seniors.
There is no foolproof way to avoid
these interventions, and if anything,
these disillusionments serve only
to make you cynical. But it is in this
mental time, that experience enables
visibility of the organic from the
facade. Rush into the polling booths,
because a world of the organic awaits
you outside.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat archives

Kartik Chauhan
[email protected]

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