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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019: Stephen’s to drop V-Day pledge this year

Refusing to elaborate on the matter, principal John Varghese said, “We are not having the ceremony this year.”

more-lifestyle Updated: Feb 14, 2019 11:07 IST
Kainat Sarfaraz
Kainat Sarfaraz
Hindustan Times, Delhi
After students protested against the tradition in 2017, the words “misogyny and philandering” were removed from the 2018 oath.
After students protested against the tradition in 2017, the words “misogyny and philandering” were removed from the 2018 oath. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
         

Taking a break from the decades -old tradition of pledging to “promote misogyny” and “philandering with men”, students from Allnutt North hostel block in St Stephen’s College decided not to hold the ceremony this year.

“We don’t even know the history behind this tradition so we won’t support it,” Srijit Seal, block representative of the Allnutt hostel, said. “At the beginning of the academic year, I made it clear that nothing controversial or unethical thing like this will happen in college.”

Refusing to elaborate on the matter, principal John Varghese said, “We are not having the ceremony this year.”

According to what some students call the “Stephanian tradition”, members of the Allnutt North Gentlemen’s Association (ANGA) gather around in formal wear and pledge on the night of Valentine’s day “to constitute ANGA into a paramount egalitarian fellowship and to secure to all its members justice, social, sexual and sentimental liberty to philander exclusively with men, equality of status and opportunity and to promote among them all misogyny assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of ANGA”. This is followed by a dinner.

After students protested against the tradition in 2017, the words “misogyny and philandering” were removed from the 2018 oath. “Removing the phrase does not solve the problem because the idea of toxic masculinity remains when you continue observing this tradition. This needs to be stopped completely,” Nabila Khadija Ansari, a first-year student, said.

Students who have taken the oath in the past said they would not support it this year. “The ceremony is not benefitting anyone,” Abel J, a second-year student, explained. “When we participated in it last year, we were unaware of the opposition it had. There’s no point in holding a ceremony which hurts people.”

But many on campus do not agree to this point of view. “Our seniors have faced harassment and ostracisation because of participating in this oath ceremony,” an Allnutt hostel resident said on the condition of anonymity. “If there is a problem with something, you need to have a discourse around it instead of just creating an atmosphere of fear. College is a place to learn about different things and not become a hostile environment due to aggressive ideological clashes.”

First Published: Feb 14, 2019 11:07 IST