Friday, the 30th of July it was, when the auditorium of Ramjas College resonated with euphony. The Music Society of the college was just about geared to set the students to shake and tune their heads to music. The “Musical Extravaganza” it was, as they called it.

The auditorium of the college underwent minute seat realignment and resetting and voila! The dance floor was ready. Following that, it was the Choreo society of the college that drew attention upon themselves by performing an assorted basket of street jives. While their performances lasted a while, the DJ was set for the much awaited jam session.
The auditorium vibrated with music as he switched between a mix of English and Hindi songs. While the jamming lasted for a long time, it did set feet tapping and most moving.
Outside the auditorium, food stalls were placed in the lawns of the college. There was much to choose from after the dancing. Chinese and North Indian cuisine were among the many.

The event lasted for about four hours with none so tired to stop or go!

At this time of the year, cultural societies of various colleges are busy conducting rigorous auditions to select for their society the best-suited freshers. Audition is usually a fun-filled activity involving a lot of healthy interaction between the freshers and the seniors. It not only helps the freshers know their college better but also enables them to become an active part of a cultural activity.
Certain societies like Dramatics, Photography, Choreography, Fashion are typical to every college. But some colleges have certain offbeat societies as well. For instance Hansraj College has LYF i.e. Liberal Youth Forum, which is involved in contributing and addressing various issues they feel strongly about. Gargi College has a PMR society wherein the students basically help in managing all the events that are conducted in the college, the most prominent one being the annual festival.
A basic audition for any society is a 2-3-stage process and usually all colleges follow the same pattern. However some colleges choose to incorporate innovative rounds of their own. For their English Dramatics audition, Hindu college has a round called the sexual inhibition/fantasy round. In Hansraj Dramatics, the student is given a newspaper cutting and has to choose 5 words and prepare a skit based on those 5 words. Vastal, a student of Hansraj Dramatics Society says, “This is to check the creativity of an individual. We want people who can make an actual contribution to the society.”
In the auditions for any choreography or western dance society, the students are usually tested on their flexibility, posture and dance style. The choreographer that is chosen by a society annually plays an active role in the audition process. Usually auditions are conducted separately for choreography and western dance but Venky holds combined auditions where the students are later chosen by either society on the basis of the students’ interest or society requirements.
Colleges also have music societies and usually separate western music and Indian classical. Kirori Mal College, having one of the most active music society in the university with as many as 7 seats from the ECA category. They haven’t selected anybody in the past 2 years in the general audition process. Their audition process has a separate jam session round and numerous rounds to check whether a student has a musical ear. This year they have selected general candidates as well. Anukriti Bishen, the secretary of the music society of KMC says, “The lot this year was extremely enthusiastic and ardent about getting into the society.”
All the colleges hope to put their best foot forward as they have registered a very talented lot of freshers.

The official voice of the students, the DUSU (Delhi University Students’ Union), appears to be a house divided on the issue of the semester system. This emerged after the Delhi High Court had decided that the students’ union needed to be asked for its opinion on the contentious issue.
The Delhi High Court had on July 27 2010 asked both DU and DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association) to consult DUSU and had also asked the two to not “play with the life of the students”.
In response, DUSU president Manoj Choudhary stated that he supported the implementation of the semester system and that he was also concerned about teachers who had refused to take classes over the issue.
The other three office bearers, Kirti Wadhera, Arshdeep Kaur and Anupriya Tyagi, expressed sentiments just the opposite, in a letter asking for a debate on the issue, to the Vice Chancellor. The letter states that they find it “unfortunate that students have not been called for any serious academic discussion” and that the proposed changes do not provide the time and space for extra-curricular activities. The letter also states their objection to the absence of students in the academic council.
With the office-bearers of DUSU airing such glaring contradictions, the question arises if their views will be taken seriously or will the differences result in the students’ opinion being sidelined.

The twentieth century can best be defined as a century of extremes. Although it witnessed the World Wars, The Holocaust and Apartheid, it was also the century when the path breaking idea of non-violence was espoused, at least on a large scale. It was a century of tremendous churning, as the world shed several age-old practices and beliefs, and moved decisively towards a new global order, based by and large on democracy.

Using violence as a tool of negotiation and conflict resolution has been a practice as old as any. Historically, this has been justified by citing that a human being has a natural tendency towards violence, especially in times of distress. But, it is a trait unique to humans that they’ve never been satisfied with the state that nature has put them in. Humans always try to discover new things and innovatively use available resources to improve their conditions.

One of the earliest human achievements was the discovery of fire. It gave humans a shield against predators and allowed them to gainfully utilise nighttime. The same spirit of discovery has provided a viable and essential alternative to the idea of violence as a means of conflict resolution. That alternative is the philosophy of non-violence.

With technological advancement, inability to control the ‘natural tendency’ towards violence can have grave consequences. This is best illustrated by Einstein’s famous words: “If World War III is fought with nuclear weapons, then World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones. “ Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King’s prophetic insistence that “the choice is not between non-violence and violence, but between non-violence and non-existence” is gaining in its potency by the day.

Non-violence is not an option for the weak at heart. It requires tremendous courage and strength of character to rebel against the idea of violence – which is so ingrained in our culture. It requires deep sense of compassion to forgive others for the ills that they have committed against oneself or one’s country or people. Traditionally, forgiveness has been praised as a virtue with regard to an individual. But, as the experiment of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission shows, an institutional framework based on forgiveness can also be established. This is a unique and far reaching idea, and can become a powerful force in a non-violent global order.

Historically, all religions make a distinction between “good” and “bad” violence. Violence committed for “sacred” purposes or for revenge has been usually seen as justified. In this context, Mahatma Gandhi’s principal contribution to the progress of humankind was his summary dismissal of all types of violence. He understood the inherent power in the idea of non-violence and showed the world the way to apply it in a larger socio-political context (specifically, the Indian freedom struggle and his anti-colonial activities in South Africa).

History is witness to the fact that violence begets violence. In the 20th century alone, we’ve seen that violent struggles and movements, like in Palestine and the former Yugoslavia, remained unsuccessful while the non-violent movements of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led to the emancipation of the underprivileged and had far reaching socio-political changes.

Lord, what is happening to me? Where did it all go wrong? Something snapped in my head in the last decade and I can’t figure when. I had an appointment with a psychiatrist today, she diagnosed alcohol induced dementia. “You need to see a therapist”, she said, for the gazillionth time.
So the other day, the ‘passion’ with which I called my (ex) girlfriend and hurled all grammatically possible racial, sexist slurs at her was quite a first of the celebrity kinds. I think I was intoxicated because I don’t remember that happening. Apparently, I threatened to ravage her house and her life. But all this is only the tip of the iceberg. Domestic violence and homicide accusations are shooting through the roof. Everyone is talking about how they won’t spend a penny out of their wallets to watch my future films and some even conspiring to boot me out of film business.
My publicist, who suffered from psychosis after the wreck, quit at the first chance. My agency, simply put, thought I was not bankable property anymore. My ratings have been in a freefall now that I’m a misogynist, anti-Semitic, racist, violent madman. I’ve been caught dropping F-Bombs like a blitz but my belief is that Jesus (I will resurrect) is by my side because, hell, I made Passion of the Christ, I am The Patriot.
Gathering my guts, I listened to the audiotapes; god I was ranting like I did in Braveheart, heaving like I was Satan himself. Having drinking problems is not funny to the least. One ends up cracking up a tad too much. Blame it on Hollywood and its victims-the other miserable celebrities who battle this burning issue.
My Russian opportunist girlfriend thinks she can frame a Christian man? Deeply complicating matters by having court sessions to demand humungous compensations. Doesn’t she know the Jews are responsible for all the wars on earth? Maybe she should scheme against them.
The worst part of being a celebrity is that your private matters are subjected to public debate and judgment. Who remembers the sports cars and the private jets in such tragic moments? The point is getting lost in the schizophrenic brain of mine. My career now in shambles, I should perhaps gamble on setting up a consultancy for crisis management of rage-aholics. And as far as public image is concerned, well, it goes out of the window. All to rely on the fact that some women still love my nicely built, hairy chest; maybe I can try my luck on them.

[DISCLAIMER: This is entirely a work of fiction. Any remarks or opinions are not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiments.]

Controversy, close finishes and new eras; there were headlines aplenty in the sports world over the last week.
While India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the first cricket test was nothing less than comprehensive, the retirement of Muttiah Muralidaran made it memorable. Although he had announced beforehand that he would be retiring at the end of the match, the enormity of the fact only sunk in when the match was over. This was the last time that the world would see the man in the arena that he made his own, and was the definitive end of the Warne-Kumble-Murali era. The proverbial cherry on the icing was his 800th wicket, although there were enough moments to make one think that perhaps this wasn’t to be his day after all. Unlike Bradman, though, Murali finished his career in a pretty neat manner, taking his 800th wicket with a typically unplayable off-break. Of course, controversy and comments have never been far from Murali, and hardly had he retired that Bishen Singh Bedi, his long-time critic, was at it again. This time, Murali retaliated by asking the latter to “think about himself first rather than talking about other people” and by saying that he would get “hammered every ball” if he played current test match cricket. While one can perhaps understand why Murali would hit back at Bedi, whatever happened to retiring with dignity?
In faraway Spain, Madrid and Barcelona have been in the news for very different reasons. Real Madrid icon and captain, Raul, left the club that he joined in 1992 as a youth team member. He has now signed with Schalke04, a move that might just add to the glamour of the Bundesliga, a league that just might be in the limelight following Germany’s performance at the World Cup. Retiring with Raul was Guti, another long-time member of the squad. Barcelona, meanwhile, have been making no bones about their desire to sign Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, despite the London club’s firm refusal to even consider the matter.
Football players weren’t the only Spaniards making news. In neighbouring France, the Tour de France, professional cycling’s showpiece event, wound its way through four countries, two mountain ranges, and a total distance of more than 3600 kilometres. The three-week long race, a test of physical mettle as much as mental toughness, saw Alberto Contador out-wit Andy Schleck, his junior by three years, to win by a mere 39 seconds – the same time that he controversially gained by taking advantage of the chain slipping off the latter’s bike.
In a week where the Spanish just couldn’t avoid controversy, Ferrari Formula1 driver Fernando Alonso was handed the lead by his team-mate Felipe Massa on the team’s orders in the German Grand Prix. While Ferrari tried their best to disguise their message, the powers-that-be slapped a fine on the team and there may be further repercussions. The irony? Team orders were banned in 2002 after Ferrari stage-managed a similar over-taking manoeuvre by Michael Schumacher on team-mate Rubens Barrichelo.
While sports and controversy made themselves comfortable with each other, viewers were ensured of more than one means to keep them engrossed.

Amongst all the din and excitement of a new academic year, the chaos caused by the construction work at various points on campus stood out as a sore thumb. An issue that has already caused much trouble for many is the usage of college hostels by the Delhi government for the Commonwealth Games.
The University Community for Democracy is a group of students and ex-students of Delhi University, concerned about the eviction of students and the manner in which this was carried out. The group started its discussions online during the holidays, concerned about reports in the media about the eviction of students from hostels and the lack of any official statement from either the University or the colleges. Realising that it was too late to actually stop the process since it had begun, they nonetheless decided to go ahead and raise their concerns. Devika Narayan, among those who started the group, and a student at the Delhi School of Economics, says that the group wants students, teachers and others on campus to “claim the University as a community”.
The facebook group “Resist Forced Eviction of Students in the Name of Commonwealth Games” lists the group’s aims and also shows what student movements around the world have achieved, as examples. The group’s regular meetings are open for anyone who has an interest in the issue and wants to be a part of these discussions. As of now, there is a protest meet planned on the 30th of July at the Arts Faculty.