By Abhi Jeet:
Dear innocent political bystanders or rather apolitical people (makes you feel better right?),
Recently, you demonstrated another great example of your ‘apolitical’ stand in the Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections by not coming out to vote because well, why would you bother? You are better off in your air conditioned rooms enjoying your books and television shows with a cup of tea. You must have enjoyed an extra day off other than the regular weekend. You must have completed all pending works of your lives within those thirty minutes, which was all that it would have taken to vote. But again, how does it matter?
The enormous amount of money spent and power of the ‘gundas‘ used in the elections don’t affect you at all. The lies sold in the name of these elections don’t bother you at all. The harassment of students (the category which fortunately or unfortunately includes you) that will follow for the subsequent year after the elections are over will not touch you one bit. But quite interestingly, you will take part in rousing debates over how women are harassed in the university areas, how the fees just keep on increasing every year, how there are no new hostels being built for students, which of course doesn’t affect you but you got to show sympathy for the underprivileged students as well, right?
You will keep on sharing big posts on Facebook over a plethora of issues and your ‘sentiments’ will undoubtedly get hurt when some students will raise slogans of “Bharat tere tukde honge” (“India will break into pieces”). But you will not take a stand for issues that have an immediate impact on your fellow students.
Pardon me for forgetting that you all are students as well and have a career to look towards. And yes, of course, you have the resources to do it all by yourself. But many of the students studying in the university do not have the same privilege. Then again, how would you know because you never left your world of Westeros and Shire to see that there’s another world outside of your college as well where students, who don’t belong to your world, also exist.
You can very well sleep soundly every night, knowing that there’s some girl student who has been harassed because you didn’t vote. You can make peace with the fact that some certain students were violated due to their different dietary practices, because it offends the popular ‘Hindu culture’. They will be discriminated against because they dress, talk and eat ‘differently’, as has been happening for long when cases of harassment against students from the North East as well as students from different communities have been reported while many others have gone unreported. And you can as well laugh over comments being made like “Shiva was the first plastic surgeon” because you think it’s stupid but remember that this stupidity could not be stopped because you refused to leave your comfort. The enormous power that the right wing enjoys was further emboldened with your ignorance.
You seem very comfortable while talking about concepts like socialism or capitalism or, for that matter, Marx or nationalism, because, yes, you have to show that you are capable of indulging in a debate. But it does get a bit hypocritical when you just keep on talking endlessly and when the time comes to actually do something, you quietly desert your principles and sit back at your home.
Now, not to say that voting would have brought a complete elimination of all the problems of students but do remember this that by voting for the people whom you support ideologically (supposedly), you could have created a space in the university where the immediate basic problems of students could have been addressed.
Lastly, I think it is very necessary to break the myth in your head of being ‘apolitical’. There is no such thing. You are not apolitical of any sort because the very idea under which you hide doesn’t exist. When you choose to stay indifferent or ‘apolitical’, what you do is strengthen the already powerful, the dominant forces. Just like you think you did a great job by staying away from the elections, you gave further strength to ABVP and other such nefarious forces who have nothing to do with common students issues, because it is dominant already. It has a larger support base so while you chose to stay indifferent what you did is that you weakened the progressive forces and in turn gave power to the people whom you very proudly despise in your classrooms and groups.
So from the bottom of my heart, I urge all the ‘apolitical’ bystanders to keep mum when they or their friends or their sisters and brothers get harassed or face any kind of problem because by not voting, you brought this upon them.