social activist


1. Get the kurta right

Before you decide on the issues(s) you want to start hunger strikes on, you must get the look right to compliment your now-future leaner physique. Look into your father’s closet and find the oldest kurta that you can find. If your father is the only-shirt-pants wearing bourgeoisie, don’t worry, FabIndia will come to your rescue. Sources tell us that the brand was formed to supply DU-JNU student activists with socialist-chic clothing which can also be worn for their Pammi Aunty’s Diwali parties. Step it up with the thickest nerdy glass that you can find, regardless of your need for glasses. More accessorising opportunities come with the winter, when Nehru jackets and shawls become the ‘It Things’ to have. It goes without saying, a jhola is a must.

Tip: While kurtas are mostly unisex, lady activists can also wear khadi saris, monotone or tribal prints, at seminars and other occasions of importance where you might get photographed. Male activists can try cross dressing to up their game.

2. Networking at D School

Now, as a rule every student activist worth their swadeshi salt hangs out at D School. Transcending the North Campus-South Campus divide, D School is the K Nags and Satyaniketan for students with enlightened views. Now as activists, you must network with others of your community to know about the new cool issue to raise your voice for. And what better place than D School! Though it was established as a premier institute for studying Economics, actual students of the school are hard to find with students from all over encroaching their habitat. A burgeoning issue amongst actual D School students is the ‘Gair D Schooli Chatra Bhagao Andolan’, which as a defender of the secular public space, you must oppose.

Tip: Brownie points to you for hanging out at the JNU campus at times. Try to regularly post pictures of you with your JNU/media/professor friends on Facebook to let others know that your network is wide and radical.

3. Deciding on Your Issues

With the look right and the networking done, now you can decide on the movements you can lend your support to. Try to listen in on what is bothering your senior activists and try nodding your head to them. You might not understand them much initially but a quick Google search later will take care of it. Try keeping up with the news. Immediately make an account on change.org and sign petition after petition without any discrimination. Keep only a couple of issues as your primary ones but you can always make your presence felt in others. But try not to take up all the issues as your projects as this will only cause people to take you less seriously.

Tip: Read up on gender, sexuality, poverty, Kashmir and Israel. Your ability to quote case studies will decide your position in the hierarchy.


4. Learn to talk Much without saying Anything and understanding Everything

Remember the time when the darling of your hipster circle was talking about something and all except you were nodding their heads? Then you did not read the previous point closely. Nod your head to everything; that is the single most important thing you can and should learn. The ability to let people believe that you know more than they ever can is necessary for you to leave any kind of impression. One of the ways is nodding along but a greater method is to actually talk a lot and mean nonsense. Engineered by Literature students to pass their exams, it has now been adopted by the larger artsy population as one of the languages they are fluent in. Learn to speak in paradoxes as soon as you can or you will remain in the training period for longer than you need to.

Tip: Take a recorder along the next time you go to a talk, which should ideally happen weekly, and listen and try to replicate the way the speakers were speaking there. Remember, practice is the only way.


5. Learn how to belittle others because of their choices

While ‘Right to Choose’ and ‘Right to Express’ are one of the rights you must bring in any conversation and defend them whenever they are in danger, you must learn the proper way to judge people on their choices and letting them know that. Notice your classmates hanging out at Starbucks? Call them enabler of the war on Palestine. See them reading Chetan Bhagat and/or Durjoy Datta? Call their literary taste trashy and low. See them eating McSpicy Burger? Call them sell-outs to Multinational Corporations. See them parading their spoilt asses around in branded clothes? Scream BURGEOISIE! This may lead to multiple ‘unfriending’ on Facebook and subsequent stoning of your popularity in your college, but who cares about those merchant-minded dimwits when you can get popular in D School? This skill to belittle others will also come in handy later when you get promoted in the corporate world you joined right after college and want to make the minions know who the boss is now. Then you would also need to quash those two rights of your juniors mentioned above.

Tip: While still learning the ropes of the game, your senior activists may call out on the still lingering signs of your middle class upbringing at times. Don’t lose your patience and tell them “thank you, you are helping me mould my consciousness into the example of enlightened perfection that you project.”


P.S.: The author is only half serious and would still like to enjoy his Keema Dosa and Iced Tea at D School.

Image courtesy: quickmeme.com, tumblr.com, thehindu.com

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54,000 students take admission in Delhi University every year. But are they all of the same kind? I don’t think so. Here I take a look at the very many facets of this unique species called “fresher”, spotted only in and around the DU campus! (1) The “rag me!” – These freshers are the ones who come to experience the quintessential Delhi University life. They are so interested in trying out everything that is “so DU”, that they even want to be ragged! I encountered one such fresher during my college orientation; she actually stood up and told her seniors, “I want to be ragged. Shall I do a dance number?” (2) The “chilled out!” – These types of freshers are not even remotely scared of their professors. They never submit assignments on time, their course book probably wouldn’t show signs of human touch and their short attendance would probably be excused with an easy medical certificate. They believe that college is a place where one should just take it slow, and they certainly are in no hurry to end the post-boards-enjoyment-break. (3) The geek and nerd – The type of freshers who their college studies seriously are the ones who are mapped in this category. The only problem is, a bit too seriously. They’re always found in the library or with a professor, trying to gain an even higher level of expertise in their respective skills. No doubt, the Sheldon Coopers of DU excel in academics and are likely to get placed in a good job, but some amount of fun wouldn’t cause any harm, would it? (4) The “I will try for every college society” – These kinds of freshers are exactly the opposite of nerds. They take every ounce of advantage that DU’s vibrant ECA circuit provides. They will audition for almost every society, and try to participate in as many activities as the college allows them to be in. They make their presence felt and are usually quite popular in their respective colleges. Probably a rare sight in classrooms, their professors might not recognize them if they ever enter the classroom (if they get a break from rehearsals that is). (5) The social activist – This category of freshers usually comprises of the ones who aim to join politics in future. They are rarely involved in extracurricular activities, but try to make the most of student unions, organizations, Parliaments. They aim to make it to ABVP or NSUI, and hope to become the DUSU president in their final year. (6) The “trying to fit in” – This division of freshers try hard to fit in and gel with the crowd. But at times, their efforts become a wee bit over-the-top. They will shop till they drop. Looking for the trendiest bags, tops, jewelry and other stuff that comes with a “popular in DU” tag. However, after some time, the excitement wears out and people come back to the evergreen jeans and tee combo. See what category you fit into and tell us! P.S. in case you’re wondering what category I belong to, I’m a mix of category 3 and 4!   Picture credits: Additi Seth]]>