DU Beat


How does it feel to see those familiar lawns, walls, canteens and classrooms of your college on silver screens? Perhaps, it is not something new for a Delhi University kid, or is it?

In contemporary times, nothing has been left un-bollywoodised. From ambitious “apna time aayega” (my time will come) posters on the walls of our rooms to those trying-to-be-quirky truck drivers bearing “has mat pagli pyaar ho jaega” (don’t smile or I’ll fall in love with you) at the back of their vehicles to finding equal proportions in meme culture, the Bollywood fever has swept over the entire array. In such a culture, how could premier institutions like Delhi University be left untouched by bolly-baptization?

Heaving with overwhelm, jittering with anxiety not without a truckload of anticipation – this is a common description of any first-year student, especially those who make it to the “coveted” corners of DU. The Bollywood bandwagon has seeped so much into the college culture that even these nervous “facchas” are treated to Bollywood-themed fresher’s parties followed by the onslaught of Instagram reels documenting the whole event.

A scene from the film Fukrey (2013) shot in Miranda House,  Image Credits: Celluloid: The Film Society of Miranda House

Why is the college trope so famous?

There seems to be a sort of symbiotic relationship between college and Bollywood, which has of course, found its nexus in the glamorisation of college life. From college friendships to college romance, the trope of college life has been reproduced to an extent that now it seems oversaturated. Yet, it is one of the most popular genres, earning a bloating box-office collection everytime. From Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) to Rang De Basanti (2006) to 3 Idiots (2009) and more recently Chhichhore (2019), the list goes on. The changing demography of the target audience has allowed film industries to extract their careers out of our nostalgia. We often yearn for the bygone days and certainly, the college years occupy one of our fondest memories. After all, for many of us, college is the time when we experience most of our ‘firsts’ – crushes, heartbreaks, fights, and countless other memorable experiences. And through these films, these eccentricities of college life we get to experience again. 

A scene from the film Half Girlfriend (2017) shot in St. Stephen’s College,   Image Credits: The Times of India

The Politics of “Privileged” Colleges

We all love and undeniably feel a sense of pride seeing the cameo of our colleges in our most cherished films. But why do some DU colleges make it to the screens while some do not? The Hinduite Jordan and the Stephanian Heer became the college Romeo-Juliet romance. The “itni si chutney me do samose khau mai?” (how do I eat two samosas in so little chutney) graffiti on Hindu canteen’s wall from the same film Rockstar, Fukrey in Miranda House, Dil Dosti Etc in Hindu College, DevD and Band Baja Baarat in Hansraj and Half Girlfriend in St. Stephen’s College. The Ananya-Panday-effect of these North Campus colleges is very evident in the Bollywood milieu of nepotism. For filmmakers, shooting in DU mainly means shooting in the North Campus. The number of shoots in North Campus particularly has also increased in the past few years, from 3-4 shoots to 10-12 shoots per year, possibly because of easy permissions. These shoots in North Campus catch the fancy of many students and thus continue to uphold the existing hierarchy of colleges in Delhi University. According to an interview conducted by The Times of India in 2018, Ravi Sarin who was a part of the shooting of the film ‘Mom’ at SRCC said, “It’s the architecture of the colleges of North Campus that attracts filmmakers.” The charming red brick buildings of North Campus colleges are a major attraction to the filmmakers. It provides a sense of historicity to the location, an amalgamation of the new and the old, past and present. 

A scene from the film  Raazi (2018) shot in Miranda House,  Image Credits: The Times of India

The Fallacy of Masti ki Paathshala 

Common expectation told to us by elders and popular media often fosters a fallacy premised upon hopes for better days in college, better life, better opportunities and better friendships. The American threesome of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll is replicated in Bollywood as maal, masti and mohabbat (substance, fun and love). However, this alliteration fails to capture the unglorified realities of DU- hectic timetables, strict professors, boring lectures, stifling competition and everyday metro hustles. Colleges in Bollywood are nothing less than any theme park that has to sustain the assortment of fake paraphernalia of coolness, fun, richness, style and other cliched fancy adjectives. Only if college life was a Dharma Production you can expect to find an SRK-type boyfriend or a hot professor like in Main Hoon Na. In reality, there will be no falling in love with violin playing in the background, wind brushing past the hair and romantic slow-mo moments. Neither, in fact hardly our yaad-karegi-duniya-tera-mera-afsana (the world will remember our story) kind of friendships will permeate our nine-to-five reality. Will we even care for our lost Rancho inhabiting some far-off part of Ladakh after 10 years? In times when everyone seems to be guilty of repeatedly postponing Goa plans until it dies on a vine, it’s a bitter realisation that we all shall be made Arjuns uttering Moshi Moshi to a Japanese client on a road trip to Spain with friends (if at all the trip transcends the precincts of our plannings). 

A dialogue turned meme from the film Rockstar (2011),  Image Credits: Indian Meme Template

Hmm, so we can say, our much loved DU (and colleges in general) have had its own multiplicity of moments – as a main character, as a side-kick, as a decorative prop (like female characters in KJO films), as a misrepresented character (like LGBTQ characters in Bollywood) and sometimes as an anti-hero (like those in Anurag Kashyap’s films). But in everything, maybe DU is our Geet from Jab We Met who does not shy away from claiming “Mai apni favourite hoon”

Feature Image Credits: ScoopWhoop

Read Also: Bollywood Imitates Life and Vice-Versa

Samra Iqbal

[email protected]

The police have identified eight more students since the sexual harassment incident transpired at a fest in Indraprastha College on 28 March.

Eight students have been identified through CCTV footage and analysis of their CDR locations during the Indraprastha College for Women’s (IPCW) annual fest “Shruti”. The Civil Lines police intends to question the students, who are all students at Delhi University. The police have also recorded the statement of a woman who was allegedly sexually harassed during the fest.

Students protested within the campus, a day after several men abused students aft scaling its outer walls. Students demanded accountability from the administration and Delhi Police for their failure to secure the event. They also demanded the resignation of the college Principal, Prof. Poonam Kumria. In order to get an explanation for the security failure during the event, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) sent a notice to the police and the college administration. It also demanded a report on the steps taken by April 3. 

“It has been over a week and we were promised the results of the committee. In the starting, there was a lot of momentum but we fear things are dying down. No definite action has been taken and we’re all hoping that more pressure will be put on the principal and she’ll give us answers. It’s a very slow and tiring process, the students are mentally exhausted but we won’t give up till we get her to take accountability.”

                                                                                                 –An anonymous student from Indraprastha College, in conversation with DU Beat

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) stated in the report that the Delhi Police had recorded the statements of only two survivors under section 164 CrPC despite two weeks since the passage of the incident. The commission, in its interim report to IPCW, said that the Delhi Police arrested five students on the day of the incident. However, they were later released on the same day. The unknown men harassed the young women inside the campus and hurled abuses at them. However, the police said that no student came forth to report such allegations.

It is disappointing that no action has been taken against any official of Delhi Police or IP College over the security lapses. Girls are sexually harassed in their own college fests and the authorities are not doing enough to prevent these incidents, bring the guilty to task and to support the survivors. We have given our report on the matter and I expect strong action.” – Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of DCW, in conversation with The Hindu

The Commission conducted an investigation and summoned officials and interrogated victims of the incident.

In our interaction with the survivors, the Commission learnt that four persons were injured and a girl even sustained a fracture due to this harrowing incident. Also, in the past, similar crimes have occurred in other colleges in Delhi University including Miranda House and Gargi College,” – the DCW’s statement.

The commission stated that there was a lack of coordination between the police and the college to ensure an effective security strategy.

The Delhi Police told the Commission that IP College grounds cannot accommodate more than 2,000 persons and this was not informed by the college before organising the event, in which they had invited thousands of persons,” – DCW

The commission also noted that the Delhi Police did not obtain the incident’s CCTV tape until April 6, 2023. Following the commission’s involvement, they gathered the film from the college, but they later learned that it was insufficient.

Feature Image Credits: Anjali, AISA DU Secretary on Twitter

Read Also: In Recent Developments of IPCW, DCW Seeks Reports from Police

Sri Sidhvi Dindi

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In its report, the Delhi Commission for Women has exposed various inefficiencies on part of the authorities and the police, and has asked for accountability.  

Following the reports of sexual harassment of women during the annual fest- ‘Shruti’ of Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took suo moto cognizance of the situation. Its chairperson, Swati Maliwal on Tuesday asked the police, Delhi University and the colleges concerned to submit an Action Taken Report by 18th April. According to the official notice, college authorities and the police have to submit a set of guidelines and mechanisms before that panel that will help in preventing such incidents in future.

On March 28, a group of men barged into the Indraprastha College for Women by scaling the boundary walls, leading to a stampede. Several women were allegedly harassed and injured in the chaos. The incident led to protests by hundreds of students, who demanded strict action against the accused persons and the resignation of Principal Poonam Kumria.

It is disappointing that no action has been taken against any official of Delhi Police or IP College over the security lapses. Girls are sexually harassed in their own college fests and the authorities are not doing enough to prevent these incidents.” – Swati Maliwal

The Delhi Commission for Women also issued interim recommendations to Indraprastha College for Women, DU and Delhi Police. It found several lapses on the part of the authorities and the police in conducting the investigation. 

Its inquiry showed that the Delhi Police officials did not act in time to collect CCTV footage of the incident and have not made any arrests.

It’s unfortunate that despite the passage of ten days, police officials had not secured CCTV footage of the incident from college authorities which is crucial in identifying the perpetrators of the crime. Commission again summoned the officials on April 8, wherein they informed that CCTV footage has been collected from the college now, but the footage is incomplete, and they have contacted the college to provide them the complete footage.” – Delhi Commission for Women

It also added that the college had sought police security for a crowd of 8,000 plus people on their premises but did not seek permission for the event. The Commission further stated that “the Delhi University and Delhi Police should design a coordinated strategy for ensuring adequate security before any fest is organised in colleges” as it had noticed that there was a “complete lack of coordination between the two authorities on the matter, as no police permission was obtained by IP College for the event”.

Additionally, DCW suggested that the local SHO and college principal meet, ideally one week before the program, to go through the security measures in place to ensure the safety of the students. The commission discovered that, as of April 6, accusations of sexual harassment had not yet been transmitted to IPCW’s Internal Complaints Committee and that the ICC should have representation from students and an external member from a reputable NGO working on women’s rights.

Read Also: The Invasion of IPCW: A Student’s Account

Featured Image Credits: The Indian Express

Samra Iqbal 

[email protected]

On 1st April 2023, DU Beat spoke with Dr. Abha Dev Habib, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Miranda House and a women’s movement activist, to discuss the condemnable incidents that took place in Indraprastha College for Women on 28th and 29th March 2023, during their Annual Fest ‘Shruti’, where some men scaled the walls of the college and harassed women inside the college premises. 


Question: Thank you so much ma’am for joining us. So I would like to begin by asking your views or how you see the recent developments that unfolded in Indraprastha College for Women. 


Dr. Habib: Thank you. Yes, I find it very unfortunate. One, of course, the whole assault where male students and other students are trying to barge in, and then there was that was one incident that also happened in Miranda in October 2022, during the Diwali Mela. But what I find most unfortunate today is that when the students are protesting and women students are protesting, they feel that their space has been occupied, that they were molested, and that the administration and the police have not taken enough steps. Instead of extending support, instead of allowing that protest to happen, allowing that outrage to happen, the administration of the college and the police is diverting their energy in trying to stop this protest, in harassing women, students, young women, and they’re being told that the college will inform their parents and that they cannot protest like this. The police have been continuously detaining the protesters. I find that extremely objectionable because if women are not even allowed to protest against this violence, then I do not know. I think in some sense the administration and the police have sided with those who have molested people, who have outraged the whole thing. I mean, the people have been molested, and the administration is siding with them and is standing against the decent. 


Question: So, as you mentioned there is apathy on part of the administration. We have seen an irony in the deployment of police forces when it comes to detaining people and a meager deployment or almost no deployment of forces when it comes to providing protection to the people. So how do you see this trend? 


Dr. Habib: This trend is very disturbing. And one thing is the short-sightedness of the administration in saying that there will not be too many people wanting to come into the college. These fests are happening after a gap of two years COVID period when they were not happening at all. And there is hyperactivity in all colleges. All societies want to function, all societies want to have fests. And when the college is throwing open its gate to all, there will be sort of a huge rush. So there may be a short-sightedness or miscalculation on part of the administration and trying to get the police on time or to have arrangements on time. Now, however, what is happening after students protested is that they were molested and the police were called to detain them. I find that unacceptable and unfortunate and this should not have happened. This cannot happen. While you can pardon the administration for the first part, of course, we make mistakes and there was a miscalculation, I cannot pardon the administration for the second. What these protests are doing, apart from letting focus on the way the space was occupied and creating an awareness of gender sensitization, these protests are actually calling out to all student community to say that women’s colleges cannot be closed down just because the society is such that women will be molested or something. You cannot force women to stay back home. You cannot close down doors on them and allow everybody to have a good day outside. And what we are saying is that if we have too many police or we start making these festivals as closed festivals, that is not an answer. The answer lies in gender sensitization. It lies in the awareness of the people. And these protests are actually a call for that order. They are calling out to people to have that sensitivity. And the unfortunate part is that the administration is seeing these protests as against them. It is seeing these protests as something against the college and is detaining students. So this is not something that is acceptable or which can be forgiven. 


Question: So ma’am, we have seen this phenomenon is not new and such instances have happened in Miranda House and previously in Gargi also. So why do you think such colleges, and women’s colleges in particular, are targeted by such violence? And how safe are these places for women when we compare them to the other co-ed colleges? Because it’s a common perception that women’s colleges are comparatively safer.


Dr. Habib: Yeah, I will start the other way around. These colleges have served the nation. These are very safe places where women really discover themselves. Many feel empowered, they move forward. And Miranda House, IPCW, LSR, Kamla Nehru, Gargi, all these colleges have contributed immensely. If we look at Miranda House, the number of women scientists it contributes is immense. It is only in recent times that these situations of outrage have occurred. I was at Miranda House first as an Ad-hoc teacher from 2001-05, and then as a permanent. So in 23 years of service, it was only during the Diwali Mela of 2022 that I found this kind of masculine behaviour and entering the college and disturbing the classes. They came and then also tried to occupy as if they were trying to occupy Miranda. That I had never seen earlier. Yes, I had seen crowds during fests when we call some big singer or a star to the college. Yes, people want to come in and they want to enjoy. And there are cases of molestation and all even then, but that is not limited to women colleges. It will happen anywhere. And in Miranda House, in IPCW, the fact that women are outraged, feeling outraged, that they’re on the streets, is because of their awareness. And in fact, that also in some sense, gives you an idea of how empowered women feel in these colleges, and therefore they are voicing it in the form of protest. So I see women’s colleges as very, very safe places. 


Yes, but I want to say that what is happening in colleges today has to be seen as a larger thing, where we find masculine behaviour on the rise, where we find a mob mentality on the rise, where we find the whole questioning yourself, what is your domain, what is somebody’s else domain? And do you have the right to do this? We are losing those questions. There is in some sense a return to these issues, gender and all. Yes, they are in the curriculum, we have gender studies and all of that. But are we in our daily lives practicing them? An unfortunate part is that the central government and the governments are failing. In Bilkis Banu’s case, eleven rapists will be freed. Is that the message? So far as a woman activist, I find that to be a problematic thing. In Katwa, when an eight-year-old Muslim girl is molested and raped and it was so gruesome we couldn’t even read through the newspaper, we see that the whole case is given a Hindu-Muslim angle and there is a protest by the Hindu right-wingers there. And this has to be isolated from every Hindu. I’m not talking about every Hindu. The same thing has happened in Bilkis Banu. So there is this thing of that mob. In a mob, nobody gets caught, and nobody gets punished. And this is what we have experienced in last so many cases, whether it was about women, whether it was about murders. And I think that is a problem. It is because of how the government sees finally. 


There are all kinds of tendencies in society, but it is because of the fear of law and order that most people work in a particular manner. That fear has to remain. If the justice delivery system, if all of that collapses, then this mob will be on the rise and today you are seeing that in women’s colleges; this is true in all-women colleges. Because see, I mean education, if you look at the Constitution, the forefathers saw education as the only possible way of transforming society. And therefore education was treated as a public good. Women colleges are questioning the social order, they are breaking free of the conditioning and creating something new. Sometimes societies feel very endangered about it. And right now the right-wing Hindutva element is finding it difficult to digest centres like JNU, which have brought social transformation, which talks about equity and has given space to students coming from marginalized sections. So you will see a systematic attack on JNU. In DU also, women’s institutions are seen as left, whereas they are not just left, they are questioning and they are creating a new order, which actually is the task of the education sector. And therefore also I think that there is an additional attack. 


The attack on Gargi and what all happened there, again reading newspapers, it was very difficult to visualize that people were raising such slogans or doing something like this or masturbating and so on and so forth, or at Miranda House and now in IPCW. And therefore I feel that the protests which are going on right now by the women students, these protests are very important because if women will not protest this, then the only order which can prevail and which will help the right-wing forces is to shut down women in their houses. And this is not acceptable to us. For example, the whole movement of Pinjira Tod was a very important movement. It questioned the timings of women’s hostels vis-a-vis giving the same arguments of security and all. Whereas we have experienced that the spaces will become safer and safer if women will inhabit that, if women will be out on the street till late. But women will be there when the lighting will be proper and so on and so forth. So I think we have to look at these incidents in the context of what is happening in the country today. 


Question: As you said there is a need to create awareness and all. So, with the advent of the New Education Policy, there has been an introduction of subjects like value addition courses (VAC) and skill enhancement courses (SEC) and all of that. But we see there is a conscious exclusion of gender sensitivity or even sex education in these courses. So how important do you think are these courses in light of what is happening currently in IPCW? 

Dr. Habib: I hope many first-year students will get to hear this interview. I see SEC, VAC as very, very diluted courses and which have neither added to the skill of the students nor added value. I do not know what value you can gain in class and also the courses started only midway. The whole idea or the advertisement of skill enhancement courses is that they will add to the skills which are marketable. So, therefore, I do not know whether these are the proper places for gender studies. But gender studies is a very important part of humanities and social science courses. And I think in depth there are many topics which give space for discussions like this in literature also. But there should be a continuous discussion. Of course, there could have been a paper on gender issues in value-added courses. What I’m saying is that, yes, there are many places where we can study them, and debate them. And you know that each college has a Women Development Cell (WDC) which also organizes a large number of seminars and conferences where they call people to deliberate on important issues. It is not only that when we sit in the seminars or what we study in our course transforms us–that is, of course, a very, very important part which transforms–but how the machinery of the country is functioning, that becomes a very important thing. Because finally, you have to understand that, what is the number of people coming to universities. It is still hovering around 25% of the Gross Enrollment Ratio. So how many are reaching the universities? How many are reaching higher education? One has to understand that, to understand the transformation which the universities alone can bring. They are very important centres but it is also in the way the government will conduct itself. If the government will conduct itself, the justice delivery system will do okay. The learning is also in all of that. So I think it is the whole system which we have to see. And yes, more courses can be added. I agree with its addition in value addition courses. But I don’t see that as the only way forward. 


Question: So, before we end this, is there anything else that you would like to tell us about the whole situation?

Dr. Habib: No, I just want to, through this interview, express my solidarity with the protesting students. In fact, WDC units of all colleges should come together to think about how to roll out gender-sensitizing programmes across the university. Not only students but teachers and karam-charis and administration will have to respond to this crisis. Because this is not going to be with just women colleges. It will spread to all. And even in co-ed colleges, I do not see that this will not happen there. Either you open your gates, don’t try to close them, and let everybody come in. Are we ready to have 20,000? And can we prevent things like stampedes or any other tragedy which may just happen anywhere? So I think we all need to put together our minds on how to take gender-sensitizing within the campus and outside. I think the WDC of all the colleges should come together to have outreach programmes on this also. But my absolute solidarity with the protesting young women and I think it is for us to protest. The solution does not lie in closing down the gates of women’s colleges or having all programs only limited to the population inside. The whole idea is to bring a social transformation so that these gates can remain open, and that women can walk on the streets fearlessly. And in this, I think the government needs to hear what people are saying. And the government needs to be more sensitive. If rapists will walk free, there is no way of preventing all of this.

Read Also: Interview with Dr. Maya John

Interview by Samra Iqbal

[email protected]

With the attention being drawn to the public protests, a lot is being said and done inside the IPCW campus. Following these protests on the 28th and 29th of March, the IPCW administration along with the members of the student body held a closed-door meeting in the IQAC room of the college. Read along as DU Beat investigates the contents of this meeting and the spat between the IPCW administration and its Student Body through the verbatim of one of their students.

On 28th March, Monday, IPCW college’s fest was invaded by unidentified men leading to chaos. On 29th March, Tuesday, IPCW college saw protests including students and members from the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Students Association (AISA). These protests were met with heavy police deployment and detainment – something that was missing on the day students were clamouring to get away from the men harassing them.

On Friday, March 31, following the events on the 28th and 29th, and the brutal detainment of students by Delhi Police, the agitated students of Indraprastha College for Women raised the twin demands of a public apology and a resignation letter from the principal, Poonam Kumria.

Amidst these protests, a student of IPCW, who wishes to remain anonymous, told DU Beat all about the spat between the student body and the college administration. They said, “because it was a holiday, on the 30th, occasion of Ram Navami, there was a meeting in the IQAC room of the college with the committee comprising professors, the principal, and the student’s union.” Within the closed doors, the Principal claimed that it was no one’s fault. However, based on her alleged political affiliations and saffron strokes on the logos and decorations, along with inviting Navika Kumar for the inaugural ceremony, her position was questionable.

“After reviewing the CCTV footage, it seemed as if the mob had been planted.” According to the source, there were three signs: first, a particular man raised his camera before the stampede began, which implied he knew it was going to happen. Second, a day before the fest, on the 27th, there was a group of men from a political party who were not allowed to enter because they didn’t register, and their reply was “dekh lunga tumhe kal” (I will see to you tomorrow). Third, someone had done something to the camera because it blacked out. “There was a particular point where we wanted to see what had happened and someone had, I don’t know, hit the camera, and there was a major lapse because of it”, said the IPCW student.

“The moment you try to speak to her about what happened on the night, down on the morning of the 28th, she gets a little hyper-aggressive. And we didn’t want to do that to her. Because you understand we are a group of 19-20-year-old women sitting among you know, 40-50-year-old people.” The meeting continued, and after a while, the union along with the principal exited the room to issue a statement. 

Now the principal gave a statement that was very contradictory to what was discussed in the room. She was like, in spite of the stampede, it was the Student Union’s decision to go forward with the fest. Even on the day of the first protest, she said it was the student union’s mismanagement that the stampede occurred. In the meeting, when it was happening behind closed doors, she blamed it on the Delhi Police. And outside, because she knows people are recording it, she blamed it on the Student’s Union. She knows if she blames it on the Delhi Police outside, it will backfire on her.”

The principal claimed that she had written letters to the police, the ambulance, and the fire brigade to provide security. However, an IPS officer while answering the students amidst the protest, revealed that they had never received any such letters from the college demanding security. 

Authorities denied receiving letters from the college demanding security.

By evening, there was a lot of movement of the police, both inside and outside the campus since Section 144 was imposed right outside the campus. The principal refused to come out of the room because of all the sloganeering. Soon enough, “the principal comes out of the room with a force of about 40-50 police officers assuring her safety. There were water tankers and barricades outside to ensure her exit. Not a single police officer was present on the 28th, but for this single individual, there was such a big force.”

The students, around 500 to 800 in number, had now formed a human chain right outside the main gate to prevent the principal from exiting the premises and to hold her accountable for everything that had transpired over the past few days. Between the blame game, and the police helping the principal to escape, “another stampede occurred…the two girls right in front of me fell and got injured. Naturally, the police also fell. Now to clear the way, some of these officers knocked some of the girls in the rib with their elbows, and others kicked the girls to get them out of the way. The Delhi Police, just a while ago in the college had remarked, “You can be safe with us, we’ll protect you…”” revealed the source.

A human chain formed in an attempt to stop the principal from leaving.

The principal sanctioned a 10-day leave for the entire Student’s Union right after they demanded she release an official statement on the account of the student body pressuring the union. “The union asked her to do this and to this she replies- It’s okay, tum log underground chale jaao aur 10 din ka leave lelo (you people go underground and take a leave of 10 days), I’ll handle everything…We felt she was doing this because the moment we left for our homes, she could put the entire blame on the union” stated the IPCW student. “They kept saying kuch nahi hua hai kuch nahi hua (nothing has happened) to console us. It all happened at the gates of IP college, which is ALSO a part of it…how can they say kuch nahi hua hai?” 

Upon being asked to comment and elaborate on the saffron hues that one can find IPCW’s walls painted in, the student continued, “The walls are being painted by the MCD, they want to paint the history, flora, and fauna of IP on these walls. Inside the campus though, there are logos and everything that she (the principal) has saffronised, and I don’t know why has she done that. There was a logo-making competition a few months ago, and I remember no one submitted this particular logo that ended up being used. And when everything got into the news, she changed the logo back to the older one, and never even informed the Union to switch to the older logo taaki voh fass jaayein (so that they get trapped)…”

The issue is why are we being recorded all the time? Every time there is a protest, we are being recorded by the staff, and there are even drones present. She can spend on an entire drone when the stampede is going on or when she’s being rescued from the college, but she could not apply for security which is free of cost when it comes from Delhi Police. Why?”


AISA, SFI, etc… we don’t wanna be a part of all this. We want to be a part of it as IPCW students and protest that way. AISA becomes a part of everything. Going inside the campus is a bigger fight. Imagine principal ke aankhon ke saamne unke students jinko voh family bolti hain crush hue hain amidst the stampede (Imagine the students she calls family were crushed in front of her eyes in the stampede), and she didn’t even look back to see…”

With the IPCW administration still choosing to stay silent on the matter, this student elaborated furthermore, “The Administrative Officer, Mr. Dinesh Sundriyal. He laughed off everything. There was a stampede going on, and we could see him far off, the man who denied us security, he was standing there talking, making conversations, and laughing. (On Friday), we got very angry and when we tried calling him out, he just laughed it out again. I don’t know…men being entitled all the time, they don’t take us seriously.”

Students continue to fight to reclaim their safe spaces and seek accountability from the authorities.

Poonam Kumria, the principal of IPCW has essentially passed the entire blame on the Delhi police and the Student’s Union despite both entities claiming that they were never asked to provide security or take a decision regarding the continuity of the fest, respectively. What Delhi Police has been active in, is dragging peaceful protesters into buses, kicking away students and indulging in other acts of police brutality. Measures are being taken, but the direction remains unclear, and with accountability still not finding its place in the matter, IPCW students continue to fight the administration. 

Read Also: Delhi Police Detains Student Protestors at IPCW.

Image Credits: Anshika for DU Beat, @manya3gaur (Instagram Handle)

The Human Resource Development Cell of Shri Ram College of Commerce organized a two-day extravaganza, The Sri Ram Red Bricks Summit  and it’s annual fest Minductor 11.0  on 27th and 28th March 2023. The second day witnessed a star-studded line of speakers namely Mrs Ghazal Alagh and Mr Varun Alagh along with entertainers like singer Abeer Chopra.

The second day started at 9 am in the morning with an enlightening interview of the founders
of Mamaearth, Mrs. Ghazal Alagh and Mr. Varun Alagh hosted by RJ Vidit from 98.3 FM.
The couple shared their collaborative journey of founding Mamaearth in 2016, as a dream
company to help people take care of their children and others, their USP being- chemical free
products. This interview gave the audience important insights into the inception of any new
venture and the possible marketing strategies that could come in handy.

The day proceeded with soulful renditions of songs by the sensational singer and Instagram
personality, Abeer Chopra. The audience experienced a mesmerizing performance, starting
with pop songs and ending with the heart-rending vocals of Anuv Jain.

“I had an amazing experience performing at SRCC. The arrangements were great and
the crowd was wonderful which motivated me to perform better. It was my pleasure to perform at this stage and I would love to come here for more such events”, noted the singer.

The event also featured many innovative competitions within its ambit, involving the
intellectual as well as creative capacities of the students. Competitions such as BuZZinGear,
HRVerse, and Buyer’s Battle were organized by the society which witnessed participation from
different colleges. Buyer’s battle was  a competition structured on the model of IPL Auctions, where teams had to buy players and each team was given a budget of Rs. 50 crore. Similarly, the HRVerse
competition tested the HR skills of the students and how to manage and connect with new
people Muskan Jain,  the event head from the organizing team of Buyer’s Battle recounted,

“Organizing this event was both exciting and challenging. This is the first time I have organized an offline event and I feel that all the tiring hours of hard work and discussions over Google meets and conference calls were worth it”.

The event saw a good footfall from various colleges, and with this, the two-day event
organized by the Human Resource Development Cell came to a successful end.

Samra Iqbal
[email protected]

Image Credits: DUBeat 

Also Read: Shree Ram Red Bricks Summit and Minductor 11.0 : Day 1

In light of the recent condemnable events surrounding IPCW college, DU Beat’s print editor, Anwesh Banerjee, spoke to Dr. Maya John, a professor of Jesus and Mary College and an alma mater of Delhi University about the need for women to reclaim spaces within college campuses and the collective efforts necessary to shape university spaces into more safe, equitable and democratic ones.


Anwesh: We have with us Dr. Maya John, assistant professor of history at Jesus and Mary College. She was also the first female president of St. Stephens College student union during her tenure there as a student from 2003-2006. We are here to discuss the issues that have been transpiring lately at the IPCW campus, but before we jump into that, we know that you have played a seminal role in the history of fighting for spaces for women. It’s been almost twenty years since you fought that fight, stood on your claims, and twenty years later, as a professor in the same university space, how do you react to the current situation?

Dr. John: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my insights and also sum up the disappointment that stems from the experiences that are repeating themselves in a space like Delhi University. In response to your question, I would say that, of course, the Delhi University campuses have proven to be very unsafe spaces for women students, karamcharis and teachers. The reality is that, it’s not just an unsafe space in terms sexual harassment being a pervasive problem, but it’s also a space that is highly unequal, therefore it’s a very contentious space. One’s own experience, as you trace it back to my student days – twenty years back, this was precisely the nature of the university. It was this prestigious space that was admitting women students, researchers, and teachers; but remained a space wherein structural inequality was embedded. Premier colleges like Stephens, Hindu, etc. in the early 2000s did not have adequate residential facilities for women students. Most who came from outside Delhi struggled in off-campus accommodations, and the women out-station students were often victims of sexual harassment at the hands of landlords, experienced rampant street harassment when commuting, etc. Women students were pushed out of campuses after 4 or 5 in the evening, leading to restricted involvement of women in co-curriculars and other contributions.

We fought this battle for equality in the university space, equality in something so fundamental as residential accommodations. So back in the 2000s we launched a campaign for more women’s hostels and safe neighborhoods. In present times it has taken newer forms, because it still remains an unaddressed issue. Even though the University of Delhi and colleges within have opened up hostels over the last decade, there aren’t enough, plus they are too expensive, especially the new hostels. It is worrying to see how their admin functions in a very ‘disciplinarian’ undemocratic way, instituting rules that don’t reflect the times, the demands and needs of the students. Thirdly, to demonstrate the existence of a systemic gender bias, everytime we have festivals like Holi being celebrated on campus, it’s always women staying in hostels that are held hostage – women can’t step out, are locked in, while men staying in hostels, especially post graduate ones take out these filthy rallies outside women’s hostels for hours. Most of the time these practices are within the knowledge of the proctor’s office of DU, yet no actions are taken to stop these activities. When I was staying in a post-grad women’s hostel, we were writing representations one week before Holi regarding not wanting to be held hostage and we demanded a stoppage on the rallies by male students – to no effect. The university authorities brushed it aside claiming it to be a tradition and saying they would be accompanied by police. That was even more ridiculous, to have police accompany a rally of men who are drunk and are taking over the street and making public movement difficult. This is the kind of tradition one has seen. I would also connect a lot of what we are seeing in IP college – the incident on 28th March and the subsequent crackdown on students who are asking for accountability, raising a question for why did such a security lapse happen, and I just want to explain this event in terms of a longer history of a lot of institutional apathy, tolerance for sexual harassment, and complicity of institutions in this culture of sexual harassment.

Interestingly, IP College, around 2008 was besieged by a similar incident of women students of the college being attacked by groups of men, being groped and molested. This incident was at the hands of men who had come to appear in neighboring government schools for the Delhi Police constabulary exam. Not only were the IP women a large number of victims that day. Since men had appeared for the exam across different areas, there must have been in different parts of the city similar horrible experiences for women who were molested by mobs of men who couldn’t of course be easily identified. IP college of course saw a huge protest. The then vice chancellor was questioned in terms of why his team did not know that an exam of this sort would be happening in many areas in the campus, why was there no increase in security, why the DU admin was not registering a formal complaint, etc. Questions were also asked of the police and higher authorities as to why was the police not willing to cancel the exam? These men were to become policemen themselves and how could the authorities let them get away. It was very important to send out a public message by cancelling the exam because of the way the candidates behaved. Look at the extent of institutional apathy, there was a crackdown by the principal back then asking students not to protest and the Delhi police never agreed to cancel the exam. The issue went right up to the home ministry of the Government of India. That’s the level to which sexual harassment in these institutions is brushed under the carpet and normalized. It becomes the mainstream narrative that – victims are exaggerating it, it wasn’t that bad. Even right now in IP, the college administration is asking for a proof and is denying that mass sexual harassment actually happened, whereas students actually have so much to share on what exactly went down that night.  Because of this larger institutional apathy that goes right up to the top brass, it’s not surprising that the university and the local police stations continue to turn a blind eye to these experiences, and make them seem as if they are never that big in scale, and that incidents are actually being exaggerated by women who have lost their minds.

The second thing I wanted to bring in today in terms of experiences under institutional apathy which breeds a lot of sexism and unhealthy culture through inequality of access. Let us turn to how Delhi University treats scores of women students who are so vulnerable; i.e., the women students who come for a few handful classes on Sundays and gazetted holidays under the School of Open Learning (SOL) of Delhi University. The way these women are treated is ridiculous. Everyone from officials to guards at SOL treat these women as if they shouldn’t be there on campus, treat them like dirt. It’s also about how university spaces are considered as somebody’s “Raj”, some people treat it as if it’s their private property and not a public space that needs to be shared, that needs to be safe, and that needs to be egalitarian. The way these women of SOL are treated like cattle, shoved into classrooms – 200/300 of them in one class, then shoved out of campuses after their few annual classes. This is supported by high-handed measures like notices being put up in SOL centres about how women shouldn’t comb their hair, and take selfies in corridors on campus. These institutional actions perpetuate the ideas of the patriarchal gaze, and can actually translate so easily int someone misbehaving with these women, especially because they are treated as if they don’t belong here in DU.

DU very often has not made itself a safe space, egalitarian space for so many people, including women. The problem is going to keep coming up, there is always going to be an effort to deny it, brush it under the carpet. That is why students, women’s activists have to protest. It is ridiculous to see the way Delhi police is being mobilized to crush democratic students’ protests so easily. But where are they, and why are they not mobilized as a preemptive measure to situations like these in college fests. So obviously, this is a very selective use of policing and it reflects more on the insensitivity of institutions and administrators. Therefore it’s something we need to keep fighting.

Anwesh: I am so glad you brought up the 2008 incident, that’s a part of the research I have been reading up on, because this was not an isolated event. Just last year we had the horrific incident at Miranda house, and that wasn’t a lesson enough. You were talking about the police force and there was this picture a photojournalist from our team took at arts faculty the day the protest was. It felt as if we were in some sort of a riot looking at the amount of security personnel deployed in the arts faculty.  People could not move, there was a traffic jam. This also brings me to the idea of institutional apathy that was so beautifully elaborated upon.

Right now, Shambhavi who is a student from IPCW is under a show cause notice, since they were one of the most vocal students when it came to asking for accountability. That also brings to light this history that exists in this public university which is supposed to stand for the liberal arts and everything that’s democratic and egalitarian. Whenever you ask for this accountability there’s a certain kind of repression and suppression that happens as far as your voice is concerned. There are two students that have currently been suspended from giving examinations because of their attempt to screen the BBC documentary, Shambhavi is under a show cause notice. It’s also very interesting that this event happened 5 years ago as well, after the 2017 incident at Ramjas where the lives of so many students and professors went into danger because of their attempt to claim their academic space and the right to have an academic discussion. From what I know, you were also denied admission in a Masters programme at St Stephens, which is why you had to go to Miranda House to pursue your degree. As someone who has also undergone this fight, how do you deal with this even after so many years and how do students make sense of asking for their basic rights, or seek accountability and also for students around them who come from faraway places to this university to fight for their basic rights? They don’t find it in themselves to ask these questions because this is the kind of repression you are met with when you ask these questions. So how do you reconcile this entire situation with this kind of fear?

Dr. John: See, being an activist right from my student days, I have learnt it the hard way. One way is that you tackle people’s hesitation and you also tackle the concrete victimization through of course being very strategic in the way you plan the next level of your agitation. It is crucial to take as many students and participants along so you don’t get isolated. Next, it also means tapping networks, preparing the struggle in a way in which you are also putting pressure on the authorities from multiple dimensions. If the students of one particular institution are pitched against their administration, that’s not enough. The college admin needs to be made to feel pressurized from other areas. It would be interesting in this case to see how other groups – student groups, women’s organisations, women’s activists, alumni – how they get galvanized and put pressure on not just the concerned college administration in the centre of the storm, but generally even on everyone else who is accountable for an untoward incident. Everyone from DU’s big wigs, to the college principal, to the Delhi Commission for Women, to the Delhi Police needs to be held accountable and asked as to why was this incident allowed to happen. Putting pressure from different forces and dimensions becomes important.

Secondly, you have to fight, because if you don’t fight, you don’t get anything. If you stand up, you keep the collective mobilization going, you’d be able to challenge the apathy and change the general ambience that people in the administration work with, i.e., the yeh toh chalta hai approach. So, as long as you fight back and you keep that going, and you connect and build the next phase of the movement in a strategic way, you do push for accountability. Whoever’s in powerful offices feels the pressure. Am sure the principal is currently having her own share of sleepless nights. My point is, we have to remember that it’s the continuous efforts that end in important change. If you don’t fight, nothing will change. If you fight, bring people together, then of course it is one important step in democratizing the way universities function. Because remember it is still a university space, it cannot get as hostile as a workplace or the world outside. So if you can bring them to their knees, which is a relatively more cushioned space – the university, then it’s an important battle the women students are winning.

Anwesh: Absolutely. There were two final questions I wanted to conclude the discussion with. The first being, because you are also a professor of history I wanted to ask, whenever these debates about university spaces come in there is also a lot of literature and writing that is produced in terms of how DU, especially the north campus is constructed as a space. It’s not a closed campus, like you have in private universities. There are students literally staying in very residential parts of Vijay Nagar or Kamala Nagar. Then in the centre of these spaces, you have these spread out college campuses. Almost 80% students don’t have access to the hostel spaces, only the top scorers can avail these. Others have to resort to taking flats or pgs in nearby areas, which has turned the entire accommodation business into such a thriving one, who exploit these students. I myself have so many female friends and gender minority friends who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by landlords, and have been in very vulnerable positions. They are staying far away from their families, who they can’t even inform about these situations. Do you think this sort of architectural structuring of the university space also plays into this narrative for the space not being safe enough for the university students? If yes, then is there any solution to finding a way around this?

Dr. John: One major change that is needed is for the university to create more of its own accommodation. When I say the university needs to provide for as many needy and outstation students, it also has to be an affordable accommodation. As I had mentioned a few minutes back, even the hostels made over last 10-12 years are very expensive and the facilities provided are very questionable. I believe all of us know about the Rajiv Gandhi undergraduate women’s hostel and all problems there which triggered protests by the women residents. So, it’s an important struggle that pushes the university to provide for safe and affordable accommodation with proper facilities. I feel that making Delhi University a closed campus is something we will not be able to immediately achieve, and even if it became a closed campus, it doesn’t guarantee that within DU classrooms, within college buildings, lawns, etc. sexual harassment won’t happen and that the incidents will not be continuously brushed under the carpet. Let’s face it, a closed campus is not such an important solution. What is important is that we equalize the space. It means we provide residential accommodation, more of it, so that students, especially women are not left in these vulnerable conditions and paying through their nose just to be able to come and study here.

Anwesh: Ya, the beauty of the university is that it is such an open campus. That is why when I read such arguments it really annoys me so much because that is the beauty of this campus. Okay, just the last question before we end this interview. Like you said, there are so many authorities and institutions, whenever such incidents happen, women and gender minorities are asked to prove and this entire culture of “yeh toh chalta hai” and probably “aap toh zaada bol rahe ho”, it’s something not to be worried about. This entire culture has placed women and other minorities at this position wherein they have to prove their oppression. Yesterday, I was out a little late in the night and I was coming back, I saw the North Campus claim the night march – something that has been going on for a while now and so what do you think is the role of these groups like Dastak, which are coming together, motivating women to go out and spend entire night reading, talking to each other, walking the campus and claiming the night. What other ways are there to show that these stories are real stories and the institutions need to believe us when we say this has happened to us, this violence is real, which we face on a daily basis?

Dr. John:  These are interesting and important initiatives, these marches etc. But as I said, a lot of bad experiences of sexual harassment and being denied democratic access to university spaces don’t happen necessarily only in the night. Our fighting for safer, more democratic spaces in DU requires us to build many other kinds of struggles, movements and initiatives. I would suggest addressing one important cause such as the state of lakhs of women students languishing like second class citizens in DU SOL. Fighting that battle, getting them more classes and access to the university facilities, and basically getting so many more women on campus would make a big difference to the nature of the campus. I definitely think there are many structural things that need to change which will make the university space truly more inclusive and truly more sensitive. Of course, while night marches and awareness building are important, it’s also about how democratized is the space in the morning hours, how many more women have quality access to the university and thirdly the way our hostel facilities function – their in-timing and out-timing need to be rationalized. The culture of locking up women at 9 is really not the solution because again having lonely roads outside campus after 9 is not something that helps or makes the space necessarily safe. So even the way in which existing university rules function, when a woman can enter or leave hostel are all initiatives that we need to fight for.

Anwesh: Thank you so much ma’am. Thank you so much for raising the issue of the SOL as well, because that is something we don’t really talk a lot about in the mainstream as much as we do about other issues, and it’s not as burning an issue as claiming spaces and seeking visibility is. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview on such a short notice. We genuinely hope that people do realize that the IPCW struggle is not an isolated struggle; it’s a part of a larger history of fighting for and reclaiming spaces in this University.

The Human Resource Development Cell of Shri Ram College of Commerce hosted the 11th edition of its annual fest Minductor 11.0 and the Shri Ram Red Bricks Summit on 27th and 28th March, 2023. It was a two-day cultural extravaganza including insightful panel discussions, seven exciting competitions, and a foot-tapping musical concert, all of which celebrated the richness of human capital.

Day one of Minductor 11.0 kicked off with an electric and show-stopping dance performance by V-Defyn Dance Society of IIT Delhi. This was followed by a panel discussion on Amrit Kaal: Forging India’s Prosperous Future. The panelists included Mr. Dhruv Sharma, Founder of Social Canvass Consulting, Mr. Sharad Sagar, CEO of Dexterity Group, and Mr. Falit Sijariya, Y20 representative. The lively discussion revolved around the future of Indian education to meet global standards and diverse work opportunities for the youth to create meaningful impact.

To lighten the academic mood post the panel discussion, stand-up comedian Gourav Mahna brought tears of laughter to an enthralled audience. The day also marked the on-campus finale rounds of three exciting events – Quandrum, a National Case Study Competition; Innerve and Binge Maniacs all of which encouraged participants to think on their feet and provide out-of-the-box solutions.

The afternoon marked another Panel Discussion on The Impact of Unconscious Bias and tackled themes on socio-economic inclusion and the relevance of DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity) in HR.
The speakers Dr. Radhika Batra, Founder of Every Infant Matters and Ms. Aditi Arora, Country Director of GirlUp UN along with moderator Anurag Kashyap, tactfully conversed with the audience about the various sensitive motions. Monday wrapped up with a lively concert by Taranbeer which
had the student body grooving to both old Bollywood classics and modern tunes.

Bhavya Nayak
[email protected]
Image Credits: DUBeat

On April 3, 2023, the students of Gargi College, led by SFI, organised a protest to demand the restriction-free organisation of their annual college fest, Reverie, along with standing in solidarity with protesting IPCW students.

On Monday, April 3 2023, a rumour that the Gargi College’s administration’s planned to cancel its annual fest, Reverie, was met with protests led by SFI Gargi. This event followed the stampede and cases of harassment that took place at the annual fest of Indraprastha College for Women on March 28, 2023.

The fest was tentatively scheduled for April 10–12, 2023. Such rumours particularly caught wind when, on March 31, 2023, “Reverie Reveal” did not go as planned, as the college’s Student Council failed to disclose the theme for the upcoming fest as they were expected to. The protestors assembled in front of the admin office for hours. However, nobody from the admin office came to address them, instead asking two students to enter the office but leave their phones behind – something they refused to comply with.

The protestors questioned the administration’s move of imposing restrictions on a women’s college fest because of what transpired at IPCW, rather than increasing security as necessary. They questioned the “highly regressive” idea of asking students to leave early in a metropolitan city like Delhi, simply because they are women. They demanded the right to organise a college fest without the imposition of such unreasonable restrictions, just like other co-ed colleges of the University.

However, it was revealed that rather than the fest being cancelled, additional guidelines and restrictions had been put in place by the administration to allegedly curb crowding and the chances of mishaps. These included wrapping up the event by 5 PM, removing the element of a star night or concert, and limiting the fest to society competitions and events. A student, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared that the student council were informed of these changes on the evening of 30th March, Thursday.

Our original itinerary had a band performance, stand-up comedy, and Qawwali night till 7-8 in the evening. But on the 31st they told us that it will be till 5, with no band, no stand-up comedian, only sufi night, because apparently that would not attract boys. Basically, nothing that can generate mass crowd because apparently coronavirus is spreading – only after 5 PM – and because of the IPCW incident. These were the two reasons they gave us.” – an anonymous student

In opposition to these restrictions as well as in solidarity with protesting IPCW students, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Gargi College, decided to lead a protest demanding “a proper fest without restrictions while ensuring safety of the students,” as said in an SFI press release dated April 3, 2023. The protest began around 12:30 PM with a handful of students in the Arts Quad area of the college, but over time allegedly grew to amass a crowd of over 500.

SFI Gargi led a protest on 3 April, 2023 in solidarity with the students of IPCW and against the Gargi administration restricting the students by cancelling Reverie’23. We were joined by a huge mass of students as well as the college societies. We’ll continue to fight for the rights of the students inside and outside our college campus.” – Aahana, SFI South Area President and Anurakti, SFI College Secretary in a joint statement

A meeting was held with the members of the Student Council, heads of various societies, unions, etc., and other students, where the Student Council of Gargi College allegedly stepped down from the organising committee as the event was not going as they had planned. Several societies have also reportedly decided to boycott the fest unless it is organised as per the original itinerary.

This edition of Reverie would be the first to take place after the unfortunate incidents of harassment and abuse that took place in the last edition of the fest, organised in February 2020. A continuation of the protest on Wednesday, April 5, 2023, seems to be planned until student demands are met. SFI’s press release additionally mentions a memorandum that will be submitted on the same day in this regard.

Read also: Overcrowding and Harassment at Reverie’20, Gargi College

Feature Image credits: Devangi for DU Beat

Sanika Singh
[email protected]


Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, has recently witnessed a controversy surrounding a video that was released by some students from the English department, containing harmful misinformation and hate speech about the transgender community. In response, VenQueer, the unofficial queer collective of the college, condemned the video and demanded an immediate apology from the perpetrators.


VenQueer has expressed support for the transgender and gender non-binary groups and urged the administration to take strict measures against those who were behind the video. To promote inclusivity and a safe space for the queer community on the college campus, the collective has also urged for the conduct of more gender and sexuality sensitization programmes and workshops. They have also advised all college students to express their disapproval of the clip and avoid circulating it.


On 30th March, the English Department Association of Sri Venkateswara College released a statement on their social media platform, denouncing the video and expressing their support for the queer community. The association has made it clear that none of the views expressed in the video are tolerated or propagated by its members. The association has also appealed to all college students to refrain from sharing the video and to express their condemnation of it. The association has explicitly stated that none of the opinions presented in the clip are supported or encouraged by its members. The association has also urged all college students to publicly denounce the video and desist from sharing it. 


This is not the first time that instances of discrimination against the queer community have come up at the University campus. Queer individuals faced backlash after the DU Pride parade held a few months back. There is opposition from many colleges. The administration responds to the requests of queer students on campus with hostility, ignorance, indifference, and sometimes threats. Students’ calls for a queer collective are rebuffed with opposition, ignorance, indifference, and even threats from officials as reported at various colleges of the varsity in the recent past. 

Read also: 

Image credits: DU Beat Archives