In an unprecedented development, Kirori Mal College (KMC), affiliated to the University or Delhi (DU), has cancelled its farewell for the graduating class of the academic session 2017-18.
DU Beat was informed about this recent development through an official circular from the Chairman of the college, Mr. Srivedant Desai.
In the circular dated 23rd of April 2018, Mr. Desai has noted, “In a show of support for the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) strike against the new UGC guidelines, the Kirori Mal College Teachers’ Association (KMCTA) in collaboration with the college Students’ Union has jointly decided to withhold every form of celebratory activity within the college premises indefinitely. All department and society farewells along with the college farewell for the graduating batch henceforth stands cancelled.”
While the motive of this decision is aimed towards just dispensation, the same has been criticised by various student quarters of the college. Directing strongly-worded criticism again the Students’ Union, President of the Western Dance Society, Karan Pandey, remarked, “We support the teachers in their struggle again the UGC guidelines, the 30-70 percent formula. However, it was wrong of the Union to take such a decision without consulting with us. The democratic character of the Union would be eroded if the students’ representatives continue to take reckless decisions.”
A group of final year students from Botany Honors and History Honors have decided to demonstrate against this decision, by organising an indefinite hunger strike. The group of protesters, consisting of about 130 to 150 students from the two departments, have occupied the area in front of the entry gate. Mallika, a student protester, told DU Beat, “We have spent 3 years of our lives in this campus. Right from when we were freshers, farewell was something that we all looked forward to. An entire montage of conflicting emotions, ranging from nostalgia to happiness to reverie, would be associated with the word “farewell”. But now, there would be nothing to commemorate the three years spent here. Today, we are protesting against the sheer lack of sensitivity displayed towards our emotions by the people in power.”
Adding on to Mallika’s remarks, Nikhil, President of the department of Botany Honors, said, “We will not move an inch from here until the decision is revoked by the KMCTA and the Students’ Union. If they had pledged to serve our interests when they occupied those positions of power, they must stick to their commitment.”
When the correspondent approached the college Principal for his remarks, he refused to comment on the same. When prodded further by the correspondent, he said, “At this point of time, I wouldn’t want to make a statement on this highly sensitive issue. I will surely revert back to you within a day.”
However, no reversion from the Office of the Principal had occurred since.
In a phone call conversation with the correspondent, the President of the college, Sandeep Samal, responded to the criticism by saying, “Look, we understand that this step is a rather controversial one, and no one expects the final year students to suffer. But until and unless we join in the teachers’ struggle and force the Varsity administration to pay heed to their demands, the DUTA struggle will not make much headway. It is only through real sacrifice that we will see real outcomes.”
As the students go their separate ways, some towards the job market and others towards higher studies, is depriving the graduating batch of 2017-18 of one final day as young, carefree students justified? This conflict of interests between a noble cause on one hand, and the students’ interests on the other, is expected to take a heavy toll on the already fragile nexus between the teachers and students of this significantly “political college”.
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Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak