The queue for buying admission forms at Zakir Hussain College is a little different. The girls here don’t flaunt latest in fashion trends. There’s no animated discussion about colleges or hangouts to visit.
The girls standing in line are quiet. Most have stepped out of the environs of a girls’ school for the first time. The majority belongs to conservative Muslim families and still wear the hijab or purdah while stepping out.
And yes, most are the first girls in their families to go to college.
“I am the most qualified girl in the family. All my other sisters and cousins have studied till Class X or XII,” said Sana Ali, who studied from Rabya Girls Public School, Lal Kuan.
Ali has applied to Zakir Hussain and Mata Sundari Colleges.
Although Zakir Hussain is not a minority college, it is a natural choice for most Muslim families living in the vicinity.
“A huge Muslim population resides in central Delhi and old Delhi. So they find it convenient to send girls here,” said Sarita Passey, Associate Professor of Chemistry. “Moreover, we give five per cent concession in cutoff to girls in certain subjects.”
“I want to enroll in the BA Programme. But I am nervous about going to a college far from home or even a co-educational college,” said Ali.
Her friend Noorin Bushra chose to study through correspondence because her family was not too keen on sending her to college. “I was the first girl to apply for college. So my parents were apprehensive,” said Bushra.
But Bushra felt change is slowing seeping into conservative Muslim society.
“My younger sister Samreen scored very good marks. Although she was not allowed to go to any campus college, at least she got a chance to go to Zakir Hussain,” said Bushra. “Things are changing slowly and more girls are getting educated now,” said Bushra.