Archive for the ‘MES’ Category

again on student politics, freedom of expression and interestingly my views about women

November 21, 2010

In facebook group of MESCE, there was an interesting discussion of an age old topic. A Fatima Ali(B Arch. Student at MES i guess) started it. She wanted our opinion on whether you like to be in a college like MES laden with strikes and gang wars and not much cultural activities as a result of it but authorities are questioned from time to time. Or in a college in Bangalore or somewhere, where none questions the authorities and in return they get to conduct some extravagant events and activities. As someone who values freedom over anything, my choice was obviously former stating there are better alternatives with better democratic atmosphere(with both inclusive and representative democracy).

About the kind of politics in college, i had written two long articles(here and here). The first one has a fierce discussion in the comment section. Then my experience in IIIT gave me a new outlook for student politics and democracy in academic institutions. In any system, what i found was it all depended on leaders. None groomed the next generation or batch. If there was someone who is naturally capable and interested in taking the lead, the whole community benefits. Else the ones who represent the students simply gains something for themselves.

Anyway, that was not what was going to write here. In the whole discussion only a handful of people expressed their views. Interestingly(or as usual) the only lady in the whole discussion was Fatima. Later Karthika also joined it. When Fatima wrote a concluding note, i innocently asked, “fatima, interestingly, you were the only girl here, are you people afraid to express yourself or what?”. I was actually interested to know whether all the ladies in the group(both alumni and current students of MES) are not interested or believe its up to them to express their views on politics. The result, i was accused of being “Male Chauvinist”. I have been called many names during discussions in many forums. I have been part of internet and real world forums which discussed a variety of problems including plight of women. I do have a variety of friends from a various sections of society and it is the first time one of them is accusing me of being a male chauvinist 🙂

Anyway, am I a male chauvinist or not is not worth a discussion. Though to make my part clear, i should state that i have respect and belief in all ladies. As a matter of fact in many occasions i had to oppose the prejudiced remarks about them. Once I had an argument with my father about political awareness among female student population(later there was one about geographical awareness :)). I was the one who defended the girls against his prejudiced, society imposed “ignorant female” thesis. So, it was natural for me to be curious to know whether there is any truth in the thesis put forward by my father(and majority of the society). A reply by Fatima does imply that they have their own opinions and they do think and try to understand situations(it seems they just don’t like to put it up in public forums).

The cause of my father’s thesis might be the society imposed restrictions on females to get into public discussions(when you are not part of discussions, you don’t have opinions, its an age old method of suppression :)). Then later, females themselves restricting themselves from being a part of messy discussions to avoid being tagged. I think Sreebala K. Menon once wrote about this in Mathrubhumi(society tagging females who take their own path in life or express their opinion on worldly issues). When you look around, females who (tried to) express their views and take a stand in issues were attacked more fiercely than their male colleagues. Just think about Arundhathi Roy in recent Kashmir issue. There were 3 people in the dias, only her remarks were taken up by Times Now. If you read her interviews in Thehelka(there are many on different issues) you will understand how good an intellectual is she and how much research and analysis is done by her before expressing her opinion on a matter(still we accuse her of reacting spontaneously to hot issues).

In case of MES, KBLH is a jail. Parents feel their children are safe in jail, where in fact they might be getting frustrated. If people are going to say we are happy in KBLH, i would suggest them to look up Stockholm Syndrome. When there is a strike in college, the entire female fraternity of the college is stripped of a chance of being part of it(they are in fact jailed). Most of them didn’t get to see what happens or understand whats the point of the agitation. So it will be interesting to hear their point of view on the matter which was under discussion on that thread. On top i was interested to know whether the same atmosphere of tension which kept a large portion of females out of political discussions in campus was keeping them away from that thread. Now i understood that being curious about the opinions and inadequate representation and participation of females in a discussion is good enough ground to be tagged as a male chauvinist.

If as Fatima says a lot of females can express their views freely on her wall, why not they do that in the thread in MESCE group? Why not they pick up fights with us and enlighten us with their perspectives and visions? I do like to know these and thats not because i am a male chauvinist or sympathiser for the cause of female empowerment. But as someone who know there is huge potential which going to be wasted just because people are not confident enough or not ready to break some unwritten rules in the society. Social conventions are not forever, they are supposed to be rewritten after a period of time. I had actively written about my views on society. I dislike society for the restrictions it put on my thought and the prejudices it has against anybody and everybody. I learned to fight it, i like more people to fight that and over come social inertia to make our system a dynamic one.

Here I rest my case!

Gangwars in campus: How it becomes the last blow to student freedom

November 16, 2009

Last Friday(13th Nov 2009), when i was chatting to a friend, incidentally he mentioned that college is suspended indefinitely. I was amazed to hear that since its long time my old college had any serious problem to shut themselves down. Before everyone was saying the smooth running of college is impaired by so called political(?) activities of student. Management brought a new principal to crunch the political activities and he was able to crush the activities to a large extend(mainly by helping only one gang). So, for last two years, gang wars of the scale mentioned here was absent in the college. Only small scale scratchings were there.

I simply asked him what happened. The reply was interesting. In a college, where authorities now claim that there are no political activities which impaired the academic and cultural activities, a new gang war happened. A new gang of students identifying themselves as “Amigoz” were beaten up by students of Mechanical Engineering dept.(interestingly, amigo is the spanish for Friend and friends was the name of the Mechanical sympathisers when i was in college). What happened is pretty simple, the so called “amigoz” decided to celebrate “amigo day” on 12th of November(technically “amigo day” or “Día del Amigo” or “friends day” is on July 20th). I don’t exactly know how. May be some cultural event or something like that and it seems Mechanical students tried to gate crash it. But it seems some local amigos(read friends) and police deflected them(as an effect the “all mighty” mechanicals lost their face :)). So the p***** of mechanicals decided to take revenge on the amigoz and did what any other 18 year old will usually do. They just walked into the ECE block and bashed up any “amigoz” or their amigos. There were many injuries and a proud mech. soldier(lowest rank in old NY gangs) was injured from a broken window and got admitted in hospital too. As usual police arrived after the show. Now comes the better part, the sympathisers of “amigoz” in the locality warned students and management promptly suspended the college activities.

Now, everyone might be thinking what is so big in this! Actually nothing, its the normal stuff happening in any college around Kerala, sometimes it comes with the label of a political clash and becomes 40pt headlines in newspapers. Otherwise it ends up like this. I can’t spot any difference between the clashes in Nov 2007 and this. But then it was a big reason for college to convince themselves and any authority that elections to the student bodies in college and the political(?) activity related to it was the root cause.Politics and student freedom were cursed and made look like the biggest daemon haunting the college.

There were no elections held to the student union and as an effect no cultural activities were planned or conducted for last two years(still management is collecting the 500 Rs. for the non existing union activity from every student!). That means, as an effect of some gang wars, which had no remote relation to any political activity, the only student body in college got extinct, saying this will end all the fights in the campus. Did anything happened to the gang wars, no. So, who are the ultimate losers, every student of the college!

This incident just shows that, banning of the political activity in college and taking strong measures against exercising any democratic freedom haven’t changed the situation even a little, so now i can’t understand why college authorities is not ready to go forward with elections to the student body. I think the answer is, its not fights they fear. Its that, students participating in democratic activities might realize that they have some basic rights and might stand for it. Authorities fear the days when a student decides to stand up for what is his.

P.S: If i haven’t got any facts right here, just let me know, i will try to fix it.
P.S1: everything i wrote here are my thoughts, feelings and observations everyone has a right to disagree with it.