Thursday, September 3, 2009

Malhar- Evaluation

I recommend a reading of the previous note 'Malhar- Situations' to properly imagine what I mean. This note brings out the essence of what the other note tries to preserve. While that, in it's narrative style, could be called a story, this is actually the non-fictional critique of what happens in that story; a critique of malhar.

No, not all of malhar. Just some parts I found things amiss in, the kind of arrangement held for conducting human 'management'- this is what I felt was dismal, at best. Of course, I am just one person; and my opinion is supposed to be mine, I know all of that, I have been attending Farun's lectures, okay? But I am sure not only mine, for there were others who underwent the same experiences and on whose faces I saw an absurd frustration. I think I will respond to that from the position I am in: a worm's position, looking from ground level whatever is happening.

This must answer those who claim that I should join SECURITY: I think it is necessary for all positions to be represented, and I assume that of the common looker. It is absolutely necessary that someone talk from this position, and I think I am fully justified in wanting to occupy it and look at things from here. Moving on,


phrase of an adj. and a n., meaning you have to go whether you want it or not, at the same time refers to a procedure involving the trapping of ignorant fools in unwarned, innocent corridors and packing them off outside.

There is no sign 'COMPULSORY EXIT'. No warning, except if your friend is in security. A hand tips you slightly and tells you to 'compulsorily exit'. Why, what I have done? No answer is available, since it isn't in the volunteer's job description, nor is he/she too eager to give one. Sometimes, yes, but mostly, no. You'll probably hear again: you have to go. And eventually, you do have to go: you are one and they are many. And they have this divine right of sorts, manifest in their t-shirts and wirelesses. One wonders if one is in USSR or something.

The argument runs hence- since we aren't blessed with too endowed a college (uh, in terms of space) why not let as many people as possible to come in and see? But then, for some to come in, some will have to go out? Yes, they will have to. Bas, chalo, compulsory exit. There is no belaying that. Someone who has been around in college would say "look, i could go up to de-congest these grounds. Why don't you let me do that?" Actually, why doesn't the security suggest that? One answer is-


n., somebodies who increase the plausibility of your festival because of their familiar faces, and even tell you if your events and participants are okay or not.

Anybody familiar with Xaviers' would agree that the windows/passages on the floors above could be wonderful spectator galleries. This is one strong reason, I think, why people would want to go up. But, ASSISTANCE informs me, that Guests and Judges are about to come, and we, being ideal hosts, must give up the cream biscuits for them. Absolutely, no problem. I'll clear off as soon as they arrive. But no. I am told I have to clear off immediately. That place is not for me. Do they realize they are laying waste precious space of our under-endowed, beloved college, if not harming the 'spirit' of malhar that common-folk walk away with? What with the number of judges and guests as compared to that of normal watchers, a child could spot the irrationality of reserving so much space for so few people. I think one shouldn't complain of having less space in college when one is wasting it as it is. The same, by the way, goes for water and electricity.


cltve. n., if used by someone on the malhar team, it necessarily refers to a huge gathering of people that creates hypothetical stampedes even before arriving and unbearable chaos too(unbearability is, usually, subtly shown by '!' marks), generally assumed unthinking and unreasonable.

My conversations with most of my security pals has lead me to believe that a lot of security guidelines have to do more with cultural knowledge passed from last years' arrangements, than with a different analysis of present possible situations. This knowledge assumes that if not for some regulation, there would be major stampedes. The argument is a crisp phrase, stale, yet freshly accepted in Pol Sci classes- mob-behaviour. This is one reason, perhaps, why none except one have responded to my suggestion of more sane usage of existing space. It simply doesn't feature in the to-do list of the dept/s. what may be responsible.

Why should we assume that this crowd needs guidance? Why should we assume that there will be a stampede? And why should we assume that 'they would never understand, so let's not waste time in trying to explain what we are going to do to them'? This is what i refer to as pessimism. Our security arrangements are based on this idea. It would do well to the SECURITY and ASSISTANCE depts. to introspect if they do not show this unreasonable behaviour towards 'crowds' who actually ask them why this is happening. As I have said, some do manage to at least assuage some unfortunate beings, and actually explain why this is happening. Some also use their brains as per the situation and this makes malhar more human, and less insultingly pessimistic.


pr. n., referring to a remarkable personality who devises bizarre responses to bullying, possibly great inspiration for those tired of malhar's self proclaimed securors, who end up making life difficult both for themselves and for others.

S crawls out from under the divider; X asks wierd questions; sometimes, he calls out for reason. These are defiant responses. When confronted with power which doesn't care to explain why is it operating, what can one do? Either one can, like T, denounce such power in words but accept it in actions by walking away, giving up. Or, one can accept it both in words and in actions, which many have urged is necessary. There be a third course, mateys- defy this power in words and actions as long as it is unreasonable. As to the unreasonability, there is considerable scope to find it- if somebody says "could you please move away from here?", one can see a certain civility in the manner, even if the request seems absurd. However, somebody saying "you'll have to go somewhere else" or even taking the liberty to nudge you on the shoulders, show you directions and say "keep moving, keep moving" shows obvious signs of power-tipsiness. Further signs of undue power are refusal to answer, let alone even consider one's questions. After all, how much time does poilte, impersonal behaviour take? Or what harm would answering a few questions do?

Being a smart-alec has more to it then this defiance: suppose you get summoned by compulsory exit in, say, an hour or so. You see your malhar experience going for a toss. You'll have to wait in line again to get in. So where is the fun? Heck, do crazy stuff, derive your fun from what you have- an unflinching volunteer. That is why it is possible for X to feel happy at the end of the day.


pr. n., college festival of St. Xavier's College, including students from various colleges visiting and participating in a host of events

I was somehow shocked at being asked "Why do you hate malhar so much?" I have restricted my hatred to something more specific than malhar, namely the arrangement for public management. Malhar, or whatever I could see of it, was quite enjoyable, even necessary because there is hardly such an opportunity if not through a college festival. However, if focus shifts to competitions and judges and bureaucratic procedures rather than humane behaviour and enjoyment, we shift away from what is ideally expected. It isn't a shocker for me to find malhar behind many other colleges ( ) as far as popularity goes. I look forward to attending these for verification of campusjunkie data, but I think that votes of people all around do make for a permissible reference. My intention for these two write-ups was to first narrate how one could enjoy because of difficult odds (through defiance) and secondly to suggest positive changes that are lacking through the eyes of a worm. I have no intention of spreading malice, I haven't done so, and would appreciate not being accused of anything such.


n. a form of institution with inexorable rules and procedures, which nobody knows emanate from where, but which have to followed in spite of all their shortcomings. Criticism can lead to accusals of 'all talk, no walk' attitude, demonstration of walking could lead to being ignored.

Bureaucracy generally is accused of making machines out of men. One complains of long queues in general life, of pending court cases, one even supports positive changes in such systems. But in malhar it becomes different: since it is 'our beloved malhar', it has to be perfect the way it is and is beyond criticism. But it is not too difficult to note similar symptoms in it which one condemns in a bureaucracy.

In fact, through my experience of malhar, I noticed it is a micrcosm, a miniature model, of many outside things in the way it is run. Bureaucracy is one of the commonalities; one can find militant intrusionism, as one found in former Soviet Union, or present China; one can find patriotic shouts of 'Malhar Rocks', more emotional than rational. One could find favouritism, like invisible judges being treated to open spaces to look from. All the more, one can find the same points of discussion about malhar that one finds about bureaucracy, society, etc. in general- 'mob-behaviour', 'chaos', 'necessity of procedures' (this very basically means necessary of bureaucracy); all these come from such an analogical discourse.


n., a real life combination of events and entities, that face people in an interactive manner, to which they have to respond.

This write up had to be broken into two, since it came out bigger than anticipated. But this did come out in the way I had planned it to. This is a new and effective method of writing that I have come across, partly discovered. I think this should answer those who think I am generalizing things, and creating caricatures.

What do we mean by generalizing? By applying to a group certain traits just on the observation of a few elements of that group. When it is unjustified prejudice- a judgement BEFORE knowledge. So, for example, one could see gay people wearing pink repeatedly, and assume that gay people wear pink. However, gay people not wearing pink would prove this to be a prejudice. The problem that has happened is that before getting a pure description of what 'being gay' means, one has assumed on shoddy evidence that it means wearing pink, and put it on the whole gay community, i.e., evaluation comes before description of situation. Since this mistake is repeated often in writing, I decided to technically orient this article in a way that the diagnosis (description) of situation comes necessarily before it's evaluation, so that we know enough before passing judgement. That is why the order-

1. 'Malhar- Situations', wherein we understand what we are talking about
2. 'Malhar- Evaluation' wherein we try to find recurring patterns

Let me put up another example (since I terribly wanted it to feature in the other article, but bloody forgot about it at that time)-


Foyer. Huge crowd. Some event is going on, while people are cheering and shouting and whoooooing.
S can't see anything because of the crowd. She asks the guy in front-
"What event is going on"
"I don't know."
"What are you cheering for?"
"I don't know."
"Why the hell are you cheering?"
"Everybody is cheering, so I am cheering too."


Enjoyment can come out of anything. Even from seeing others enjoy. .... in short, whatever you can conclude from the given situation.

Now one may see at a number of places in the article or the responses that I don't label the ASSISTANCE dept. as 'bad' or 'vile' or whatever. I only go after the practices they do to which don't really go well with a huge number of people. Similar with caricatures- they show less reality than is actually present, because they are a scheme of the author's mind. However, if the writer picks up verifiable situations with verifiable characters, it would either be unwary or unjust of someone to accuse the writer of creating caricatures.

As to selectivity, it is a different matter altogether. Let us assume that malhar is our car, and there is something wrong with it. It would follow that we repair what we think is wrong with it. For this, we ought to focus on the bad part. I am afraid that looking at the good side of the car would hardly be of any use to the car; it may be amply so to our self-esteem of owning a wonderful car, but that would mean living with a faulty car in sheer denial or ignorance. One can't confound selectivity with generalization or prejudice, unless proved so; of such proofs as regards to this article, I am most awaiting.

Hoping for someone to take this up into consideration. Hope to meet again, as a worm, next malhar.