Published: 05th September 2019
Want to fight for gender neutrality, speak up against regressive forces: Parichay Yadav, PU's new student prez
SFI's Parichay Yadav, a first-year MA Mass Comm student was elected as the president of the council while Kurulanban V of the APSF, a section of the DMK Student Wing, was elected as secretary
The SFI-AISF-APSF alliance on September 4 swept the Pondicherry University Students' Council elections 2019-20, winning a whopping 27 seats. The Students' Federation of India's Parichay Yadav, a first-year MA Mass Communication student was elected as the President of the council while Kuralanban V of the Ambedkar Periyar Students' Forum (APSF), a section of the DMK Student Wing, was elected as secretary. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), who also contested polls, could only win two seats in the first phase and was out of the final race.
The SFI had appealed to safeguard democracy before the elections began and looks like they did after the landslide victory. We got a chance to speak to the newly elected Parichay Yadav, 22, who sounded not only excited but a lot more determined to keep on fighting against what he termed 'regressive forces'. The young leader is originally from Delhi, who studied BSc at the Regional Institute of Education in Ajmer before pursuing his masters at Pondicherry University.
Excerpts from a politically-enriching conversation:
You must be tired of hearing this, but then how does it feel after winning the elections?
I am very happy after winning, not just because I am the president now (laughing). What happened exactly at the Students' Union elections was that SFI secured a total of 27 seats, becoming the single largest organisation in the election to win the majority of seats. ABVP managed only two seats, which was also kind of a relief for us as this proves that the students still want to continue the struggles and stand up against the unfair, unjust practices of the administration and the system as a whole.
When left is right: Celebrations after SFI's landslide victory at the PUSU election 2019
What is the agenda going forward?
Speaking for all the elected members of the union, our main aim is to make sure that no voice is unheard. Across the campus, no voice should go unheard or not a single student should feel unwanted. We are trying to come up with some ideas and platforms to let the students' voices be heard. We are on it so we will make sure it happens in our tenure. It is also our aim to make the varsity a kinder place to be in, to urge students and the administration to be more inclusive. As an initial step towards achieving this, we have elected a differently-abled student in our union. We hope more such steps are taken in the future and we can call our tenure a successful one.
How will approach the pertinent issues such as the fee hike, bus fee in the near future? What is the plan of action?
Last month three major issues happened — hike in fees almost across all courses, charging Puducherry native students for the bus facility, and no implementation of the 25 per cent reservation for Puducherry's native students. The university norms lay down that we have 25 per cent reservation for the native students but it was never implemented. Nothing substantial came out of the protests or no proper action was taken by the administration regarding these, false promises were made. Only after the hunger strike, did they say that they would set up a committee that will work on these issues. We are trying to get more students to be a part of the committee so that all the issues do not take ages to get solved. Currently, our plan is to see that the committee is set up in an unbiased manner and all the issues or grievances from the students reach the administration and finally, action is taken towards the betterment of the varsity.
When did you get into politics? Do you want to continue to be a part of it even after your tenure as president is over?
Personally, I have always been leaning towards the left. I believe that everyone has their own way of looking at politics in general, I have my own way too. The politics being practised around us, inside the varsity, outside the walls of the institution — all seem to be extremely oppressive, everyone is trying to suppress people who wish to stand up against injustice. Me, being a part of the SFI, I wish to fight this oppressive mindset. I want to fight for gender neutrality and stand against regressive forces. I joined SFI mainly because, I recall, three years back we had a gender-related issue concerning the hostel curfew for girls. SFI carried out a protest and they were successful in lifting up the curfew and the timings are now the same as any other college in the country. This incident drew me towards their ideology. I do not know if I would actively take part in mainstream politics as I want to become a journalist and cover stories mainly in conflict areas.