HomeWord’s Worth

After Dharwad, does it makes sense for colleges to hold annual festivals.

Photo:Onder Ortel (Unspalsh)

About 204 students and faculty have tested COVID-19 positive at SDM College of Medical Sciences at Dharwad, Karnataka. It is believed that the initial lot of students who tested positive had attended a local college festival.
This is the time of the year for annual festivals in degree and post graduation colleges. Be it Meraki at NMIMS. Unmaad at IIMB or even Mood Indigo at IITB to name a few. While Mood Indigo has gone for a hybrid format which means online as well as offline events, most other colleges have decided to go back to pre-Covid days – which means offline.
All college festival organisers vouch maintaining norms of social distancing will be kept but how on earth can that happen at a college festival. Organise also assure that sanitisers and other such measures will be taken – but will that suffice.
A new variants of the virus has already made its presence in South Africa and many countries have banned flight travel to and from South Africa. Worse is that this new variants or the many variants are still not understood.
While COVID-19 numbers have stabilised in India, the fear is very much there and may be it is still not the time to open up grounds to college festivals. Youngsters being youngsters are not going to keep Covid-19 protocols strictly and one cannot even expect them to at college festivals. Especially given that most colleges will have festivals after a gap of a year and in some cases two.
While numbers are still rising at Dharwad, it would be interesting to note how it has played on the psyche of organisers of other college festivals. No, we cannot afford another pandemic. And we want nothing that will dampen the spirit of our youth.