• The Hindu Girls Hostel saga: Hunger Strikes, Protests and an Unfinished Building

    The ‘state-of-the-art hostel’ of Hindu College has been mired in controversy for quite a while now. Even as some provisions in the prospects clearly smacked of gender bias, the fact is that as of today, the building isn’t even ready yet.

    The construction of the hostel is a big issue which is totally being neglected by the college administration. As stated, it hasn’t been completed yet and does not even look like anywhere near completion. If this state remains, will the construction still go on when girls start residing in the hostel? This is a red flag for safety for the girl-hostellers. The hostel has common bathrooms so there is no way that the mobility of the girls can be restricted while the labourers are on the job.

    Also read: Dress as per norms of society: Hindu College Hostel tells female students

    Female students at the Hindu College

    The Hindu College Hostel prospectus is seen to be gender biased( Picture Credit: Indian Express)

    Even if the building is ready before the new session begins, there would be a big question mark on its acclaimed “state-of-the-art” building structure. These are some of the significant questions raised by the students and the ex-warden, Poonam Sethi.

    We all know that the fee for the girls’ hostel is exceptionally high, there were vague dress code which apparently has been removed, the illogical curfew and limited night-outs were some of the most highlighted regressive rules that were mentioned by the college administration in the prospectus. This caused a huge uproar and students came out in groups to protest against the college principle Anju Srivastava, and the administrations that formulated the rules.

    “All these rules that the college administration has come up with only yell moral policing for girls. When other colleges have certain rules, why does Hindu have a completely another set of rules which are even more regressive? This is so not acceptable,” says Bliss, an undergraduate student at the Hindu College.

    Also read: Are we stereotyping gender roles with toys?

    As the protest increased, initially the principal sent out another circular stating that the hostel won’t be opening (because of the surge from the student protestors) this year and that students can get their refunds of the prospectus. But then the college administration came out with another notice stating that they are ready to negotiate and that hostel would be up and running in the upcoming new session.

    On 5th May, Kanica and Anil Rajgarh, students of Political Science, sat on a hunger strike demanding roll back of the increased fee, the dress code rule and other rules like that. To that the principal has somehow persuaded the students to call off the strike day before yesterday on the condition that she will be calling a meeting of the students with the governing body.  About some other demands Poonam states, “There are a lot of provisions that are vague in the prospectus which they are saying should be rectified. Like it doesn’t talk about students union at all and there are clauses like the principal and the governing body will have the right to reserve few seats for special students. What those special categories are is not being stated by the governing body.”

    The principal has clearly stated that they won’t be able to roll back the fee structure and cannot bring it down since it’s a self-financed hostel. However, the ex-warden claims that UGC had cleared an amount of 86 lacs initially for the hostel. “The students are not willing to buy the statement that UGC hasn’t paid for the hostel. We found out from the UGC officials that the first transaction of 86 lacs was released by UGC for the construction of Hindu hostel and that has not been sent back till date,” cited Poonam.

    After about 117 years, this was the first time that Hindu College has taken the step of building a  girl’s hostel, and it is indeed unfortunate that this particular  has got more negative than positive feedback.

    Feature Image Credit: newsworldindia.in