Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Taking of a College

Now, the hellhole where Medusa works, was the last bastion of the CPM, at the heart of the Industrial Wasteland. Industrial Wasteland had long been lost to them, the Loksabha seat, the other colleges and the shramik bhavan. The one who used to rule this place was now not even allowed to stand in the assembly elections, and good for him! Because even the formidable NS who stood for CPM lost.
Anyway, that is just background baloney. What continued to be interesting was that despite the entire area more or less having turned, or made to turn TMC, the ruling union at the hellhole continued to be SFI, which everyone knows is just yet another name for CPM. Every year before the admissions and before the elections (a selection actually) there were muted noises about how "this time TMCP is going to come to college", but nothing happened. At the admissions all the students who managed to pay the union got in, paying their college fees and SFI membership fee (for three years) at the same time, during the elections no one other than the "party" approved candidates filled in nomination forms, and there was a due celebration for them having won "uncontested", yet again.
but day before yesterday, it changed.

Medusa was trying to beat the heat by seeking shelter in one of the science departments: they are scientific so they have AC. They heard some muffled slogans from a distance, and ventured out in the heat to investigate. Medusa is not so nosy, but slogans in a college deserted due to vacations and exams, were something that just begged to be found out. What she found out was the following:
There were about fifty men holding TMC flags, and loitering around the Principal's office. They were NOT students, they had possibly never been students. They were big burly men, ill at ease inside the college, but taking their time to let the office staff know that all this vacation and all is bull shit. the college must be open at all times, after all it is their money that the staff is being paid on.
While the strongmen guarded the outside, the Principal was closeted inside with the few who were actually students of the college, or of some college. They were placing their demands: and what were their demands? That they be given the same privileges that SFI had been given all this time.
Now this might sound strange, but it is not. All these years, beyond the first twenty people admitted in a class, all the rest of the students have come through the SFI office located conveniently outside. They have regularly asked for the admission form prices to be hiked: so that their share of that money increases- who cares for those who will actually buy the forms? Attendance in classes is not necessary, neither is pass marks in any of the exams. What was necessary was presence in the CPM rallies and donation to the fund. If this be the mode of politics in an institution- the students's union acting as yet another organ of a very well oiled machine: cogs of which are the Principal who belongs to the same union whose sister organ is the union that the teachers belong to, which falls under the same banner that the office staff organize themselves under- and all cowering under the might of the mighty Bikash Bhavan where hopes and spirits are crushed and demands annihilated (unless you know someone strong enough in the party)- and where politics is reduced to lobbying for transfer/ selling the seat to the highest bidder, what else can a new party, trying to make its mark even hope to achieve? Their members are the same, their field of operation is the same, their imagination of what a student's union could/ should do, continues to be the same. The names have changed, and the flags have been swapped, but the structures retain their internal logic where the government and the various allied "political" organisations ensure co-dependence by killing off all possibilities of politics.

What will happen now is: the two groups will fight each other for who should control more seats during the admission, who will more successfully foil the others' attempts at filing nominations at the elections, who will bring more people to their rallies (actually, its unlikely the SFIs will have any rally to go to!), who will bring burlier individuals to beat up rival students and who will organise the saraswati pujo. Obviously, no one will talk about the fact that the girl students have to go to loos that has not had running water in three years, or that there is no drinking water in the college, or that there should to be new courses introduced or that there ought to be remedial classes for the weak and backward students.

And more and more of them will continue to drop out because they got a job at the factory across the highroad, or they got married.


  1. wow.... it feels wonderful to read medussa's words again

  2. Anonymous6:20 AM

    SГ­, es la respuesta inteligible