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IITD Market, NSS/NSO/NCC and the case of repetitive threat of mass disciplinary action: Justified, or not?

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George Orwell’s 1984 painted a picture of a totalitarian government where the Big Brother always had an eye on you. There was no escape. What happens when your every move is scrutinised? What happens when punishments make you aware of your mistakes? What happens when you start to realise that there might not be any escape? What happens when you’re perennially afraid?

Do you stop caring?

Such is the present situation of the average IITian. He is either already plagued by a DISCO or has somehow managed to avoid several such land mines in his way to attaining his degree. The road ahead doesn’t look all that easy, though. Every punishment seeks a DISCO. The word that horrifies every student on the campus, or does it?

One argument that is heard whenever this issue is discussed is that the people who do commit any wrongdoings, deserve to be punished. This is not what our point is: Every wrongdoing deserves a punishment proportional to the crime. If you make a stupid mistake, such as selling a course (which has been a widespread norm in this campus) without even realising that it is wrong, would it be justified to get a DISCO over this? To quote Kevin Ring, a congressional staffer who opposed the American rule of Mandatory Minimum sentences on drug offences, “You can put a life sentence on jumping red lights, doesn’t mean that people will stop doing it: They will simply not realise that the act they committed warranted such major repurcussions”

“These are not bad people, they might occasionally forget but they always pay their due”, said the night mess vendor upon being asked that why does he allow students to take food before paying. The administration, in our opinion, needs to realise this: We’re not bad people. Yes, we were warned to complete our NSO/NSS/NCC hours. Yes, a lot of us did not listen to it. But not doing 100 hours of activity in a purely technical institute warrant barring us for two whole semesters? Technically NSO/NSS/NCC is a course. A few of us failed that course. No one should be barred a semester for failing any course.oint that this was a widespread norm in the campus that it doesn’t matter whether you finish your hours for this course applies here).

“Radical mass action is the only way to drill your point in the minds of the students”. This is a very complex statement: Yes, radical action is a very effective means of changing something that has wrongly been a norm. We have seen that with the CSL100 Discos that took place: do we need to see that again and again?

The average IITian has been threatened so often by the action of DISCO that it has ceased to have an effect of a punishment. It rather seems as an eventuality. Can such a rule of stick ever work? The threat of DISCO for possibly every conceivable action puts students under a constant fear. DISCO has started to sound like the wolf and the administration might be the boy. So, every single time the administration threatens us with another DISCO all that happens is that we start fearing for our every move: but for how long? We've all read the classic "Boy who cried wolf story."

The DISCO, in the minds of all first year students is a very serious thing. We wonder if such repetitive threats will ruin it’s sanctity. It is a great power this DISCO, and at the risk of sounding very, very cliched, with this great power, comes great responsibility.

A counter viewpoint to this can be the following: We do understand the administration’s predicament here: The fear of the DISCO has plagued the students at IITD since time immemorial and the recent spurt of instances of the invocation of the authority is certainly alarming but it asks us to take a long hard look at ourselves. We have scoffed at the rules, the ones enforcing it and the ones punished in the privacy of our rooms but have we ever crossed the line again in that regard? Have we not laughed at the leniency granted to us by some? Obviously this has deterred the ones in charge from providing mild punishments. It has encouraged them to hold a grim view of the perpetrators and take the action necessary to dissuade others from committing offences. The fear of the punishment keeps our toes on the right side of the thin blue line. If this same fear would instill in us the values to uphold the rules it only seems fair to enforce it, no matter the casualties. A few brave bold soldiers will perish and the time that rattles along may trundle but after the journey, step outside into the wonderful world and then you shall live.