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Sexual Harassment & Sexist Rules: Why Were Students Of Patna Women’s College Silent Earlier?

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By Aditi Priya

Patna Women’s College (PWC) was the first women’s college in Bihar founded in 1940 by Bishop B.J. Sullivan S.J., Bishop of Patna and Mother M. Josephine A.C. Superior General of the Apostolic Carmel. Bishop Sullivan believed that the upliftment of Bihar lays in liberating its women by providing with higher and quality education to them. PWC is one of the most prestigious colleges in Bihar; it is considered the ultimate education destination for those girls who can’t pursue higher education outside the state. But recently it came in the news due to a protest against the teacher who allegedly sexually harassed several students. When students complained about this to the Principal Sister Marie Jessie, they got the reply that he (Professor Sanjay Dutta) ‘only’ touched her and not raped her.

patna women's college

An article mentioned that Patna’s Senior Superintendent of Police said“Additional security forces have been deployed in and outside the college and now the situation is peaceful.” The protest was also supported by students’ unions like AISF (All India Students’ Federation) and ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).

This is the case of ‘PWC’, the same college where students are not allowed to wear kurtas above knee length, must cover themselves with a dupatta properly, are not allowed to carry mobile phones and can’t even keep it in the bike with them, must not touch chairs placed for cabinet members in the cabinet section, not wear kurtas with net designs on it, must not wear fitting leggings below kurta, or write anything against the establishment.

Given the above situations, how could you expect your administration to act against something that is making you feel like an object? The statement given by the principal is nothing different from what she has obligated everyone in the college to teach and preach. During this protest the group is divided into two parts, one is fully supporting the protest and another wants a peaceful solution to it, for them it is not right to bring out other issues at this time and they must focus on only one problem and get rid of it only. Some students posted about the ongoing issue on Facebook but removed it a day later, in an attempt to imply that they are ‘good’ students and do not want any trouble for a problem that is not theirs.

But the question that arises here is – Why were no questions raised in the beginning only? Why didn’t anyone speak up sooner? That’s exactly what happened in the PWC, the long suppressed anger of the students has finally found a way to echo in the deaf ears of the administration and of all those who are ignorant of the fact that freedom actually means something to them.

Maybe it was not the fault of the principal alone, maybe the teacher was not the only person who is guilty. Maybe we all helped the principal in forcing such baseless rules on us and supported her narrow thinking by agreeing to them. Maybe when we didn’t speak up earlier when the same teacher said something offensive in the class or touched our friend with wrong intentions, or even looked at a girl with disrespect, we also contributed to his crime to some extent. But now the time has come to help push the protest against everything wrong happening with us or with anyone around us.

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  1. Shambhawi Vikram

    Good story! It is very important that this is raised publicly, since most such stories die down before they reach mainstream news. Would like to get in touch with you Aditi. Please find me on Facebook or email me. 🙂

    1. Ravi Sahay

      We do not know the full story yet – let us not presume that Prof. Dutta is guilty beforehand. Please remind your readers to show compassion, at least for the elderly father and his two sisters if not for Prof. Dutta at this time.
      As a consequence of this story, please understand that a male teacher will be more hesitant to teach at a Women’s College in India especially if this story is not true

  2. P. Kumar

    The students in Patna WOMENS’ College (and not Patna WOMEN’S College which I find to be grammatically incorrect) have to adhere to strict rules. They rules are unassertive-ly supported by the parents of the students too (because of the orthodox mindset of the society,) they want their daughters to be ‘good girls’. Secondly, the administration does not want trouble; as such, they impose draconian rules on these girls who are not given a right to speak. They have no right to write anything against the administration? Why? Does the law allow it? No. But they are institutionalised into believing that they shall not speak. So they remain dumb. Even if some voices are raised, they are shunned by the state administration and the media because the college administration has political connection.

    I find this question of yours — the one in the heading, rather obtuse. Just because they stood up late for themselves, how the f can your question their actions? Should’ve they stood mum this time too? By this very time, the students had been pushed to their limits; moreover, every department of the institution came together and they in turn were supported by student political organizations which gave them the strength to rise up to the institution.

  3. ragini

    i was student of same d college PWC..and what ever d allegations pwc girls have put on mr. dutta are actually true..d reason behind girls silence was fear from that teacher..fear from being resticated as the students were very sure that d college management will take side of teacher..as every time its fault of the girl..

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