Delhi University Election: A Battle of Caste, Class and Career
This election, students will vote, dare to challenge the status quo and rebuild fiery DU, once again.
From agitating against Indira Gandhi's emergency rule to challenging a sitting government during Mandal Commission, Delhi University has always been a burning pot of issues, agitations, solutions, and an eye of national politics.
It is often believed that what Delhi University thinks today, is what India thinks tomorrow but, years have passed and as generation is changing, the idea of Delhi University politics is taking a whole new shape.
Nepotism Within the Party
Nepotism is perhaps not a new phenomenon in India. Legacy and hierarchy run in the veins of India's politics, and not surprisingly, even our most progressive youths and unions are not free from the unbridled clutches of nepotism. Speaking to Manoj Choudhry, the former President of University (2009), and the last candidate to win independently after Rajiv Goswami, he feels that in students politics there must be a leader who is backed by the students for their issues than a fake projected leader backed by party's money and power. Choudhry emphasised that party ticket distributions are mostly based upon the candidate's show of strength, money, and muscle power instead of calibre.
Another student of law faculty, Arya Tripathy feels that nepotism runs in all parties during DUSU ticket distribution. It is a launching platform for political ambitions. Basically, there exists certain powerful people around Delhi and at the end, they are given a ticket for the fact that they can mobilise more money and muscle power, together tinctured with the all useful caste factor.
We spoke to CYSS's (AAP's student wing) former General Secretary candidate Rahul Aryan, he proclaims that CYSS carried out a free, fair, and transparent process for ticket distribution in their first and last DUSU election (2015). There were open forms for all to participate; academic and co-curricular activities were taken into consideration.
What is interesting is also the emergence of women as an important factor during these student elections. But even here there’s a catch.
Although the recent trend has witnessed parties filing women candidates to contest elections, but out of the 22 women’s colleges in Delhi University, only five colleges are DUSU affiliated.
Rashi Bhargava, an assistant professor of Maitreyi College, suspects that women colleges have been kept out of DUSU for all this while maybe because, in general, it is believed that women may not be able to cope up with the highly patriarchal atmosphere and violent setup that is prevailing.
Politicisation of Issues
Gone are the days when issues of national interest was in the eye of DUSU politics.
DU students face many infamous issues such as fees hike to shortage of hostels which are noticingly ignored by the administration. Sudhir Dedha (ABVP candidate) proclaimed that ABVP has successfully been able to build hostels in Bharti College.
While students are by and large struggling on a daily basis for the price hike of metro, but on the other hand, DU campuses experience a parade of XUVs for campaigns, leaving a big question mark on the bumpy roads of student politics.
The twist in the game came when two ideologically different parties i.e – AISA (Left) and CYSS (AAP) decided to fight the polls together in an alliance. Speaking to Kawalpreet Kaur (AISA DU Unit President), she stressed that the motive to fight the polls together was in order to keep ABVP-NSUI out of the campus and come together to collaboratively work on issues of student.
We (an independent sociology students – 'Collective Thinkers' ) carried out a survey across social media and the responses were as followed:
Walking down the lanes of ideological battles, thousands of common students hailing from various parts of the country, carrying no affiliations to any particular party, are looking for some ray of change. Perhaps, the light of change is lost somewhere among the piles of posters, pamphlets, slogans, flags and SUVs.
Maybe, during this election students will wake up to vote, dare to challenge the status quo and rebuild the long dead progressive Delhi University, once again.
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