This article is part of our Manifesto Review series, where we review the tenures of IITM’s Executive Council for the year 2016-17. In this review, we evaluate the manifesto of Gokulesh T. G, Cultural Secretary, Arts 2016-17. Executive Council Manifesto Reviews are usually done in April or May. The 2016-17 reviews are being done in September, and so the status of completion of some manifesto points might be different had the review been done in April. It is important to note this when comparing secretaries of different years.
Note: The Manifesto Reviews team at T5E has made every effort to review the Executive Council in an unbiased manner and stay true to the facts, but it is possible that we may have made inadvertent errors. We request our readers to point out errors if any so that we may correct them immediately. Finally, we value your feedback! You can reach us at [email protected].
The same colour scheme is used in the review below.
Gokulesh T.G was one of the Cultural Secretaries for the year 2016-2017, the other being Shreyas Harish, Cultural Affairs Secretary Literary. A lot of the points on this manifestos were jointly conceived of and implemented between the two of them. The ideal underlying Gokulesh’s manifesto was to achieve a collaboration between Saarang and Sangam and to widen their scopes. The former had, and continues to have, a great deal of glamour associated with it and the latter is seen as a tight-knit group, with the same persons attending all events, either as individuals or in groups.
Some of the notable achievements include the creation of Saarang Nova, the smooth running of Saarang and the publicity mechanisms which were effective in doing the needful. The introduction of a comedy show as an experimental one was also successful. While it is impossible for a manifesto review to showcase it, an enormous amount of work has gone into ensuring that things were kept running smoothly the way they were, let alone instituting new reforms successfully.
Sangam and LitSoc
- Foster inclusivity at hostel level by awarding LitSoc Points for Intra Hostel Events
Event kits were distributed to each of the hostels which were free to pick the one that most suited them. These included the number of people in each hostel, the event conducted and so on for intra-hostel events. Points were awarded for this.
- Mentoring Freshie Hostels by dividing them among senior hostels
This was done before the designated tenure. There were appointed mentors from the hostels as well to allay the administration’s concerns regarding the division of the freshers among the senior hostels.
- Associating with MiTR to induct and expose ALL freshies to the rich cultural scene of the institute
While the collaboration with MiTR is still happening, a collaboration was achieved with Saathi. They were instrumental in communicating with the freshers for the first month or so, when interaction between freshers and seniors is carefully monitored. They also acted as a check of sorts during Freshie Nite and publicity in the hostels for freshie events was done via Saathi.
- Conduct PG Freshie Nite and Exclusive Orientation Sessions preceding Misram
The Exclusive Orientation Sessions happened before Misram, however, the turnout was quite definitely less than expected. The PG Freshie Nite happened as well. It required collaboration with the Research Affairs Secretary, who needed help with the organisation. All in all, it was a positive collaboration. The PG cultural scene is different from the other students; more of them show up for events such as drama, music and dance. Accordingly, collaboration was required only with these clubs for their Freshie Nite.
- Organise Cultural Events in Vernacular Languages through the clubs in tandem with Samithis
Independence Day featured competitions conducted in regional languages with dramatics and music being the main ones. Apart from this, Misram and Saahitya also collaborated with the Samitis. A database of the persons participating or interested in cultural events was also created, enabling them to be contacted when an event was upcoming. This helped increase participation.
- Increase exposure to the cultural scene outside by compiling a Fest Calendar and by forming Cross Club Contingents for selected fests across the city and the country
This was implemented via the clubs. A Fest Calendar was created and circulated among the students with information on various events and when they would happen. Contingents for fests such as Mood-I and NIT’s Festember were sent in groups of interested persons rather than members from clubs only. This was how it was being done previously and had led to confusion with regard to logistics and facilities streamlining.
- A Sangam – Saarang Mandate will be drafted to formally define the roles and duties of all cores and conveners to enable seamless integration of work and resources
This was done via the SLC, which provided the manpower to complete this task. While the ideas were the Cultural Secretaries’ and the cultural sub-committees’, it needed the SLC to complete it.
- Survey the cultural scene to make data-driven decisions in the future
Institute-wide surveys were conducted to determine the LTAP courses to be offered depending upon the interests of the students. The Cultural Outreach Committee had one or two co-ords at each event to track the varying interests across different hostels. The Analytics team of the Cultural Outreach Committee was also involved in this. The Cultural Secretaries and the Hostel Secretaries had a good rapport, and this had helped greatly.
- Sangam branded goodies will be given for winning, qualifying or participating in events
This was begun during the tenure, but the goodies, which comprise T-shirts only, were actually distributed only afterwards. The T-shirts were made and distributed, not specific to clubs, but regarding Sangam club as a whole.
- Boost internal publicity through online, offline and mobile channels for effective information dissemination and for encouraging culture appreciation
Himalaya grounds were made use of extensively for events like Saarang theme release and Independence Day. Previously, it had only been used for LM and WM events. The various sub committees under Saarang’s Hospitality Team, some of whose work didn’t become intense until later, were also used for Sangam and offline publicity.
Via online modes such as Facebook and the Sangam website, updates and information were given out.
A LitSoc app was already in existence, which had been created with the idea of people being able to access LitSoc and Saarang information on the phones, but there were a few technical difficulties and it failed to catch on.
- Launching Sangam Website, a one-stop portal for all information regarding Sangam and LitSoc and an archive of their history
Work had begun on the website and it was meant as a platform for both Sangam and LitSoc information to be disseminated. While it was completed during the tenure, the information was posted on the Sangam domain and all that needs to be done was for it to be done so on the Institute domain. The website is ready in terms of platform, but the content to be posted needs to be sent by the clubs. It should be in use by now.
Saarang Branding and PR
- Bring together the Saarang audience to perform record-breaking feats
Boondh was one of the initiatives initiated to highlight the importance of saving water, and this was a successful campaign. Painted animations, animated films and suchlike were created. A number of schoolchildren at Vana Vani also took part and currently hold the Limca record for the maximum number of painted pictures put together to make an animated movie.
- Creation of a Saarang Mascot to bring the Saarang Brand to life
The Saarang symbol varied from year to year and the theme of the year is incorporated into the symbol. A mascot for Saarang will therefore have to be versatile. The team therefore decided to concentrate on the theme instead.
- Formation of a Dedicated Social Responsibility Team to create significant sustainable social impact
This was a point that can also be found in Shreyas Harish’s manifesto’s. The team was created, first as an experimental team within the Sponsorship team and worked in both the odd and even semesters. Among other things, they collaborated with NGOs and set up 5 bore-wells in Kanniammanpettai which provided water to approximately 300 families there. It was also much more valuable as the members went personally to set it up instead of simply donating the money.
- Citywide Flash Mob Contest to create buzz in the city during the months before Saarang
While a detailed cost-benefit analysis was submitted at the time of manifesto formulation, it was later discovered that obtaining permission to stage it would be tiresome. Given that there were a lot of other aspects of Saarang that needed attention by way of implementation of new ideas and by way of keeping things running smoothly, it was felt that a Flash mob would take up too much time and draw valuable resources away from projects that would definitely need to happen and needed them.
- Elevating the Fest Experience – Recreating a carnivalesque feel in Saarang by introducing street performers, artisans and enhanced ambiance
Not only were street performers brought to Saarang, so were ethnic artisans and dancers of Karaghattam and Kalaikulu to give street shows. These took place before the Central Library and in the nearby roads, quite literally “in the streets of Saarang” instead of in some relatively remote place like SAC. The Ambience team was also instrumental in elevating the experience, indeed the dragon they created in keeping with the theme ‘Enchanted Forest’ as well as the lanterns, apart from drawing praise, drew no censure from Prakriti, the nature group on campus, as they were environment-friendly.
- Creation of Saarang Nova, a dedicated team which will bring refreshing and new events to Saarang every year and expand its horizons
Interestingly enough, the very last point on this manifesto was the very first to be completed. This year, a Cooking Fest and a Gaming Fest were the new additions to Saarang. The Gaming Fest gave rise to a Gaming Club with games like DOTA and Counterstrike being a few of the games played. The Cooking Fest was a result of the Cooking Club which has been active in the past year.
Gokulesh was able to complete an admirable 76.5% of his manifesto points, with 11.75% ongoing and 11.75% incomplete. We congratulate him on a successful term and wish the best for his successor, Sri Krishna Ravavarapu.