Kartik Chauhan


30th October, 2018, became a historically significant day for the Miranda House Girls’ Hostel, as the Hostel gates stayed open into the dawn, as the students protested outside. To celebrate the completion of one year to this day, and mandate authoritative action to allow the hostellers more liberty, another sit-in was organised by the Miranda House Girls’ Hostel residents.

The protest was led by Pinjra Tod, a student’s collective that works for secure, affordable and non-gender discriminatory accommodation for women across Delhi. 

The events of the said night happened in this chronological order: 

Activists of ‘Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks’ called for a protest outside the gates of Arts Faculty, Delhi University, on the night of October 30th, demanding that the Miranda House hostel curfew be rolled back completely. Earlier, on October 8th and 10th, Pinjra Tod had organised protest marches and all-night sit-ins in North Campus, Delhi University.

Previously, on October 10th, the activists of Pinjra Tod had given the deadline of October 30th to the University administration to accept all their demands. The Principal of Miranda House, Pratibha Jolly had talked to the protesters and listened to their demands, giving the assurance that the issues would be discussed by the administration, and appropriate measures would be taken.

Ishika, participant at the protest, a Miranda House student told DU Beat, “The protest began very calmly, there was no aggression or violence. The hostel committee and the principal cooperated well with us, and when demands were put forward, they agreed to all.”

Pratibha Jolly, Principal of Miranda House, in reply to Pinjra Tod said, “As a constituent college of University of Delhi we have been discussing the issue at the highest level.”

However, most of the demands were not met. The hostel curfew was extended from 8:30 PM to 9 PM only, with a few extra night-outs added and number of leaves increased. 

The college had put up notices stating that “due information must be given to the Hostel Administrative Staff before Night Out is availed. This must be duly recorded in the Leave Book.” 

An informal WhatsApp message had been circulated, which stated that the late-night timings will remain the same, and night leaves will be sanctioned on the same day only in case of emergency.

The student collective Pinjra Tod termed the extension of 30 minutes for hostels as a “joke” and demanded complete abolition of curfew timing at Miranda House. 

Pinjra Tod said, “This extension of half an hour is a cruel joke, another attempt at humiliating and infantilising the dignity, dreams and struggles of women students.”

The true reason for an intensified reaction to these rigorous hostel curfews was allegedly that the college had put up notices stating, “Residents can return to the hostel at any time of the night on a night-out and short-notice/ emergency night-outs can be availed by filling in a form at the gate and (there) is no need (for) one day advance notice,” which was far from the reality. 

Following the student’s protest, the students in defiance organised a sit-in that continued all night. The students protested outside the hostel gate and the gates of the hostel remained open. 

The agitators said, “These new changes are important relaxations in the existing rules, but we really refuse to get dragged into this bureaucratic non-sense, which continues to reinforce power in the hands of the administration.”

The series of protest led by Pinjra Tod, paves way for new meaning of freedom for many hostellers. 

Feature Image Credits: News Ink 

Chhavi Bahmba

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Colleges for Climate Action organised a climate action march at Arts Faculty, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU) on 1st November to stand in solidarity against climate change. 

The march began from Gate Four of the Arts Faculty, and was concluded at Gate three of Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station. Students from various colleges gathered at the Arts Faculty gate with masks on their faces, posters in their hands, and intent in their hearts. 

Slogans like “What do we want? Climate Justice. When do want it? Right Now.”; “Climate Change se Azadi”; “As there is no Earth B!” were chanted while matching forward. All the posters and structures held by students were made out of reusable materials. 

The main motive of Colleges for Climate Change, as told by the organisers was to “provide a convenient campus solution to college students to get involved in the fight against crisis.”

“Even though many people may not turn up on one day, march at institutions worldwide help to raise our voice against this as a community as a whole,” they added. 

The march concluded at the Vishvavidyalaya metro station where the students orchestrated a fake die, on the sounds of raging sirens to symbolise the urgency of a required climate emergency, as otherwise, this will be the clear end.

Sharda, student of Environment Sciences said, “People think they don’t know what to do for climate crisis, they don’t know how to contribute, but there is so much they can do, join strikes, use the public transport, make dire lifestyle changes and even quit meat.” 

After the fake die, students sat in at the Vishwavidyalaya metro station to share their stories of how they’ve contributed to climate action, they sang songs to promote solidarity through harmony and recounted various ways to contribute to climate action. 

The women specially from colleges, were seen leading the strike. Just like the global strike pattern, this March definitely had a women’s and young adult narrative. The protest was said to be apolitical, but asking for a political discourse. A Climate Crisis Act lies in the hands of those in power. Their negligence, by not declaring climate emergency and much more is what had let many to protest earlier. But, this protest was said to be apolitical. 

Pragya, a Hindu College student said, “We’re saying this is apolitical as we don’t pertain to any political ideology or are not affiliated to any political party, as climate crisis is an issue for the entire world and not just any political party.”

The march also emphasised on scrap the straw movement, with mentioning the petition which each college could fill out to ban use of all single use straws and plastic. 

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat 

Chhavi Bahmba 

[email protected]


On 17 September 2019, a girl studying in University of Delhi was raped by a rickshawala who attempted to kidnap her in his auto. The accused has been put behind bars. Read on to find out more.

You Dutt Sharma, a 23-year-old man was arrested on 26th October after a DU student filed an FIR against him accusing him of molesting her and trying to kidnap her in his auto. The incident took place on 17 September 2019. After the FIR, the police summoned the man and after questioning, it was found out that he had allegedly raped the student.

With the help of CCTV footage and technical surveillance, Delhi Police was able to track down the accused and put him behind bars. He confessed that he had harassed about 50 girls in the past. Provoked with suspicion, the authorities questioned him and subsequently matched the details of the case with the rape case. Apart from this, the accused had various cases of larceny filed against his name. 

“On October 21, a DU student said she was going towards a Metro station when an auto driver asked if she wanted a drop. When she refused, the driver tried to pull her inside the auto. She managed to escape after raising an alarm… the accused also fled,” said a senior police officer.

Gargi Tyagi, treasurer of Women’s Development Cell, Motilal Nehru College said, “Watching these things happen to students and that too so frequently makes me realise anyone of us could be the next victim and that thought petrifies me and sends me into a panic. It’s really frustrating and anxious to live with the fear that I could be next. Girls come from different corners of the country to study here and when things like these happen, parents also tend to refrain from sending their daughters outside their home state, where they could receive higher and better education. I hope the authorities do something about this and increase security around the campus.”

“The minor girl was called and she identified the accused. The accused initially tried to mislead the police, but he finally admitted to his crime. He disclosed that the girl boarded his share auto… his associates were in the vehicle, posing as passengers. The accused then took her to an isolated area and allegedly raped her. The girl was scared and did not tell her parents, as he had threatened her with dire consequences. She finally told her mother, who informed the police,” the officer said. 

Feature Image Credits: ThinkProgress

Avni Dhawan

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Culture preservation and safety has motivated the University of Delhi (DU) to convert the North Campus into an enclosed area to form a proper campus, much like the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) campus. The initiative will be completed within a year and was informed by the Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi at the executive council (EC) meeting on Saturday 26th October 2019. 

Currently, the proposal is in the contact phase where government agencies and departments are told to start the process, an official announcement hasn’t been made yet. 

The two-day meeting held on Saturday, was a platform for many issues to be discussed, the IOE proposal, construction of 39-storey building and the closing of North Campus. 

However, while these issues may seem independent, they are interconnected. If the EC’s proposal is accepted to enclose North Campus, the construction of the building will be deferred. And, IOE (Institute of Eminence) proposal would pave way for the closing of North Campus. 

EC member Rajesh Jha, said, “We have always demanded that the campus should be closed as we want DU to have a character of its own just like JNU and other varsities in the country. The closed campus will also help authorities improve the security on the varsity premises.”

North Campus is a hub of academics at the University of Delhi, with many colleges and departments within meters of each other, and so, it has always witnessed the greatest college student footfall. This raises some serious questions regarding the safety of the students, with recent developments in many violent cases taking place at North Campus. This concept will increase the safety of students manifold. However, it may subject them to false seclusion and isolation. The culture of campus may be gone when only students of those colleges could take part in it, and not all could witness it.

Interviewing students from all over the campus, DU Beat received many mixed responses.  Here’s what DU students have to say about this. 

Aditi Raj, Daulat Ram College, North Campus said “The idea seems far-fetched, I don’t know how they will manage to do it. The campus is full of roads that connect two parts of the city. And other universities like JNU, have a huge campus with all departments to enclose, where we are just calling few colleges and departments the entire university campus.” 

Satviki Sanjay, Miranda House, North Campus said, “I don’t think DU North Campus should be closed. To ‘maintain its culture’ sounds like a terrible reason as DU ‘culture’ is not just limited in the North Campus but also the other colleges. Closing it would just strengthen the already prevalent elitism in the North Campus. Moreover, there are logistical issues that need to be resolved. DU North Campus is not just educational institutions but an entire ecosystem of students, teachers, market places, transportation and all which make DU North Campus what it is and closing it would rather hamper the ‘culture’.” 

Akshat Arora, Motilal Nehru College, South Campus said, “I feel like restricting an area to a limited number of students will work against your intentions if you intend to preserve “cultures”.”

Whereas, A counter-opinion also existed among the DU students. Priyanshu Sinha, Delhi School of Journalism, North Campus believes, “When we step out of the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station to head towards our respective colleges, it feels more like going to an isolated corporate office than going to a University. Like JNU, Delhi University needs to have a closed campus.”

Many times the argument comes that DU is a collegiate like Oxford which is based in the Oxfordshire. But then we forget that Oxfordshire is completely established for Oxford University whereas Delhi is a diverse city having government offices, corporate buildings along with the University. It doesn’t feel like a University campus when cars flock all the time, outsiders who have nothing to do with the college or the education roam around in the campus. It also dilutes unity of the campus as a single entity. This step by the administration is very pleasant and we welcome it wholeheartedly.”

Pranavi Prabhakaran, Daulat Ram College, North Campus, told DU Beat, “North Campus is a truly important academic area. It’s only surprising that this move hadn’t been taken earlier. I hope it will be cleaner now.”

While different opinions surface in the University, many questions like whether the infamous Hudson Lane and Patel Chest Photocopy Lane be part of mainstream campus? Will the stalls and Chai corners that exist, still cease to exist? Will colleges provide parking spots to those who earlier parked outside?

To answer all these questions and many more, a formal official notification is awaited. 

Feature Image Credits: Dailymail

Chhavi Bahmba 

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Sarvjeet Singh charged in a molestation case filed by Jasleen Kaur, a St. Stephen’s alumnus, acquitted after four years due to untrustworthy testimony by complainant. 

After four years of being called a “pervert” or “Delhi ka darinda” (Delhi’s demon), on 25th October, 28-year-old Sarvjeet Singh was acquitted by Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court of all charges in a molestation case which was filed by Jasleen Kaur, an alumnus of St. Stephen’s College in Delhi University. 

The judgement by Justice M.M. Sonam Gupta provided, according to a report in The Print, “testimony of the complainant is not trustworthy and casts doubt on the case of the prosecution”. It also suggested that Singh was awarded the benefit of doubt as his guilt was not proven beyond reasonable apprehension. 

On August 23rd, 2015, Kaur had posted a photo of Singh on Facebook accusing him of using obscene language and verbally molesting her on the streets of Tilak Nagar, West Delhi. She claimed in her post that Singh threatened her when she clicked his picture stating, “Jo kar sakti hai kar le. Complaint karke dikha, fir dekhiyo kya karta hun main.” (Do what you can do. Try complaining, then see what I will do). 

Within a few hours, the post went viral and caught the Delhi Police’s attention. Singh was found and arrested in a day’s time without his side of the story being heard. Singh had commented on the post saying, “I was at the red light near Aggarwal Sweets at Tilak Nagar from where I had to take a left turn. Ms Jasleen stopped me and others saying they’re helping control the traffic, and I said I am not jumping the red light, left turn is free, and if you want to jump the signal, it’s your wish. The next thing I see is she pulling out her phone and clicking photos of my bike and me and screaming “I’ll go to the cops tomorrow, you will know when they arrest you from your house”.”

Kaur was congratulated by Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, on her act of bravery, as well as by film stars like Sonakshi Sinha. She was also awarded a cash prize of INR 5,000 by Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi for her courage.

It was reported in The Print in September 2018, three years after the incident, that Kaur hadn’t attended a single hearing in the matter making it difficult to begin the case. Only in December 2018, after missing 14 hearings, did she show up to defend her absence. She claimed that she had “educational commitments” in Canada to pursue her studies in Human Resources. At the same time, Singh struggled with his job and had to take permission from the police every time he wished to leave the city. 

On finally being acquitted, Singh said “I am feeling free today. Justice has been done and the tag of a criminal that I had been walking around with has been lifted. The judge had asked my lawyers if there were any witnesses to be produced. When my lawyers said that the witnesses could be called in the next hearing, the judge replied saying there was no need as the court had decided to free me. My lawyer and I looked at each other in disbelief and then I just broke into tears.”

Apart from this, he also claimed that he wished to seek an apology from all those who defamed him without solid proof, primarily senior journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of news channel Times Now, Arnab Goswami. “Mr Arnab should apologise. He called me a pervert in front of the world but now the court has acquitted me. He crushed my image, so he should now restore it,” Singh added. He also wrote on Facebook, “Agar duniya aap news channels ko dekhti hai to wo us news par belive kar lete hai…it is a req ki pehle sach pata kare..fir duniya ko dikhaye.. sirf TRP he sab kuch nahi hoti. (The audience believes the news that they are shown by the news channels. It is a request to broadcast news only once it’s confirmed. TRP isn’t everything)”.

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Aditi Gutgutia

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Usually called as a politically ‘shy’ University, this Tuesday, Jamia Millia Islamia erupted with thousands of students outside the Vice Chancellor’s office which was subsequently followed by a muscle fight between the protesters and some goons, which are alleged to be hired by the administration itself.

The event raises significant questions that ought to formulate certain conjectures, but through a detailed assessment and statements from both the parties, we have tried to trace down most possible answers to these questions.

The first question that arises in our cerebral manifestations is what was the protest all about?

Apparently, yesterday on 22 October, a number of student organisations arranged a Solidarity March from the Central Canteen to VC’s Office as an extension of the 10-day long ongoing protest against the University administration which has issued a show cause notice in the name of five students of the University.

Protests in support of Palestine, outside the Edward W Said Hall, named after famous Palestinian- American Scholar Edward W Said.  Credits: The Jamia Review
Protests in support of Palestine, outside the Edward W Said Hall, named after famous Palestinian- American Scholar Edward W Said.
Credits: The Jamia Review

What was it with regard to the show cause notice?

The five students who have received the show cause notice were among the 12 students who were a part of a symbolic protest probing the intrusion of an Israeli delegation that was supposed to be the country partner of ‘Global Health Zenith Confluence’19’, organized by the Faculty of Architecture and Ekistics, JMI, on October 5, 2019.

According to the administration, the students were rewarded with this show cause for hampering the University’s image and vandalising in an otherwise peaceful campus with an unnecessary protest.

One of the members of the All India Students Association says as we quote,

“It is our fundamental right to express our voices and it is utter nonsense to say that we engaged in some kind of vandalism, rather it was us who were manhandled by the guards.”

What was the progression of the protest?

For past one week the All India Students Association and the Dayar-e-Shauq Student Charter, another student organisation assembled near the central canteen demonstrating their contempt regarding the administration, and demanding for a revocation of the show cause notice against the students and a total boycott of Israel.

What happened at the Solidarity March?

On the ninth day of the protest, the students planned for a peaceful protest seeking a reply from the administration regarding the show cause notice and a face-to-face talk with the vice chancellor, reportedly almost a thousand students joined the March chanting slogans of ‘Inquilab‘ and ‘Azadi‘. After a day-long protest, in the second set of the day, some 10-15 students appeared at the venue, asking the protesters to vacate the place within next 30 minutes, failing which severe repercussions may befall upon them (as reported by one of the protesters).

Subsequently, the protesters refused to withdraw the protest following which they were attacked with flower pots and which were later dragged around, creating a huge scuffle, injuring many students; one of them being Shah Alam of B.A. (Hons.) Political Science is reported to be in extremely critical condition. The varsity campus was then flooded with a Delhi Police delegation which attracted lots of eyeballs.

The students then went on to protest for the entire night and were joined by more students from all over the University in the later part of the tenth day of protest. Songs and slogans complemented the fulmination, with flags of Palestine and India being raised outside the office to signify the protest. They were also extended support by the Hon’ble MP of the Thissur Constituency, Mr. T N Prathapan, who expressed his grievances against the authority and ensured his support to the students protesting. Protest also witnessed support from the JNU General Secretary, Satish Chandra Yadav, who backed the students with his words.

Congress MP Mr T N Prathapan extending support to the protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia.  Credits: The Jamia Review
Congress MP Mr T N Prathapan extending support to the protesters at Jamia Millia Islamia.
Credits: The Jamia Review

What next?

The students have now raised their demands to be fulfilled by the administration, following which they are ready to withdraw the protest and return to the classes which elsewise witnessed a boycott of classes in the University today.

The demands by the protesters include three major points which include, a withdrawal of the show cause notice against the five students, an assurance of the safety of the protesters which ensures no action to be taken against the students, and a serious action against the ‘goons’ that prompted the attack on the protesters.

What happens further is yet to be discovered but this incident has surely engaged number of students who have expressed their solidarity and support in concerning times.

Feature Image Credits: The Jamia Review

Faizan Salik
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While buying an expensive khadi kurta from the largest brands in humongous malls, we tend to forget the real roots of our ethno-Indian outfits. Ever wonder why?

The University of Delhi (DU) is a hub for street style fashion which transcends all boundaries. Every day, as students, we bring out our best fashion game in college, and in the wake of a  recent epiphany, I believe that we have strayed into an obsession for ethnic clothing and accessories.

Kurtas, long skirts, suits, dupattas, stoles, jhumkas, nose-rings, neck-pieces, and even sarees have become very common in college. We spend lavishly on our outfits and accessories to look more authentic, grounded, and in a sense, more Indian. Many agree that the choice to wear Indian comes from a place of comfort. “Loose kurtas and palazzos are way more comfortable than wearing tight jeans and tops in summer,” says a student of a South Campus girls’ college.

However, in our wish to hoard more ethnic wear, we take part in the capitalistic tendencies of the market which bring out the hypocrisy of our world. While wearing a branded and expensive kurta with an equally expensive pair of jeans we call our outfits ‘indo-western’, which almost always are the products of elite stores in some bourgeois space. 

As students, we also tend to let go of the actual ethno-syncretic root of this supposedly traditional clothing. The dupatta or shawl, that we so suavely wrap around ourselves to look fashionable and traditional, were tools of suppressing female sexuality, and furthermore were a demand made by the marginalised suppressed women, who weren’t allowed to cover their breasts. Similarly, a septum ring worn oh-so-proudly as a fashion statement has a history of being a symbol of subjugation and suppression of women, who were often compared to the cattle who wear similar hoops around their nose. In delusion and denial, we end up distancing ourselves from our history, only focusing on the materialistic hocus-pocus of it all, which in this case is: fashion.

As per reports, Fabindia doubled its sales in 2019; BIBA aims to reach revenue of INR 900 to 1,000 Crore by next year, while Aurelia, Global Desi, and Anokhi are becoming more popular over time. More and more students use outfits by these brand outlets to connect with their culture, and end up just benefiting the market strategies of these brands.

Understandably, these brands also aim at building market phenomenon focusing on this set of the young crowd, making traditional clothing more alluring and enticing, while keeping away the ugly realities of their profit-margins and labour markets, under strategically planned wraps.

Our ethnicity should not be defined by our fashion statement or emphasised by a fake ring in our nose which is not even pierced (Guilty as charged!). It should come from supporting those who actually build on this craft, and hence, support the real history and culture of our country. Undoubtedly, the potters who sell handmade vessels are more culturally conscious and informed than us heading for our farewell parties in an expensive Indigo saree, paired with black metal jhumkas, and all set to post a thousand pictures with #EthnicDayOut. 

The Indian outfits to be bought from the craftsmen and weavers have been replaced with machine-made homogeneous print goods, exported to even other parts of the world. The same yellow ‘Om’ kurti is available in all stores by Anokhi, in India, and across the globe. So, next time we see a tourist roaming around in Rishikesh wearing that yellow kurta, decked with tons of rudraksha beads, and sporting a long red tika, think of how much of our ethnicity are we spreading, or how much of it are we losing?

Feature Image Credits: Namrata Randhawa for DU Beat

Sakshi Arora

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The dead body was found at the Sarai Rohilla railway station while the Professor’s Mother was found hanging at their Pitampura residence. 

The decapitated body of a Delhi University professor was found on a railway track near the Sarai Rohilla railway station this Saturday afternoon. Around half-an-hour later, the man’s 55-year-old mother was found hanging at their flat in northwest Delhi’s Pitampura, the police said.

27-year old Allen Stanley hailed from Kottayam in Kerala and was an ad-hoc Professor at St. Stephen’s College, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU). His mother Lissy, was found with cloth stuffed in her mouth and her limbs tied, hanging from the ceiling fan in their Ashiana Apartment flat, as reported by the Times of India. 

Stanley taught Philosophy at the college, and was also pursuing a PhD from another institute. A four page note in Malayalam along with two knives were also found in the flat. According to the Hindustan Times (HT), investigators said they suspect the teacher, who taught at St. Stephen’s College, may have killed his mother before taking his own life. They added that the duo was facing an abetment to suicide case, filed at a police station in Kerala reportedly by the family of the Professor’s father’s former wife. Police investigation has revealed that the woman’s husband had allegedly killed himself in December last year. Although, the mother-son duo had secured anticipatory bail in the case, they were depressed because of it, the police said.

Kottayam’s superintendent of police (SP) Hari Shankar, however, said that there was no case against the DU teacher and his mother in the district. “We have checked with the police station in Pambadi and found no case against them here,” he said, adding that he has informed the Delhi police about the same.

The bodies of the deceased were sent to separate government hospitals where the autopsies will be conducted by Tuesday. The police have informed the man’s brother, who lives in Kerala, about the deaths. He had reportedly given the police some insight into the reason his family members may have been depressed. 

St. Stephen’s College principal, John Varghese in conversation with HT, said, “The young man was an adhoc teacher at our college. On Saturday, he did not come to college and we got to know that he had committed suicide. The college administration was not aware of any previous FIRs against him. He had not spoken to any of his colleagues about it.”

Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Bhavya Pandey 

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University students, teachers and admin steps out in silent protest against non-appointment of the Hindi HoD.


On 18th October, Friday, the administration, teachers and students of Delhi University stepped out wearing black bands in a silent protest against the delay in the appointment of the Head for the Hindi Department. The post for the same has been vacant since the 19th of September when the former head’s tenure ended. 

The absence of the HoD has led to multiple complications not only regarding issues with the researchers but also causing a delay in the announcement of dates for M.Phil and PhD admissions, despite the issue of notification.

This position has been vacant for almost a month now since two proficient members of the department- Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain and Professor K.N. Tripathi, have demanded claim for the said post, both refusing to back off. The question of seniority arose within this given situation.

The teachers and students demanded the appointment of Professor Bechain as the new HoD. Professor Bechain is the senior-most member of the Hindi faculty. He is one of the few Dalit professors in the University of Delhi. He has written multiple books on anti-caste and Dalit literature including Samajik Nyay Aur Dalit Sahitya and Mera Bachpan Mere Kandhon Par, and has also been awarded by the Hindi Academy of both Madhya Pradesh and Delhi governments. 

It must be noted that no Dalit professor has been appointed as an HoD in the past 70 years in the Delhi University. This has given rise to numerous questions alleging the University of exercising discriminatory practices against the Dalit community. As a result, the teachers and students stepped out in a silent protest march from the Arts Faculty to the Vice Chancellor’s Office demanding appointment of Professor Bechain as HoD in “the interest of social justice”.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Aditi Gutgutia
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Bihar had become a drought-hit area, and then recently got flooded, receiving 10% extra rain than usual. Arguably, was this a man-made calamity more than a natural disaster? Read on to find out the Bihari diaspora’s take on it.

In hard-hit Bihar, a bird’s-eye-view of state capital Patna made the city appear like a huge lake dotted with concrete structures. Posh low-lying areas like Rajendra Nagar and Pataliputra Colony were flooded. Private hospitals, medical stores and other shops were submerged in waist-deep water. In several parts of Patna, waterlogging had thrown normal life out of gear. Although the rains have stopped now, and waterlogging has receded in most parts, a closer look reveals a bigger picture than just a natural calamity. 

Owing to unexpected and torrential rainfall of 200 mm, almost all areas of the capital of Bihar have been flooded, with water entering homes, offices and other buildings, and standing on the roads. The social media was buzzing with netizens sharing videos of the flood affected area and making satire of #HowdyModi event in which the PM said, all is fine in India. 

Flooding in the city appeared to have been caused by a choked, damaged and dysfunctional drainage system, and delayed activation of pumps at the sump houses. The floods were so severe that animal carcasses were seen on several roads.

Dinesh Mishra, a civil engineer and flooding expert, while speaking to a national daily said, “The authorities have the resources, money and workforce to arrive at a solution. However, planning of drainage systems and efficient sump machines are nowhere to be seen. Authorities have pushed the city to the edge of disaster by misusing public money. Also, now, they all come up with the excuse of ‘climate change.’”

The state of Bihar has gloomed with tragedies this year. First the encephalitis outbreak in Muzzafarpur took hundreds of life in June 2019, then drought hit severel parts of the state in early September damaging agriculture, and then the recent floods have disturbed lives of millions of people in the capital city Patna. Floods are not a rare phenomena in Bihar, the Kosi river is infamous for flooding Khagaria and northern parts of Bihar every year, but the scale and intensity of this retreating monsoon’s flood was as big as the disastrous floods of 1987 and 2004 which took 1,400 and 3,272 lives respectively.

It was not only Patna but also towns like Kaimur, Bhagalpur, Araria, Banka, Munger and Muzzafarpur that faced the wrath of this catastrophe. A more haunting statistic suggests that 494 panchayats in 15 districts were submerged in water when the flood was at its peak. The death toll neared 120 in first four days. Lack of a robust political administration seemed to have aggravated the death toll and loss due to floods.

Rahul Kumar, a student of DU hailing from Buxar says, “What I think, is that the flood is a result of mismanagement and government failure. As a Bihari, what I think is in Bihar, government officials love good flood and droughts because they get chance to make money out of it. This is a man made disaster and not only the government, but we are also fully responsible for the same.”   

Suyash Jha, a fresher from the varsity who hails from Bhagalpur says that these floods have now become a routine affair. “The compound of my grandfather’s home at VIP Road, Laheriasarai get water from overflowing drains every year for the  last 10 years now. Despite several requests to the administration to work on the drainage system in the area no real action has been taken.”

Shivam Srivastava, a third-year student was in Delhi when the unstoppable rain started in Patna on 28th September.  He says, “It was really flabbergasting to see the Chief Minister say something like ‘Yeh toh prakritik apada hai, isme hum kuch nahi karsakte,’ (This is a natural calamity, we cannot help it,).”

Feature Image Credits: Rahul Kumar

Sriya Rane 

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