Antardhvani 2016 has been silenced, for 2016 at least. Delhi University’s inter-college festival is not being held this year. It was one of the former vice-chancellor’s pet projects and, say critics, used mainly to showcase DU’s more controversial initiatives — the four-year undergraduate programme and the Gyanodaya Express. But with Dinesh Singh’s tenure over, officials say it is nobody’s baby now.
“Nobody initiated the move. No-one now has the initiative or the guts to carry on something that was either liked too much or disliked too much. Who will burn their fingers?” says an official. He concedes that Antardhvani “has not become a part of the routine” of the colleges. The Gyanodaya Express project — a “college on wheels” that would, each year, bear hundreds of students to another part of the country on a study tour — has already been shelved. Idea incubation centres that were meant to be established in several colleges are in limbo as well.
Members of the administration and teachers, especially those opposed to Singh, remember the three-day festival held in February very differently. For the administration, it was a wildly popular annual do that brought students and faculty from different colleges together, offering a platform for sharing student research. Singh’s opponents, however, remember a festival “where obscene amounts of money were spent to showcase the success of the four-year undergraduate programme and semester system.” In some cases, students and teachers were even pressured to join. “In our college, we were served letters when we didn’t participate,” says a teacher. It also interfered with the college’s own programme. “Everything came to a standstill. You couldn’t hold any conferences or lectures. Even teaching was stopped for the three days.”
The DU spokesperson says Antardhvani and Gyanodaya have both been dropped for now. “The decision for holding such large events could not have been taken by the interim administration and it was felt prudent that the university should wait for the new vice-chancellor to decide.”