Holi celebrations at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) begin tonight with the famous
. Students at the university’s Jhelum Hostel organise the popular event annually on the eve of chhoti holi. The whole concept involves choosing the most boring person through competitions and that person is declared the
Dhananjay Tripathi, former president of the JNU Students’ Union, says, “A baraat is taken out from Tapti hostel to Jhelum after the Chaat Samrat has been chosen. The winner is made to sit on the donkey and people dance to the beats of the dhol and music in this procession.”
Participants in the competition are judged on their ability to bore people. They may sing or tell boring jokes. Students start looking for a donkey days in advance. Judges include JNU alumni and Shahzad Ibrahim, also known as Mamu, who runs a dhaba on campus.
Ibrahim and his friends started the
in 1993. It would initially take place at Jhelum Hostel but now, it takes places in the lawns of Jhelum as students across JNU participate in it.
“I was one of the first participants of the sammelan,” says Mamu. “Till the time I was there, nobody could win this competition. Finally, they asked me to let others win.”Mamu dresses for the occasion according to a different theme every year. “Last year, I dressed in white bandages and put red ointment. I said that lots of people owed me money and when I asked them to settle the account, they beat me up. This is a short speech I give every year,” he says.
In the past, the winner was garlanded with a necklace of shoes and sandals. Now, he or she gets boxes of
— prepared at Mamu’s dhaba, of course.