Arts & Culture

Dear Freshers, This is Your Reality Check on DU Societies         

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With the rosy season of auditions going on, this is an introduction for freshers to the dark side of DU Societies.  

As the audition season approaches, one could have seen the college areas buzzing with auditions. On the online campus, it’s a bit different; the society’s social media pages, which have been abandoned for long, now become the main agenda of society meetings. All of a sudden, reels are being posted, and you see clips of happy members of societies playing along, some on screens while some on the ground, and a Ritviz song playing in the background. The usual words that will be used in these videos are “family”, “creative community” and every adjective you can imagine for a bunch of happy undergrads. But are societies really this happy, or is it just the poster happiness to lure in freshers?

(Obviously, not all societies fall into this category, the main aim is to introduce freshers to the toxic side of DU societies.) A lot of societies are run by seniors who exercise control over all the functioning. At some colleges, administration or the teacher or convenor intervene, but at some, they don’t pay any heed. Some societies have also faced such extreme obstruction of administration that even their performances have been canceled, whereas the bullying by many societies goes unchecked due to no surveillance. (Societies should ideally lie between this tussle of control, where admin maintains minimum control but a required check, but hey, we are in DU!)

A hierarchy is maintained among all the members to maintain ‘discipline’. But this setup often leads to toxicity as seniors in positions of responsibility take undue advantage of their power. The societies that should act as communities housing creative talent become a powerhouse of trashy politics and toxicity, where bullying and ragging houses.

Recently, such a situation came to light during the auditions of Finance Investment Cell of Hansraj College, about which a first-year student said,

During our Finance Investment Cell interviews, the core team members made us dance against our will, I felt uncomfortable but since I wanted to get into the soc, I had to go with the flow. Later on, they were boasting about the fact that they made us do squats, dance, and sing in the interviews during our induction meeting.” 

First Years who are already ridden with anxiety get pushed underneath the wish of being in the cool circles of college and fail to report such behaviors, and the cycle of toxicity continues. Another student from a dance society shared their experience in a conversation with DU Beat.

This certain level of hierarchy restricts our freedom as an artist and as a person. The role of unions should be to represent the members of the society and to guide us, but it feels like someone has given them authority and they just want to show it off.”

Even in the online mode, several students have suffered terrible things at the hands of societies. With the second batch moving into the online campus, we need to configure our thinking accordingly. If the cultural front of the university keeps on reeking privilege and toxicity, the development of the individual would be a far-gone concept here. It’s high time proper redressal forums (talking about Cultural Secretaries) work in every college to respond to all grievances and dismantle these toxic hierarchies.

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Kashish Shivani

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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