Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ISM gets its own Protest Centre

Even as the Government of India shivers at the name of fasts and denies anti-corruption crusaders like Anna Hazare and Ramdev their fundamental right to fast at Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Ground, Asia’s oldest mining college Indian School of Mines Dhanbad has shown the way by agreeing to turn the space in front of its Main Building into a permanent Protest Centre and equip it with all necessary facilities.

As the whole ISM-IIT movement fades away, students have been mulling over the option of holding a fast unto IIT conversion to press for their demand and accuse the admin of dilly-dallying on the issue. “The ISM-IIT movement had reached its peak in 2010 and we were finally hoping that in a year or two, ISMites will have their dream of calling themselves IITians fulfilled. We had even received positive response from the CM, Governor and youth Icon and future PM Rahul Gandhi. But admin has been sitting on the files since then,” said a current final year student who is now leading the whole campaign and fears that with so many new IITs coming up, ISM may lose its charm and rather clubbed with the local entrance exam.

As news reached the admin that students could be holding a fast soon, an emergency meeting was called in by the Director, and in a unanimous and (rare) quick decision, it was decided to develop the spot in front of the Main Building adjacent to Admin Block into a world class Protest Centre. “This particular spot has a rich history and our distinguished alumni have held hunger strikes and protests here on various occasions. We have observed the inconvenience faced by them due to the heat and unavailability of water or eatables. We want to make the 4 years of college stay of our students a pleasurable one,” said Director T. Kumar after the meeting, “Given the importance that fasts hold today in getting a sluggish government body to action, we thought that students should get full opportunity of learning these methods in college itself since they will be the leaders tomorrow,” he added.

“The place will have a swimming pool so that students could cool off during summers. We have already asked RD to set up a chai-samosa shop, whereas Manis cafĂ© would be requested to bring up a fast-food centre. The site will also have a proper media gallery for the protests to be well reported. We are also inviting tenders for a wi-fi connection in the area. ISM has no dearth of funds which are mostly sent back to the government. We finally get an opportunity to utilize them,” told the Registrar of the institute. Librarian-in-Charge Partha Dey revealed his plans to have a book-centre at the place too, with RFID tagged books so that students don’t lose on the academic front. The contract has been handed over to CPWD, which shall develop it in a month before the college reopens.

Professors were largely happy with the development, as they now see the hope of having their salaries increased if the fast unto conversion becomes successful but were a little worried at the same time because it could mean they will have to finally do some research and publish International Papers. Students, on the other hand, have been scavenging older issues of Mailer Daemon, the college newsletter, to look out for issues that it would rant in every edition. They plan to develop a year long strategy and hold a protest each month to make full use of the facilities. ISS- the student’s body- is already drafting a proposal at having a new Protest Society and have funds allocated for it as well.


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