This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Muntaha Amin. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Kashmir College Asks ‘Boys And Girls To Not Be Found In Objectionable Position’

More from Muntaha Amin

The Government Degree College in Baramulla, Kashmir, in a recent notice, which was later shared by Kashmir Women’s Collective on their Facebook page, have some absurd codes of conduct the students must follow in the college premises. These rules include banning of ‘unlawful assembly’ and sloganeering, banning mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, and headphones. The notice reads, “The disciplinary committee shall seize cell phones from students and initiate the proper disciplinary procedure.” Separate resting areas for boys and girls have also been specified. Aimless roaming in the campus has been declared ‘not advisable’ and “boys and girls are strictly advised not to remain in an objectionable position.” The boys are further directed to have a formal haircut and follow “in-genuine use of caps.”

Women students have to get their bags checked when they enter the campus. Such intrusive disciplinary actions are rampant in many higher secondary schools and colleges in Kashmir. Special disciplinary squads have been assigned these duties. The college has demanded that both boys and girls dress according to new guidelines. Girls have been advised to wear white coloured full sleeves below knee length kameez.

The notice, regarding the same, reads, “Girl students are directed not to carry any irrelevant stuff in their bags, otherwise, the objectionable stuff shall be seized by the female disciplinary squad after proper frisking of their bags.”

In my personal experience in the Girls Higher Secondary Islamabad (Anantnag), the ‘objectionable’ stuff that they used to seize were mobile phones, kajal, lipsticks or any other makeup related stuff.

In the higher secondary I attended, we had proper frisking sessions which used to make us really uncomfortable. Most of the times, we were asked to open our tiffins to see if we’d hidden some ‘objectionable’ stuff in there. Our higher secondary had a strict rule of covering our bodies from top to bottom and use two-piece dupattas, one for the head and another over the shoulders. The one on the shoulders had to be properly spread out and the way we donned it would be checked by the female disciplinary squad.

“In Srinagar’s Kothibagh (Women Higher Secondary), surveillance, codes for dress, bag checking, restrictions to freely roam around the campus, arbitrary exercise of power based on teachers’ whims, fancies and moods, raids to see who were bunking classes, strict rules for how to tie one’s hair, moral policing of the worst kind, no pen drives or CDs and smartphones were allowed. If we told them we had study material on our pen drives, they would ask us to go and take printouts and bring only the hard copies inside the college premises,” says Mariyeh Mushtaq, an ex-student of the senior secondary.

Tooba Toufiq, while talking about the rules in Srinagar’s Women’s College, says, “Women’s College was misogyny’s fort. Moral policing was the order of this world and patriarchy was its divine truth. I remember walking into the staff room for my admission without my head covered. I was immediately judged and mocked, “fail ho gayi ho kya?” This did take me by surprise for a while but being the state topper that year was enough of an answer to them. I am glad I did not stay there for long and left it soon after for Delhi University. It was absurdity galore! They actually frisked everyone and did not allow novels or any ‘leisure’ literature inside the college premises. Perhaps, they thought that novels and other literary pieces were “morally corrupting.” Whatever happened after the 16th century did not reach Women’s college.”

She further adds, “And what must I say about Mallinson Girls School. Slut shaming girls was a norm there. It was a camp where they had self-appointed themselves to tame students. This aside, the teachers were extremely irresponsible towards the mental health of girls in the 9th and 10th standards. Instead of counselling them in relation with incidents of self-harm and making sure it doesn’t escalate to something worse, they made sure that the poor student feels all the more alienated. They were hell-bent on shoving down our throats, these unwritten rules.”

Aakash Hassan, an ex-student of GDC Baramulla says, “It is a travesty. The colleges in Kashmir have miserably failed to give proper education. Now, with these rules, it is clear how the students are being treated as primary school kids. They can’t check the bags of students. It is completely bizarre. And who will decide what a “genuine hair-style” is? These diktats are going to further alienate the students. It definitely is most unfortunate, a cruel thing which can happen in an educational institute.”

In my personal opinion, the higher secondary schools and colleges in Kashmir have never even remotely thought of any possibility of critical engagement with knowledge, questioning the status quo and approaching life politically and critically. The culture in these institutions is regressive to an unimaginable level and academic freedom is an alien concept and if that was not enough, it all has the icing on the top, a daily dose of patriarchal diktats sanctioned by the administrations, non-existent gender sensitisation or any sensitivity to mental health and other concerns of students in their most formidable years, with rampant sexism and arbitrary exercise of authority of the worst kind. This kind of choking, stringent environment and college culture rarely leaves any space for political and academic growth of students especially women.

_

Image used for representation only.
Image source: Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Muntaha Amin

Similar Posts

By Avantika Tiwari

By Aaditya Kanchan

By Javed Abidi Foundation

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below