Every third candidate in the fray for Delhi University Students Union leadership positions is enrolled in the department of Buddhist studies.
Elections to the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary are scheduled for September 9. Of 91 candidates, 31 are from the department.
Last year, too, of 167 candidates, 32 were Buddhism students. In the last two years at least one candidate from the department managed to win.
Outgoing president Satender Awana and joint secretary Chhattarpal Yadav were from the department. In 2014, president Mohit Nagar and vice-president Pravesh Malik were enrolled in MA Buddhist Studies.
The department, established in 1957, offers a master’s programme, MPhil, PhD, and diploma and certificate courses in Tibetan and Pali language and literature. Admissions are held through an entrance test and 356 students are taken every year, excluding those pursuing a doctorate.
To be eligible for the test, a student needs 40% marks in graduation. Teachers and students say the department is a popular choice for those with political aspirations as the competition is not unduly tough.
“To contest elections, a student must have 75% attendance. In other courses this is not possible, so students enrol themselves in Buddhist studies,” says Rahul Ojha of second-year MA Buddhist Studies, adding that attendance is not a problem in the first year.
“Anyone who applies gets through,” says Ramesh Bhardwaj, a professor at the university. “The department allows students from any discipline to join the master’s programme.”
Awana, the outgoing president, agrees that as the department is open to all it is easier to get in. “As many candidates from here win, there is talk that the department is lucky.”