The premier institute where I’m doing my MBA has a very active political scheme with a very exemplary instance of working democracy. Coming from a highly politicized state and having studied in a college where politics was a day-to-day affair, (we had a single party ‘democracy’) the lack of political activity here during the first 8 months of my stay here took me by no surprise. I had heard of how only colleges in Kerala wasted time over ‘useless’ exercises of campus politics, and since I’m at a premier institute now, I thought I would miss all of it now. I did. Hostel council election here is a model for how democracy could work in Monaco or other rich European principalities. It is divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’. A typical election campaign conversation:
Campaigner: Sir, aap free ho? [B.Techies here still call seniors ‘Sir’, as it has been embedded in their culture. Not that we care.]
Sir: Haan. Bataa. Kya baat hai? [‘Sir’ is genuinely surprised, because this seemingly active and popular guy has never talked to him before this]
Campaigner: Sir, elections aa raha hain. Aapne dekha hoga ki pichhle baar ve log kuchh bhi nahi kiya.
Sir: Oh, aisa hai kya?
Campaigner: Haan, sir. Ve log election time pe jo promise kiya tha, jaise ki baddy court, basketball court sab- ek bhi nahi hua. Hum log aise nahi hai, sir.
Sir: Ye, ‘hum’ aur ‘ve’- kya hai?
Campaigner: Sir, hum yaani, hum log. Hum sub, sir. Ve log jo pichhle baar elections jeete the.
Sir: Haan, mujhe wo to pata chala. Utna to logic mujhme bhi hain. [Sir was a JMET qualifier. :P well known for logical ability.] Par, ye division kis basis pe hain?
Campaigner: Basis? Sir, hum jo hamare saath hai. Ve jo unke saath hain.
Sir: To agar aap kal unke side defect karoge to kya ‘ve’ hum ban jaaoge?
Campaigner: Sir, defect karne ki koi baat nahin.
Sir: To aap un logon ke saath kyon nahi hain?
Campaigner: Ve log bahut bakar karte hain sir. Bahut promise karte hain, lekin kuchh hota nahin.
Sir: Aur tum log?
Campaigner: Sir, hum log jo kehte hain, wo kar dikhaate hain.
Sir: Kya aap un logon ko useless bula rahe ho?
Campaigner: Aise nahin hai sir. In all due respect, ve log kuch karte nahi. Bas faltoo main baatein karte rahte hain. Hum aise nahin hain.
[Sir is looking for some real political issues come out of the campaigner, but, to his surprise, he keeps on repeating that the others are useless.]
Sir: Hmmm. To aap log bahut active log hain, aur ve log bas bakkar maarte hain. Na?
Campaigner: Haan sir.
Sir: Phir bhi ve log pichhle baar jeet gaye.
Campaigner: Sir, pichhle baar election me bahut politics hua thaa.
[Sir is confused. Election me politics nahi hota to kya hota?]
Sir: Ek baat samjhaa mujh ko, theek se. Kal phir kayee log aayenge. How will I know if they are from your group or from the other group?
Campaigner: Sir, A, B, C, etc. are from our side. Baki X, Y, Z, sab unke side main hain sir.
Sir: Phir bhi, I can’t understand. Ye division kis basis pe hain. I mean, koi political ideological difference toh nahi hain. Aap ko bhi nahin pata ki why there’s a difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Campaigner: Sir, sach bataoon, when we were in first year, C floor pe sab active seniors rehte the aur D pe sab bakwaas karne waale. To hum ‘C’ waalon ke saath join kiye aur ve log ‘D’ waalon ke saath. Wo ab bhi continue kar rahe hain.
Sir: I’m staying on ‘A’ floor!
Campaigner: Ab aise kuch nahi hain sir.
Sir: Thank god, you didn’t say that since ‘C’ is closer to ‘A’, vote for ‘C’.
Campaigner: In short, sir, hamaare panel ke liye vote keejiye. We’ll ensure ki mess mein south Indian khaana bhi miley.
[Sir thinks, brilliant election campaign! Are these the kind of people who started that political party of intellectuals?]
This is based on last year’s election campaign. Elections lurk around the corner for the next academic year. I eagerly await more such conversation. Poltu people, please don’t ignore me after reading this blog. I’m very much interested in the ‘issues’ and will vote, like an ideal citizen of a model peaceful democracy. I can’t wait for it to be scaled up and implemented throughout the country, where the division will be based on which floor you belong to and who you know the best.
P.S.: One good thing is, it is violence free and doesn’t affect the studies and lives of students. No outside political power can influence them as far as I can notice, and I hope that it remains so.