The Independent Student Newspaper of Ashoka University

Banjaara 2019: Asking the Right Questions

By Sanya Chandra (Class of 2021)
The article is an opinions piece and not The Edict’s own views

The decision to “postpone” Banjaara 2019 came as a shock to everyone not directly involved in the process of its execution. While I may not be able to comment on the efficacy of the decision itself, as a member of the student body, I feel the need to voice my opinion on the way the decision was taken and communicated to the student body.

Even if the decision to postpone may have been right, the way it panned left a lot of questions unanswered.

On Monday, the 18th of February, the same week when Banjaara 2019 was supposed to take place, the student body received a mail from the Fest Secretaries informing everyone that Banjaara had been postponed to November.

The language of the mail itself seemed vague as the the first line directs your attention to the words “Bigger and Better in November”. In doing this, the mail deflects your attention away from issues like the lack of transparency and communication between the fest committee and the students.It comes as no surprise that the mail couldn’t be predicted by anyone external to the Fest Committee. It is a little hard to believe that the fest committee was not aware of the dreadful possibility of the event being postponing weeks before the decision was actually which brings us to the question- why was the student body left in the dark?

While it’s commendable what the fest committee could accomplish in the short period of 111 days that they originally had to pull off the fest, it brings me to think why this period had to be this short to begin with. Given the current execution, it becomes obvious to us that three and a half months might not have been enough time to organise something on the scale of Banjaara. Working off of even this layman understanding, it isn’t plausible to believe that such a situation of finance or logistics couldn’t be predicted by the organisers.

Public eye is no stranger to the use of euphemisms and unfortunately, Banjaara is no different. While it may have been postponed for this calendar year, it has been cancelled for this academic year. Moreover, in practicality, Banjaara has been cancelled for the YIFs of the current batch, the PG students and the current third year batch that does not plan to continue in Ashoka for their fourth year. The current batches will hence only get to experience two editions of Banjaara in their time at Ashoka. This factor only adds to the acute problem of ‘Ashokan apathy’ as the fest is the one time large masses of Ashokans actually show up for a campus event.

What happens to all the effort that has gone into the organisation of Banjaara? The planning, marketing and execution of pre-events leading up to nothing do dampen the spirit of the campus as a whole. What happens to the vendors we might have already signed for the event? Any of us who have gone to the basement recently have seen people work day in and day out making artwork for the events- what happens to all their efforts?

After conversing with Kunal Dhanda, one of the fest secretaries, it became clear to me that the third year students on the Fest Committee agreed unanimously when the decision to postpone was brought up. While this may say a lot about their commitment to a successful Banjaara, it remains unclear whether the third years part of this body were speaking for their entire batch which brings us back to our theme of lack of inclusivity in the whole process.

When dealing with the idea of shifting the fest to November, one thinks about the definite demographic change on campus. With the influx of a new batch and the passing out of a significant chunk of students, we are confused as to how departments would function. According to Kunal Dhanda, first years would be given the opportunity to volunteer for the fest and the existing teams would continue and new heads, if need be, would be appointed by the current HoDs (some of who may be leaving because of academic pressures or the end of their college life).

Speaking of said departments, it brings us to the question of accountability- would it be feasible for the same teams to continue with the planning of this fest given the lack of effective execution and lack of transparency that lead to Banjaara being postponed?

The email from the Fest Secretaries promises “the greatest show this campus will ever witness” in November 2019 whether or not this will happen is a question for a later date, the more important question is whether Banjaara then will be riddled with the same ambiguities as it has been now.


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