Ankita Baidya


A sexual harassment incident can leave an individual scarred for their entire life. The least that could be done is to identify the accused and bring justice, something the ICC of DU works towards. However, it is often found missing when horrific incidents come forward. Why is the ICC dormant when it is most needed? Read for more.

Basking in the morning sun while discovering the Delhi Metro and the joy of stepping into the college corridors brings a feeling of accomplishment. A transition from school to college brings with it a million sacred dreams that can’t wait to be unraveled. Somewhere it becomes the duty of the institution to protect those dreams and let the innocence cherish the moment in hand. However, a question of safety and security is a product of oblivion of these dreams.

Living in a city like Delhi, people – especially women – do fear about their safety and security. Yet, they sleep at nights dreaming about the endless things they can do and achieve. Their dreams are not hindered by the question of safety but as soon as the Sun comes out, it becomes too obvious to think about it before stepping ahead. Hence, university remains the only place to live those dreams carefree. However, what if even the university becomes the place putting a question mark on one’s safety and security. What if University becomes the place which we term as “unsafe”?

In the recent months, it has become too obvious that the university is not providing a safe space in this regard. From the incident of the Ramjas Debating Society to the scars of the festival of Holi, University of Delhi (DU) has put its DUites under the question of safety and security. It is true that as a woman we have to think about an endless list of things before stepping out of our residence. However, college is surely not the place where a student has to worry about these things but here we are, wrapped up in our thoughts of if going to a certain place will be safe for us?

Read Also: St Stephen’s Displacement Causes Problems for Students

A question of safety will always be present at the back of our minds but if a mechanism comes into place which redresses our concerns in regards to harassment then a sense of security can blanket the students and teachers of the varsity. One such committee is the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) which addresses the grievances of students and teachers in regards to any form of sexual harassment. Now, the mechanism seems pleasing since the committee is present in most of the colleges and societies apart from a centralized committee of the varsity. The question arises when we take a look at its functioning.

When a Ramjas Debating society’s member was stripped off his credentials for alleged harassment or a student of DU had to face sexual harassment, where was the ICC at those times? Isn’t it the duty of ICC to keep the varsity a place free of harassment? Aren’t they responsible to spread awareness regarding the same? Where was it when such heinous crimes were unraveling themselves? There is an endless list of questions that need to be asked and answered for the scope of improvement of the safety and security of the campus.

Read Also: Silencing Sexual Harassment: How DU Silences its Survivors

In conversation with DU Beat, a member of the ICC explained the functioning of the committee in DU. The member explained that the ICC expects the complainant to come forward or directly come to the office and give the committee a written complaint. Once the complaint reaches, it is taken up in a meeting. If the entire committee agrees on the authenticity of the complaint and if it falls under the jurisdiction of ICC then the complaint is taken forward. As this is the final step where the complainant can withdraw their complaint, the ICC asks them if they want to pursue it or not. Once the ICC gets their consensus, they are asked for 6 copies (as recommended by law) of the complaint. Then, as the ICC is law bounded with an external legal advisor, they send the whole complaint to the respondent, without censoring anything, and give them a 10 days period to submit their clarification or response to the complaint. After this, both the parties are called in a manner where they don’t see each other and individual hearings take place. Then, the ICC gives them a chance to call the witnesses which is followed by witness testimonies. At the end, the committee comes up with their findings and send them to both the parties involved. If nothing else comes up that could change the nature of the proceedings then the committee arrives at recommendations, and according to those, further actions are taken.

Since there are a lot of complaints at a given point of time and law has given us 90 days to resolve an issue, it generally takes 4-5 months to resolve a complaint.

Member of ICC, DU

Upon asking about the reason behind the recent jump in harassment cases in the academic space, the member stated that it could be attributed to the pandemic where people did not understand the consequences of the things they did behind their laptops and mobiles. Further, the member claimed that the varsity has a persistent issue of gender sensitization. For the part of ICC, as the member claimed, it is taking more and more steps to make people sensitized about the gender, to make students aware about what is right and what is wrong.

The harassment cases haven’t increased exponentially but they have increased, particularly in the cyber space.

Member of ICC, DU

Further the member added that there are certain guidelines issued by the ICC in regards to the recent trend of cases that are coming to the committee but it is difficult to enforce them at the grassroot level. Additionally, the member informed that the apex ICC has no jurisdiction over individual ICC of various colleges and hence cannot intervene in their matters. However, if the grievances of a student have not been resolved at the college level, they can directly write to the ICC of DU and then further steps can be taken in the case.

On asking about what if a particular ICC is not functioning properly, the member said, “I can’t comment on it but you can ask the Proctor of the University. There are other mechanisms to address the issues related to the functioning of ICC of a college.”

When the question about how the ICC intends to improve its functioning was popped before the member, they responded by stating their wish to include more members. However, as they stated, the law has bounded ICC to include only 10 members.

As the member said that the ICC’s duty is to deal with the sexual harassment cases and the problem of gender sensitization only then, who is there to keep a check if the guidelines are followed or if a subordinate ICC is functioning properly? Just as the High Courts have a superintendence over all the subordinate courts, who is there to supervise the subordinate ICCs? What happens if a sexual harassment case is shut down for all the wrong reasons? Who is there to keep a check on the functioning of the redressal mechanism?

Read Also: The Story of the ICC

Featured Image Credits: newslaundry

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

DU has written to the colleges about the existence of Caste based discrimination on campus and has directed to take actions if necessary. However, the question is whether the directions are on paper or are they going to turn up in reality? Read ahead to find out more.

Recently, the University of Delhi (DU) has written to its colleges in regards to the Caste based discrimination. It has asked the colleges to ensure that there is no caste-based discrimination on the campus. Further, it has directed the officials and the faculty members of the university to abstain from any such act that would arise due to the social background of a student.

On 25 May 2022, the assistant registrar of the varsity wrote to the colleges while attaching several letters from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the subject of prevention of discrimination. Further it asked the colleges to take necessary actions if any such case arises. Meanwhile, the UGC has assured to take four actions on the matter including contitution of a committee which would be responsible to look into the complaints of caste-based discrimination, received from the students, teaching and non-teaching stafee of the varsity, belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST).

The university/institute/college may develop a page on their website for lodging such complaints of caste discrimination by Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) students and also place a complaint register in the registrar/principal office for the purpose.

-DU on prevention of caste-based discrimination

Furthermore, it suggested the colleges take necessary actions as soon as any such incident comes to the notice of the authorities.

DU has often been the place where casteism perpetrates. While hostility between the students belonging to different castes can be observed, the antagonism among the teachers has also become an unhidden observation. In August 2020, an assistant professor had to lose her job on discriminatory grounds for being a Dalit. The professor filed a police complaint. According to her, she met the principal to find out the reason for her termination but was humiliated, threatened, and passed caste-based remarks. Again in September 2020, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes had issued notices to the DU Vice-Chancellor in regards to the alleged caste-based discrimination against the teachers in Daulat Ram College and Dyal Singh College (evening). Moving forward to August 2021, a teacher slapped her colleague in Laxmibai College. The victim, Neelam, had alleged that the attacker, Ranjit Kaur, had slapped her because the former belonged to the Schedule Caste (SC).

If these cases seem less to provide an argument on the caste-based insensitivity that the University houses, how about we take a look at DU’s syllabus? The varsity was subjected to heavy criticism when it removed renowned author Mahasweta Devi’s short story and two Dalit authors- Bama and Sukhartharini, and replaced them with “upper caste” writer Ramabai from the English syllabus. So, the question here is not whether the university is sensitive towards the issue but about taking a bold charge against the perpetrators of caste-based discrimination.

In conversation with a student from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) told us that even a “prestigious” college like LSR is not an exception with it comes to caste discrimination. According to the student, the university is far from being caste sensitive. She felt disgusted by the notion that the people condemning the acts of discrimination are also the ones who practice them. She calls it an ‘irony’ when the varsity is writing on the issue and continues to be the place perpetuting it.

I have heard from my friends and acquaintances about how their caste segregated them from the others and how it was used as a brand to their names.

-Student, LSR

Another student from LSR, Prachi, who is affiliated to the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), told us that caste based discrimination does exist in the college space, maybe outright or subtle but it does exist. She claimed that previously she was asked if she was admitted to the college through reservation and lines like “in logo ka toh asani se ho jata hai” were spoken. Further, she finds the varsity space caste insensitive. Even though people talk about the sensitivity in top colleges of DU, it is only a ‘talk’ as she stated. Moreover, she asserted that the University is not doing its work in the aspect. She pointed out that the varsity shows its casteist attitude when it does not recruit even a single teacher from marginalised section and simply writes them off that they are not found suitable.

Sensitization of faculty and students should be done through workshops and strict actions should be taken against any case of caste-based discrimination.

Prachi, SFI, LSR

Asha Avinash Yagy from Ramjas told us that from the outside it could not be felt that such a discrimination exist in the institution. However, it could be felt, according to the him, that people belonging from upper caste, at times, find ways to supress the ones belonging from lower caste. Further, he felt that the university is somewhat caste sensitive but a lot of work needs to be done in the domain to make people live in the harmony of the fact that people from various caste can co-exist. To conclude with what the student felt, he told us that it is of utmost importance that the people have to get over the negativity that exist between them in the name of caste.

As the University is completing 100 years, it needs to become completely caste sensitive.

-Student, Ramjas College

In conversation with Himasweeta Sarma, the president of North East Cell, Hindu College and the Editor-in-chief of DU Beat, told us about the subtle instances of discrimination. Last year, she received a grievance of a North eastern student who was questioned on their food habits and whether they include only ‘momos’. She highlighted although there are no caste-based discrimination taking place within her college, subtle instances like these do take place which leaves a deep impact on the victim. She herself has been subjected to questions like why does she not look ‘North-Easterner’ enough. Further, she finds the university to be insensitive in this matter.

The University does not have time to pay attention to the cries of the student community as a whole. Do you think it’ll have time to listen to the grievances of the minority communities.

-Himasweeta Sarma, President, North East Cell, Hindu College 

Additionally, she feels that introducing committees and announcing orders is not enough. According to her, the university should try to know the experiences of the students who have been the victims of such discrimination, try to understand where the problem lies and take ations against the same. Such actions should be taken that makes the second person think twice before indulging in the same.

To add to this, in conversation with the secretary of SFI Hindu, Ankit, told us about the instances where a student belonging from upper caste try to imply their superiority and try to assert dominance among the students. In his words, if the university would have been sensitive towards caste then they would have taken any action against those who carried out the recent act of violence in Ramjas College.

On 31 May 2022, three students of Ramjas, who are also SFI activists, were attacked within their college. As reported, the students had altered a caste-based slogan which was painted by the supporters of ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad). The physical altercation took place over these caste-based slogans. The perpetrators of the attack on the students, Aman, Akhil and Sachin, are reportedly not the students of Ramjas College. Even though an FIR had not been filed, the perpetrators had publicly admitted to their wrongdoing and issued an apology. SFI had accepted the apology. However, they demanded an assurance from the administration and Police about the safety of the students. 

Further, Ankit feels that the university is completely ignorant towards the problems of students who come from oppressed castes. According to him, most students who dropout belong to the oppressed sections and the university has done nothing substantial in the same aspect. Ankit further stated that the university should assist the students from the oppressed sections so that they do not have to quit studies and can find the university space conducive for studies.

As there is a gender sensitisation committee in colleges, caste senitisation committees must also be set up. SC ST cells in colles must be made compulsory.

-Ankit, Secretary, SFI Hindu 

Collectively, students feel that the discrimination is rooted deep within the minds of the individuals and it is a subject which would require a collective cooperation of all individuals in order to eradicate it. Since the university has finally acknowledged its existence, let us wait to see how will this acknowledgement change the varsity’s environment.

Read Also: Casteism, Class, Convention: Are We Still Free?

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Caste System

Featured Image Credits: Uday Deb via Times of India

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]


Professor Vandana Saxena is selected for the Fulbright SIR programme. In conversation with her, she tells us about her experience and her perspectives on the pedagogical system. Read ahead to find out more.

Professor Vandana Saxena from CIE, Department of Education, Delhi University (DU) has been accepted for the International Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) Programme. Currently working as a Professor at CIE, Delhi University, she completed her post-graduation in Physics, masters in education, and doctorate in science education. She has taught for four years in a school as a science teacher before joining CIE in November 1997. In her academic persuasion to cultivate democratic educational environment, she has engaged with teaching, training, research, and consultations developing research-based and thought-provoking pedagogical designs.

The Fulbright Program is the United States government’s flagship program of international educational and cultural exchange. It is a unique initiative that is specifically driven by the goals of U.S. institutions of higher education to enhance internationalization efforts on their campuses. The S-I-R Program promotes cultural and intellectual diversity among the institution and the wider community. The institution benefits from the expertise provided, and the Scholar attains experience in the U.S. higher education arena.

In conversation with Professor Vandena Saxena, who is a reflective thinker and practitioner, told DU Beat about her attempt to create a harmonious ecology for herself and others around her. With family being her greatest strength, living in the moment, being humble, acknowledging the contribution of others, and always willing to explore a new horizon has kept her grounded in life. On asking about her nomination for the scholarship and her academic work, she enumerated various aspects of her research. Read ahead to know more about her thoughts.

  1. Tell us more about yourself. What is your vision for the future in regards to your academic persuasion?

Personally, I come from a humble background. My parents strongly believed that education has the potential to change our life. I am now engaged as a professor in a public university which is completing hundred years of excellence this year. I have lived every moment in this journey and deep inside I am full of conviction that equal opportunities to access, retention and progression as a systemic approach can create innumerable possibilities for each person. My prime contemplation is on Conceptualizing Research in Education, Driving Research Questions, Academic Writing and Ethics in Research, for which I am conducting workshops with researchers in various universities at Pan-India level. Through this part of my journey I look forward to creating opportunities of academic exchange across the two countries while taking the flavours of India’s rich cultural diversity to the university and community there.

  1. The Fulbright Scholar-In-Residence (SIR) Program is a prestigious program. How was your experience from deciding to apply to getting nominated?

So, I did not apply for this programme.The universities in the United States apply for this programme. The shortlisted application is shared with few countries across the world and the countries nominate candidates as per the requirement of the university. So, the Mississippi Valley State University’s application was shared with the Fulbright Delhi office, which nominated me for this programme. I had an online interaction with the senior officials of the university and finally my nomination was accepted for this programme.

The S-I-R program offers to support up to only three awards each year internationally. So, it’s a very humbling experience for me. I wish to especially mention my guru Prof. Krishna Maitra, for constantly believing in me and showering me with her blessings.

  1. Your research focuses on Diversity Pedagogy and Inclusion, Science Education, and Research in Education. Can you tell us more about it?

My professional journey is founded in reflections and contemplations derived from lived experiences of self and others. I was introduced to the idea of individual differences and the possibilities of questioning the system during my bachelor of education programme. My idea of the ‘whole group as also the whole school’ approach was sowed during that time. Just after completing this degree programme in 1993, I joined as a science teacher in a private school for four years. During this, I realized the responsibility of a teacher as a facilitator for improving the learning curve of each student irrespective of any variations. My doctoral research was thus, about pedagogical planning in science catering to the needs of each student and nurturing the learning experiences of all with a vision of them being adults contributing to a harmonious, peace-loving society in the future.

The university teaching brought forward many other challenges. I was to teach courses aimed at preparing teachers to teach physics from grade six to twelve. The syllabus for the course was almost fifty years old and posed significant challenges. The university system to modify the course was complicated. It took me almost six years to design the new syllabus for this course. Till then, I continued to discuss the themes of critical significance with the students, going beyond the given syllabus.

The journey was getting a parallel initiation into the world of education for children with disabilities. I got immense exposure in this field while visiting the institutions offering teacher preparation courses in this field. Soon, a more updated syllabus for this course was developed and approved through all the channels of the university. As part of teacher education I was also visiting schools to supervise the teaching of trainee students. What I realised there was that private schools had students who were economically well-off and public schools had students coming from socially and economically humble backgrounds. I was able to visualize the complex matrix of factors leading to success in the life of individual students. I had now started thinking about how education can provide the agency to students to optimize their potential. I also observed that teachers in any type of school were working relentlessly to support the educational experiences of the students. So, for me the prime question was that even with motivated teachers and enthusiastic students why the educational experiences were compromised.

  1. Can you tell us about the developments in your research?

I developed an approach to teaching with the title Diversity Pedagogy.  This is founded in the conjecture that the belief system of all the stakeholders in education (at any stage) holds the key to success. I have founded the guiding principle as ‘unconditional mutual respect’ for each other. I am constantly trying to imbibe the basic principles of togetherness and hand-holding in any situation. I have designed courses with the theme Inclusion, School & Pedagogy; Inclusion in Education: Context and Continuity for the students of two year M.Ed. programme. The pedagogy for these courses is based upon a grounded theory approach. The students while discussing their lived experiences attempts to theorise the major dimensions of understanding and appreciating diversity in any given context. Their critical engagement with these ideas facilitates the process of imbibing the art and science of reflective practices. The research conceptualized and completed by the students exemplifies this claim.

  1. Is there any piece of advice that you would like to give to your students?

I grew up in a different era altogether and am not aware of typical challenges in the life of youth these days. Yet, I wish to share with them that it is true that I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a group of people who love me and always pray for my well-being, but I have faced a lot of criticism and rejection in my life both on a personal and professional front. I did feel alone and infringed but such is life and such are people. I have bounced back with more resilience each time. So, keeping us grounded with an unshakeable belief in self is critically essential, constantly trying to be a better version of ourselves is the key and then gradually even those negative experiences and people stop bothering. With humility and unconditional love for each other we can make it a better place for each other. Let’s try once!

Read Also: Scholarships That Every Third-Year Should Apply for

Featured Image Credits: Jagran Josh 

Ankita Baidya

[email protected] 

The infrastructural issues of many Colleges continue to deteriorate and no action has been taken for its improvement. Just because students study in a government college, are they supposed to accept the conditions or is there any hope for correction?  Read to find out more.

For many of us it has been a ‘dream come true’ experience as we entered University of Delhi (DU). From living ‘the’ college life to savouring moments that only a student of DU would know, it has been one of the most anticipated journeys that we always wanted to embark on. Words fall short while describing the feeling of finally getting into the college for which you had worked so hard. However, it all comes crashing down because of a few shortcomings and this makes you question your decision of whether you made the right choice. DU is one of the most prestigious institutions of the country but is it really capable enough as it is deemed to be? From a very young age, we have been taught that if we study hard, we will score a government college but is it worth it when even the basic necessities for a decent academic experience are not to be found here.

DU is an institution set up in the times we call history. It becomes quite important to make the necessary adjustments and carry out renovations in regards to the infrastructure. Nevertheless, DU has somewhat failed us in that domain. A number of colleges under DU have reported a lack of basic infrastructure in terms of classrooms and washroom facilities. The buildings may look poised and aesthetic from outside but from the inside a different story has been spinning from a very long time.

The lack of infrastructural care is quite evident in Kalindi College, DU. On talking with a number of students from the college on the pretext of anonymity informed us that none of the washrooms present in the college have proper latches, working flushes, soaps or even a basic standard of hygiene. The loos stink almost all the time. Apart from the washrooms, the buildings of the college are in need of an “immediate renovation”. Walls have not been repaired since years and the paint has cracked and deepened into dry flakes. Further, the condition of the classrooms are in a battered state. The benches and chairs are broken and the doors do not have latches due to which they swing freely. Even in Delhi’s harsh weather, fans of many classrooms fail to work which makes the teaching and learning process a tedious task. There is absolutely no maintenance whatsoever of the college infrastructure. According to various students, the Principal, Dr. Naina Hasija, has been notified about these issues on several occasions including the general body meeting of the students and faculty. However, no steps have been taken to improve the conditions, which continue to deteriorate.

In conversation with a student from Gargi college, DU, told DU Beat about the hygiene issues that persist in their college washrooms. According to the student, the washrooms are very dirty and they are in quite a horrible condition. To add onto this, the student stated that the loos stink almost all the time and they even get flooded with water sometimes. Further, the student brought to light that the first year class representatives brought this matter to the attention of their previous  students’ union and followed the developments. However, they were told that this happens every year and nothing is done about it.

There are Indian loos but the western ones usually have dirty seats which increases the risk of an infection, especially during the menstrual period.

-Student, Gargi College, DU

Amidst the reports of a fan falling over a student in Lakshmibai College, DU, another similar issue has been reported from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. A student of the college told DU Beat that a fan in their class was shaking hard and during the exams the fan fell down but no one was hurt. However, we await for an official confirmation about the same. Additionally, such infrastructural issues were also reported from Satyawati College, DU. In conversation with a student from the same college, told DU Beat that since the inception of the new building, there has been no maintenance work done for the old building of the college. Besides this, the worrisome conditions of the washrooms are also deteriorating.

The washroom beside our auditorium does not have mirrors while the washroom located above the canteen has mirrors but no water. Urinals do not function and they always stink. Also, the walls of our college are covered with slogans like ‘Join ABVP’ and names of students who are a part of the political parties. The outer beauty of the college has also been compromised because of this.

-Student, Satyawati College, DU

Besides this, there is an infrastructural issue present in Kamla Nehru College as well. In conversation with Taneesha, a student of Kamla Nehru College told DU Beat about the conditions of the classrooms. She informed us about the lack of seating and even classrooms to accommodate the students of any course. She claimed that during the winters, the teachers used to take classes in the shed activity area present in the college or in the ‘choppal’ area. However, in summers too, they are taking classes in that open area under the scorching heat of Delhi, according to her.

Half of the students in ‘choppal’ are eating, some of them are taking a lecture, and some are taking some other lecture. It is a complete mess.

-Taneesha, Kamla Nehru College, DU

Further, she asserted that there are no proper benches to sit on and this is quite evident during the examinations. She claimed that as she entered the class to give her exam, she found no seats left. However, at the end, there was a chair and no table where her roll number was mentioned. According to her, she was asked to sit on the chair and give her paper but at this, she questioned the authorities and asked for a table since without it she would not be able to give her exam. After about ten minutes of searching, Taneesha was given a table as she stated.

Very poor conditions of the classrooms and seating arrangement. The college has a small infrastructure to the extent that the batch of political science has 180 students but it can not even offer the basic infrastructure to 100 students.

-Taneesha, Kamla Nehru College, DU

This does not end here. Another college under DU, perhaps already in a tussle of disaffiliation, College of Arts (COA), has a very dilapidated infrastructure issue. In conversation with Deepika, a student of COA, told DU Beat about the deteriorated conditions present in their college. She stated that the washroom issues continue to remain the same. The restrooms in the college lack door latches and water, have broken windows, and non-functional flushes, as she stated. She asserted that the college has re-painted the walls of the buildings to maintain the “outer beauty” of the college. However, this was done over the wall paintings created by the seniors. According to her, the students are again painting the empty walls to maintain the environment of the college. Another student of COA told DU Beat about the poor conditions of the classroom. Additionally, he claimed that there is no proper drinking water present in the college.

They installed a college flag and painted the entire campus but they are not working to provide the basic needs to the students which should be sorted first.

-Student, College of Arts

The conditions in regards to the infrastructure and hygiene is quite perturbing and troublesome for the students. The authorities must take cognition of the situation and act on it at the earliest.

Read Also: DU and its All-Pervading Issue of Inadequate Infrastructure

Featured Image Credits:

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

The crisis of the COVID-19 virus saw a large number of ups and downs. Yet, some people did not stop endeavoring for their dreams. The young Entrepreneurship wave of DU has raised the bar and has become an exceptional source of motivation for everyone. Read ahead to find out more.  

It is rightly said by Gandhi Ji, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” When the world was struggling to breathe, some people had set their eyes to become the trailblazer. Amidst such strenuous times, these people were setting out to do something impactful. Under no circumstances, was their zeal shaken. These people have created an example for the masses to follow. They are the young entrepreneurs who chose not to stop even when the world had come to a halt. Their Entrepreneurship drive has truly become a beacon of hope for many.

To tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic, curbs were imposed across the globe and people got confined in their humble abode. Yet, these constraints could not stop the students from the University of Delhi to pave a path of productivity. These students found ways to spend their time creating businesses instead of procrastinating about tomorrow which seems to be the favorite pastime activity for most.

The fondness and the creativity of these students led them into finding ways to monetize their avocations. Safe to say, the deep affection that we all share for the work we undertake made us stumble upon a few entrepreneurs. The Postcard Store, which turned their affection for the postcards into a blooming online mini store, is based in Delhi and their adventure started from the heart of the National Capital, University of Delhi (DU), amid the medical crisis. In conversation with DU Beat, The Postcard Store enlightened us about their creative idea of going beyond technology and connecting people. Further, they are a small team of Delhiites and cater to the demography of people in the age group of 20-30.

The idea clicked at that time (Pandemic) because people needed and still do, a handwritten little note which reminds them that they are not alone. This has been the major force behind our business. We look forward to connecting people beyond technology.

-The Postcard Store, in conversation with DU Beat

Thee_basicss, started by Harshita Handa from Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, DU during the coronavirus scare, is a business that provides “the” gifting solution. The business caters to gifting needs ranging from ideation of unique digital artworks to making them with the sole purpose of bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. In conversation with DU Beat, Harshita cast light on her inspiration. She started the business out of her love for art and designing new things along with conceptualizing artistic contrivances. Her audience ranges from teens to married couples who want to make special days even more special.

A lot of time was at my disposal that made me prone to think about various ideas every day. Clubbing my passion for art and love for creation into a business was a very appealing thought to me. The rise of online buying among people during the pandemic made it a super interesting idea for me to pursue.

-Harshita Handa, founder of Thee_basicss 

Now, moving on to the subject of luxury; when one hears this word, they come with all guns blazing because of the alarmingly high prices but what if I say that this luxury has become affordable? Rhemi is a one-stop-shop for affordable luxury. Started by Rhea Premi, a student of Kamla Nehru College, DU, started her business due to her adoration of bags. In conversation with DU Beat, the founder of Rhemi expressed her dejection to observe the singularity of taste among the fast fashion designs of bags and the high prices of the avant-garde luxurious brands. This set her off to start a business that would provide affordable luxurious bags. Her brand caters to the people who are looking for unique statement pieces on budget, which mainly includes high school students, college students, women, and men. What is more interesting about this brand is the founder’s story of inspiration. Rhea told DU Beat about her forever keenness towards starting something of her own. The pandemic gave her the perfect opportunity to brainstorm about it and become an inspiring example.

In my family, a woman has never started her own business. I wanted to break that chain and start something of my own. I want to be financially independent and support my family. Having a business is extremely fascinating and a whole another level of learning. I started brainstorming about the same during the pandemic. Since I have always been interested in business, it did not take long for me to find Rhemi.

-Rhea Premi, founder of Rhemi

The enthusiasm to stand out of the crowd continues as Vanya Jain, a first-year journalism student from Kalindi College, DU, started a resin business amidst the medical crisis solely because of her inclination towards her artistic flare. However, in conversation with DU Beat, Vanya highlighted the issues she faced amid the crisis. The main component of her business is the material- resin. Due to the curbs imposed, she had to wait for almost a week to restock her material which ceased her business to flourish. Nevertheless, Vanya continues to work hard and grow her business.

It takes a lot to stand out of the crowd and take risks but eventually you will realize it’s worth it. After all, extraordinary things do not happen ordinarily.

-Vanya Jain, founder of Resin Business

Every business took a bullet due to the restrictions imposed. The growth and independence of the businesses, especially the ones which started during these times, were heavily impacted. Yet, the way these businesses tackled the issue is quite commendable and encouraging.

Due to the government restrictions, our business took a major stop-off as long as 3-4 months. We overcame this setback by handling our Instagram handle more creatively. Our store got back on track after this.

-The Postcard Store

The way of the world is such that nothing comes without the ups and downs. What is important is to never cease endeavoring and never put a halt to the process of hard work and dedication. Leaving a mark in an oblivious world is surely a difficult task but making the impossible possible is the step that everyone remembers for eternity. This pandemic might offer hardships. However, believe in yourself and start putting in hours to make your dream come true because it is not the end until things turn your way.

Read Also: MadOverStreets: Startup by DU students sells youth-oriented products at cheap rates

Featured image Credits: The Times of India

Ankita Baidya

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The Amar Jawan Jyoti has been merged with the flame at the National War Memorial on a bright Friday afternoon but was this step the “need of the hour” or simply unsolicited? Read ahead to find out more.

On 21 January 2022, the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate was merged with the eternal flame at the National War Memorial in New Delhi. The ceremony for the same took place on 21st January afternoon. A part of the Amar Jawan Jyoti flame was taken and merged with the flame at the National War Memorial at India Gate. Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Air Marshal B R Krishna presided over this ceremony. However, the merger soon became a page of the controversial political book. This step was welcomed but not without a good share of criticism from some.

The Amar Jawan Jyoti under the India Gate was established back in 1972 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It was constructed to pay homage to the lives that we lost during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh. It was inaugurated on 26 January 1972 after India came out victorious in the war in December 1971.  The eternal flame at the Amar Jawan Jyoti was an evocative symbol that paid tribute to the nation’s fallen soldiers in the line of duty.  This “memorable” piece of the nation’s history consists of a base on which there is a cenotaph. The words “Amar Jawan” are scripted in gold on all four sides of the cenotaph and the latter has a reversed rifle with a war helmet on top of it. It also has four urns (burners) which were lit on important national days, else only one of them was kept alive around the year and was never allowed to be extinguished. The same was kept alive eternally with the help of piped natural gas (PNG).

This eternal flame was placed under the India Gate or the All India War Memorial as previously known. It was constructed by the British in 1931 to pay a tribute to the 90,000 Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army that were lost in multiple wars till then. Hence, the flame was placed under it since the memorial was in the remembrance of the fallen Indian soldiers.

Inscription on India gate
Image Credits: Alamy

The primary reason stated by the government officials to take this step, as reported by the Indian Express, is that the India Gate is a symbol of our “colonial past” and does not even carry a mention of the soldiers lost during the 1971 war. Moreover, the flame would not be extinguished but just moved to be merged with the one in the National War Memorial. The National War Memorial was established by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in 2019 which also houses an eternal flame. As asserted by the defense officials, it seemed only right to keep a single flame instead of two when all the officials and foreign dignitaries paid their homage at the new establishment. This merger might be one of the unnecessary necessities of the country that was addressed. Although the step is subjected to a political row on the pretense of respective political ideology and was both welcomed and criticized, was it really imperative to shake the history of this country?

Another reason to carry forward this merger was that the people of the country are bonded to the Amar Jawan Jyoti emotionally. They did not feel the same sentiment for the National war Memorial and the latter did not catch the public eye to the extent anticipated. Now, not only the government is zealous for the new memorial’s promotion but this step can also be seen as a part of one of the government’s current endeavors, the central vista project.

The central vista project or this merger is undertaken for the creation of the believed “Indian property”. This is the justification given to the restructuring of the heart of the National Capital. Now it may sound patriotic and the chauvinistic feelings might propagate but where should the line be drawn to demarcate the symbolic shift of power and the nation’s prestige? The Amar Jawan Jyoti is a part of that history because of which the present we are living in flourished. The undermining of the same in the name of the colonial past or British property would not lead to the creation of the believed missing link. That lost link is between Indian sentiments and prestige and the historic sacrifices that were made in the colonial past. Keeping up two flames might look unnecessary so one of them was decided to be put to sleep but how long are we going to put the history to sleep in the name of patriotism? Every part of colonial history, every remnant from the British period holds a quintessential value and an emotional aspect. The Jyoti was lit when people were reeling from the loss. To say that it has to be put off for paying a tribute to not only them but all is quite materialistic. Other measures could have turned up if creative efforts were on the table which would have ensured a certain place of the new memorial but jeopardizing a piece of history to garner attention is not quite acceptable. Nevertheless, as much as this step was criticized, it was whole-heartedly welcomed by some. Everything is done in the name of our country and the feelings of patriotism continue to perpetuate. Yet, the tri-colored flag should be the sole agenda instead of the orange one. Doing this, would ensure the growth of the nationalist zeal for eternity and bring sheer joy to the countrymen and not only the ones in power.

Read Also: Cries of Kashmir: 200 Plus Days

Featured Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

Have you ever felt so lost that even an episode from Friends turns out to be unfruitful? This is when you find your world in your comfort food. A plain and simple bowl of Dal and rice can sometimes trump the most delectable fares.

On a late winter night, while everyone is snuggled up in their blankets, you are awake to complete those due assignments. You could hear your flatmate’s snoring but there is nothing much you could do about it. That is when your stomach growls. You get up from your chair and head towards the kitchen to make some instant noodles. You pour in water in the saucepan and wait for it to boil. Suddenly you feel an urge to not eat those noodles. You start reminiscing about the time from your younger days. Those days when your mother used to cook your meals while you worked hard for your tests. At that time it felt insignificant only for you to realize its higher place in your life and that is how your everyday food became your comfort food. So, in the dead of the darkness, while you look at your noodles in the making, you are craving your comfort food. The thought about your comfort food makes you crave it even more. Surprisingly, you could smell it even when it was not in front of you. From ‘aaj bhi Dal chawal’ to ‘where is my Dal chawal’ we have all grown up.

Besides this, have you ever dwelled on your long vacation feelings? Some years ago while holidaying in Mumbai, I was hit by a strange feeling. I love to explore different cuisines and a trip to Mumbai is everything when it comes to food. Whilst enjoying the Vada Pao and Bhel Puri, I realized that I can not take another bite of it. At that moment all I wanted was some home-cooked rice, piping hot dal garnished with a dash of lemon, and fried potatoes. A girl, whose sole purpose of life is to eat and explore, was yearning for a home-cooked meal. What an odd thing to see. A few months back a similar feeling aroused when I visited Ooty. Indulging myself into the fine dining experience with chicken Chettinad and finishing it with Mysore Pak on my ‘I don’t remember’ day of the trip, I almost broke down into tears at the sight of that mouth-watering food. I felt extremely overwhelmed and the only thing my soul craved was for my comfort food. I loved the south Indian cuisine but at the moment it seemed as if my dal-rice was winning all the battles. Without a doubt, I could have ditched caviar for my home-cooked meal.

The feeling that you get when you crave your soul food but can only fancy it. That feeling when you close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting on your bed completely relaxed with your favorite novel. You start reading those yellow pages which have a deep story, a thrilling climax, and an unanticipated river of twists hidden in them. You reached the 94th page and that is when the door opens. You can see that perfect bowl of your favorite meal coming towards you. Your gaze is fixated on the bowl when it finally sits before you. You could already taste the zesty flavor that it has and smell the woody scent that your entire body yearned for. The scrumptious bowl of heaven awaits “your highness”. This is when the spell finally breaks and you realize the existence of this tangible realm where your bowl of goodness lives far away from you at the moment. You open your eyes to comprehend the heartbreak to be more hurtful than a breakup. Any affliction is tolerable but not the estrangement from your comfort food. The solace that a bowl of comfort can bring you is unparalleled.

Living far away from your humble abode can be challenging. From doing every mundane task to keeping yourself protected, every responsibility solely lies on your shoulder. However, what makes this sitch more arduous is that home-sick feeling. Especially when you fall sick and all you long for is some comfort through the meals you have. Yet, a disappointing discretion that you address is the distance from the place you once woke up every day. You as a breathing being do not get to choose what settles your mind but what does is that toothsome morsel. It is rightly marked that the way to one’s heart is through their stomach. You can go and explore any part of the world, meet any number of people and try out as many cultures as your heart desires but your affection for your comfort food is simply irreplaceable. I can not comment on who is going to be there for you but ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part’ your dal-chawal is going to stick to you till the very end.

Read Also: Must Try Street Food Joints in DU

Featured Image Credits: Dawn Images

Ankita Baidya

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Researchers and scientists have turned over a new leaf as the Vaccination drive is burgeoning but as all good things come with a price, there have been reports about a few vaccination swindles. Read ahead to find out more.

When coronavirus hit the world, little did we know that soon it is going to become an intangible aspect of our lives. We saw huge losses. Losses that can not be compensated by any means. Such were the conditions that no tear was left to cry and yet the catastrophe continued. Researchers and scientists were burning the midnight oil to find a solution. That is when the Vaccination came to the stage as a lifeline for the human race. It did not promise to bring an end to this blizzard but what it did was to bring down the probability of contracting the virus. It provided us with a penetrable shield with the potential of making our immunity systems stronger to fight it off. However, some people’s affection for gambling overpowered this noble discovery. It is a lifeline gamble but is it worth enough to gamble your own life for personal gains?

India was hit by a devastating second wave back in 2021. If this was not enough, the beneficiaries were scammed for vaccination. Thousands of people went to their nearest medical centers in the hope of getting their doses. Instead, all they got was salt and water in the name of vaccination. People fall prey to this massive fake coronavirus vaccine scam and both doctors and medical workers were arrested for their involvement. According to a report by CNN, the scammers charged their victims a hefty amount for the doses and earned about 20,90,938 rupees. In June 2021, the central government announced a vaccination drive, and soon about 63.2 lakh doses were administered a day. The fake vaccine drive took place between May and June 2021. Breathing amidst a medical crisis, we are heavily dependent on our doctors but if they are the ones ripping people off then what does it imply? Is it a dead-end for us?

At least 12 fake vaccination drives were held in or near Mumbai. They were using saline water and injecting it. Every fake vaccination camp that they (Police) held, they were doing this. We have arrested doctors. They were using a hospital which was producing the fake certificates, vials, syringes.

-Vishal Thakur, a senior official of the Mumbai police department in conversation with CNN

On top of the aforementioned scam, another case of a maelstrom of vaccination has occurred. Recently issues have been reported where only one dose was administered but the records showed two. Many cases have been reported across the national capital of Delhi. The beneficiaries claimed to have received only a single dose of the vaccine while the CoWIN platform showed the reception of both the shots. According to a report by The Hindu, almost all the people reporting the issue have received their first doses in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. The Delhi government came across this hitch in December 2021. Soon, it issued a video addressing a solution. Anyone facing the problem has to log in to CoWIN, raise an issue, report an unknown member in the account and delete it.

Before deleting the earlier account, we note the date of the first dose of the vaccine. Then we create a new account and put that as the date of the first vaccine and then give the second dose. We use the same ID card the person used while getting the first dose and it gets done on the same day itself.

an official told The Hindu

The report further stated that Dr. Girish Tyagi, secretary of Delhi Medical Council, suspected illegal activities to be behind this that caused the mayhem on the CoWIN platform. He wished for the government to look into the matter. Another case of possible illicit pursuit is providing a lifeline to the people. If people are thrown under the bus to get a lifeline, it is one step forward and two steps back. We talk about motivating the masses to get vaccinated but the motivation is getting jeopardized. Can the stakeholders benefit from a public welfare scheme to its full potential?

In another turn of events, medical workers had undertaken one more scam. A vaccination certificate scam was attempted. The medical workers manipulated the CoWIN website to procure ‘fake vaccination certificates’ by entering the bogus details of the applicant. According to a report by The Indian Express, two people- Zuber Sheikh and Alfaiz Khan,  accused of the crime were arrested. As soon as the duo arrived in Mumbai, they realized that this scam would be easy to carry out since there is a large number of people who need the vaccination certificate for numerous things. All that a “customer” was supposed to do is to provide the Aadhaar card details, phone number, and of course the selling price of this snow job, Rs. 2000. After fulfilling these pre-requisites, the customer soon would receive a message from CoWIN, congratulating them on being fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, the scam was too good to be true.

A perplexing question that makes round in my head is that why every undertaking that is supposed to be for the greater good of the society gets converted into some profitable gimmick? Why are people always liable to pay a price for “earning” the benefits that are their bona fide rights? The vaccination drive in India is being carried out in full swing but as each coin has two faces, this drive does not come without its drawbacks. Nevertheless, the only thing that matters is to cut down the fatalities and cease them. Hence, steps need to be taken to ensure its success at the grass-root level.

Read Also: COVID-19 Myth-busters: Your Guide to Gaining the Correct Information

Featured Image Credits: Financial Times

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

Student Politics is believed to be a product of the present times. Yet, there are historical pieces of evidence that suggest otherwise. Read ahead to find out more.

When the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) protested against the punishment given in the case of the 2001 Parliament attack, students including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid got arrested. When the Literary Society of the Ramjas College, University of Delhi decided to invite Umar Khalid to speak in a seminar on ‘Cultures of Protest’ in 2017, a fight broke out. What was supposed to be a peculiar argument turned out to be a massive protest, involving everyone from students to renowned political faces. Students have been a part of the political sphere for quite some time now but should students be a part of this political arena? When the involvement of political parties in student politics has increased for their benefit of expanding the core strength of the party, should students step into it? It is believed that Student Politics is a product of the current decade. However, student politics is not just ABVP or NSUI, it has a history that accounts for its greater place in the democracy.


There is no starting point but the late 19th century and early 20th century saw the students getting involved in political matters. The swadeshi movement that was led as part of the anti-partition movement saw active participation of school and college students. Because of this situation, the students who were found guilty were stripped of their scholarships, expelled, or fined. What followed this movement was a consciousness to protest against the unjust that was being served. The students like Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki actively participated in politics. As the movements developed with time, people realized that violence could make the Britishers leave the country. The non-cooperation movement too saw a wide participation of students. They boycotted their schools and colleges that were government-affiliated to show their solidarity with the movement.

An indelible name in Indian history is that of Bhagat Singh, a student of National College, Lahore who had his roots running deep into politics. His commitment to ‘inquilab’  (revolution) inspired a wave of students across the country. His political ideologies did differ but the goal remained the same, to sleep in a free country. The students continued to march for freedom. They were fierce and focused. They did not cease until they achieved swaraj. This political involvement of the students gave rise to a certain culture of student politics that this country was about to experience.


India was deeply engrossed in realizing its new dreams that were to shape the country which was reeling from the state of shambles. The nation was disintegrated on the grounds of various socio-economic factors. Yet, the political breeze was always prevailing. Even during the demand for linguistic states, protests broke out across the country which again saw active participation of the students. Further, the Naxalite movement that started in 1967 saw enormous support from the students. With the onset of the recession, India was about to fall into the grips of an economic crisis. Students saw this as a threat to their future prospects of employment and this directed them to join the Naxalite movement. Political involvement of the students was well active in this period and continued to remain the same in the coming years.

The Navnirman Andolan in 1974 was a movement led by the students in Gujarat against a hike in hostel food fees. Clashes between students and police provoked an indefinite strike across the educational institutions in Gujarat. This led to the resignation of Chimanbhai Patel. Nav Nirman Yuvak Samiti was formed during the movement. They demanded the dissolution of the state assembly and for holding fresh elections. Further, Morarji Desai went on a hunger strike, and then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi had to give in. The day the election results were declared was the same day when the verdict on the latter’s electoral malpractices came. In the same year, the Bihar movement was initiated by the students which were led by Jayaprakash Narayan. The political movement was against the anarchy in the state government. This movement led to the formation of Bihar Chhatra Sangharsh. However, the movement later turned against former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (Sampoorna Kranti). As a result of all these, a national emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi.

Emergency saw the suspension of all the democratic practices. This was resisted by all the sections of society, especially students. The government used repressive actions against the involvement of students in politics. This led to brutal consequences like the Rajan Case. P.Rajan was an engineering student who died as a result of torture in police custody during the Emergency in Kerala. Jailing and torturing the students because of their political support is a ‘trend’ of 1975 which found its place even in today’s times.


Student politics has its roots through the pages of Indian history. As the times change, people learn more. The knowledge of a twelve-year-old child would be merely numbers and letters for the same-age child ten years into the future. This enhancement helps in a better understanding of the world and leads to demand for a better place to live. The students’ participation has always been there but has increased with the increase in their capacity to comprehend. Nevertheless, student politics will always be present and never cease to grow for better democratic functioning.

Read Also: ‘Bhakts vs Liberals’: Who Wins in Divisive Politics?

Featured Image Source: Youth Ki Awaaz

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

The transgender community seeks an educational upliftment at the earliest but the social construction of gender is creating mayhem. The question is, are we willing to place education above Self-Identity?

While reminiscing those childhood days in school when life was full of giggles and nonchalant days, I wondered about the questions I was asked back then. What is your favorite color- blue or pink? The answer was blue but the expectation was ‘pink’, since girls could not like blue. Different notions and behavioral patterns have constructed the concept of gender. The gender roles assigned to each of us are based on an accepted set of characteristics. If anyone falls beyond them, they are rejected in society’s eyes. Then what happens to the transgender community? What about their unique Self-Identity?

Education makes everyone better off. It is education that develops everyone and helps them to choose better and work for the best. Knowledge empowers an individual to recognize opportunities, understand their rights and duties. Education has the power to make a person complete. Gender alone can not determine the character of a person but it is the empowerment by education that makes a person face the world. Moreover, this educational empowerment helps in the developmental process of a country. We claim to be a developing nation and have set our eyes on becoming developed. The irony is that we are the same people who are creating hindrances in the process. Education should be imparted equally irrespective of gender then why is one section of the society deprived of it?  Why is equality a notion of just two genders?

The word gender may sound quite peculiar and unimportant but the impact it has is way greater than we can realize. You and I can sleep tonight with calmness. However, it is this very word that has seized the peace out of many lives. In a landmark case, the Supreme Court of India recognized the transgender community in 2014. It acknowledged the right to choose one’s gender identity as it is integral to the right to a life with dignity. This gave formal recognition to the community. Yet, there is a long way to social acceptance.

The transgender community has been deprived of cultural and social participation which has resulted in restricted access to education and other needs. According to official reports, there are about 4.9 lakhs people who belong to this community. The actual number could be way higher than these figures. Out of which, about 55,000 belong to the age group of 0-6. In comparison to the literacy rate of 74% of the general population, the literacy rate of this community is quite low at 46%. Although the constitution guarantees them a quality life, they lack the means that create the ‘quality’ of life.

Formal education for transgender is not a very popular concept in Indian society. The enrollment is significantly low and the drop-outs are too high. They are reluctant to continue schooling as a result of all the bullying and harassment they have to face. The community is deprived of a healthy environment be it at school or home. This further deteriorates their standard of living. With the prevailing stigma and less education, the endless number of opportunities is only present on the paper for them.

Back in 2014, when the country recognized the transgender community officially, the University of Delhi also included the third gender in their application form. It seemed to be a big leap since a premier institution had opened its arms towards inclusivity. Nevertheless, there are accounts of students who received a cold shoulder from the officials along with bullying that followed them into their classrooms.

I approached a group of students to find get directions to the window for filling up the application for DU’s School of Open Learning (SOL). They called me a ‘Chaka’. I never thought that educated people could be so insensitive. We are also a part of society. I knew right then that I will never be one of them.

-Delhi based transgender via ED Times

Educational deprivation comes from the question of equality. We are in an era where people are still gripping on the concept of feminism. Even now, we are fighting for women’s rights and equal opportunities for them. We are still bridging the gap between the two genders. When there is an issue of fairness between men and women then how is equality going to reach the third gender?

In a classroom, when a student uses a slur like ‘Chaka’ and it goes unnoticed in the name of a joke, are we taking this issue of inclusivity seriously? Are we inclusive when we have generalized the use of slurs for this part of society?

The transgender community faces problems in all walks of life. Hence, an equitable education through social acceptance is critical. This makes the need for educational empowerment even more important for the working of an inclusive society. There is a long road that needs to be walked down to achieve the collective goal of their social acceptance that would ensure reimbursement of their lost quality of life

Read Also: The Need for Queer Collectives in Colleges

Featured Image Source: News 18

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]