Opinion

Coach Calling: Students, when all else fails, including protests, try this three-point strategy 

2nd Jul 2022 06:00 AM | Edex Live

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"Do one thing, don't eat lunch and if they (my parents) still don't give in... Skip eating dinner too! This is how I get things to go my way" — this is what my good friend suggested when I wanted my parents to buy me a specific toy that I was yearning for.

Little did my friend realise that it only worked for him because he was a scrawny fellow and there wasn't a doctor in his house, which naturally made his parents fear that something would happen to him.

In my case, it was a whole other story altogether! I had a doctor for a mother who would know how to arrest the effects of starvation and since I was well-nourished and big for the most part of my life, they would never give in! But, my parents would still promise me things, to ensure that I never felt that they were insensitive. But I would only get them when they intended it to happen.

I reminiscence this part of my life when I read about the strike that was called off by the students of IIIT Basara, and though promises were made... Nothing has happened to date.

How do we get the results when peaceful protests don't go our way? Well, here are three strategies that should definitely help get better results.

When you are dealing with a politician, think like a politician!
What's the main thing any politician wants? Politics! And how do they get there? Votes! The day any politician feels that their vote bank is being threatened, is when resolutions and actions are usually swift. Protests are definitely the first step, but when things don't seem to be moving forward. A very loud message of loss of votes in the future should be passed on.

The best way to do this would be to either use social media or organise a drive in college to take a pledge of not voting for the local government representative until this issue is resolved. Trust me, this is the smart play.

Not only does this ensure peace, but also doesn't give anybody a chance to suppress your freedom by using law enforcement. Otherwise, the perceived risk of destruction of public property is reason enough for law enforcement to get involved and your protest to go south quickly.

What's in it for me?
Experience in dealing with politicians is something that is as necessary as the air we breathe in and who better than having another experienced politician to have on the team? But nobody usually helps out until there's something in it for them. That's how hopelessly materialistic the world has become, right?

The only right fit who'll tick all the boxes here is either the leader of the opposition party or a strong political aspirant who is trying to make a name. Approaching them to support your cause, in exchange for helping them out during events and campaigning in the future, will go a long way.

Just clicktivism won't work, it needs to work in tandem with activism
Though social media is a powerful tool, bringing in change isn't usually possible by the click of a button or by LIKING a post, there has to be a team that does the old-fashioned legwork.

The best way to achieve this is to design an online campaign and make every student and stakeholder who is affected, to participate. Constant interaction is very crucial and helps the campaign achieve momentum. In parallel, approach activists, RTI experts, and legal professionals who are willing to support your cause pro bono and get them on board.

Playing dirty is one thing that I never learnt and my grandfather who was my god, mentor and friend, Dr DG Benakappa always ensured that we refrained from all such activities.

Today, it's become a matter of survival and hence, we need to be polished in our approach but, have to be ready to get down and dirty sometimes too. So here's to the survival of the fittest!

With regards and lots of love,
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj
The Coach

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