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A light-hearted guide to ensure a ‘sukoon-bhari’ metro journey, my fellow DU commuters!

Do you also find yourself scratching your head, armed with a bag on your shoulder and eyes glued to your station’s name on the map as you travel? Then it’s time we address the pain in the “standing abs.”. Let’s figure out how we can bag a seat here (ah, the sacred quest for the coveted throne), and let’s not forget that bagging a seat in the Delhi Metro is more difficult than acing the exams that got you here.

You need to master the art of hovering skillfully around seated passengers. Learn to hover like a seagull, eyeing a discarded fly. Your stances should have a ‘kezual’ yet desperate style, embodying a blend of nonchalance and neediness. In other words, it’s all about lurking in the shadows and waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

While you are on it, make sure you keep an eye on your fellow travellers; a slight shift in their position will cost you an opportunity of a lifetime! In addition to noticing those who you’re strategically placed near, also beware of sudden movements from other commuters; it’s a fierce game of musical chairs, just without the music or fun, or maybe with the automated voices of “The doors will open on the left. Please mind the gap” as music.

Overhear conversations within a 5-metre radius. A casual “I’ll get down at Mandi House” deserves note-taking, or prepare to cling to the vertical pole until Kashmere Gate.

Yeh Khan Market jaayegi na?” means they are going to stand and donate their seat the moment “Agla station Khan Market hai” plays.

What else can come in handy is a ‘lean’. As the metro doors slide open, try adopting a nonchalant pose against the nearest vertical pole, one hand in your pocket, the other subtly gesturing towards an imaginary prize seat. It’s all about projecting an air of indifference while your eyes scream, “This seat is mine.”

To make things work even better in your favour, you need to lock eyes with your fellow commuters, assert dominance, and silently communicate, “I’ve claimed this territory; proceed with caution.” Such subtle power play amidst the ‘metro-seat diplomacy’, will put even the US hegemony to shame.

You can also play smart with your age, just like my dad does. He has decided not to colour his hair black and let the grey locks shine so that he gets to own the ‘senior citizen’ seat.

You can also take inspiration from the omnipresent brave warriors who have the incredible ability to fit into impossibly small spaces just to get themselves a place to sit. With the flexibility of a yoga trainer, they will squeeze themselves into the tiniest inch of space to have ever existed on the planet, all in the pursuit of a seat that may or may not exist.

Before we bid you ‘a happy seating’, remember, bagging a seat in the metro is not just a sport; it’s a survival skill, a rite of passage that will take you places (quite literally). So, navigate the sea of stations and standing commuters skillfully, and may the seats be ever in your favour!

Read Also: A Not-so-Humble Guide to Travelling in Delhi Metro

Featured Image Credits: X

Kavya Vashisht

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 College is often a foray into many new experiences, a lot of which involves the night life. The glamorous ideal of Delhi clubbing, parking lots filled with fancy G-wagons, tons of booze, popping DJ sets has often attracted many young students, looking to enjoy the first dregs of freedom associated with university. However, behind the glitz, many realize that the city that never sleeps doesn’t always have to offer the best experiences once the sun sets.

Clubs are inherently unsafe for many, especially women. Dingy lighting, crowds of strange men, all under the influence of alcohol, and usually heavily intoxicated, spell disaster for several young students. Almost all young women have faced some degree of assault at clubs, from something as easily brushed off as cat-calling, to serious cases of assault.

My first few experiences in Delhi clubs hadn’t been the worst, somehow I had warded off creepy stares or unwanted gropes, but a few months into having moved to the city, I ended up at Ansal Plaza, a place frequented by DU students looking to party. This changed the false sense of security I had gained over the past few months. I suddenly felt suffocated and unsafe, I could feel the stare of random men. I ended up leaving in 30 minutes. Since then, I became more wary of the situations I put myself in. However, I now have a deep seated fear, one that usually gets me whilst traveling back in Ubers late at night, at how women often lose out on the joy of many experiences, because of the sense of endangerment created for them.

Other female students have had similar experiences,

There have been several times when I have been stared at or groped, in many of the supposedly elite clubs in the city. But I guess these are just the things that come with being a girl, and don’t deter me from having my fun” – Siona Arora, B.A. Programme, Kamala Nehru College

 But the issue runs deeper than just personal experiences, incidents like drink spiking run rampant across clubs in general, where women usually account for more than half of the visitors. Articles like this one suggest measures like, regulated security personnel, more female security members, checking men for drugs and a general no-tolerance policy towards drug use in clubs.

Adding to this, several unaware college students, many of whom hail from non-urban areas in India and are unfamiliar with the workings of the city, its various areas or clubs in general, are especially vulnerable to being exploited in such scenarios. Being charged extra money to enter into “exclusive events”, women being forced to couple up with often strange men to enter into clubs, commuting late at night in cabs through unknown roads or routes etc. can all ruin youngsters’ attempts to just have a good night.

Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/05/25/du-reconstitutes-a-women-safety-committee-in-all-women-colleges/

Image Credits – Getty Images

Chaharika Uppal

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One never realizes how much they love their hometown until they leave it. Mindlessly scrolling through reels on Instagram, I stumbled upon a heartwarming interview excerpt of Greta Gerwig, a well-established Hollywood director known for movies like Barbie, Little Women, and Lady Bird. She endearingly talks about how we never realize how much life has changed unless we revisit our hometown, after being away from it.

I have always loved my city, Kolkata, during August. The murky humidity of May-July slowly transitions into cloudy afternoons followed by evening showers and there is an underlying excitement amidst the hustling streets and alleys as the arrival of August amplifies the countdown to Durga Puja in early October.

As my airline slowly made the descent into my hometown, passing through puffy clouds, revealing the Ganges, the Howrah bridge perched atop it, and the huddled buildings, a warm wave of familiarity washed over me as a fellow co-passenger, a toddler whispered in excitement to his mother, “Ma, bari eshe geche!” (Mom, we’re home!).

Going back home, the ritual has always remained the same: the happy mingling crowd at the Departure tunnel, the old lanes, roadside graffiti, the smell of mum’s favourite sandalwood incense, fresh laundry, clinking chai-cups, dog fur on the sofa, Kishore Kumar ke gaane in the afternoon, mum’s special mutton biriyani recipe, ‘luchi-aloo dum’ for breakfast and the warmth of family. Simplicity. Familiarity. Comfort. Home.

Then come the people: old school friends, childhood friends, those 15-year long bonds, the chit-chats over coffee, first crushes, your favourite teacher, your neighbour who’d seen you walk for the first time, your grandmother and her prized-sewing kit, the sweaters she’d honed for you out of love, your dad’s collection of music records, the twinkle of your dog’s eyes. The love that endured. The love that stayed. The warmth of old love. Home.

But beyond the slow loving caress of familiarity, was something inherently heartbreaking. Tragic but beautiful. It was change. Change you wouldn’t notice as soon as you step down from your 2-hour-long flight from Delhi to Kolkata. But slow brimming change so vast yet so miniscule that it breaks your heart while mending it simultaneously. It’s in your childhood best-friend’s stories of college, their vast-tangle of newfound friends, sky-scrappers standing tall in place of your favourite movie theatre, the now-empty flat of your closest cousin who’d moved abroad, or in the glistening newly sprout grey hair of your dog. It’s an eerie feeling. It is true that life goes on and never waits for anybody but it’s also strange, feeling like a mere observer to the life that had been your whole world, in the place that you’ve always called home.

This feeling stems from something much deeper than just feeling like you’re missing out. Instead of resenting life for passing through your hometown when you aren’t even there, you embrace this change, or at least try to. Over time, you realize how much you’ve changed as well- that you no more unhealthily binge-read Harry Potter but read more Murakami in its place, that you enjoy The 1975 over Linkin Park now and that you’d always loved ‘Chole Bhature’ over ‘Luchi-Aloo Dum’ despite your friends teasing you as a fake Bengali (yes, deep sad sigh). At one beautiful point, one warm Wednesday afternoon, you realize that you are growing along with your childhood city, discovering yourself every day and suddenly, you’re at peace.

On a rather unconventional note, I believe that it’s also important for one to eventually move out of your childhood hometown. Moving away from the familiarity, from the care of your parents, taking responsibilities, doing laundry by yourself, buying groceries alone, riding buses, managing your finances gives you a sense of clarity that the comfort of home can’t. Moving out of this comfort zone, lends you a sense of independence, some perspective that you never thought you had before. You suddenly feel confident enough to make future choices and plan, and finally liberation embraces you- that you are (almost) a grown-up and have (sort of) stepped into the real world!

Basking in this glorious independence is fun, and so is remembering that the same bonds you’re breaking free from moulded and shaped you to someday be capable of leaving it all behind. Your old friends, your family, the Sunday-night movies, the bicycle races with childhood friends- all of these fragments have come together to make you whole. And as you look upon the old city, with tears in your eyes, comprehension slowly dawns that you’d never realized how much home has shaped you, how much you love it and are going to miss it. And while your childhood best friend now has new friends to confide in, your movie theatre has turned into someone’s loving home and your dog is growing old, the love doesn’t disappear, it re-emerges every time you come back home, it’s always there and will be. And that’s the beauty of it all.

Through the rush of college, the fast-paced life of Delhi, the crowd of metros, the overburdening assignments and the hustle of college societies, the early-morning showers of Delhi remind me of the slow, lazy August days of Kolkata as my mother gently simmers the early-morning cha, humming to the stapled songs of Kishore Kumar playing in the background of her beloved kitchen, and rain lovingly embraces my home, far-far away yet so close.

Sometimes, love from a distance can be beautiful too.

Read Also: The Home Conundrum, and the Battle of Graduating

Featured Image Credits: Google Images

Priyanka Mukherjee

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The Economics Faculty of Delhi University welcomed a new elective on Ambedkar while replacing the old elective paper, ‘Economics of Discrimination’, going against the decisions taken by the Academic Council of the institution on August 11 and introducing a series of changes to elective papers in the syllabus.

‘Economic Thought of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’, an elective paper welcomed by the Economics Department of Delhi University to be taught to undergraduate students this year has caused the axing of another elective subject, ‘Economics of Discrimination’, resulting in several faculty members expressing concerns.

The new paper includes Dr Ambedkar’s views and understanding of various aspects of economic systems; theories of economic development; labor welfare; economic policy making; and other issues in the Indian economy during the colonial period. It replaced a new ‘Economics of Discrimination’ paper, which was decided in the Academic Council meeting on August 11 while introducing a series of changes to elective papers in the syllabus.

The syllabi of this paper signifies that the subject talks about Dr. Ambedkar’s pioneering thought in the field of economics, relevance in the contemporary world and its implication for ‘social justice’, ‘equality’ and ‘inclusive development’.

An associate professor of Economics at Kamala Nehru College and an elected Academic Council Member, Monami Basu, mentioned to The Indian Express that the paper on Dr. Ambedkar was welcomed by the entire faculty as it talks about him as an ‘economic policy-maker’ during the post-colonial period, his thoughts on ‘colonial economy’ and how caste and labor are interconnected.  However, she adds that the paper on discrimination was dropped without consultation with Academic Council members, departments or committees of courses.

Another professor who has been teaching economics at DU for over two decades has professed to the Indian Express on conditions of anonymity that the focus on ‘caste discrimination’ has been diluted in the new Ambedkar paper and it is only 10% of the paper now. According to other faculty members, the now-dropped paper was the only one that focused on the concept of discrimination in the UG economics syllabus. It had themes such as gender and unequal burden of work; inequalities in access to land; and intersection of discrimination though race, caste, class and disability.

The first suggestion to drop three elective papers, including ‘Economics of Discrimination’, was made in an Academic Council meeting on May 26 and opposed by faculty members of several colleges. Vice Chancellor, Yogesh Singh had then consulted a six-member panel to revisit the syllabi.

Read Also: Text Removal and Renaming in DU’s History Syllabus: Brahmanization Term and Paper on Inequality Dropped

Featured Image Credits: Google Images

Priyanka Mukherjee

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Lakhs of Indian students migrate to study abroad every year. What sparks the intrigue, and is it truly warranted?

The fascination with studying abroad among Indian students is a phenomenon that can be attributed to various factors, both societal and practical. While there is much to gain from a foreign degree like global exposure and quality education, a lot is lost, such as family and culture. How does one navigate the trade-offs and decipher how to make the right decision?

One factor driving this fascination might be how studying abroad is considered a mark of prestige and quality education in Indian society. Another contributing factor is the perception that they offer better academic opportunities and could lead to higher earning potential. From another perspective, limited domestic options due to low availability and high competition for seats in Indian institutes drive the youth to look for options abroad. Moreover, most education systems abroad curate their programs in a way that allows for variety and flexibility in the subjects and structures offered. This is appealing to Indian students.

I have always looked forward to pursuing a Master’s degree abroad because it’s hard to find career advancements domestically in my field, especially since it’s not of professional nature.” – Seher, a third-year student

Apart from these, there exist factors that seem to be rooted in no solid reasoning. Historical migration patterns in the family or social expectations can create a sense of normativity and peer pressure. The idea of studying abroad, which may have been limited to a certain social class earlier, has become a more common goal due to changing societal norms.

However, when reaching an age where the future seems too close, hesitations creep in. The potential difficulties regarding adapting to a new culture with different social norms and values, leaving family behind and the financial burden may contribute to students rethinking their decisions.

On not being able to receive a scholarship for the program I was accepted into, I dropped the idea of moving abroad. I would not have been able to handle the expenses.” – A DU alumnus.

Thus arises the need to introspect and assess your goals, both personal and professional. Navigate this decision by reflecting on your priorities regarding career and life goals. Get to know yourself better, try gauging through self-reflection and conversations with well-wishers on what suits you the best. Seek guidance from counselling services, college seniors or family members abroad to better understand the challenges and benefits of international study.

Due to these complexities, it’s essential to make informed decisions keeping in mind your ideals as well as practical considerations. Studying abroad can be an enriching and transformative experience only if guided by mindful intentions.

Read also: The Right Time to Study Abroad

Featured image credits: Unsplash

Arshiya Pathania

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Delhi HC has rejected DU’s preference for CLAT instead of CUET for its 5-year law courses. The respondents of the PIL are DU’s Faculty of Law, Vice Chancellor of the University, UGC and Union of India through the Ministry of Education.

 On Thursday, August 17, the Delhi High Court questioned Delhi University on its decision to admit students to its new 5-year integrated law courses based on the Common Legal Admission Test (CLAT-UG) 2023 results. A petition submitted by Prince Singh, a student at DU’s Faculty of Law, challenged the University’s announcement of the 5-year integrated law courses, beginning in the academic year 2023-24. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by him sought admission to these courses through CUET UG 2023, following the directives of the Universities Grant Commission (UGC) for central universities. The Court granted Delhi University and the Centre time until the next hearing on August 25 to file their responses to the petition.

The bench, which included Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula, stated that the Government of India, through the National Education Policy, had decided that admissions to all Central Universities would be done through the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) introduced by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and that Delhi University is “not special.”

You are not special. There is a national policy. If 18 other central universities are relying on the CUET scores for admissions, why is DU not doing the same?” the bench remarked.

 The court granted the University’s counsel time to file a counter-affidavit before the next hearing on August 25. The Union of India has also been given time to “file its reply” or seek “appropriate instructions in the matter.” However, the court stressed that if no counter-affidavit is submitted by the next hearing date, the matter will be heard on the question of grant of interim relief.

Delhi University’s counsel, Advocate Mohinder S Rupal, contended that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Yogesh Singh, formed a special committee of specialists, which delivered a detailed report to the Academic and Executive Councils of the University. During the hearing, he argued that the University only launched the 5-year integrated law degree this year and that if a stay is granted on the operation of the August 4 notification, the entire academic year will be wasted. He alleged that DU had not yet provided a schedule or timeline for admissions to its law courses.

It is not as if we are rushing the process. We haven’t started the admission process yet. The University will not issue any advertisement regarding applications for CLAT-based admissions to the 5-year law course till the next date of hearing.”- stated DU’s counsel, Mohinder Rupal.

 The PIL was filed in response to a notification issued by Delhi University on August 4 announcing the introduction of the Five-year Integrated Law Courses- B.A.LLB (Hons.) and BBA.LLB (Hons.), admissions to which would be undertaken by the CLAT scores of the aspirants.

“The Bar Council of India in its letter dated 26.07.2023 has accorded its approval of 60 seats for BA LLB (Hons) and 60 seats for BBA LLB (Hons). Admission to BA LLB (Hons) and BBA LLB (Hons) shall be based on merit in the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) UG 2023 result. The classes for BA LLB (Hons) and BBA LLB (Hons) courses will be held at the Faculty of Law, Kanad Bhawan, North Campus, University of Delhi. The online application for admission to BA LLB (Hons) and BBA LLB (Hons) courses will be announced by the University soon,” stated the notification by Delhi University.

 The petition contended that by issuing this notification, Delhi University has placed a “wholly unreasonable condition” that violates the Right to Equality under Article 14 and the Right to Education under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The plea stressed that CUET is conducted in multiple languages while CLAT is held only in English, which leads to an admission advantage for a specific sub-group at DU’s Faculty of Law.

That the condition imposed for admission to the five-year integrated law courses at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, is wholly unreasonable and arbitrary. It lacks any intelligible differentia and has no rational nexus with the object of admission to the five-year integrated law courses at the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi,” the plea by Singh stated.

 

Read Also: Delhi High Court Seeks the Stand of the Centre and University in Opposing the New Admission Criteria – DU Beat – Delhi University’s Independent Student Newspaper

Featured Image Credits: Bar and Bench

 Manvi Goel

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Delhi is the home of outstanding theatre arts, whilst Mumbai is the metropolis of Bollywood aspirations. In Delhi, stage art has a special significance and a rich history that is still being preserved through a variety of institutions and live performances.

 Delhi, India’s capital, is so distinctive that it offers something to everyone. It has been bustling with possibilities for years, from its mouth-watering food to popular shopping places, monuments and old palaces, museums and government buildings. Out of everything, the city has been sustaining art forms and providing a platform for artists from different fields to explore, grow, and perform. It represents inclusion in culture, where everyone has an opportunity to contribute. One of the ancient gems of the city that is adding charm to it is – Theatre art. The many drama forms, stories, plays, and musicals.

Although many are aware that Mumbai is the “city of dreams,” many flock there to pursue their Bollywood aspirations and make a name for themselves as actors, directors, or singers. Delhi has been a well-known destination for theatre and stage art and has also produced many promising talents, but it is still less applauded for the accomplishments. While some of the artists here continued their careers in theatre and added to its appeal, others became great and well-respected artists in the cinema industry. In the western industry too, Los Angeles is recognised for its film industry, whereas New York is renowned for theatre. Although there has been a line of separation between the stage and the screen, there is still a connection that aids both industries’ growth in different ways. Their originality is beyond comparison.

Coming to Delhi and its vibrant stage art, the city preserves it in a variety of significant and minor ways – It has many students, rising artists, and has created a special audience of art lovers through live performances, nukkad nataks, drama schools, and college societies.

One of the well-known names is of NSD – National School of Drama, which has been a training facility since 1959, providing knowledge and enhancing the abilities of amateur artists. Although Sangeet Natak Akademi is its parent organisation, over the years it has relocated from a number of places. Mandi House is where it is currently set up. Mandi House, which once had ties to the princely state of Mandi, is now home to a number of theatre troupes and establishments, such as the National School of Drama and Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts. The creation of NSD involved numerous notable playwrights and dramatists. A comprehensive curriculum, the promotion of several theatre genres, and one of the best playscripts have all been created here. NSD has a unique identity that focuses on both conserving the past and fostering hope for the future. From the nation’s capital, these groups organise numerous performances and broaden the horizons of theatre art throughout the entire nation.

The institution also holds workshops and other annual festivals like the “Bharat Rang Mahotsav” to raise awareness of the local arts and draw in more visitors. Children and newcomers to the sector can always use it as an excellent learning opportunity to get going on their path. How could one not include the outstanding alumni and directors who formed the very foundation of NSD with a name like that? Ebrahim Alkazi, a renowned theatrical instructor, was the first to transform the school in 1962 with the help of his expertise, leadership, and strict disciplinary measures.  Many people still reflect on the illustrious 15 years the celebrated director spent at NSD, and his role in shaping the organisation helped it reach new heights. Without mentioning Ebrahim Alkazi’s skill, one cannot discuss Indian theatre or the National School of Drama in general. He made sure that the Indian theatre art is not lost and reaches a wider audience by establishing the three-year acting training, developing open theatre, and providing inspiration for the repertory. Some of his productions continue to receive praise as some of the best ever.

There is an unending number of well-known and gifted performers who are working in the entertainment business today, preserving the reputation of organisations like the National School of Drama and also bringing honour to the nation. The list of actors and actresses includes Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Neena Gupta, Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Piyush Sharma, Irfan Khan, and many more. This is the National School of Drama’s legacy. This institution is only one of many centres in Delhi that have made contributions to the arts by producing top-notch plays and musicals. One is the Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts, a renowned theatre company that has been producing plays and offering acting classes since 1958. SRC, like The National School of Drama, has also produced famous individuals in the industry. There are additional independent theatrical groups with base in Delhi that create venues for artists to gather, create fascinating stories, and perform all over the nation.

Delhi colleges have cultural societies that support the arts and permit students to experiment in the field from the college level on up, even at the university level. Ibtida was founded by renowned filmmaker Imtiaz Ali while he was attending Hindu College, as is well known. Many others, such Manoj Bajpayee and Siddharth Malhotra, who attended Delhi University, launched their careers using the many resources the city and university have to offer. It goes without saying that the institution is the alma mater of several well-known artists, starting with Shahrukh Khan, the King of Bollywood, who graduated from Hansraj College and began his career with Delhi’s Theatre Action Group.

Through the Drama Societies at Delhi University, students are contributing to the evolution of theatre art by continually taking chances and incorporating contemporary elements that make it more applicable for the current generation. This includes curating scripts, performing, and taking part in festivals and contests. Women’s rights, girl child education, and scripts promoting community solidarity are among the topics that are publicly performed in the form of Nukkad natak. All of these places are unique in that those who have spent time in these settings honing their craft and giving performances on Delhi stages still have a special appreciation for their formative years as budding performers. These alumni have often reminisced about their time at the National School of Drama or Mandi House and how they attribute their achievements to these institutions.

The singularity of stage and screen cannot be compared, as was stated in the article’s introduction. However, as films have become a popular form of entertainment, younger generations are less familiar with regional art practises and distinctive theatrical methods. As a result, people frequently treat stage and screen the same, which is a mistake. However, acting for the camera and performing live are truly two different things, and sadly, many people from the younger generations have not experienced the latter. Even newer artists who enrol in renowned acting schools participate in stage art in order to later pursue an acting profession. It’s because the Indian film industry gives them more chances to become popular and rich than if they continued with theatrical acting. This art faces a number of different obstacles along the way that make it challenging for it to endure.

Some of these difficulties were brought up in our conversations with a few students and instructors from renowned theatre schools.

Many people these days tend to believe that theatre is the ladder to take you to cinema, that if you begin from here eventually you will reach Bollywood,” they said. “This is untrue. Both theatre and film have unique meanings, and each has something different to offer. According to me, this phenomenon is causing stage art to lose some of its splendour. Many members of Delhi theatre groups just practise and develop their acting abilities in order to pursue a job in the film industry. I’m still relieved, though, that theatre is generating finest plays that the audience enjoys” – An artist from the Shri Ram Centre.

Original art forms in India existed for centuries before the advent of cinema, and were supported by wealthy businesses and appreciated by enormous audiences. Since the 17th century, live performances of Ramleela, which depicts the legendary Ramayana conflict between Ram and Ravana, have taken place at festivals.  The popular theatre production Nautanki, which originated in Uttar Pradesh, had a significant impact on the Indian population. Dohas, ghazals, and chhand were frequently used, along with catchy songs and humorous dialogue. There are other well-known plots in this that centre on mythology. Nautanki, a kind of theatre that was once loved by both urban and rural inhabitants, grew in influence and scope as a result of assimilating numerous other theatre techniques. Unfortunately, the popularity that Nautanki once enjoyed is diminishing, much like that of many other creative forms, as a result of the rise of film and the elitist mindset that stereotypes this local talent.

Cities like Delhi still have a lot of places where individuals may learn about the subject and work to keep alive the artistic forms that previously captivated thousands of people. Those who are interested in finding out more can attend plays and exhibits at Mandi House, the Indian Habitat Centre, or the Kamini Auditorium, or they can join one of the theatre groups in their institutions. A Delhi Theatre Festival will be held in August and will feature many well-known performers and wonderful productions for the public.

Theatre has always been a means of expressing feelings and telling stories through music, quirky characters, and dark humour. Indian plays have masterfully portrayed the legends of the Ramayana, Mahabharat, and other great royal empires of India. In order to ensure that this vibrant culture is sustained, thrives, and receives the recognition it merits, Delhi must continue to support and maintain stage art.

Delhi is the home of great arts, if Mumbai is the city of Bollywood dreams. If Mumbai has seen the zenith of great artists, Delhi has seen their birth and struggle. Without Kala, Kahaniya, and Rangmanch, Delhi’s history would be incomplete!

 

Read Also : https://dubeat.com/2019/03/24/drama-sutra-a-theatre-report-in-three-acts/

List of Additional Sources:

https://thewire.in/the-arts/ebrahim-alkazi-modern-indian-theatre

Story of Ebrahim Alkazi, NSD director who shaped Indian theatre

https://devnautanki.com/about_history.html

Blog of Dr. Devendra Sharma, performer and writer of Nautanki artform.

Featured Image Credits: Top news India, NDTV

Priya Agrawal

The article is a take on the internship culture, the dilemma it presents to college undergrads and the possible alternative solutions that seem to summarize a student’s summer break post pandemic .

If I had to pitch in the latest episode of black mirror that intrinsically captures the essential collapse of society, I might just bring to the table the possible plot of a dystopia the summer break essentially is, with a love triangle, featuring the insane tension between a college student, summer internships and the reclusive possibilities of an actual summer vacation.

An intern is an unfledged hustler entering what’s basically the hunger games of employment where undergrads try to maximize any and every chance to be pumped out as career ready hirelings. The internship culture has taken the entirety of universities across the globe as an efficient yet at times, a deceptive ploy at adulting.

The benefits of internships range from cost effective employment drives to efficient skill set peddling, a channel of networking and hands on experience in fields the student tends to value more than the drowsy July lectures in sepia toned stifling classrooms, no wonder it seems like the perfect step in the “type A” coded corporate world. But internships aren’t the typical “grabbing coffee for your boss and excel sheet presentations in office ” Nancy Myers fantasy, but rather a tight rope of balancing deadlines and breakdowns.

Even though a stipend incentivised internships offer an angel’s halo to the ever broke student stereotype, they can be exceedingly exploitive in the favour of the status quo and when this exploitation is mechanized as a necessity by colleges coupled with the peer pressure of ‘not doing enough’ it becomes a problem at hand, a predicament that Delhi University undergraduates currently juxtapose with their one shot at having a true summer break for once. While one section decides to upscale through the increasingly popular advent of ‘summer schools’ ,  the other has an undeterred resolve of the ‘perfect CV’ that has their most fancied summer internships as the crown jewel, while others fancy their truly deserved summer break in the sweet nostalgia of their home towns or fancy holidays that make up a core memory .

The onset of adulthood, the anxiousness of leaving your formative years behind too fast and the ruthless race to succeed in an unforgiving world – all adds up to the truly tormenting experience of being a college student facing the brink of the summer break .

Read also :

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.businessinsider.in/internships-in-india-on-the-rise-with-startups-leading-the-way/amp_articleshow/67655265.cms

Featured image credits: Chegg India

Priya Shandilya

[email protected]

The following piece seeks to understand the superimposition of dominant ideological narratives on cultural events. It does not, in any way attempt to disrespect the cultural/religious beliefs of individuals.  

Delhi University has often been described as an educational space for multiculturalism and diversity, where students from all over India intermingle and share their cultures with one another. Very often, students bring to the university campus, festivals and celebrations from different corners of the country which helps them create a sense of community far from home. It is an act of claiming a space, far from one’s homeland that initiates intercultural interaction and contributes to the richness of the campus spaces.

However, is the culturally diverse space that many of us would like the university to be, a utopian imagination? Cultural expression is often monopolised by dominant majoritarian communities that can afford to be more visible and vocal. How do we distinguish free cultural expression from ideological imposition? Furthermore, what happens when politically motivated ideologies are superimposed on cultural festivals?

On 22nd June, the Delhi Odia Students’ Association (DOSA) in collaboration with the Iskcon Student Centre organised the Jagannath Rath Yatra in the North Campus of Delhi University. It goes without saying that the Rath Yatra is a festival that is extremely close to the hearts of the devotees of Lord Jagannath. People from different socio-economic backgrounds come to join the procession, hoping to get a glimpse of the deity. People are often seen crying, overwhelmed to see the lord.

But can an event that is often hailed for its inclusive quality, retain its cultural ideals and innocence when it becomes so visibly saffronised? It is true that perhaps every cultural or religious festival is influenced by certain belief systems, but when the belief system is aligned with an ideology which translates into an aggressively asserted political agenda, it becomes potentially dangerous.

The political alignment of the procession organised in the campus was not simply reflected in symbols, but was also verbalised on certain occasions. The event began with an open and unapologetic assertion- ‘Bharat ka dharam, Sanatan dharam’, (The religion of India is Hinduism) and ended with Jai Shree Ram chants. The procession, adorned by huge saffron flags, traced the campus with hundreds of people joining in. The devotees danced and sang along; the sentimental and cultural essence of the procession could be felt. At the same time, the markers of it being a politically aligned procession were hard to ignore.

One could obviously argue that Jai Shri Ram chants in a Jagannath yatra is not arbitrary because Ram and Jagannath are essentially different avatars of Lord Vishnu. In today’s India however, Jai Shri Ram is an immensely politicized slogan – one that is rooted in majoritarian beliefs of Hindutva. To say that it is an innocent appeal to lord Ram is to disregard the persecution faced by thousands of people from minority communities, against whom the slogan has been weaponised.

Before the commencement of the yatra, an elaborate speech was given which emphasised upon values of devotion, servitude and gratitude. The cultural belief system of a Brahmanical conception of Hinduism was presented as the moral standards of India. While science, modernism and ‘western’ values received censure, the ‘Indian’ way of life was pedestalised. It must be noted that the Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri has no custom of preaching. Everybody joins the event as a devotee and no authority figure is given the centre stage. Representatives from the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – a right wing student organisation affiliated with the Hindu nationalist RSS – were formally present in the event.

The Rath Yatra was provided immense police protection. It is entirely valid to ensure police deployment in cultural festivals to ensure orderly execution of the same. However, the sincerity with which police protection is provided to events that exude right wing sentiments is entirely absent when students get attacked by mobs on campus. When a mob of men, gate-crashed the college fest at Indraprastha College for Women, raised misogynistic slogans and Jai Shri Ram chants and harassed women, the police did little to ensure their safety. The police has acted either as passive observers or violent upholders of law in situations like these.

When a religious event is distorted and appropriated to further a political ideology, the cultural and emotional essence of the festival is hurt and disrespected. Although the devotees attending the rath yatra did not express concern regarding the nature of the yatra, the ideological undertones were felt without doubt.

The Jagannath Yatra is very close to our hearts. Devotees wish to remain connected with the lord Jagannath and seek his blessings. It is an expression of unadulterated and innocent devotion. It is not supposed to be used to further any ideological agenda” – Aditi Routray, a student at LSR

 

Featured image credits – Tulip for DU Beat

Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/04/04/the-invasion-of-ipcw-a-students-account/

Tulip Banerjee

[email protected]

The hustle culture at DU is never-ending. Just when you feel you can take a breather, the competition season arrives—the politics, the implications, and, most importantly, the cut-throat rivalry. Just winning a prize is not enough anymore. The hierarchies add a different dimension to an already competitive environment. Read on to find out a first-year student’s account and reflections on the competition season at DU.

Congratulations! You just cracked the Common University Entrance Exam (CUET), surpassing lakhs of students to get admission at Delhi University (DU). You have just started to dip your toes into the hustle culture that perpetuates every fiber of this prestigious university. In a fit of enthusiasm and a promise of progress, you inevitably fall into the maze of toxic society culture. You feel absolutely desolate and frustrated, but at least the fest season is approaching. In a fit of hope, you drag yourself through the tedious internal and semester examinations. You are on the brink of exhaustion, but at least now you rightfully deserve to celebrate during the fest season. However, something surprises you. You overhear murmured whispers among students discussing the competitions they will be participating in during college fests. Welcome to the plight of college students.

What are these Competitions?

By competitions, we are essentially referring to the events conducted by specific departments and societies during their annual fest. Competitions are an opportunity for departments and societies to interact with students from other colleges, leading to a lively spirit of collaboration. Among the most popular are case study competitions, slam poetry competitions, debate competitions, and quizzes. Participants are expected to register through Unstop and pass through the preliminary rounds before being shortlisted for further rounds. The hefty prizes as well as the CV boost incentivize the participants to compete with hundreds of other contestants scattered across the University.

This competition culture is a very integral part of the cultural intricacies that dominate DU. The close affiliation of colleges and their interconnected functioning play an essential role in organising competitions in such capacities. This allows students to easily navigate, network, build connections across various colleges, and participate. The number of colleges and the vast number of events that are conducted provide a plethora of opportunities for students to find a competition suitable for their niche interests.

“Immediately after our academic symposium, the craze to participate in competitions has shot up. It’s like everybody is on Unstop looking for case competitions suddenly. It feels like apart from academics, one must excel at this too” – Manvi Goel, a first-year student lamented.

The Politics of Competitions

Similar to most things in life, there is a fraction of luck involved in the process of participating in these competitions. It all begins with finding the right partner. Usually, most competitions require participation in teams of two to four, and so the hunt for the right partner begins. Working with the right partner greatly increases the morale of the student, and with the right efforts, their teamwork can drive them to great heights. Specifically, in the context of competitions, your rapport with your partner plays an important role, and your complementary attitudes will reflect heavily during the presentation of your competition.

“Mostly in competitions, the rounds that come up are extremely on the stop. If you have a good rapport with your partner, you will be able to explain things better, and your partner will be able to understand it well and translate it into better content for the presentation or explain it while answering during Q&A rounds. In case you are not comfortable with your team members, you will not be able to deliver to your 100% potential. Having that rapport gives you the encouragement that whatever may be the consequence, we did our best and we learned so much, and it then develops into a really nice friendship.” – Dhaani Sood, a first-year student discussed.

However, finding the right partner is a tumultuous task. This is certainly where the element of luck comes into play. Usually, students choose to partner with their friends because a background of understanding has already been established. However, when your friend circle is inclined towards different interests, reaching out to try and build a network outside of your friend circle can cause a great deal of stress.

“The process of finding the correct team is often rough and takes time. If there’s anything I have learned in the journey of finding a cohesive team, it’s that teamwork is the bedrock of success in any competition. I have had experiences where the lack of team coordination was the major reason for our underperformance. A team works better when each member takes accountability for the task assigned to them rather than burdening an individual with the entire work. One should remember that the sum is always greater than the parts” – Ananya Pandey, a first-year student

A lot of dirty politics come into play while enrolling in competitions through Unstop. Usually, the first round of elimination is conducted through an online quiz via UnStop. Often, students can be seen enrolling themselves through several fake emails to participate in the quiz and get an understanding of all the questions and answers. Later, they enrol through their official email address and answer all the questions promptly. This gives them an edge in the following rounds, where the participants with the least time are only allowed to proceed. Such malpractices are often hard to detect in an online and unsupervised space. Although some organisers may severely restrict the time limits, such unethical practises are unavoidable in the race for the first position.

Nowadays, just securing a prize has become the bare minimum. A certain hierarchy exists along with the nature of competition. Case study competitions are usually considered the most prestigious competitions to secure a prize in, specifically those surrounding the topics of entrepreneurship and finance. The obsession with securing a prize in such competitions is hugely fueled due to the immense benefits they add during the recruitment process for internships and companies. Although the amount of effort required for the preparation of case studies is immensely more demanding than other competitions, it often creates a demoralising spirit among participants who are not inclined towards such interests. An additional layer is added when the prestigious factor of colleges is added. Students specifically choose to compete in the so-called Tier-1 colleges across the University due to the spark it adds to their CVs.

So is it worth it?

In some sense, you can’t escape the demands that accompany the very being of a college student. Competition is a fundamental requisite of the environment you are exposed to. It can be very discouraging, but at the same time, when you succeed, it provides you with a boost of confidence. The solution always comes down to your priorities and passions. You cannot compete with everyone for everything, so choose the battles that will genuinely challenge you.

Read also: Toxic Culture of DU Societies: Seniors with Junior Mindsets

Featured Image Credits: BM Law College

Sri Sidhvi Dindi
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