Recalling “that one week” in the last few days at IITK.
“GH Security issue” – that’s how it is popularly known. “That one week” is how some of us recall it. It could mean several things to several people, but some of them would be common I believe – It was a fight for principles – principles of equality and freedom. It was a lot of politics, not doubt – taste of “real politics” as someone has put it. It was a lot of planning – the “open discussion” was not so open after all. Planning to the extent that I sometimes wonder now, if we over-planned it all! All that went on behind it was never properly documented. I doubt if it can at all be documented. We have had some of the most successful GBMs during that one week – without a formal body like HEC to lead. Never during my stay at IITK had I seen such mobility and shared enthusiasm to “do it” on the part of around 250 people. We had forgone several of the traditional techniques – signature campaign, newsgroup cribbing et. al. We talked to people, who
could help us with their experience. And we learnt a technique that many of us, since then, have applied in many other circumstances – personal or otherwise and will keep using it in future. In small group meetings or one-to-one talks, people in power position can actually get away with anything by giving the most silly of the reasons (or no reasons at all), but make it an open house with large (and disciplined!) gathering and they can not do that same – they have to have at least some pretence of democracy. Of course, have the composition of gathering such that it represents what can be called major stake-holders.
It succeeded because of several factors working the right way. We had tried all non-aggressive measures earlier – we could not be blamed for not taking the right channels. We had been able to identify the open-house-large-gathering factor. Very importantly we had junta, in the most real sense of the world, fighting for it. We had been able to build
support in several quarters (I really do not know how many people had talked to how many faculty members. It was just there everywhere, with everyone.). We questioned the right thing. We knew that “rules” are not so much in our favour – we questioned the basis of the rules itself. And we did it with solid and well-articulated reasons and principles.
On the lighter side I remember the first line of the parody we tried to make – “How do you solve a problem like 11.10?”. Well, we solved it. Hail GH!! GH ka tempo high hai.