Manifesto Review: Cultural Affairs Secretary (Lit) — Amruth Kumar Hegde


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.

Amruth Kumar Hegde was elected unopposed to the post of Cultural Affairs Secretary (Literary) for the year 2013-2014. The duties of the CulSec (Lit) overlap majorly with those of the CulSec (Arts), and the two Secretaries are supposed to preside together over Saarang, LitSoc and the cultural scene (clubs and club activities) in the institute.

Around half the points on Amruth’s manifesto pertain to Saarang, with the rest split between LitSoc and cultural clubs. Overall, Amruth has a low success rate of 21.7%. One reason for this low completion rate is that several of the points on his manifesto pertained to very particular events at Saarang (the proposed World Fest stalls, Saarang debate, Indian culture showcase) and should have been left to the discretion of Saarang cores and coordinators, rather than included in the CulSec’s manifesto as election promises. Some manifesto points were difficult to fulfill because of the allocation of UG freshers to PG hostels, while others were simply not executed.

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 for one-and-all:

These points were aimed at involving, and catering to the interests of, a wider spectrum of students in Saarang. While some of the promises were kept, many were not taken to completion.

World Fest: Having a number of stalls dedicated to different countries where various aspects of their culture can be showcased.

There weren’t any stalls dedicated to different countries; the World Culture Shows happened as they used to every year.

Indian culture showcase – An exhibition of art and performances from indigenous Indian cultures.

This idea was abandoned in favour of a larger number of road shows.

Incentivizing prize winners by having tie-ups with cultural schools, thereby providing them an opportunity to interact with professionals from their respective fields.

As happens every year, the winners of some competitions were awarded with recording deals, workshops and the like. Unlike last year, drams and writing were given incentives as well.

  • Decibels — winners walked away with recording deals and NH7 gigs

  • Tarang — winners walked away with recording deals

  • Drams and SFM — winners received the opportunity to attend a workshop at Anupam Kher Acting School

  • Creative Writing and Fiction Writing – Winning entries were published in the Times of India.

Sports at Saarang – Informal sporting events such as 5-on-5 Street Football, Volleyball, Basketball, etc.

Street football was conducted this year, and at past Saarangs, but apart than that, not a lot happened.

Carnival – Expand-and-Involve by having a variety of events such as an MC competition, bicycle stunt show, stands up comedy etc.; primarily, greater focus on street-shows.

There were roadshows such as bike stunts, street magic and sword-swallowing and they were mostly successful — the bike stunt show, in particular, attracted a huge audience. There were also other events like Tamil stand-up comedy and Shipwreck that happened on the Carnival stage.

Value addition to coordinator-ship by organizing tie-ups with professional event organizers –

While this was supposed to happen during the organization of Saarang Rush (a set of pre-Saarang shows), it ended up being cancelled, mainly because it was scheduled too close to endsems.

Focused Zones at Saarang – a Merchandize zone, a book fair, etc.

This was prevented from happened by issues related to its logistics.

Pro Shows

Enhance the OAT experience for the average audience member-greater scope for artiste-audience interaction, token memorabilia for everyone.

No free memorabilia were given out and the artist-audience interaction was not particularly different from or better than last year.

The World Culture Night idea featuring performing artists from all over India.

This was scrapped in favour of the highly popular EDM Night. Since Saarang has only a fixed number of Nights and since EDM was a success, this point has been marked in green.

Saarang Eunoia

This section regards Saarang’s attempts to give back to society by generating public awareness and initiating discussions on relevant issues.

Saarang Sparsh – Organ donation awareness drive, blood donation drive and efforts to highlight the need for environmental responsibilities.

An organ donation drive did happen, in the form of a stall at Saarang by Mohan Foundation. The blood donation drive and environmental awareness campaign did not happen — ironically enough, one of the points raised in a SAC meeting was for Saarang to be allowed to conduct its proceedings in ecologically sensitive zones of the campus, against the guidelines set down by Prakriti.

Saarang Debate – A conclave involving discussions on national/social issues.

It was supposed to happen before Saarang with sponsorship from two media houses. But they backed out because they were busy with the impending elections, so this fell through.

Lit Soc and institute activities

While some ideas went ahead as planned, most of the plans related to LitSoc did not materialize.

Closer Integration between Lit Soc and Saarang –

There was a proposal to award Lit Soc points to those hostels with active Saarang participation. Amruth says that this plan was abandoned, primarily because there was heavy participation from insti in Saarang anyway.

Freshman booklet and Lit Soc Rulebook:

These initiatives were executed and proved to be quite effective. The freshman booklet had details about cultural activities in the institute. It was distributed at the fresher orientation held on September 16. A Lit Soc Rulebook with general rules and points for every event was made and circulated among the hostels.

Incentivize participation:

Amruth says that Saarang T-shirts were given as audience prizes for some of the initial fresher events. As regards regular LitSoc, an Events Core tells us there was absolutely no incentive for participants there. Abhiram is, however, supposed to get certificates printed by the end of this semester.

A well-maintained Lit Soc website:

The website is supposed to have details of all the Lit Soc events, the schedule and the hall of fame. It is not up yet, but Amruth states that it is ready and expected to be released within the next two weeks. In addition to this, he says that a Lit Soc app similar to the Saarang Android app is being worked on.

Institute Cultural day: A festive occasion which would feature performances in vernacular by the various Kala Samitis.

This is not expected to happen this semester owing to time constraints. However, some groundwork has been done and it could probably happen in the next semester.

Clubs and Infrastructure

There have been attempts to provide more facilities to the clubs, but not a lot has happened on this front.

Reorganization of club leadership with sponsorship, publicity and facilities coordinators allocated to each club:

Although Amruth says that Saarang Spons coordinators were supposed to obtain funding for clubs, many clubs had complained about the lack of funding and having to do their own spons work. The Drams Club’s association with Crea-Shakti and Choreo’s with Spark happened before Amruth’s tenure.

Taking clubs beyond the institute:

Amruth says that with the help of the Saarang publicity team, the clubs were able to establish contacts with similar clubs outside Insti. But not much seems to have come out of this. The credit for any success in this regard has to go to some of the clubs themselves. The Quiz Club, the Oratory Club, the Choreo Club and the Thespian Club have all sent teams from insti to participate in competitions outside.

Vernacular competitions spread throughout the year:

Apart from Tamil Stand-Up Comedy (which was not a competition) organized during Saarang, nothing was done.

Assigning a common room in each hostel for the clubs:

This did not happen.

Build a culture in the Institute with greater support from the Institute’s side towards promoting cultural activities:

The institute music room is completely functional. The green room on the left side of SAC has been converted into the club room. All clubs have created mailing lists and Facebook groups, through which informal competitions are conducted, regular activity is maintained, and information is disseminated. Amruth also says that a proposal has been submitted to allow the top floor of  the reconstructed Basera to be used for club purposes.

PG involvement

Most of the initial plans weren’t implemented. This was, to an extent, because of the admin decision to allocate UG freshers to PG hostels and vice versa. Probably as a side effect of this, there was more PG participation in Lit Soc this year as compared to previous years.

A separate Aspiring Coordinator Meeting and dedicated e-mails to PG students regarding the coordinator selection, taking PG students into teams such as Publicity, Sales etc.

No separate ACM was conducted although separate e-mails were sent to the PGs.

Internal competitions and presentations in PG hostels to make them more aware of and involved in institute-level cultural activities:

This didn’t happen. All the efforts in the PG hostels were focused on the UG freshers – conducting events for them and exposing them to the various activities in the institute. It was hoped that the PG freshers, being in the UG hostels, would be more involved in the institute activities.

Vital Statistics

Item and Colour Code






Will Be Completed/Yellow



Can’t Be Effected/Red








You can find all the manifesto reviews here.

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