“The requirement for a masking tape on ‘Democracy’ is back again”, this was the thought that struck my mind when I saw my Instagram and Twitter feed teeming with the DUSU election results. The student wing of the RSS – the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has made a comeback by winning three of the four seats on the union: President, Vice President and Joint Secretary. For mere representation, NSUI has bagged the Secretary seat.
Delhi University went through a massive series of campaigns, clashes and incidents that questioned the very purpose of the students’ union in the last couple of weeks. As I say and visualize it right now, it disgusts me deep down to realise how the typical ‘muscle and power’ based politics has been displayed by the youth who is apparently the future of the nation.
It’s the same old school politics that we’ve always had. The same old politicization of issues, low representation of diverse groups, unsafe spaces around the campus, violence as a means to silence freedom of speech and expression, pretending to be saviors of democracy when in reality the fact remains ‘Jaisi Sarkaar Waise Akhbaar’ (pun intended).
I can recall from just a few days back when I had volunteered to cover an event with a media organisation, wherein the trope of how politics has become synonymous with an exhibition toxic masculinity and the idea of issue-based politics is getting blurred under the pressure of increasing hooliganism. My campus doesn’t even look like mine anymore when I see the routine and blatant display of money and power.
However, there’s this one question that I keep asking myself, “how’s youth politics any different from national politics?”
It was all very similar when I saw DUSU candidates wearing a number of garlands and constantly trying to devise new ways of increasing their popularity and getting votes whilst they paid little to no attention to students’ issues.
The candidates played the same old ‘women and caste card’ and ran a campaign and littered the campus with flyers which they did not even bother to clean the next morning.
I could only calm myself down when I threw a big stack of pamphlets in the dustbin which would have anyway have made their way to the dustbin after they were littered through the campus.
But the same evening, the incident of violence (and the act of so-called self defence) broke out at Zakir Husain College after vice presidential candidate Shakti Singh and his supporters went there to campaign, and all other instances where ABVP has been known to create a ruckus came flashing back to me.
So yes, when the results came out and I got to know who came back to power, I wasn’t exactly pleased. I’m not pessimistic but it doesn’t give me much hope to envision a safe, inclusive and democratic campus in the coming days.
The question remains, will this turn out to be a well-deserved victory in the next one year? Or would it prove to be a well threatened, well-bribed and corrupted win?
The benefit of doubt remains with the new office bearers of DUSU.