Students of Jamia Milia Islamia are trying their best to ensure that May 7 does not turn into yet another holiday for their peers. A bunch of young, enthusiastic media students have poured their creativity into producing short films, multimedia installations, street plays and photography exhibitions that put the message across.
“Our vote counts. As young voters, we have the power to change the face of India’s politics and ensure that we support educated candidates with a vision for the country,” said Irfan Dar, first-year student of AJK Mass Communication Research Center (MCRC).
Dar put his message across through a street play that talked about the non-existent young voters.
“The play is about Election Day, when most young people idle away their time with friends or at home. Sensing that the youth are disinterested, puppets come together and decide to vote. As a result, a puppet candidate eventually emerges winner and rules the country,” said Dar.
What started off as an exhibition showcasing how people relate to election symbols and understand politics, gradually turned into a larger festival. Called Votography, the festival talked about the involvement of youth in the election process.
“During the last Assembly elections, I heard the Election Commission complain about low youth participation. So, this time, we decided we must do something to sensitise young voters,” said Farhat Basir Khan, professor, MCRC.
The festival tried to interest the youth in the political process. Although the turnout was good, students admitted they had a hard time holding participants’ interest.
“The idea was to reach out to students around us. Several students participated, not only from Jamia but also Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University,” said Pooja Singh, a first-year student organising the festival.
“At the end of each session we had interactions and several students admitted that they had not planned to vote. But they changed their mind after seeing the films and the plays,” added Singh.
But there were many whose lack of enthusiasm during the performance of the street-plays was disheartening.
“The change will come after a sustained effort and more awareness about the youth’s power to change the course of the country,” said Pooja Shali, a second-year student.