By Anuradha Mishra:
Living away from home is not easy. More often than not, when someone moves away from home for studies, living in a flat seems difficult, and students prefer hostels. Hostel life is hard, especially when it comes to women’s hostels. The skyrocketing cut-offs are not the only hassle for those aspiring to study at Delhi University, but also the shortage of hostel seats which has the students scrambling for private facilities.
There are very few hostels available, and for the ones that do get admission to the hostels, the problems don’t stop there. In the women’s hostel at SGTB Khalsa College, the deadline to come back to hostel every night changes according to the season: the curfew time is different for summer, winter and spring. In summers the curfew timings are 7:30 pm, which is further reduced in winters to 6:30 pm. Many residents feel the curfew timings are too early and they find it hard to comply with such strict rules. Such timings put a barrier on the activities of the resident. A sophomore student Manisha says, “It becomes difficult to attend festive and cultural seasons of college.”
It is also difficult for the residents to schedule their coaching timings in accordance with the hostel curfew timings. Hostelers are not even allowed to move out of their rooms after 10 pm. It is literally caging them within four walls. And if residents are unable to comply with the rules or have any issues with them, they are asked to leave the hostel since there are many who are looking to stay in hostels. A woman’s freedom is curtailed in the name of safety. A first year Economics (Honours) student Pavitra says, “I don’t want my activities to be restricted, and it feels like being in jail.”
The hostel fee is also quite high, reaching up to ₹64,000 per semester, excluding college fees and other personal expenses. The number of seats are also less and only about 10% applicants who apply for hostels get them. The seats are allocated on first-cum-first-serve basis and not on the basis of need. SGTB Khalsa College also does not have a hostel for male students. Students are compelled to hunt for affordable housing which is easier said than done. In Khalsa College, where the annual fees reach up to ₹22,000 the living cost for the students who rent flats, rooms or PGs reaches up to ₹16,000 per month. Proximity to the university campus affects the rent. Many students have to get these rooms through brokers who charge 50% of the total cost and to top it off, landlords increase the rent by 10% every succeeding year.
In Khalsa College, there is no hostel for men and the one that does exist for women follows sexist rules which limit their freedom under the garb of ‘safety’. Living away from home is difficult and the lack of provisions for some students and the existence of patriarchal ones for others continue to make it even harder.
Image only used for representational purposes.