A mass hunger strike, ‘Hostel Satyagrah’ was organised under AISA’s “A Room of My Own” program near Arts Faculty on 26th and 27th of August. Students from around 30 colleges across Delhi University participated to demand the availability of more hostels, rent regulation and rent allowances. The hunger strike was a part of a campaign started by AISA (All India Students Association). More than 20,000 students had given their feedback on postcards distributed by AISA earlier this month. The postcards were submitted to the DU Vice Chancellor and a demands memorandum was submitted to the Principals of around 20 colleges.
In addition to students, a number of intellectuals, artists, poets and theatre groups joined in support of the movement. Alongside the hunger strike, various other events were organised. The events included lectures by Prof Nandini Sundar (Sociology Dept DU), Dr P K Vijyan (Hindu College) and Anil Chamadia.
On the ‘Idea of University’ Professor Nandini said, “The need for hostels is not only for a cheap accommodation but rather it should be linked to an idea of a closed campus where students live and share their ideas throughout day and night. One must link it to freedom of living and sharing academic ideas.”
By addressing the issue through the lense of ‘Una Movement and Dalit Upsurge’, Anil Chamadia added a crucial perspective. “ The movement for hostels is necessary for the students coming from reserved category and financial weaker sections of the society. There is an attempt by the government to make the campuses elite to exclude people coming from the lower sections of the society from coming to campus. One must link this struggle inside campus to the struggle going in Una”, he said.
The event also witnessed some cultural performances by by Hirawal (People’s Band from Patna), Sangwari (Resistance Cultural Group) and Moksha (Aurobindo Theater Group).
According to Sudhanshu Shekhar, President of DU AISA,” The ABVP which is winning all posts in DUSU from the past two years has not only overlooked the issue of accommodation for DU students but rather it openly advertises for private PGs and private hostels. We are positive that DU students will stand with us this time saying no to ABVP which has completely failed on this issue.” The issues related to accommodations is likely to be one of the main agendas of AISA in the upcoming DUSU elections.
Featured image credits: Tooba Towfiq for DU Beat