As the Delhi University Elections draw closer, I can’t help but notice how a majority of my batchmates are thrilled over the ‘extended weekend’ this Election season has endowed them with. I hate to admit it, but I am no different.
It’s funny how these very people would stand in long queues in their first year to vote for the ‘candidate with a difference’ or how some were even a part of the monstrous crowd sloganeering for the neta-‘Jo hai sabse nek, ballot Number 1!’. Today, there is an almost comical response of sorts when these people are asked who they’ll be voting for. What led to this drastic alteration in the general perception and attitude of the students towards the university elections? And is this the usual discourse of all DU students as their college life progresses?
A certain lackadaisical, almost indifferent stance can be sensed in a bulk of college students when it comes to the elections. While many always find it more convenient to function by the “how does this affect us” theory, a lot of other students, once active in the electoral procedure have grown to repulse the very same system. Many argue that this inherently ignorant trait is what’s wrong with our youth, or generally speaking, our nation. But that can only be true for a particular set of students. Is it not true that a heap load of others do try to take a rather pro-active interest in student politics and yet slowly but surely, their faith withers away?
I believe it has a lot to do with how University level politics is only a miniature version of state-level politics (and by extension, National Politics). Given a heedful thought, we can quite easily relate it to the larger scheme of things. The Indian electoral Politics has always largely been a politics of entitlement. ‘I hail from so-and-so community and so I am entitled to their votes.’ ‘I come from so-and-so district and so they obviously have to vote for me.’ And it works both ways. ‘The Minister is from our community so we’re entitled to all the special privileges.’
WHY? Misleading sense of entitlement.
And this very logic can easily be spotted being sold to college students as part of a supposedly well-crafted campaigning rhetoric. “He is from your department. Don’t you want to see him win?”
“.. the entire campaigning propaganda is mired with hypocrisies. From the pledge for ‘a paperless campaign’ to a ‘say no to bribery’, how unabashedly do we take pride over breaking the laws!”
But this is only the finer aspect of it. Even for someone who wouldn’t care to give the elections more than a casual glance, it becomes quite obvious that the entire campaigning propaganda is mired with hypocrisies. From the pledge for ‘a paperless campaign’ to a ‘say no to bribery’, how unabashedly do we take pride over breaking the laws! The very laws of the very land we extoll every second and monopolize over because calling yourself a nationalist goes a long way as far as elections are concerned. It doesn’t matter if that land is being besmirched with dirt of all kinds as long as it has your name on it and is helping you further your election campaign.
Free trips to amusement parks, food and drinks being distributed in the canteen slyly, hoardes of alcohol bottles being supplied to the ‘influential vote bank’.
But forget it. For the sake of argument, let’s say we can turn a blind eye to these campaigning strategies. Well, we sort of already do. But what after that? Might sound mundane and repetitive, but do things actually change in the longer run? Far fetched promises aside, do even the basic commitments get delivered upon? I think we know what the response of a majority of college goers will be.
I should, however, reiterate, that none of this is meant to deter you from voting. If there’s a candidate who has somehow managed to convince you that he/she is the one, and you do see a genuine spark in them, go for it. And if there’s no one who managed to capture your attention enough, there’s always NOTA (None Of The Above) that’ll serve as the last resort (or the only one).
The sad part, nonetheless, remains the fact that a radical change of sorts is required to completely change the outlook of students towards the elections and it will take more than one leader, more than one college to do it.