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Is Jamia Millia Islamia Incorrectly Evaluating Its Entrance Exam Candidates?

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On June 02, 2018, I came all the way to New Delhi, to sit in an entrance exam for Post Graduation in Political Science, in one of the renowned institutions of India, Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI).

Way back in my nostalgic years of graduation, I had heard from my batch mates, seniors and professors about the impeccable academic achievements of  JMI. So for this reason, I was interested in applying for my post graduation considering the outstanding faculty of the varsity. I studied with a fine tooth comb of my discipline, as I knew anything could be asked in the entrance, which is also the case for other university entrance exams.

This is an established notion or the vox populi that every varsity, not only from India but all around the academic world, will also ask questions from the earlier graduation course of the particular discipline too. I was cramming for my subject in which I planned to pursue my higher education to get broader wisdom and scholarship of my discipline. When I sat for the entrance, all of us in the room were handed the question paper, and we looked at every question as it provided food for thought.

When I turned the page after going through the first fifty questions, I realised that the remaining questions were from Science, Current affairs, Geography and History mostly, and not from Political Science as they were supposed to be. My conscience deprecated at first to even have a look at these questions and attempting them did not sit right with me. But I had to bite the bullet as I could not leave these questions unattempted. When I was done, I discussed the paper with my friends from JNU, HCU, AMU and Jadavpur University, to get their views on the paper. They all objected to the exam’s structure and disparaged it.

I waited for a month to see my result and then file a Right To Information(RTI) application on it. On the 30th of that month, the results were declared, and as I was sure I will clear the exam but that did not happen. So I filed an RTI to know the reason why the concerned authority was asking questions from the diverse disciplines or subjects even at the post graduation level for a particular subject.

Picture 1.

In the above mentioned RTI, I waited for thirty days as prescribed under the RTI Act, 2005, to dispose of the concerned query. With the forbearance of the provocation of the administration, I was flabbergasted to see my RTI application nowhere to be found (even when the relevant authority of RTI online, operated by Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, provided me with a Registration number and a Payment reference number of my RTI), as you can see in the picture below.

It should be taken seriously that not only the JMI administration but the Central Information Commission which is working under the aegis of RTI Act, 2005, couldn’t do justice to provide the valid information to an applicant and even misplaced the RTI from the account. I was reading an article in dailyO about the disgruntled reactions to the loopholes in the entrance tests in particular and the dichotomy of the central university per se to be great in itself, failed to be good enough to be called a ‘University’.

With keeping in mind the above blunder, there is also another paradox in the so-called administration of the varsity. JMI’s entrance portal has provided the facility to the students to let them know if there is any fault in their overall entrance mechanism. It is bogus in itself. Although they have provided the mechanism, they forgot to let the students know where to address and how to address their grievances, as no further tabs open for going through with it, as you can see in the picture below.

So, when I saw all this, I was adamant to explicitly enunciate the whole event that happened to me in particular and to many more aspirants like me. There are a number of students with their testimonies, who want to naysay this established behaviour of the administration, which seems to have hibernated and do not care about even taking this into consideration. This kind of laxity will only ruin a student’s career and smash the expectation of a student who wishes to study in a good public funded university. The incumbent Vice-Chancellor Prof. Shahid Ashraf, who is at the helm of the varsity, must acknowledge with strenuous efforts to iron out these kosher issues with gravitas as they are not-so-subtle in the public domain.






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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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.

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