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Manifesto Review: Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts) - Abhiram Reddy - The Fifth Estate

Manifesto Review: Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts) — Abhiram Reddy

The colour scheme works like this:

Green – completed already.

Orange – will most likely be completed before end of tenure.

Red – not completed, or left to future Secretaries.

Abhiram Reddy was a sponsorship and PR coordinator in Saarang 2013, and was the Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts) for this academic year (2013-2014). The work of a CulSec involves constantly monitoring the progress of each Department of Saarang and routing them to the administration. The CulSecs are also responsible for LitSoc activities. Evidently, being the CulSec is no easy task. Right after the elections, the new secretaries review almost a hundred applications for the post of cores, after which follows the coordinator app reviews (here, they have the new cores for help). Mostly, their work is continuing surveillance, supervision and handling inter-department issues.

A very valid point raised almost every year is that the CulSecs focus all their energies on Saarang, and LitSoc is left to the coordinators and secretaries to handle. Unfortunately, that seems to have been the case this year too. “His personal involvement with LitSoc was zilch,” says one member of the student organising team. What happened this year at LitSoc was purely a result of the efforts of the club convenors and coordinators. Another said that “he wasn’t around enough” and that some of his manifesto points, like holding a PG LitSoc, were unfeasible right from the start.

Even in Saarang, Abhiram’s direct involvement in the following activities — to what degree he was personally responsible for the actual ideation and implementation of most of them —  is rather little. His success rate with respect to his manifesto is 18.18%.

The low completion rate aside, Saarang this year proceeded largely without hitches despite the absence of freshman volunteers, a creditable feat by the organizing team. Additionally, there were tweaks and changes to the format of Saarang — notably, an EDM night took place in OAT this year (a larger version of last year’s Sunburn at SAC).

SAARANG

Enriching Experience: Every visitor to Saarang must feel that he/she is not just another passive spectator in the audience, rather an active participant and an integral part of the festival environment. He takes back with him, not only nostalgic memories but also first-hand experiences as well.

1. 30 Seconds to Fame: Saarang’s rendition of the popular show where anyone gets to showcase any unique talent they possess.

Abhiram says that the Sun VJ hunt was a close substitute.

2. Fun and Impromptu Events: All-time favourites such as Miming, Street Magic Shows and Just for Laughs (Gags) to engage the general crowd

Street shows (bike stunts and sword swallowing) did happen.

3. Karaoke Studio: A stage for people to sing along their favorite tunes

This was ‘infeasible’.

4. Unwind Bar: Entertaining and spontaneous workshops such as Street Football, Juggling, Ventriloquism and Graffiti Workshops, to be conducted throughout the festival with the support of enthusiastic professionals.

Saarang football happened, but not the others.

5. Saarang Symposium: Along the lines of ‘The Big Fight’, the Saarang Symposium will serve as a platform for bright minds across the country to debate, interact and discuss their view-points with eminent personalities in a panel discussion

This almost did happen — Arnab Goswami was supposed to be the panelist, but he backed out toward the end.

6. Participation Incentives: To encourage further participation from colleges, points will be awarded to the participants and winners. A Saarang Trophy will be presented to the college with the maximum aggregate points.

7. Anime Festival: To cater to the niche Anime cult, an Anime festival comprising of talks, workshops and anime screenings will be organized in association with various Anime Fan Clubs.

This was not implemented due to budget constraints. Abhiram says the Japanese embassy was contacted to help, but as they did not offer sponsorship, it was packed.

8. World Cultural Zone: Diversify the World Culture Show to various other forms of cultural exchanges such as native arts and cuisine.

The WCS events happened like they do every year, but there was no diversification.

9. Saarang Look-Back: A mini website that includes highlights of previous editions of Saarang in order to promote and sustain the Saarang heritage.

A look-back trailer came up on Facebook, but this isn’t an original initiative. There was no website.

10. Transparency: All the applicants for coordinator positions will be given feedback to enhance transparency in the selection procedure.

This varies with department. Mostly, only informal verbal feedback was provided, if at all. Most student organisers admitted that transparency was in many cases, a farce.

LIT-SOC AND CULTURAL CLUBS

Five Fold Vision: Stimulate, Connect, Vitalize, Nurture and Accomplish 

Stimulate:

11. Teasers for Cultural Clubs and Lit-Soc events will be made and popularized among the students via social media and IITM TV

12. Arrange for professional performances to be organized so as to cultivate enthusiasm among the students and provide them with a feel of the quality of a professional setup

In November last year, we almost had Pentagram perform at IIT, and student entry was free. This was part of Saarang Rush, a three-day pre-Saarang show of professional performances like Pentagram’s, but this was scrapped (after the deal had come through, with sponsorship and security covered too), purely because of admin resistance.

Connect:

13. PG Lit-Soc: A set of popular events like Quizzes, Cluedo, LM and WM will be conducted exclusively for the PGs

14. Entertaining events like Wolf, Antakshari and Sudoku to be introduced as inter Hostel events

Vitalize:

15. Institute Cultural Clubs will tie up with various Professional Clubs outside the institute who can support us with their expertise, workshops and such.

16. Lit-Soc events will be incentivized through goodies such as T-Shirts

The Thespian Club’s association with Crea-Shakti and Choreo’s tie-up with Spark preceded Abhiram’s PoR appointment. And although he says that he encouraged coordinators  incentivising LitSoc events by giving away T-shirts, those convenors and coordinators I asked say this has not happened.

Nurture:

Establish a framework for the Cultural Clubs to facilitate better accountability and effective monitoring

17. Each club’s mandate will be well defined in the beginning of the year

18. A common calendar for club meetings will be created and integrated with the Lit-Soc calendar

Each club did have at least one meeting over the year, but the integration into LitSoc did not happen.

19. Lit-Soc Compendium: A formal Lit-Soc rule book will be drafted to prevent discrepancies

A LitSoc constitution had been drafted at the end of the even semester.

Accomplish:

20. Institute Cultural Teams to be constituted for participating in various cultural festivals

This is difficult because the Institute refuses attendance to students even if they are representing it at other colleges. But the Oratory and Thespian Clubs, apart from Choreo and Quiz as usual, did go out of Insti this year.

OTHER INITIATIVES

21. A gala, inviting the institute’s regional samitis to exhibit cultural performances, to be organized

This is something Abhiram is still hopeful of bringing about. But Amruth is not, according to the correspondent who reviewed his manifesto.

22. Film Making Club to be established to cater to the widespread enthusiasm in film-making across the Institute.

Apparently, this move would reduce participation in the Media Club, so it was not executed.

Vital Statistics

Item and Colour Code

Number

Percentage

Completed/Green

4

18.18

Partially completed/Orange

2

 9.10

Were not effected/Red

16

72.72

Total

22

100

 

You can find all the manifesto reviews here.

Disclaimer: The views are not to be construed in any manner as the official views of IIT Madras.
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