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The Spirit is Not Lost

An Open Letter to the Scholar’s Avenue Team
(In Response to your cover article in Feb 24 Issue)
since an e-copy was not available I could not post a link

Let me begin by saying that, on the face of it, I am both saddened and upset by this article. Upset by the twisted interpretation of the facts. Saddened because the article portrays the Soc-n-Cult GC as demon that it certainly isn’t.

LOST IN SPIRIT – the title of the article offends me – both as a participant and as (perhaps) the most hated face in gymkhana sub-coms. As a participant I have seen examples of this very spirit being upheld on many occasions. I have seen the entire Netaji Auditorium applaud a performance, not once – but twice. I have seen actors and performers being the first ones to go out and congratulate their opponents after a good show.

I do not disagree with the fact that the GC is witness to its fair share of chaos. What is baffling is that the author has assumed a moral high ground without checking the facts. You speak as if you are not a part of the system and herein rest the fallacy – you cannot understand the system unless you are a part of it.

How is the secretary’s negligence in Bong Elo and WTGW a point in lost spirit? Let me clarify that it was this negligence that led to the WTGW results being delayed by three weeks. And please remember that WTGW, DumbC and JAM are basically games that have been made into an event. Hence disputes are inevitable, as in a friendly game as well.

“…. for disqualification of an elocution participant on the grounds of his leg being visible.” Let me clarify for once and for all, that such a petition has never been made in the last 4 years. Yes photographs have been clicked and friendly threats been made, but please learn to differentiate the hall secretaries’ sense of fun from maligned intentions.

“Fair play is a forgotten virtue, and the incentive to perform well and innovate is hijacked.” If so, then how come every event in this year’s GC has been such a closely fought affair, with no clear favourites? The same is reflected in the GC standings. And how come we have had two dramatics events without any furore, without even a discontentment with the result.
As for innovation, had you attended the entire Hindi Drams and Choreography you would have found multiple examples of innovation. It’s just that some of them clicked, some of them did not.

“Tested plays and themes tailor made for the judges” – firstly, if I know what the judges like and don’t perform accordingly then either I am being too idealistic or too stupid.
And if this year’s results are anything to go by, then that tested theme would be “clean execution” of the play. I don’t see anything wrong in adopting that as a perennial theme.

“… disputes are created by fringe people who have nothing to do with the event.” 90% of the people involved in disputes and chaos are participants and other involved members (G.Sec. and/or Captain). Don’t believe it? Please attend a complete event.

“It is time to put the flavour back in the events; and to let the best man win.” If that is to say that the best are not winning right now, then how is this article any different from any appeal / complaint? Halls make their complaints in gymkhana meetings; this article is doing so through a media campaign.

Had you just said that the Soc-n-Cult GC is riddled with chaos, I would not have been forced to reply. But by questioning the spirit and fair play of the participants, you have not left me many choices. It is the very same GC in which I have seen teams lending their musical instruments to their opponents. I have seen events being shifted because the captain of one of the halls had to attend his brother’s wedding. If even one participant hall was as devilish as you have portrayed them, then it could have stuck its foot and the event would have taken place in the scheduled date.

I just wish that the author would have been a little more involved in the GC to have known that for every chaos you count, there are at least 3 others that are amicably resolved without anyone even getting to know about them.

Let us remember that this is a competition after all, and while one should not stoop to any level for a win (and believe me one is not), there are going to be occasional differences and disputes.

Additionally, if this article is meant as an opinion (individual or collective) and not an analysis of the situation, then please let that be known.

While comments are most welcome, I hope this does not lead to a war of words.


  1. Let me clarify that I am not taking sides and this is not an official reply by The Scholars' Avenue. However, if you want to read it as that, I cant really stop you can I.

    I agree in principle with both the article and the reply to it. If a neutral observer steps back and looks at the situation that is exactly what he will find. Truth in both of them.
    What the article is essentially saying is that there are things that could be better. And while it does seem opinionated to a degree, it cannot be that the author has assumed a moral high ground because he was not a participant. (Just to clarify, I was not the author). This just might be what a participant feels like when he is taking part in an event and random people from the audience try their best to get their team disqualified.

    Again, I am not implying that the GC as an upholder of the spirit of competition is a completely lost ideal, and neither is the article. Agreed, for every chaos there are three that are solved. But as a wise man once said, what the world sees is what matters. (Might not be a wise man, but anyway).

    Now just to analyze where you might have a skewed opinion:

    "Fair play is a forgotten virtue, and the incentive to perform well and innovate is hijacked."
    UV lights banned in this years choreo. Not Stop on innovation? I think not. Again might be an isolated example, but we are not generalizing anything here are we?

    “Tested plays and themes tailor made for the judges”
    Has the will to win gone so far that we are constraining our thinking to what the judges will want to see? To a great deal yes. Again thats my opinion. And since we are putting up shows tailor made for the judges, how is that not hijacking innovation?

    “It is time to put the flavour back in the events; and to let the best man win.”
    You're reading too much into it. This doesnt imply that the best man isnt winning. Or that this is a media campaign based SAC. (That is just plain offensive)

    "But by questioning the spirit and fair play of the participants..the very same GC in which I have seen teams lending their musical instruments..."
    "one should not stoop to any level for a win (and believe me one is not)"
    Believe me one is. WTGW Patel Hall Round Two. Need I say more. You know what happened. I know what happened. I fail to fathom how that is upholding the spirit of fair play or how that is not stooping to any level to win. Again might be an isolated incident. But the stupid chaos is what people remember, not the performance of the teams.

    I have tried not to take sides, and of course, have come out as heavily biased. I'd just like to say I love the GC and the spirit that it embodies, a spirit that sometimes seems to be lost in the brewhaha over points. Things could of course be a lot better. But we are not still at a point where we can say that the GC is something not worth participating in and fighting for. As long as that doesnt happen, I guess we are OK.

    You missed the question mark in the title. It reads "Lost in Spirit?"

    PS Try not to take the article as if it was aimed at you. You can argue that since this was targeting the fair play of participants and you are one, it is in a sense aimed at you. Put yourself outside the scheme of things and read it.

  2. Well my dear 22 crossroads and Myth...let me tell you that Soc Cult GC has too much to witness yet and too many things to happen yet...I know both of you are quite emotionally involved in either writing up the campus newspaper or as a participant of the Soc Cult GC...but my advice to both of you will be to wait and the soc cult GC will unfold itself with more colours and perhaps after that...some of your comments could be more exaggerated or could get subdued....or even take an alternative route....till then have patience[:)]...and again this is an advice....not a stern comment from my side

  3. It was great to witness the point-counterpoint game going on here and having spent a good portion of my time in Kgp, participating in the same, I feel but compelled to voice an opinion.

    "UV lights being banned" - in my opinion this rule has little to do with restricting "innovation" and more to do with providing a chance for a fair competition. I've always felt that Schols Ave articles are always written from the point of view of a person, very close to the banks of a river, trying to fathom its depth - seldom does the writer actually try to step in the water to make a true assessment. Last year, had SN not used UV their performance would've been pathetic. So it all boiled down to the willingness of the superfinal years to dish out 11K/day from their own pockets. Certain halls have fancy instruments and thus can come up with much greater variations in the ent performances than a hall equipped with only modest instruments. Would you call that a "fair" competition? The vanguards of "fair" competition - this point should've been addressed first, before casting any aspersion whatsoever on the way events are conducted.

    To address the point of constraining our thinking to what judges will like - well I just feel that it is foolish to bring this point at all into consideration. Firstly, look into your hall itself and make an estimate of how many people are normally capable and willing to put in sufficient time to "innovate". Innovation in an atmosphere like Kgp isn't that easy (may be because there aren't sufficient peepal trees in kgp under which you could sit and meditate to gain enlightenment). With people becoming glued to porn on their computer or other to equations in their textbooks, it's difficult to find a group of people who can actually work towards garnering the potential for authentic creativity. Yet there are performances every year which do things different - they innovate - may be they take baby steps, but when these baby steps span a duration of 3-4 years - it does constitute a radical metamorphosis. In addition one point I must say is that the writer who had commented on stagnated potential for innovation obviously cares two hoots about Bong Drams and the associated events. The BTDS guys, every year, put up AMAZING shows, not to mention the amount of effort they have put in to put up their show in Calcutta. If this is not a stepping stone - then what is?

    Now about the relentless intentions of the halls to jeopardize the performance of other halls. This I agree is definitely something which needs to be worked upon, cojointly, by all the halls. But who would want to take the first step? The people who "do not want to lose" will always act in that way. Unless you are able to build a mutual trust this will always remain so, as long as GC is alive. Events like WTGW, DumbC are known to be exceedingly chaotic. Had anyone been actually concerned about the chaos blemishing these events, they would've objected the entry of these events into the GC. But since that didn't happen - people should've been prepared for it.

    I might been wrong - but there's always a choice between doing what's right and doing what's necessary. And your choice is significantly governed by where your loyalty lies - if anywhere at all.

    I might be wrong but I've always felt that Schols Ave comes across as the Hindsight Crusaders of the Common Kgpian. Forever it has addressed issues which are important but seldom hit the nail on the head. The true problems with Soc Cult are not the ones enlisted here - but its the way the entire GC and Soc Cult culture is organized. GSecs have no idea about events and stuff. No Lit Society does anything worthwhile. FARTs just started but I don't presume they would come up with something out of box in the near future. ETDS, HTDS - absolute rubbish and crap. ETMS, WTMS - cliquish. When would Schols Ave come up to address these issues instead of just trying to show its readers the path of moral righteousness. If you want to clean a drain - you have to get down and dirty. And if you just want to stand away and complain about it, you might just talk to a wall instead. That's the honest opinion which I have, which might be as biased as the opinion of the writer, which is the way I see it.

    And finally the wise man who said "What the world sees is what matters?" either needs his wisdom quotient checked or is just another individual happy to be a part of the crowd and follow the herd mentality.

    Guys make a difference - that's it. And to make a difference you need to do more than express opinions. Sadly there's not much more that I could do. But you guys are still there. If you see that there is something wrong out there - try to correct it. And if you aren't ready to put in that effort and pot just to take a lackadaisical approach to it you might chose not to waste any of your time in writing articles on it either.

    Good Luck.
    Hope that you make a difference

  4. Firstly, I had to look up what "cliquish" means! :D Well, yeah, the musical societies are cliquish - but that has its advantages - no hall could simply perform on the basis of the stuff it possesses - and that's where that "cliquishness" comes handy.

    Second - and to be very frank - I don't care two hoots about the GC!

    There will always be four categories of participants on the field - those who are there because they revel in what they are doing (there are always a few), those who care because that event has a role to play in the jigsaw that's the soc-cult GC (the secys/poltu-wallahs etc), those who are answerable to someone higher up or to the hall in general (that's the captains/senior members) and those who are forced to do the stuff without any choice (the second years).

    There will be people who belong to more than one category. But the important thing is to make sure that the number in the first category never falls to zero.

    And - for the people who belong to more than one category - I just have one thing to say - do what the guys in the first category tell you to - that should be the overriding decision (which sadly, it never is).

    The musical societies have speculated, at various junctures, to perform without GC points - just for the show itself. But that, as yet, has not happened.

    Winning is a good feeling - but it's not the best feeling in the world - I can assure you of that - and that's why fighting for the GC should never be an incentive.

    Making sure that the events happen so that the people in the first category remain empowered is much more important.

  5. well long comments : now i am a person who believe in winning and i know sum of u can easily blame me for the one who do not try to innovate if it comes to gc , but isnt gc abt winning , if everybody wanted a platform to showcase it might have been societies only, and result would have been zero as it is presently with most of societies ( there are a some exceptions as sandy mention btds). And i thnk most of time people goin on with tested themes take the biggest gamble, they have 50-50 or 40-60 chance to be more accurate,so gc is open thng and nobody can ever change it as far as innovation is concerned, and when it comes to chaoses i agree with author ki most of them are solved with mutual agreement and chaoses are bound to happen when people put their hearts in events, again as author says events in soc cult gc are not like sports where u have a fixed rule set or sumthng , most of events are games and cultural events converted into events so chaoses ar bound to happpen


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