I am writing from Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. I am a woman, who, like many others has faced the wrath of mankind for being a feminist. My college may not be as patriarchal as many other institutions in the country, but the head of our institution is quite sexist. Unfortunately, people joke about it and just let it go, but this needs to stop.
They blame women for the clothes that they wear in the college functions by regularly asking senior batch students to convene ‘friendly sessions’. In these sessions, we are told to hide our skin so that it doesn’t attract a lot of attention or doesn’t tarnish the image of the university. The image which is only being maintained by the hardworking students of the place. Our honourable Vice-Chancellor (VC) and the Registrar often pass comments like “Ladke toh ladke, ladkiyon ko bhi der raat ko bahar jana hai.” (Men are men, but even women want to go out late.) The VC has also made statements in front of about 60 of us saying, “Ladkiyon ko bhi maa baap ki izzat ka dhyan nahi hai. Unhein bhi modern banna hai, peena hai.” (Even women don’t think about the honour of their parents. They want to be modern and drink.) Tell me more about how a woman drinking is different from a man doing so. Our institution needs to introspect and teach itself, not police us.
The statements made by the VC, backed by our Registrar are a shame in the name of a National Law University. Our friends and seniors have tried talking to the authorities directly, but their voices are often silenced by threatening them for marks and calls to their parents. This is the level of freedom my esteemed University is guaranteeing me.
There is a gate in the premises which shuts after 6:30 p.m. for girls and functions till 2 a.m. for the boys. We cannot step outside our hostels after 10:30 p.m., but it is just the women who are being questioned if they are late, and not the men. Our library isn’t open 24/7. “Kyunki raat mein gandi ghatnaayen hoti hain.” (Because at night, terrible incidents happen.)
If you are a guy, you can get your food parcelled from the dhaba or get it yourself, even at 2 a.m. Nobody will say anything. Yet, a woman cannot even go to the gates to receive the food because ‘anything can happen’ and then they will find a way to blame their attire for it.
What are these institutions teaching young women? None of us get it. But these higher authorities often silence our voices. Such thinking takes us all back to where it had begun for women. When they were told not to get educated as there was fear that they would become ‘chaalak’ (sly) and ‘modern’. I urge our alumni to take this issue further as they won’t be questioned. The current students also need to fight back. And men need to stand up too.
Don’t tolerate sexism because your freedom isn’t curtailed. Why not show these people that they do not need to rush into making moralistic assumptions about a student’s character based on what time of the day she enters her hostel or what she wears to college parties?
And to our VC, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, we are modern and we will reclaim our freedom. You and your sexist rants need to stop. Control the wrongdoers and not us.