Beyond the four walls : The lesson of Democracy that IIMC taught me

For the first six months of this nine month diploma course in Indian Institute Of Mass Communication I always criticised it. I was angry because I thought I would learn something different and novel in the best J – School of India, but the monotonous routine classes proved IIMC a wrong place for stubborn inquisitiveness that I had. I almost stopped participating in activities of IIMC. One such activity was the protest that rocked the floor of the institute this month. A bunch of boys of Hindi Journalism supported and strengthened by girls filed a petition in administration for provision of boys hostel for the next batch. Since starting of the course boys always came out and fret that for students of this year no hostel was provided as a part of a larger political controversy, but this time it was different. It was more intense and chronic. It began with a series of applications that students gave to Director General of IIMC who either refused to entertain them or didn’t comply to demands. Students became vocal on social media that how hostel and library which are basic fundamental needs of a students are not provided to them. Administration retaliated by warning the students writing against the institution, in class. I still remember one day I was late to the morning class and a teacher who was in class then, said, “This girl Srishti supports those who want to tarnish the image of IIMC.” Just because I commented on someone’s objectionable status.

I was very disheartened because the college of my dreams was a shock for me. I am a learner, but in IIMC I learned how to waste time, professionally.

One month after that retaliation by administration went smooth. But suddenly one morning I saw a man of Hindi Journalism standing in front of main gate with a placard saying ” IIMC prashashan murdabad.” In a while he was manhandled by security guards which led to a small dispute.

After few hours almost 20-25 students came and sat with banners and posters in their hands against IIMC administration.

No one thought situation will deteriorate to this extent. Police was called for necessary precautions. Administration wore a veil of women security as an excuse of not giving hostel to men, this whole movement saw involvement of women students who came out and said, not in my name.

After that, the whole college was divided into three groups, the one which supported the cause of hostel, one which was totally against it and the one which was neutral.

After this rocking day protest in college a committee was formed with senior faculty members. It assured students a bit but in no time this committee was dissolved. It was the beginning of drama which was to be played ahead. A digital war on Facebook began in which both sides not only criticised but also ridiculed each other, one was pro administration and one was anti administration. The war was becoming ugly with every new status update. There were character assassinations sarcastic remarks on women.

This brewed the state of politics to next level when students declared that they are going on indefinite hunger strike against the administration. Situation was so dramatic that two students from anti – administration group went for hunger strike with demands of 24*7 library and hostel, so to counter them four students of pro- administration group went on hunger strike against the on going hunger strike. For me, this was too much of drama. Even if students represented the genuine cause, it was hidden in layers of political crises.

For a student as detached as I was, all this was distant phenomenon which I was noticing from a distance. I wished to ask for the well being of students sitting on the hunger strike but I don’t know why I wasn’t able to do so. Perhaps I never related to their cause of struggle or maybe I was too disappointed with IIMC till then.

The hunger strike as well as the counter hunger strike went upto two days. On the third day, students from RTV tried to reconcile the both groups with fresh delegations. I hoped for something positive but situation was too complicated.

I already had a tough week and along with my friend decided to sit and study in library which was ironically centre of protest but one of the most peaceful place during the protests. In middle of giggling and focusing on newspaper me and my friend heard some loud noises and cheers. The DG along with senior faculty members came out in front lawn and declared that they have decided to honour the demands of students. It was provided in written that students will get hostel from next year. With frooty in hands students started singing, dancing and giggling like never before. The smile that I saw on their faces was so genuine and real.

Happiness is contagious, I was happy too. Without even participation in the whole struggle, I felt its my win too. Perhaps I was also a part of IIMC, perhaps I knew now that what they were asking for was right. But it caught me into thinking. Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is courage to continue that counts.

I kept on thinking what got me into this institute, what life wanted to teach me through IIMC. I always wanted to go beyond the four red walls of institute and this struggle that I witnessed took me beyond it. Very honestly I never thought DG would recognise the demands of students, I never thought the strike would end, but the beautiful ending of this story filled me with hope and pride.

 

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