Monday, July 16, 2012
LYNDOH COMMISSION AND ELECTIONS TO STUDENT COUNCILS IN INDIA UNIVERSITIES
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books The Supreme Court has asked Indian Univesities to conduct elections for student unions in all universities by the 31st of August. The Lyndoh Commission Report has been takern as the foundational text for the conduct of the elections. This move on the part of the Suprme Court is a retrogate step and needs to be contested. Politics in India is not only criminalised but depends to a large extent on money power. Though a limit of Rs 5,000 has been set for the election expenses, I am sure that each candidaste will spend a few hundred times thast amount. Political parties will now claw their way into the portals of Indian universities and that will affect the academic culture of the institution. Political parties bring with them decripit ideologies. I can imagine SFI goons behaving as if they own the Campus intimidating everryone who disagrees with them. I think it will be ablack day for Indian universities when elections are conducted. The Lyndoh Commission has also spelled out the modalities of holding the election: direct election or indirect election. Obviously indirect elections are better because to a certain extent it circumscribes the legitimacy of the student leaderrship. In the University where I teach the Vice Chancellor, an extremely able and talented administrator and a noted geophysicist, decided to have 50% reservation for women. Our University is therefore more propressive than even the Indian Parliament which has not passd the Women's Reservation Bill. Of course women will be easier to handle than men and will not take to the streets at the drop of the proverbial hat. Indirect election also provides ways and means to check the reclacitrant elements among the student community. The deadline set by the Supreme Court expires on the 31st of August and the elections are to be held before that date. The more political among the Faculty are pressing for Propotional representation on the ground that the Schools with more students should have more representatives on the student Council. Perhaps these worthies are unaware that in the US Constitution each state has only 2 members and the rationale for that is to avoid the tyranny of the brute majority. And like in the Mandal castes, the propotional representation cvan be easily manipulated. In spite of my fervent appeal not to admit propotional representation, the Vice Chancellor thought that it was "democratic". Since the ration between the number of elected representative vis a vis the total population of the electorate will fluctuate on the basis of student intake, propotional representation is inhertently undemocratic and like in the Indian case open to misuse. The invasion of the political parties in a most unwholsesome step and the Supreme Court has taken a giant step backward without quite understanding the ground realities. This will increas campus violence and the learning atmosphere will be affected.