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Quiet, unaware, restricted: Student politics at Chandigarh women’s colleges

On Friday, only seven girls filed nominations at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, for all the posts on the student council

punjab Updated: Sep 02, 2017 11:23 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University elections,PU polls,PUCSC
Students at Panjab University, Chandigarh on September 1.(Anil Dayal/HT)

There was a buzz on campus on Friday as it was the day for filing nominations at Panjab University and other UT colleges. But it was a quiet day in the five women’s colleges in the city. Projected as “non-political”, the authorities discourage activism in these colleges.

  • Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 11: 4,000
  • PGGCG, Sector 42: 4,200
  • MCM DAV College, Sector 36: 5,500
  • Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45: 1,200
  • Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26: 2,000

Forming a considerable chunk of the college-going population, nearly 17,000 students are expected to stay out of the influence of student organisations and unions. Sometimes, a handful of independent candidates file their nominations but they either back out or their nominations are declared invalid. Thanks to this, there isn’t enough voting in women’s colleges. The posts are then decided through a consensus.

On Friday, only seven girls filed nominations at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, for all the posts on the student council.

Unaware of the election

Many students did not even know that the scheduled date of Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections was September 7 and that the nominations were filed on Friday. A first-year student of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, Harleen, said, “We don’t know about the election. I wasn’t even aware that it is happening on September 7.”

“I haven’t seen any posters or any parties around the campus. It is the same with other students too,” she added. Even the officials stressed that there was no campaigning at MCM DAV College, one of the premier educational institutions in the tricity. Independent candidates file nominations, followed by voting. The college has a strength of 5,500 girls.

‘Why should women get into politics’

The general view in women’s colleges is, ‘Girls ne kya politics karni hai (Girls don’t do politics)!’.

Sharu, a first-year student at Post Graduate Government College for Girls (PGGCG), Sector 11, said, “It is not like girls are not aware of their rights. We are not even informed about the election as there are no parties here.”

“The college authorities told us on Wednesday that the PU elections will be held on September 7 and there might be a holiday on September 8,” she added.

Girls kept away from politics

Sources said PGGCG-11 students were active participants in the protests against the fee hike in March.

  • Authorities want women’s colleges to remain non-political
  • Candidates back out in a few cases
  • Some candidates fill out the forms incorrectly
  • Attendance shortage (75% required)
  • Student parties are not active in these colleges.

However, teachers were told by the authorities that they should keep a vigil that no student took part in these protests.

Amandeep, a former presidential candidate from the Students for Society (SFS), said, “It is not only in the colleges, but this mindset prevails even in the university. Things are obviously different when it comes you compare a co-educational or an all girls’ institution.”Amandeep became the first female candidate in PU’s history to contest for the president’s post in 2014.

“I have studied in an all girls’ college. There is always a sense of suppression there. The students are kept away from activism. And obviously there is a lack of initiative too,” she added.

First Published: Sep 02, 2017 11:17 IST