Sunday, August 31, 2008

Election Viewpoint

Sunday, August 31, 2008
Yesterday, a certain Mr Bhattacharya posted an entry on his blog, where he beautifully articulated that politics at our college is way more serious than it’s supposed to be.

Tasteless mortals and others might view upon that post as an attempt to bastardize the political activities that go on inside the closed gates. In its current avatar, the political scenario is almost always dominated by two secular parties for each post and you have to pick sides. At first glance this seems rather contradictory since the common man (and moreover an engineering college student) is opportunistic and has high hopes and aspirations, but a closer introspection might reveal that many able men/women are already post holders in some club or department. So that takes care of half the eligible people. But what about the rest? Surely they would want to go for the post? There can only be one reason that can explain this. It’s at times like this that you really respect the college. A consensus between nearly 1500 students for 4 posts really shows the maturity levels of the students.

This is probably a perfect example of the “Invisible Hand” that Adam Smith talks about in his Bible for Economics, The Wealth of Nations.

The theory of the Invisible Hand states that if each consumer is allowed to choose freely what to buy and each producer is allowed to choose freely what to sell and how to produce it, the market will settle on a product distribution and prices that are beneficial to all the individual members of a community, and hence to the community as a whole. The reason for this is that greed will drive actors to beneficial behavior.

During the election period, the college is divided into three groups. One of them is a massive group A, with little scope of individual thought process and they mostly follow the crowd (a classic case of recursion in case you haven’t figured that out).
Another is a comparatively smaller group B (split into further smaller groups B1, B2 so on) also with little scope of individual thought process however a little more persuasive. Mathematically (and ideally) speaking, it’s a many to many-many (or presumably two way) communication process where these smaller groups go around convincing the larger groups by giving them logical and seemingly obvious reasons to support them in all their endeavours. Experts in this domain also claim that this results in some sort of “My candidate, my family” feeling.

Apart from this there also exists a blimp C, which comprises of n people (n<10)Nazgul. They trot this dystopian earth with a strong sense of conviction. This attitude is evident from the following two points witnessed by those who aren’t of kin and are confronted or cornered by them:

• Expressionless faces
• A copy of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four in the vicinity

They sometimes receive sympathy during dire times in the form of “It’s a dutty job but someone’s gotta do it” and condolences in the form of gtalk status messages.

Now the seriousness that Bhattacharya talks of is basically oozing from the interactions that these three groups have with one another. By themselves, they are informal and a factory of rumours (often witty and scandalous and sometimes sick) and jibes, but in presence of foreign company, this wit and humour is replaced by:
• Jargon and Threat (if the interaction is between C and A)
• Constitutional talk and Jargon and Threat (if the interaction is between B and C)
• Reassurance and concern (if the interaction is between B and A)
(Reminder: Associative property might not be applicable here)

Mr Bhattacharya’s proposal to entertain a more informal election process in BITS can easily be implemented if action can be taken to ensure that the formal relation between these three groups be dissolved.

This can be easily achieved. All that remains is for the following points to be implemented:

• The use of animals for campaigning purposes should be made permissible.

• Merchandise promoting a candidate should be allowed, this can include caps, tees, sports bras et al

• Utilise the Department of Photography for generating campaigning budget. It is almost inhuman to expect the campaigning to proceed on such a shoestring budget. Clearly a campaign budget of 1200(or 1500) rupees isn’t sufficient to carry out the campaigning activities.

• Candidates should be allowed their own entrance themes while entering the auditorium. The candidates can also seek the help of the Department of Lights to ensure there is a sound-light coordination. Even in cricket matches such a move has been welcomed by the International Cricket Council(ICC).

• For the entertainment of students and publicity of clubs/departments, they should be allowed to make special ads for the audi debate (save Dpeartment of CCTV). Something similar on the lines of the Superbowl ads.

• Lobbyists should be allowed to defend their candidates in the audi debates.

• For the benefit of A, the group C should actually collaborate with B so as to ensure a steady kayfabe. The very occasional Screwjob has be tolerated.

And above all, during Audi ragging:

Right to free speech should be introduced where the candidates can show their true identity to the audience. It’s sort of tough to do with an elite panel interrogating you and then not letting you speak your mind.
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Karthik Ramgopal

ur gud at mathematical modelling.. take it up as an occupation :P
neways gr8 post dude

Atin Bhattacharya

You need a hriday parivartan dude. Start looking beyond how each group is interfacing with the other and loosen the leash on your anarchical instincts. But even if you don't, I'll still love you. Great post.

Btw, shouldn't there be a link pointing to my post somewhere here? ;-)


@karthik: thanks for the kind words.

@atin: Ofcourse, how could I forget the link love.

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