Delhi University’s Hindu College has finally opened a hostel for female students, too. But even before the students could rejoice in the news, the college decided to throw in a shocker for female students. According to the prospectus, female students are expected to dress according to the ‘normal norm of society’ when visiting common areas of the hostel. Besides the dress code, there are some other rules too which aren’t going down well with the students. “It’s funny that at this time, when we are fighting for equality in the University, this college would come up with such sexist, bizzare rules. Ladko ka banao na dress code,” says Aparna Dutt *, a third year student.
Some of the other rules mentioned are that hostellers cannot bring any visitors, are allowed only one night-out in a month, cannot be in the common areas after 11pm.
“The rules that the authorities have come up with are so absurd. Who decides what is normal? Will someone go around, with a measuring tape and the measure the lengths of the skirts or shorts,” says Poonam Sethi, former warden of the Hindu College, Mens’ hostel. Devangana Kalita, a member of Pinjra Tod, a campaign to fight sexist rules on campuses, says, “The boys hostel has liberal rules. Why does the college feel the need to monitor every move of the female students? The university should not act like khap panchayat.”
In fact, protests have started in college over the disparity in the rules for the men’s hostel and women’s hostel. “Of course we’ll protest! This infantilisation of female students is not cool at all,” says a second year student. The college authorities could not be reached for a comment.
The fees for the hostel has also become a cause of worry for many students as the hostel fees is around Rs. 82,000 annually for women’s hostel, while that of men’s hostel is Rs.47,000.
Vani Gupta*, another student who has also applied for the college says, “The fee is so high. What is the difference between private accommodation and college hostel then? A not-so-well off family’s kid works so hard to get into DU. They say they’re giving us a swimming pool, lifts – who wants all that? We only want an affordable room we can study in.”
College authorities refused to comment on the subject.
* Name changed on request