“Nature’s Victims” are no more “damsels-in-distress” and why should they be? Why should grown-up, well-educated women be locked away in their dorm rooms at the break of twilight? Similar questions and sentiments have been the fuel to the fire of the “Pinjra Tod” campaign.
Student’s of a law college, study in their first year, of noble ideas of “equality, liberty and fraternity”. How flawed is our education that at the end of the day these words remain just meaningless jargon printed in a textbook? How faulty are our educational institutions, that it takes a national campaign to jolt us into the reality that we are in fact treated different?
Every female student of this institution has stood in her balcony, at one time or the other, overlooking a group of boys who have been effortlessly allowed to lurk around the whole campus. Laughing, chatting, playing basketball, we see them enjoy every facility which we have equally paid for. Whereas we stand back, humbly accepting our fate as “Nature’s Victims”.
We fail to understand if are hands are more delicate, or is it that our wits are smaller, that we aren’t presumed to be responsible enough to step outside, in this 2 acre campus, which is equally ours.
The Pinjra Tod initiative, a campaign, which grew out of a Facebook page in early August, aimed at removing unreasonable hostel rules for girl students, saw a minor victory recently within the Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University campus. After a number of student protests, Vice Chancellor Prof. Gurdip Singh, directed a change in hostel timings for girl students, and assuring students that any gender-based discrimination would be done away with.
The protests itself began earlier this week, after a student suffered a broken arm due to an accidental fall within the court campus. When the student was brought back, it was 10:15 pm, forty-five minutes past the permissible time. The student was made to submit an application for this “delay”, and then was forced to wait outside the hostel with the guards claiming that the hostel keys were with the matron. The next day, the student was served an expulsion notice, debarring her from the hostel for not complying with the hostel rules and misbehaving with the guards.
After a number of protests, the Vice Chancellor, finally agreed to look into the grievances, and also cancelled the expulsion letter served on the student. Prof. Gurdip Singh told the students that, “I support gender equality. There will be no discrimination between boys and girls”.
At the heart of the matter lies the hostel timings. According to students at RMLNLU, when it comes to the Boys Hostel, these timings are not strictly enforced. Furthermore, security cameras have been installed throughout the campus, and there has been an increase in patrolling. To then force the women students to return to the hostel under the pretext of security, argue the RMLNLU students, is nothing but a farce.
The students also say that they faced threats from the faculty, including remarks to the effect that marks would be deducted for students who protest the hostel rules.