After taking admission at Delhi University, I started enquiring about hostels. At the gate of Gwyer Hall Hostel, I asked the guard about the fees and the admission process.
He told me, and that was in 2013, that the admission fee was ₹17,000-19,000 (per year perhaps, if I remember correctly) and ₹4-5,000 per month. It struck me like a thunderbolt.
I never imagined that a central university hostel could charge that kind of money from students. I never stayed in a hostel in West Bengal (where I’m from), and whatever I have heard about government hostels includes the fact that the fees are more on the lines of ₹1,500-2,500 – perhaps thanks to the Left government which cared to keep the education within the reach of the economically disadvantaged.
The Gwyer Hall guard also told me that fees of other DU hostels are more or less the same. I gave up. Instead, I started looking for a different sort of accommodation, more suited to my capacity.
And, with so much of difficulty, I managed to complete my MA. However, I had many friends who used to stay at different DU hostels and it is needless to write here, about the differences between me and them.
Today, I am sure the fees have increased more than I would like to think. I hear that students they pay more than a few lakhs a year to obtain hostel facilities. I conclude that if I were to study there today, it would not have been possible, like so many others.
Now, the rich and elite of Delhi, north India and other parts neglect the value of ₹10 and question the protesting JNU students. I must tell you, you should have some shame.
You cannot decide monetary value for those who are not as privileged as you are. Rather than questioning and opposing the students’ protest at JNU, you should rather try to understand their background and the problems they face during their studies. You cannot judge anybody by their face, which you are inclined to do because of your casteist and classist mindset.
In my knowledge, DU (and the two other central universities in Delhi with some share), the biggest central university in India is dominated by the rich, upper caste elite, and it is because of reservation that members of marginalised communities have been able to make their way through, but their journey is tough, often frustrating, depressing, and unhappy.
In this case, education should not be a luxury for the rich, it should be completely free, beyond all boundaries, without question. The rich cannot decide the fate of those not as well off as them.
In solidarity with protesting students at JNU. #FeesMustFall