The Independent Student Newspaper of Ashoka University

Fake Lies | Fighting for a Cause: Elections at Hoshak University

Rohan Parikh (Junior Correspondent at Free Press Pvt. Ltd.)

Fake Lies is a satire series about Ashokan life and culture (or lack thereof).

Illustration by Arushi Jain

In a dramatic departure from conventional student politics, the students of Hoshak University will be voting in a dictator of their choice in the fourth election cycle of the newly established institution. Disillusioned by the erstwhile practiced model of representative democracy, the student body is eager to accord unilateral and unchecked power to the elected leader.

This strange decision has come to pass after prolonged debate and deliberation. The situation is such that it can only be understood by knowing more about life at Hoshak University. A first-year undergraduate who wished his identity not be revealed confessed his longing for subordination. He hates his lack of purpose, something he believes only tyranny can provide.

“You know, you come to Hoshak thinking it’s a great place. You won’t be judged and you can be who you want; its liberation. But, like, four months in you realize something is amiss. Everything is, like, too easy. I never thought I’d say this, but I kinda miss being bossed around.”

The student is reported to have undergone a severe spell of anxiety when no one judged him for having a two-month long polygamous relationship with two men and a woman.

“It’s like, I don’t even exist! I can’t stand such indifference towards my choices. Hashtag judge me please!”

And he is not the only one.

A fourth-year undergraduate whose name rhymes with Sia (but she dances) told us of her excitement about finally graduating. She looks forward to the oppressive social structures she would face once she is ‘out there’.

“After spending almost four years here I finally understand the problem. It is that there isn’t one! You start picking fights over trivial issues just because you want to. To my mind, it’s all because of boredom. Nothing really happens on campus.”

The student is currently working on her dissertation on Adam and Eve’s fall from the Garden of Eden. “Eve was bored- so she bit the apple. That’s my contention.”

After receiving several similar responses from students across the batches, we decided to reach out to the candidates standing for dictatorship. They, however, refused to be interviewed. A messenger speaking on behalf of the candidates told us that they couldn’t allow an interview since they had to seem unapproachable.

The student body, however, was eager to talk about them. Most of the students are simply exhilarated. There is a sense of indebtedness towards the candidates. We discovered that this was because the latter are forgoing their sense of oppression, only so that they can oppress, and thus satisfy, others.

Surprisingly, even the Administration denied commenting. We later discovered that this was because it was embarrassed. Clearly, it had failed to live up to its role as an obstruction to liberty.

An employee of the administration spoke to us in confidence. “All those open-door policies, town-halls, and advisories were our fault. We failed to give the students the enemy they all wanted- and now they are creating one for themselves.”

It is a brave new world, after all.

The candidate debate isn’t too far away. It is rumored that most of the candidates won’t even turn up for the debate. After all, the whole point is to not debate; just dominate. A couple of candidates haven’t even disclosed their identity. Should voters choose to vote for the anonymous candidates, they will press the button next to a blank plate. It’s like a game of chance, and as the Election Commission said, isn’t that the point?

A student sums up the situation aptly, “It’s simple. The less we know the better.”

To give this election legitimacy, some conventions were respected. Manifestos have been drafted and candidate posters are stuck around campus. While the manifestos haven’t actually been published so as to maintain an air of mystery, we did manage to get a sense of the kind of issues the candidates will likely create.

Chief among them will be strict curfew hours, gender segregation, boring meals, unapologetic email spamming, and random course allotments. Naturally, we were skeptical about some of the claims- after all, how much power will a student dictator actually have? Our doubts were soon put to rest. The Administration confirmed that it is more than willing to provide all the support it can. It wishes to give the entire student government budget over to the dictator, to be abused on whim and fancy. It released a simple statement:

“We want to make the students happy; that’s all we care about.”

Voting day is around the corner. The eleven-hundred strong undergraduate population is waiting in anticipation of what will be perhaps the most radical shift in student politics since its inception. Of course, not everything is going according to plan. There has been confirmation of the existence of a nascent underground rebel movement that wishes to usurp the totalitarian regime. Both the student body and the administration are on the lookout for the troublemakers.

“The revolutionaries are stupid,” says a candid second-year undergraduate, “they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s evident: we can’t handle our freedom. We need someone to call the shots.”

Such are the circumstances of this unique situation that a prediction is necessarily futile. But in keeping with the Free Press’s tradition of sounding prophetic while simply stating self-evident truths, we have come to the following conclusion: We hope Hoshak University gets the strife it desires, for peace seems to be the only thing it can’t handle.

Rohan Parikh is a humble creation of society and its many conventions. He has followed norms ardently and to the best of his abilities- so much so that sometimes the banality of the world feels all too real. He can’t help but laugh; He wants others to get in on the joke.

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