Know Your Candidate: Ninaad Lohakare

We at The Scholars’ Avenue interacted with Ninaad Lohakare, and here is what he had for us.

TSA: Why do you want to become the VP?

Ninaad: Honestly speaking, My brother used to study here and he always fascinated me with the stories of this campus, so I decided in a tender age that I had to come here. I had a high sentimental value attached to the same. I was aware of a lot of things that go in our campus societies way before I came here, societies, hall, hall culture and all that. So I wanted to be involved in everything and tried to involve myself in as many places as possible. Thinking on the same lines when I got to know that our campus can be improved in a lot of aspects when compared to other IITs and other reputed colleges outside the country, therefore I wanted to work on this and take our institute to a very high level and that’s why am here right now contesting for this post.

TSA: When did you first realize that this is something you should definitely go for?

Ninaad: We have this intro seminar for new students right, that was the time when Shovan(TSG VP for the year 2016–17) and I developed a huge respect for him. Later on, I realized that the Vice President doesn’t exactly have much power. The position is like that of the president of India. But if you want to do anything, you can do it. One of my inspirations is Mr. Apoorv Jain(TSG VP for the year 2013–14) who started the bus service here, and this is just one example to the extent a VP can work.

TSA: You have been involved in a number of activities including GC, Inter IIT where you have also been the contingent captain, Literary Secretary and also have been an active member of Ecell and TSA. How do you think these involvements helped in shaping your personality?

Ninaad: When I was in my first year and this thought came to me that I wanted to contest for this post, I realized that I should get involved in as many places as possible because that is the experience which will help me tackle issues when I become the VP and that was the main motivation behind me involving myself in so many activities so as to get experience and broaden my horizons and improve my understanding of different problems if I get elected to the post.

TSA: It’s a general notion that people have a really hectic schedule in E-Cell, but you also held a TSG Secretary post. How did you manage time, while doing all this?

Ninaad: I feel that this was the portion of time in my second year was the most intense period and I was also involved in my Hall of residence. At the beginning of my tenure, things did go a lot haywire and it was really stressful for me. But then I realized that it is possible for me to work in all these aspects without doing any injustice to any one of them and I realized that I have the capabilities in me to do all of these things together. I got used to a lot of new habits such as pre-building my schedule and my capacity to handle stress was greatly increased at that point in time.

TSA: What according to you are the qualities which people seek in a Vice President? As a student representative, what do the people expect from you and how will live up to their expectation?

Ninaad: I have interacted with a lot of people and one thing I realized was that people want a vice president who is reachable. Any issue that you have, be it acads, maintenance, be it anything, I believe that VP should be a person who is reachable at any point of time anywhere. Any small issue that you face, I believe that the Vice President should be approachable and this is one quality that the vice president should have. And in synchronous with that, the person should be a very sensitive person. He should be sensitive to as many issues as possible and he should solve them without having any judgemental attitude.

TSA: What do you think are the major issues in KGP? How do you plan to overcome it?

Ninaad: We did identify a lot of issues in the current system that is working here. As I also mentioned in my proposal our academic curriculum is not as flexible as it should be. If you see some other major colleges, their academic curriculum is so flexible that you can basically learn anything that you want. And I believe that is very necessary because the exam pattern that we have for JEE is very streamlined and very stagnant. Most of the students coming here don’t have an idea of the branch they are going into and why they want to do it. I definitely do agree that the societies and the hall culture cater to this but I do believe that academic flexibility is very important. There are people from my department who are doing projects under agriculture but are not able to take courses from that department. Ultimately, it should be their choice right?

Secondly, we need to do a lot of work on the academically weak people. There are two reasons which this might be so. First and foremost the student might not be interested in the subject, academic flexibility shall really help in this segment. Secondly, it might be because of some medical condition where student missed a semester or so. This leads to a vicious cycle where the student might have to drop his main course. We really need to tackle this and till the time we don’t bring them up, I don’t think we have done something good.

TSA: We have talked about this before, but how effective do you think is the VP position? How much power does it vest in you to fight with the administration for students’ rights and is your approach going to be different if you attain office?

Ninaad: As I have mentioned before Vice President doesn’t exactly have much power. And I personally believe that it is like that of the president of India. The Vice President is a representative everywhere and if he pushes in and gives as much effort as he can, a lot of things can be changed. I can give an example of Apoorv Jain. He had to fight a lot to bring in bus service and in the end, is one of the most successful things today. That’s the extent I believe that the VP can work up to. If any student has any issues on the campus, the Vice President can solve it. If any decision where to come up from the administration side which is against student rights, the VP is one person who can pool in the whole KGP community and he can be the coagulation point where everyone comes together. This might happen, Am not saying the administration is trying to blame someone(chuckles), but if something like that were to happen the VP can gather people and fight for the same.

TSA: There are a number of accusations on the election process in KGP. People argue that it is not democratic. What changes do you propose in the election process?

Ninaad: I believe that everyone will agree that if I want to support a candidate, it shall be my personal choice. And if a group of people were to come together to support a particular candidate its finally their own choice. And if there is a segment of the population who decide to support one candidate or heavily support one candidate, it’s finally their choice. It is the crux of democracy that there shall be a segment of the population supporting one candidate and another segment supporting another. The larger people you convince, the higher are your chances of winning. So in my opinion, it is democratic. But if there were some cases where something was to go against the rules, such things cannot be tolerated.

TSA: What would you say sets you apart from other candidates?

Ninaad: I can say a lot about me, but finally it’s your choice to choose among us three candidates(chuckles). I have been involved in a variety of activities and I believe that my experience is wide enough and diverse enough that I know I can handle the position very well.

TSA: How’s your election experience been? What are your takeaways from this?

Ninaad: When I came to this campus, there were two main motives. One was to network with many people because I believed that whatever happens in life, you will have people with you. And my second motive was to gain as many professional skills as possible, and this the position where everyone will learn their maximum. The biggest learning during my campaign was the time when I met people. So many ideas, so many opinions, it felt like this was a segment of KGP which I never explored. When I discussed issues with everyone, with as many people as I met, I realized that there are so many things which we neglect that people face daily. For example in one of the halls of residence, there was a pipeline break and the rooms were flooded. People had to sleep in the common room for three days until the rooms were repaired. This I came to know when I had a discussion with the Hall President of that hall, and not much people know of this. So what I understood from this was the more you talk to people, the more solutions you have, the more experience you gain. Talking to people is the first and foremost thing you should do. Even if you are not contesting, I personally believe that everyone should interact with as many people as possible because that’s where you learn a lot.

TSA: You have participated in various Inter-Hall events and also represented Inter IIT. Do you think you will be able to continue this if elected?

Ninaad: If it’s possible finally because am aware of the fact that the position of Vice President is pretty time constrained because there is a lot of responsibilities that a Vice President has to complete before indulging in anything else. These are activities I do because I love them. I like public speaking, I like word games. These are my interest. Therefore if I get time I shall definitely indulge in everything.

TSA: Would you like to say a few words for your fellow KGPians?

Ninaad: As I have already mentioned in my previous answer the most important thing I would like to convey to each and every one of them is to interact with each and everyone out there. You might not be contesting or holding any post, but the more people you talk to, the more experience you gain and in whichever domain you venture into your life, that experience will always be helpful. It’s the people you are with, that make you who you are. When I wrote my SOP, I wrote it from the bottom of my heart that it is a family that we have here and I believe that as a family we should always walk together. There are a lot of issues that a lot of our people face, I believe that they should come ahead with it. Someone might not be habituated in talking to new people, you need to break that ice, it’s really important. I did it in my first year, and I believe everyone should.

Another thing I like to convey is that in case any student of our campus has any issues, it’s your right to let the office bearers know about that. You are the ones who elect them and it’s your right to question every office bearer. The last thing I would like to say that tomorrow is the elections I request you to do come and vote. It’s your right. The people you elect will be serving you. Your position is the most important position as it’s for you all that we shall be working for if we get elected. So please come and vote tomorrow.

The Student-run media body of IIT-Kharagpur