Published: 22nd March 2019
Meet JNU's Yogiji, who is organising a Main Bhi Chowkidaar-themed cultural night at Sabarmati Hostel
The cultural night is an annual event where students meet, interact and have fun but this time there is a theme as well
While on one part of the campus, eleven students are sitting on their fourth day of hunger strike, the Sabarmati Hostel - an integral part of the campus - is getting ready for a cultural night that would make Prime Minister Narendra Modi extremely proud. The president of the Sabarmati hostel, Raghavendra Mishra intends for this year's cultural night to follow the theme 'Main Bhi Chowkidar'.
Eager to jump on to the bandwagon of the quickly growing 'overnight Chowkidars' in our country, Mishra is organising this event a month before the polls, for the residents of Sabarmati Hostel. Raghavendra says that as a citizen of the country, he feels it is his responsibility to bring in an atmosphere that the PM is promoting. Raghavendra himself says that he's called the 'Yogiji' of JNU mostly because he is always dressed in saffron all the time.
The hostel has an annual cultural night and it is a chance for the freshers and seniors to interact and have some fun and frolic. These events don't usually have a theme, students say. But this time, in the spirit of the elections and the patriotic fervour, Raghavendra decided to give the night a theme.
"It is the first time someone from the right wing has managed to become the president of Sabarmati," he said proudly. Raghavendra, who is doing his PhD from the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies has written a proposal stating that the Cultural Night will be organised on March 28 and 30. He goes on to mention the theme and a list of competitions to be organised of the day. This includes essay, poster, poetry, slogan, music, sports, theatre and short film competitions. JNU's Yogiji has requested the administration for a sanction of one lakh rupees for the organisation of these programmes.
Saffronized saffronizer: Raghavendra Mishra hosting the flag on campus
When asked if the event would be conducted even if they did not get the funds, he said as the president he would still make it happen. He told Edex that even if the administration does not give him the requested funding, he would raise funds or pay from his own pocket for the event. Not many students are believed to be thrilled with the theme but Raghavendra says that this is untrue, "Some people will be against it but most people in the hostel support me and many people will be in attendance," he said.
However, Ufaque Paiker, who has been a resident at Sabarmati for the last six years says that Raghavendra does not have much support in the hostel. She also said that students are planning to oppose this proposal, "We are a deeply political campus but we have never had any themes for cultural night. It's just a chance for people of the hostel to come together and interact with each other," she said.
Paiker, who is in her final year PhD programme said that many people in the hostel are also angry because there is no transparency when it comes to funds. "Where the money is coming from and where it is going, no one has any idea. Raghavendra has been very surreptitious about the money and is always evading questions that are raised," she said.
She also pointed out that there were various amenities that needed fixing in the hostel but instead of focussing on that the president was talking about Cultural Night. Incidentally, while she was speaking to us, she was interrupted because the electricity had gone off in the hostel. Ufaque said she is aghast and thinks the theme is beyond ridiculous but also thinks that Raghavendra would get the approval he needed from the administration to make it happen.
But no one has come up with any concerte plans as to how to oppose this new themed cultural night, "There are so many things happening on campus. Eleven students have been fasting for the last four days! So we're caught up with that. So now when there's a vacuum, he's trying to bring in such plans," she said. However, the PhD student said that the residents will find a way to stop it.