Shakti Singh, former President, Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU), has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Singh, who contested the Student Elections through the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is likely being involved in the BJP to reach out to the youth regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). One of the top BJP leaders commented to The Daily Pioneer, “Singh is very likely to contest Delhi Assembly elections from Timarpur Vidhan Sabha constituency.”

Amidst massive student protests around University campuses, Singh’s association with the BJP comes along as a rather significant move to student bodies. Confirming his joining in BJP, Singh says, “University campus has taken different shape nowadays, it is required to convey that youth is not standing with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress only, but with BJP also.” He also claimed that youth were contributing to the process of the Country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

As reported by Outlook, Manoj Tiwari, Minister of Parliament (MP), BJP, welcomed Singh, and said that the resolve of a new India was to be realised through young leaders like him.

As the Delhi Legislative Assembly Elections approach, the conflict amongst political identities flourishes. Singh congratulated and applauded BJP MP’s effort in installing the first air purifier in Delhi, and also questioned the AAP’s failure for public health in lieu of emergency every winter season. He stated, “Delhi people have faced a lot under the tenure of Arvind Kejriwal. Why the public is bound to inhale polluted air and drinking polluted water.”He furthr added, “Before free water and electricity  providing clean air should be the genuine effort of any ruling regime.”

Singh had won the post of Vice President in DUSU Elections 2018, and was later promoted to the post of President after the Presidential candidate Ankiv Basoiya resigned over a fake degree row. He then presided as the President for year 2018-19.

Feature Image Source: Shakti Singh

Anandi Sen

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Losing internet access is not that big of a deal. It’s just a matter of time… isn’t it? This piece aims to highlight the internalisation of communication blackout that has been normalised by the current regime.

Many might remember waking up one morning, sometime last month, to find their Instagram feeds not refreshing, hence beginning the day on a rather agonistic note. People came to realise later, that this wasn’t their terrible Wi-Fi bailing on them. Instead, this was their Government imposing an internet shutdown allegedly for “controlling violence and misuse by any anti-national elements.” 

Post the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act into a Law on 12th December 2019, widespread protests were observed across the country. These protests grew larger following the news of police brutality on December 15, at a peaceful protest by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). In response to these protests, the Government ordered internet shutdowns across different parts of the Country including Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

An article in the New York Times, reported, “As the Government of India pushes increasingly provocative policies, it is using a tactic to stifle dissent that is more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes, not democracies: It is shutting down the internet.” 

On 12th December 2019, a State-wide internet shutdown was imposed on Assam by the State Government. Contrary to the raging protests observed in the State that day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.” It is ironical how the medium used to provide comfort to these people was the one which had been made inaccessible in the first place.

Following the 134 instances of internet blackouts in 2018, the Government imposed shutdowns “only” 93 times in 2019. Not so bad compared to the previous year, is it? Well, 2019 also observed the world’s longest internet shutdown ever in Kashmir, which was imposed on 4th August, and has crossed 150 days of the blackout. With over 350 shutdowns since 2014, India’s closest competitor is Pakistan, with only 12 shutdowns- followed by Syria and Turkey imposing a shutdown just once each in 2018, both countries not popular for their democratic spirits.

“Living in Meerut, internet shutdown isn’t a big thing. This isn’t the first time we faced this. Every little fight that’s not even a riot, results in us living without the internet with no clue when we would get it back. You become a cave-person and unwillingly you become a part of the act of deceiving the rest of the nation that things are fine in your city,” said Avni Dhawan, a student of the University of Delhi, discussing the normality of shutdowns in certain areas.

Research by Jan Rydzak, a scholar from Stanford University released a statistical report on internet shutdowns, revealing that these shutdowns compel protesters to resort to violent tactics instead of non-violent ones gave that they are less reliant on effective communication and coordination.

Moving forward, the economic impact of these blackouts is alarming. The cost of internet shutdowns to the economy was around Rs 21,336 crore between 2011 and 2017, according to the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations—a think tank. 

Rajan Matthews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India, said, “Internet shutdown is a blunt instrument and it should not be used frequently. In today’s connected world, when you shut down the internet, people cannot do banking, no transactions take place, people face issues in transportation. It affects daily life to a very large extent and therefore it should be used as a last resort. We have, from time to time, conveyed to the Government that its use should be more surgical.”

Matthews further added, “Instead of using internet shutdown as the first alternative to controlling local problems such as cheating in exams, (as was done thrice within 22 days in Rajasthan), the Government should use other administrative methods to control the problem and use curbs on communication only as a last resort.”

Upon conditions of anonymity, a telecom industry association representative quoted, “It is visible that internet shutdowns don’t stop demonstrations. Nor do they hinder the circulation of rumours. It is estimated that the shutdown of internet services leads to a loss of ?2.45 crore per hour across the value chain.” 

“The other day I was listening to some office workers, who were discussing the internet shutdown and how it discourages firms to work with repeated hindrances. While almost every other work is carried on or through the internet, this has a big impact on the professional domain,” said Faizan Salik, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia commenting on the impact of these shutdowns on the country’s economy.

It is rather fascinating to note that at the Indian Digital Summit, 2014 Prime Minister Modi quoted, “I dream of a Digital India where access to information knows no barriers”. The increasing number of internet shutdowns following his election that year conceptualises his vision of a “Digital India”. 

In September 2019, the Kerala High Court in the landmark case of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. the State of Kerala declared that the Right to Access internet is a basic right which is being violated relentlessly over the past few years. 

Internet blackouts strip people of their Right to Express themselves, their Right to Obtain Information or simply their Right to Communicate with their friends and family. Access to the internet allows people a platform for their voices to be heard in the political spectrum. 

Certainly, denying this access gives the Government excessive control over the dissemination of information and dominance over the narrative. Regular and indiscriminate shutdowns can have chilling effects on free speech in the long run.

These internet shutdowns aren’t merely an inconvenience, they are a hindrance to the already stagnant economic situation of the country. And above that, they are a gross transgression of our fundamental rights- The Right to Information, The Right to Privacy, The Right to Internet Access.

Feature Image Credits: CNN

Aditi Gutgutia

 [email protected]

As another Hindi Diwas goes by, another politician remarks on the ‘One Nation, One Language’ theory. How justified is the imposition of Hindi on India? 

On account of Hindi Diwas, 14th September, Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister said, “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally.” As a result, he faced a lot of backlash, and attracted a lot of flak for implying ‘One Nation, One Language’ aka Hindi. 

Since Independence, India has faced a multilingual perplexion. From the imposition of a particular language to the alienation of the same, Hindi has stayed at the top, hegemonically. Shah’s statement resonates with his party’s ideology too. Hindi is spoken with a majority of 53%, however, isn’t democracy about inclusivity and not just the majority? India is a land of multilingual-ism with several languages and hundreds of dialects. Hindi remains as a North- Indian domination on mostly North-East and South India where Hindi isn’t the majority’s language. Shah reinstated Patel and Gandhi’s vision of Hindi as the Raj Bhasha. 

Sharanya Vajjha, a Political Science student who belongs from Andhra Pradesh, and has stayed in Assam for a long period said, “ Hindi should be the national language as it deals with the majority. I understand South India’s alienation but teaching them the basics since childhood would help eradicate the barrier. As many choose to migrate, learning Hindi in addition to English and regional language would be an added benefit.” 

Bharatiya Janata Party’s proposal in May, to include English and Hindi in schools besides the mother tongue in non-Hindi speaking states, garnered a lot of criticism from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. After a lot of outcries, Hindi was made an optional language. Looking back at history, India was reorganised based on linguistic plurality, states have been divided, capitals have been shifted only to keep their regional language intact. 

“Every language has a beauty of its own and needs to be respected. That said, it is still necessary to have a language that reflects our country, and it cannot be English, the language left by the colonisers. Hindi acts as a common medium in most parts of India. It need not be the national language but its value cannot be undermined.” says a Hindi teacher who has been teaching the same since over a decade. 

Living in North India surrounded by Hindi, we tend to forget that our country escalates beyond this. As a Bengali, I have seen my family struggle with Hindi after shifting to Delhi. Someone who has studied Hindi only till elementary grade is bound to face difficulties communicating formally and informally in any given setup. Not all states celebrate Hindi Diwas, they take pride in ‘their’ mother tongue, not of the dominant voice. 

Stephen Mathew, a student from Kerala says, “It (Hindi as the national language) should not happen. Learning a language definitely helps you to comfortably gell with a foreign culture but it should not be imposed in a country where you have hundreds of languages.” 

Facing backlash from southern parties and criticism by MK Stalin, Rajnikanth and the likes, Shah took back his statement and clarified, “I never asked for imposing Hindi over other regional languages and had only requested for learning Hindi as the second language after one’s mother tongue”, he further added, “I myself come from a non-Hindi state of Gujarat. If some people want to do politics, it’s their choice.” 

India is a land of diversity, our unity lies in our diversity. Imposition would not only deny us of our right to speak in our desired language but also, put a binder on our tongues. Simran Das, a student from Assam says, “As a person from North East, who was conditioned to speak in Hindi by the education system, the Hindi language certainly has a meritocratic value to offer as lingua franca. But the imposition of any language in a country that speaks more than 121 languages is bound to create an existential crisis and subsequently agitation among regional languages.” 

Feature Image Credits: The Hindu

Anandi Sen

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The lanes near Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street flooded with protestors as the Centre issued the news of the abrogation of Article 35A, and Article 370 which granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

This morning, Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Rajya Sabha, that Article 35A, and Article 370 which grants the state of Jammu & Kashmir special status are to be abrogated.
As the hours went on, the bill was passed.

The move leaves Jammu and Kashmir as a union territory with its own legislature. Ladakh would also be a union territory, but without its own assembly.

Since 4th August, Kashmir has been under lockdown with a complete shutdown of internet, broadband, and cellular services. Many Kashmiris across the world have said their indefinite goodbyes to their loved ones, unaware of when the ban would be lifted. Fear, anxiety, and paranoia have gripped the valley as news of deployment of thousands of paramilitary forces spreads out. Tourists and pilgrims have been asked to leave the state immediately, in the face of intelligence reports alleging a terror threat.

On 5th August, as the news of abrogation spread like wildfire throughout the University, student organisations took it upon themselves to celebrate, and resist.

As the ABVP celebrated the move near Arts Faculty with sweets and dhol, Left-leaning parties like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), All India Students’ Federation (AISF) and All India Students’ Association (AISA) gathered around Jantar Mantar to protest against the move. The impromptu protest which was organised within two hours saw hundreds of gatherers with placards, demanding that the Articles be reinstated.
A Kashmiri student who requested to stay anonymous said, “I’m speechless, I don’t know what else to say.”

The protest also saw prominent leaders of the CPI (M), like Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat. As cries of ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ echoed through the Parliament Street, the protesters burnt an effigy in an attempt to defame the Modi government. 

“I was thinking that this might happen since it was a part of the BJP’s manifesto, but deep down, I didn’t want it to happen. It’s only about the territory now, not the people,” said Hayder, a student. 

Due to the communication blackout, students have been unable to reach out to their loved ones. Almost every Kashmiri student remembers the exact time they last reached out to their family.

Residents of Kashmir are yet to find out about the abrogation. 

Speaking to DU Beat, Dipankar Bhattacharya, the General Secretary of CPI (ML) called the move as a ‘constitutional coup’ and ‘a complete travesty of truth and justice’. “I think this is a warning to every Indian of the shape of things to come, and these things are coming conspitarioly, but are coming rather fast. This is an adventurous way of governing. This is a recipe for disaster. It’s a time-bomb ticking away for the rest of India. Just because it was a part of the BJP manifesto and that they won the popular mandate doesn’t mean that the whole of India supports this move,” added Bhattacharya.

Ehthemam, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia called the move ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal’. “The army and state repression has been high in Kashmir, with the cellular and internet shutdowns, it only increases the paranoia over human rights violations in the valley. They want control of Kashmir’s resources which is why they choose to abrogate Articles 35A and Article 370. The abrogation is impractical and will only worsen the conflict.”

Kawalpreet Kaur, the president of AISA, Delhi State added “This is illegal and should be challenged in court. This protest showed us that people aren’t happy with what happened today.”

Kaur declared that the resistance would carry on in the form of another protest march on the 7th of August, from Mandi House to Parliament Street. 

“The curfew will be lifted some day, people will come to know, how long will you repress us for? What happened today was unconstitutional,” said a Kashmiri woman addressing the gathering.

Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the opposition in the Rajya Sabha: full statehood at ‘appropriate time’ after ‘normalcy’ returns.
But for a state which has been militarized for decades, what is defined as ‘normal’? Amidst internet shutdowns and pellet guns, where does the Kashmiri identity go?

Feature Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat

Jaishree Kumar

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ABVP welcomes the move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status with dhols, garlands, sweets, and slogans in the Faculty of Arts of the  University of Delhi (DU) today. 

The party members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP affiliated to RSS, gathered in the Faculty of Arts of University of Delhi today to celebrate the abolition of Article 370, and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution that granted special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir along with Ladakh.

This article provides special autonomy to the state in the Constitution of India. This article, along with Article 35A, defined that the Jammu and Kashmir residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights as compared to residents of other Indian states. 

In a historical move, this article was scrapped by the BJP-led Government today in the parliament. 

The celebrations, which commenced from 3:30 pm, saw ABVP workers marching into the faculty gates accompanied by drummers. ABVP members commemorated the event by putting garlands, and showering flowers on the statue of Swami Vivekananda in the faculty premises. 

WhatsApp Image 2019-08-05 at 16.11.30

Lead by the ABVP North Delhi head Mr. Bharat Sharma, chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Vande Mataram could be heard all over the premises. “Yeh humare liye hi nahi, ek ek desh wasi ke liye, ek ek kashmir wasi ke liye ek moment of pride hai (This is a moment of pride, not just for us, but for each and every Indian, for each and every Kashmiri.)”, said Mr. Sharma.

Mr. Sidharth Yadav, Delhi State Secretary, ABVP, proclaimed, “For the first time today, this generation has seen an independent India”.

The celebrations went on to see hundreds in the Arts Faculty, with ABVP flags, dancing and distributing sweets. Mr. Ashutosh Singh, State Media Incharge for the ABVP said, “Government ko abhi sabse zyada Kashmiri locals ka bharosa jeetne ki zaroorat hai kyunki humlog unke saath me hain, (What the Government needs to do right now, is to win the trust of local Kashmiris because we are all with them,)”

Shri Srinivas, the National Joint Organising Secretary of ABVP, also addressed the gathering after distribution of sweets amongst the students, and party workers, “We have been struggling due to the actions of Mr. Nehru. Now any citizen can work in Jammu and Kashmir and live there. It’s a revolutionary day.” In conversation with DU Beat, he added, “ek sarthak behes desh bhar me honi chahiye, above party politics, ki vaastav me 370 ne Jammu and Kashmir ki janata ka fayda kiya ya nuksan kiya… aur desh ka har parliament member jab desh ki parliament me khade hota hai aur desh ki ekta aur akhandta ki shapath leta hai, to mujhe lagta hai ki woh shapath ko pura karne ka time aa gaya hai (There should be a meaningful debate on the pros and cons of article 370, above party politics… since every parliament member of the country takes a pledge for the unity of the country in the parliament, it’s time they fulfill their pledge,)”

Amidst the dance and dhols, the DUSU President Mr. Shakti Singh had the following to say to DU Beat, when asked about his concerns regarding the students from Jammu and Kashmir studying in DU, “It’s all propaganda and false information being provided to the students, there is nothing for the students to be afraid of, they are safe and will be so.”

The celebrations that lasted for hours had workers dancing and embracing each other in this festivity celebrating the abolition.

Feature Image Credits: Abhinandan Kaul for DU Beat. 

Satviki Sanjay 

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Stephen Mathew

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Various University of Delhi (DU) Student Organisations gathered to protest against the planned attack on the Unnao rape victim. Read on to know more. 

Student organisations of DU held a joint protest in front of the Faculty of Arts, North Campus, on 1st August 2019, to show their dismay over the lack of protection provided to the Unnao rape victim, and the delayed actions taken by the Supreme Court and the Government with respect to this incident. They also condemned the BJP Government, especially Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, for being complicit with the accused.

All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Students’ Federation (AISF), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Pinjra Tod, Students’ Federation of India (SFI), etc., were some of the student parties that had joined the protest.

Shreya Singh, a member of the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) said, “This protest is not only for the Unnao rape victim, but for the lack of safety provided by the Government to girls and women in the country. This protest is against patriarchy. It is for true equality and real freedom for women.”

In the shadow of the Unnao Rape Case, Siddhant Raj, a member of the Progressive Democratic Students’ Federation (PDSF) questioned the Government, the police, and the Supreme Court’s capabilities to protect the girls and women in the country. Many present also condemned the BJP Government’s hypocrisy with respect to the status of women in the country. Harish Gautam, a member of KYS said, “The BJP MLAs go around chanting slogans of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and promote themselves by clicking selfies in front of campaigns like this, but when it actually comes to it, they do nothing to protect the girls in the country. Right from the beginning, the Unnao rape survivor was being threatened but the BJP Government failed to provide her with any security.” Shreya Banerjee, a member of AISA agreed to this and said, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao has been murdered.”

On 28th July 2019, the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer were critically injured and the rape victim’s relatives killed in a car accident in Rae Bareli, allegedly planned by the BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the main accused in the rape.


Feature Image Credits: Juhi Bhargava for DU Beat


Juhi Bhargava

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The dominant response of the urban college-goers on social media to the BJP’s victory in the 2019 elections has been to cry foul at the electorate that voted for the party. It is not just incorrect but also lazy.


Disclaimer: I did not vote for the BJP. I have had heated discussions with BJP supporters trying to prove to them why I don’t concur with their views and why, in my opinion, the Modi-led government did not do a job good enough in its first term to deserve a re-election. I used to be a supporter initially but things changed.

Regardless, the typical response of the urban college-going students – who would mostly identify themselves as perhaps being more on the liberal and the non-right side – to the election results on social media was almost a uniform rebuke of anyone who voted for the BJP, accompanied by cries of fascism and predictions suggesting virtually the end of democracy.

Among the many social media posts, some called shame on the voters for electing this government back. Others showed images of Mohammed Naeem moments before being violently lynched to death, of Mohammed Akhlaq, Gauri Lankesh and others and were shared as Instagram stories with captions urging voters to remember them before they voted.  It is true that the multiple lynchings and killings of dissenting voices by groups sharing ideologies similar to the ruling party or those affiliated to some of its members, and the silence of the dispensation over such acts can be reason enough for someone to not vote back a government – this was one of my reasons, at least.

However, to say that these can be the only metrics of judging whether the government should be voted for or not is quite dogmatic. To say that those who voted for the BJP did not vote for ‘development’ but ‘hatred and bigotry’, even if the voters themselves say that the former was the determinant, does not just imply that only one kind of electoral preference – one that is anti-BJP – should exist but also denies the agency to the voters to make their electoral decisions themselves by condemning those choices. It’s also highly patronising and arrogant to tell someone that you couldn’t have voted because of X reason because I’m telling you that you voted for Y. Who are we with our high-handed privilege to tell people what is right for them?

There can be tons of reasons as to why people might have voted for Mr Modi’s party. As writer Mahmood Farooqui argued in an article published on The Wire, “Many voted for him (Modi) despite acknowledging his policy failures. Some voted for him because he could defend the country, some because he had made the country proud internationally, some because he worked very hard and they saw him as honest, and some because there was nobody else on the horizon. Many people voted for a leader who they genuinely believed was doing good for the country and would continue to do good. They voted for a leader who they believed deserved another chance.”

Or as NDTV‘s Aunindyo Chakravarty wrote in his blog, “The Modi government might have failed in the…various type of ‘measures’ through which modern nations gauge their government’s performance – GDP, industrial output, profit growth, employment, and similar ‘data’ that states produce. It has, however, been extremely successful in creating ‘touch-points’ between the government and the poor.

“Swachh Bharat, PMAY (Awas Yojana), Ujjwala, Jan Dhan, Ayushman Bharat, Mudra, PM Kisan, are all such touch-points, that aid the operation of ‘governmentality’.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean some people didn’t vote for the BJP precisely because of the bigotry and divisiveness, as shown by journalist Supriya Sharma’s piece on Scroll.in. Yet, I would argue that a greater portion of people voted because of many other reasons – governmental schemes, choosing stability over a weak and fragmented opposition, popularity of Mr Modi and other such considerations. After a single term, the anti-incumbency factor isn’t that high either and people might often be willing to give the government another chance.

Hence, the “fascist, communal, bigot” arguments are quite incorrect. But they’re more than that – they’re also lazy.

Apart from the clichés of how it is very easy to sit in our air conditioned rooms and condemn people’s preferences, there are also the dangers of ideology. Living in a box is easy but also dangerous for it blinds people in their ideological echo chambers. The left using labels of “fascist”, “hyper-nationalist”, “communal” for right-wingers is basically the same as the right attaching derogatory connotations to “liberal”, “secular” or “communist” or using labels of “anti-national”.

Both are different ways of using the same tactic of attaching labels to opponents while ignoring nuance all along the way. This thumbnail point of view never allows for nuanced understanding or debate because most people, irrespective of their ideological leanings, don’t accept the fact that they might be wrong. This lazy argument of limiting the other’s perspective to a couple of fancy words remains meaningless to some and incomprehensible jargon to others. Ultimately, the root of the issue isn’t tackled and evils of communalism and bigotry are allowed to get away. In any case, when has Insta-activism ever solved a problem?

I’m not trying to do armchair political analysis and fall into the irony of critiquing armchair activists at the same time, which is why I’ve quoted from people much more experienced in this domain. Instead, I’ve tried to have a non-thumbnail, non-lazy argument with people like me who I think are missing the point.


Image credits – The Hindu


Prateek Pankaj

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This article talks about the political environment and our stake in it.

The 2019 elections are one of the most anticipated and crucial elections for our country. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power by making use of the failures of Indian National Congress (INC), and by using the ‘Modi wave’ to raise hopes of growth in a developing country like India. But in its term, the BJP has also hit several lows. As students, the important question to ask remains- what is the position of the youth in such a political scenario?

This will be the first-time some students presently in college will get to vote. With the current political environment and the youth comprising a huge part of our population, of which college students form an important part, it becomes essential for us to become aware of the power we hold. We must make efforts to learn what have been the promises made and the promises kept, to be able to critique the wrong-doings, and to learn from our decisions. The tag of ‘millennials’ stands for several values but it also includes the idea of being liberal, taking one’s own decisions, standing for justice and rights, and challenging the prevalent archaic thinking.  But if we do not act upon these values, they simply remain tokenistic.

Indian polity works more on leaders and the image they create; this election Modi becomes our most obvious contender. With this, the focus should not just be on the achievements of this government but also on the big blunders such as Demonetization and the questionable Rafale deal. The latter is seen to be becoming a rallying point for the INC, but scams on both sides, as it tries to suggest, should not be a metric for Congress to win the elections rather than re-analyse the party’s own policies.  While it has recaptured important states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, a pattern of elections we should break is winning on the blunders of the most popular party. Mistakes by others does not guarantee no mistakes of our own.

Furthermore, unfortunately, what also wins elections is the culture of cult figures. It is for us to decide to not get swayed by charismatic and powerful speeches by any party leader, to try to remove these biases, and to look beyond these to see where “achhe din” truly lie.

In these elections, the regional parties play a major role as well, and can prove to be tough competition to these national parties. It therefore becomes pertinent to not lose sight of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TNC), CPI, CPM, Aam Aadmi Party, PDP, JDU, DMK, Asom Gana Parishad among several others.

These past few months, several important judgements have been passed, with regards to the Section 377, Adultery and Aadhar, which have been in sync with the public sentiment and speak volumes about how the Indian society is ready to move forward. We need to no longer restrict our influence on the sidelines but take the center stage. With this, hopefully, at the end of the next term, the scenario will no longer remain in a turmoil.

Image Credits: DU Beat

Shivani Dadhwal

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On 11th March, the results of the state assemblies in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur were declared. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be forming a government in 4 out 5 states, as they celebrated a massive ride to victory in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand.

The BJP rode a Modi super-wave to a massive victory in Uttar Pradesh, winning 312 of the state’s 403 seats, whereas its allies have won 13 seats for a grand total of 325. The Samajwadi Party and Indian National Congress’ great loss was a shock to the whole nation as the Samajwadi Party, under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav maintained a strong foothold over the masses in UP. Most people have remarked that the UP elections is an indication towards the death of electoral politics in the state, however it may also be seen as a resurgence wherein the electorate has finally moved away from casteist party politics.

In Manipur, amid the BJP claiming support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Manipur Assembly, outgoing Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam on Sunday said: the Congress, being the single largest party, must be allowed first to form the government. Flanked by NPP and LJP leaders and their winning candidates, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told a press conference in Imphal, “We have been able to come to an understanding with the NPP and the Lok Janshakti Party in our bid to form the government in Manipur.”

The Congress has its big win in Punjab, as they won 77 of 117 seats. This win is a breath of fresh air for Congress which has been coping with a drop in their credibility, as they have performed rather poorly in other state elections.

The Goa election results that were declared threw up a hung assembly in the state with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning 13 seats and the Congress 17 in the 40-member assembly. The BJP however pulled off a coup by enlisting the support of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), Maharastrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and two Independents, to reach the figure of 21 in the 40-member house. A government led by Manohar Parrikar, former Defense Minister, is now leading Goa.

Featured image Credits: NDTV

Joyee Bhattacharya

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Recently, Mohanlal Gupta, a BJP MLA from Jaipur’s Kishanpole constituency, proposed that the historical Battle of Haldighati(1576)be “amended” in Rajasthan University’s history textbooks. Contrary to the popular notion held by historians that the war was won by Akbar, Gupta proposes that it was Maharana Pratap who won it instead, and that the textbooks should reflect the “facts”. Sadly, this is not a Bazinga. This could very well become reality for the students.

Politics has long been intertwined with history. Power decides which party should pick up the pen and dabble it in ink, in order to record the destiny of an era bygone. History has always belonged to the kings and queens, written and read from their perspective. This incident is no different. On one hand, it reflects the paranoid reaction of the establishment — an effort to sanitise and clear the textbooks of any ‘uncomfortable’ details or events from the past. There is a systematic effort to shun the students from asking too many questions or thinking too much. It is as scandalous a move as the decision to remove cartoons from CBSE’s class 10th NCERT books of Political Science, a few years ago, just because they proved to be offensive to a particular politician. Come to think of it, even CBCS’ system, with its truncated syllabus and semesters, does not allow the student enough time to grasp a thorough understanding of his or her course.

On the other hand, it also showcases how easily loyalties get transferred.If Tipu Sultan was till now, to historians at least, a just ruler who occasionally plundered and attacked a population only to expand his territory, the current regime portrays him as a straightforward political villain.The question historians pose is: “Didn’t the thirst for territorial expansion affect every ruler of the era, making Tipu no exception the case?” TipuJayanti celebrations in Karnataka have been politicised and mobilised around this issue, even creating a violent ruckus last year, with the BJP and RSS vehemently opposing the celebrations in the state.

When it comes to history, whom should we rely on? Whose perspective should we accept at face value and whose should we outwardly rejected? These are not apolitical questions in themselves. That said, however, the decision to make a choice should be left with the citizens. As the optimistic youth of the nation, students must not be cheated out of their freedom to make a choice based on reasoning. There should, in a democratic setup, be scope enough to face the negatives in history alongside the positives. The last decision must be arrived at by the youth itself.

Image credits:www.utoledo.edu

With inputs from The Times of India.

Deepannita Misra

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