Off late, chaos and madness seems to have become unavoidable at DU fests, like an uninvited cousin – merely shifting colleges from year to year.
This year, Miranda House had to deal with the fury of an overexcited crowd. Recently, the star night’ of the college’s annual cultural fest, where Ariit Singh performed, saw a near-stampede situation, after which some of the girls in the crowd chose to leave midway, not with disappointment but with tears. Though there was very tight security in place which only let the ‘invited’ in, and a star performer who reached the college bang on time, the crowd became too pushy for some to enjoy – so pushy, that Arijit felt the need to interfere.
The singer said to the crowd, “Show some love guys, there are girls crying out there – please, push back.” Eventually, he had the guards get the crying girls out of the crowd. “Goodbye, guys. Take care!” he said, as the girls and a guy left. “Please tell them not to dance there. There is not enough space there to dance,” said one of the girls while leaving. The singer had to appeal to the crowd more than once, saying, “Guys wapas se ho raha hai. Thodi der mein yeh hoga ki push karte-karte kuch log stage pe pahunch jayenge, aur phir mujhe bhaagna padega.” The guards had to take to lathis, and the faculty had to do some monitoring of the crowd themselves.
“Generally, fun and organization don’t go together. But the idea of fun at a fest without any control is too utopian for us, I think,” said Akanksha Pathak, a Miranda House student.
The blame game started off with boys blaming the girls and vice-a-versa. Unlike many colleges that have separate areas for boys and girls, marked by barricades, Miranda House chose not to have divisions. “We are not living in an ideal society. Here you are at your own risk if you want to be part of the crowd with guys in it. Had there been a separate area for girls, there would not have been a problem,” said Shivalika Shankar, a DU student.
“We had a side of the ground reserved for Miranda students. But there were some students who had invited their friends from other colleges, so they stayed in the common area. It would not have been practical to further divide the crowd into sections. But, I think, DUSU boys have a major role to play in the ensuing chaos. The DUSU boys came in large numbers and blocked the area around the stage,” said Payal Negi, a Miranda student.
Shruti Chandran, a student, who had a different opinion said, “All this happened because of uncontrolled excitement. Aur fests mein toh girls only are more excited. We can’t blame the boys for this.”
“I think the immense fan following of Arijit Singh is to blame. Our ground can hold a crowd of around 7,000 people. But there were around 12,000 people there. The entry was strictly on invitation basis and that’s what we were following till 3pm, but after that, the gatecrashers forced themselves in, and by 4pm, it had become an open entry system by default,” said Sushma Chaudhary, a student union member.
Meanwhile, at Hindu’s star night, where Mohit Chauhan was performing, on Saturday. “Ground ki capacity hogi around 5,000, par iss time yahan kam se kam 12,000-15,000 log hain,” said Ajay Gill, a students’ union member. “This is the first DU concert we have ever attended – had heard a lot about them. But we had no idea that it would turn out to be something where we would spend the whole time fighting boys trying grope us,” said Astha Thapar, from IGIT.