Campus Politics

When I joined this college (College of Engineering, Trivandrum) last year, my parents had one word of advice for me: ‘Don’t get involved in college politics.‘ I had every intention of obeying them. But when I was a child, they’d also taught me to speak out when I saw anything that went against my sense of truth. And it is because of this, that I am forced to speak out now. Initially I had no inclination to either party, except a slight soft corner for the ‘A’ because my dad had been a sympathizer during his college days. But after seeing all that has happened over the past month or so, I am no longer politically neutral.  The ‘A’ here has lost my trust.

At the start of this month, ‘A’ went on a strike demanding an election. Maybe they had their point (I disagree though) but their means were totally wrong. They barged into to our class and asked us to leave if we were in solidarity with their cause. But I left only because I was intimidated by them. I am sure there are plenty of others like me in that regard. But as the strikes and demonstrations went on (by both the ‘A’ & ‘B’), I decided that I wouldn’t leave class unless I truly felt like supporting their cause. The next time they came, most of my classmates and I refused to leave. It was something that we should have done a long time ago.

Once ‘A’ saw that elections were out of the question, their talk switched to some sort of ‘truth bomb’. But somehow that fizzled out without a trace. I have also been reading about some physical fights between both parties. I don’t think violence has any place on campus and both parties should refrain from the same, atleast from now on.

After Monday’s incident and now that Disha is in jeopardy, how is it that the ‘A’ have positioned themselves as the guardians of Disha and all first years? Aren’t they the ones who were hell-bent on conducting elections at the cost of Disha? Now stop and think for yourselves. Don’t read the posts and propaganda being spread. Who benefits the most if Disha is canceled? Once you have the answer to that question, you’ll know who is at fault here.

Which sane fresher would say that the majority of our seniors especially the college union members haven’t helped us? Would anyone with a heart say that the union is shedding crocodile tears at Disha being disrupted? Aren’t you alienating the very seniors who have showered so much love and affection on us? I won’t let the hard work and sincerity of my seniors be put to question. Not when I know better.

‘X’ was mistreated. I can say that much from what I have read from his post on Facebook and the accounts of the incident given by ‘Y’ & ‘Z’. But when the very people whom he lists as his alibis come out with a contradicting story of what happened, it goes to show that he has twisted the truth. And I have no sympathy for those who do so for political gain. Why twist the truth? Have the courage and conviction to stand up for it.

I am siding with the college union here. For me to stay neutral and unbiased in the light of recent events would be a sin. It would be a blot on my conscience. And I won’t have that. I know which side is engaging in political optimism and do downright hypocrisy and I will speak against it.

Being neutral is not saintly. Especially when you know better. To quote Dante, ‘The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

A and B are the CET campus-based units of political parties. X, Y & Z are students at CET. Names are irrelevant now.

This article was originally posted in my college’s Facebook group on January 30, 2014, after Disha (the freshers’ inter-department cultural fest) was postponed indefinitely due to numerous incidents of violence on campus. In the end, Disha was rescheduled to February 21, 2014, and was a huge success. All credit goes to our seniors, especially to the college union.