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

Men Out On A Gedi In A Flashy Car Eve-Teased Me: 3 PU Students Narrate Their Experiences

More from Kritika Nautiyal

To confabulate about women empowerment is a mere façade. Long speeches are proclaimed in the honour of women, advocating women empowerment. It is all but a deception. Even our institutions don’t provide an impregnable environment for women.

Panjab University is one of the prestigious institutions in the country. It is an impeccable example of naturalising sexual harassment at the institutional level. I have spent two years in Panjab University and there wasn’t a single day I didn’t hear or face impropriety.

Gedi With Friends Or Eve-Teasing?

‘Gedi culture’ is an intrinsic part of the beautiful city of Chandigarh. Gedi is a Punjabi word that means taking a stroll with friends, mostly in luxury cars. Chandigarh is infamous for its Gedi routes that include various colleges and restaurants, and Panjab University is the epicentre. of most of the routes. Gedi for boys is about flaunting their luxury cars to impress girls. Their pea-sized brain can only fathom luxury as the only appealing idea to women. Guys follow women in their cars and, of course, catcall them.

“I was going from my hostel to the department building and in a bit of a hurry, so I didn’t notice a car following me. The guy drove the car so much closer to me that at the turn, he bumped into my Activa, and it slipped. They ran away and didn’t even stop to see if I was okay. A bystander took down the number and gave it to the guards, but they couldn’t do anything because the number couldn’t be traced. There are no cameras in the university and neither are the outsiders denied entry,” Jasleen Kaur, a former student of Panjab University, commented on the Gedi-culture of the University.

To confabulate about women empowerment is a mere façade. Long speeches are proclaimed in the honour of women, advocating women empowerment. It is all but a deception. Representational image.

Anika Kaundal, another former student of Panjab University, stated, “Once I was waiting for my friend outside the department building and busy scrolling my phone. Then, I noticed a car that had crossed me three or four times. I knew they would pass a comment, so I went inside the building. But one of the guys came inside the building and asked me for my number. I asked him to leave and threatened to complain. This is eve-teasing and this gedi-culture should be taken into serious consideration. Parking areas should be away from the central buildings of the University so that gedis can be stopped.”

There are a dozen more incidents like the two narrated above. Eve-teasing is a common sight in Chandigarh and is left untouched by mainstream media. But the issue made national headlines when Varnika Kandu, daughter of an IAS officer, filed a complaint of stalking and assault. Is it only the elite who deserves all the media attention and justice? What about the masses who suffer from similar problems on an everyday basis? Monologues on Women’s Day won’t change a thing until we work towards ensuring equality and safety for women.

The Student’s Centre in Panjab University is crammed with the lustful gaze of men, and girls can’t even enjoy a cup of coffee without getting that stare. The crowd mostly comprises outsiders because, of course, University students are too busy worrying about their 75% compulsory attendance. Also, most of them don’t have luxury cars and time to waste on such insolent activities.

Panjab University’s Library Hall is accessible to all and only 10% out of those who access the library come to study there. During exams, the library is jam-packed. I remember, once I was engrossed in my book, preparing notes for my exam, and the guy sitting next to me was constantly staring at me. He made me so uncomfortable that I had to leave the library. Whom do we complain to about such issues? And even if we want to complain, nobody cares.

I distinctly remember one of the incidents when a guy followed me to my hostel from the library. He asked the receptionist to call me from my room. “Your friend is waiting for you in the guest room since your number isn’t available, I’ve come to inform you,” Shiela didi told me, but my number was working perfectly.

I went down with her to the guest room, but I couldn’t find a familiar face to say ‘Hi’ to. A guy stood up, came up to me, and said, “I have been noticing you for quite a few days and I just thought I would surprise you by coming here.” I was shocked to hear him say these words. I told him, “This is not called noticing, it is stalking and how dare you follow me back to my hostel!” I immediately went to the guard and complained about that guy. I felt ghastly after I heard his words: “Putt, aaj ton baad ni hona chahida (Child, this shouldn’t get repeated).”

I compelled the guard to take that guy to the concerned authorities, but he didn’t listen and asked me to drop the matter. The guard committed a crime more heinous than that stalker.

I tried to contact the student welfare committee but I couldn’t reach them, and the stalker ended up getting acquitted. And even if I had managed to complain about him, the mechanism of the University is not efficient enough to trace that person.

A similar case happened in 2019 when a journalist alleged that she was stalked and molested in the University’s botanical garden. The incident took place during sunrise, on her morning walk. The issue raised questions about the lax in women’s safety on the campus. The police circulated a sketch of the accused but got no leads. Had there been properly-installed CCTV cameras, finding the accused would have been easier.

No More Rape

Actually Concerned Or Mere Pretence?

Gender equality and women’s safety have always been the major concerns of the varsity. In 2018, Kanupriya became the first female President of Panjab University and her leadership did bring a change. The PUCSC (Panjab University Campus Students’ Council), headed by Kanupriya, was victorious in ensuring 24-hour entry for girls in hostels. Earlier, only boys had this freedom, which indicated inequality.

Panjab University was established in the year 1882 and after more than a century, the Senate agreed to give equal rights to women. They restricted girls because the authorities felt that being out late would not be safe for girls. Isn’t it their duty to make a safe and hospitable environment for every student? Why aren’t there stricter rules for boys if they misbehave? Why is the freedom of women curbed? To maintain decorum in the institution is a job of the authorities, which clearly, they have failed to do.

Satya Pal Jain, former MP of Chandigarh, in 2019, suggested that PU should start a helpline for women. Authorities have been worried about women’s safety all along and yet, they didn’t even care to initiate a helpline?

“Both boys and girls have equal rights, but an assault on a woman student can destroy her entire life. So, I suggested starting a helpline where women students can call when they are in danger. It will be managed by a control room having numbers of SHOs or SPs concerned. The suggestion was agreed to by all,” Jain said.

Why Not Teach Our Boys A Little? 

Only girls are subjected to moral policing, why not try to tame your boys a bit? This carefree behaviour of men results in harassment of women and their behaviour normalises sexual harassment. In our patriarchal society, men already have a sense of superiority, and inaction towards such behaviour only affirms their notion of superiority. Men tend to have a tendency to oppress because nobody ever tried to mend their ways.

Boys are neither questioned nor corrected in our society, and this is the reason they think they have the right to do anything. Both men and women deserve equal rights, but they need to be corrected when wrong. Authorities should have fair and equal treatment towards the students to build a solid and equitable foundation.

Preventive Measures That Authorities Should Take

An active grievance redressal cell with toll-free numbers for women safety.

  • Parking zones should be allotted near the main gates and the University should be a no-vehicle zone. It will automatically solve the gedi-problem. E-rickshaws of the University should be used for commuting within the premises. It was once implemented in the session 2018-19, but it should become a persistent practice.
  • There should be a registration process for the vehicle numbers of faculty member and students. In case any gedi incident is reported, concerned authorities should first run a check in their database.
  • The Library Hall of the University is accessible to all. Outsiders entry should be restricted in the premises or if not, guards should note down the time of entry and exit, and the purpose of the visit.
  • Guards should be placed on all entry gates and be held accountable to some higher authority. A proper, sensitised training on eve-teasing and harassment should be imparted to them.
  • CCTV camera should be installed on the campus and an efficient team should be put in place to supervise all activities and report the unusual activity.
  • The assailant should not be let free and face strict action.
You must be to comment.

More from Kritika Nautiyal

Similar Posts

By Simran Pavecha

By Sumit

By Amya Roy

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, 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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below