Ruling through Diktat

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

Throughout first year, there was a running joke we had where we would pull our best impression (with no malice) of the Vice-Chancellor teaching us and uttering the glorious statement, “Law is the command of the Sovereign”. It was hilarious. It applied to various situations. Hell, it applied to any situation. But we never really understood the true genius of Austin in this context. Our college considers two semesters of jurisprudence and one semester of fake jurisprudence not enough to teach us what ‘Positive Law’ is. They want us to learn that ruling through diktats embodying this notion are the way to go. If you are the administration, you can do whatever you want. Some stellar jurisprudence that does make for.

 

The college administration would like us to undertake social service measures wherein we adopt a street child or a destitute person or an aged person. Animals, on the other hand, are a big no. Well, they aren’t a no in all places, but you can’t do it in a public place like college. It is okay when this happens at home because really when they said charity begins at home, it was actually suffixed with a winkwink* with the wink implying that it is meant to end at home as well. Did I forget to mention that our college is not a public place? It serves as my home for about 9 months out of 12 but let that not detract you from your characterization. The entire “home away from home” nonsense was exactly that. Nonsense. This is just a really decent public place with beds minus hot water during the winters but let’s not nitpick.

Third Para - Just.Wow.

Third Para – Just.Wow.

Let me be fair. I do not know if there are workers who have been bitten. But I would think that domesticating these animals would certainly reduce their alleged violence. Also, the small matter of feeding them would make them less likely to lash out. On a principled level, why should animal rights take a backseat to human rights until it becomes so counter-productive that people are absolutely unable function? These dogs are beaten by the guards and are for the most part non-violent. Simply because you assert their violence does not mean that we have to buy it.

Chi. Aaj kal ke bachche, I tell you.

I must of course not be pedantic but the claim that I sleep in a public place and my parents pay about Rs. 1,50,000 for the privilege is idiotic at best. You limit our social lives and indeed our internet activities. You think that 9 PM is somehow the magical time beyond which if students don’t return to the hostels, unholy Armageddon will be upon us. You have MUSIC as a separate category of blocked content on Cyberoam. You think that walking around on campus with someone of the opposite sex constitutes a public display of affection. You choose to couch that as “indecent behaviour” that is against the “norms set by the university and legal profession” when really the only thing wrong with the situation was that the people walking around on campus did not issue notices to each other specifying what they expect in terms of behaviour from the other person.

Then there was the beautiful notice about people not being allowed to stay on campus because students had the gall to play with water and colours. No due process. No discussion. Arbitrariness reigns supreme. Just leave. Unless you have a compelling reason. The SWC had to go and (pardon my French) bend over to facilitate lists of students staying on campus which by the way is a right that they already have. The idea that I had to contemplate civil disobedience to sleep in the hostel at night is alarming at best.

The notice dated 9th April, 2014 pertaining to the adoption and feeding of dogs on campus was ludicrous (after I googled the word. Before that I was just in a weird place with no description of what it was). This was the latest in a long line of notices that enforces prescribes “adequate behaviour”. There is a disturbing trend where the Administration attempts to inculcate us with mores and norms that it decides are best. They do not agree with the concept of an organic change or any sort of student body with real power. They give us the illusion of selecting members for committees which are essentially glorified clubs for various activities. They have hardly taken into consideration anything that the SWC or the Academic Committee has said to them. They rule through these notices.

The sad thing is that I realize that I am ranting. My rant is diminishing in value even as I write because it seems like a juvenile thing. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek that this arbitrariness be over, then all of us need to do something about it.

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10 thoughts on “Ruling through Diktat

  1. Brilliant piece. I didn’t want the post to end. Somehow you were writing what I had been thinking for so long but couldn’t find the correct words to say. Somil, just so you can be fair, there hasn’t been a single incident of dog bite since Stifler disappeared nearly three years ago. Somehow, just as the fact that if one human murders someone, we are all murderers, if one dog bites someone, every dog (correction stray dog) is biting people. You mentioned that we need to do something about it, any ideas?

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  2. And the worst part is, that all the conscientious and rational foreign returns with fancy degrees, who oppose death penalty, make policies on sexual offences and display an impressive range of moral and logical convictions on various issues, and are willing to live by it DO NOT UTTER A WORD against the policies of the administration.

    The sheer hypocrisy inbuilt in our systems is really disheartening. Putting up posters on what goes where, on how face value counts for jackshit and colour choices for class toppers seems to be a form of social service and a moral duty too, but when it comes to their immediate environment, they prefer to stay mum because all the idealism conveniently fades away and all bow down/bend over before the sovereign.

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  3. I just think it is slightly unfair to pin this on the faculty. They weren’t here when we let this annual spate of notices go by without a protest. We cannot expect them to fight our battles. The important question is, what have we done about this arbitrariness? It’s just simpler for us to hide behind them and shirk our responsibility as the student body. What matters now is not what the faculty has done or is doing, what defines this moment is what we are going to do about it.

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  4. Not that I am trying to make this a ‘faculty’ thing, but I found this quote on Anup’s wall fairly amusing in context of this discussion:

    “Just saying ….

    Those who passively accept evil are as much involved in it as those who help perpetrate it. Those who accept evil without protesting against it are really cooperating with it — Martin Luther King, Jr.”

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  5. We need a student body so bad. The sad part is we are letting the VC/administration dictate whether it is to be made or not. Why should we wait for an official sanction to consolidate our own bargaining power? Of course the VC, in his infinite wisdom (which somehow goes to waste when it comes to matters of any importance at all) foresaw that a student body would be against his authority and has, to this date, somehow managed to stall its creation.

    What are we waiting for?

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  6. Pingback: Glasnost Semester Recap | Glasnost

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