Sara Sohail


On the 18th death anniversary of noted poet Amrita Pritam on 31st October 2018, we take a look at her love affair with words.

Amrita Pritam ruled the world of Hindi
and Punjabi poetry in the 20th century.
Her words called out to people from various backgrounds: lovers, travellers,
women trapped in abusive marriages,
Partition refugees. With a literary repertoire of twenty eight novels,
fifteen prose anthologies, five short
stories, and sixteen miscellaneous prose
volumes, Amrita Pritam remains one of
the most haunting voices of the Indian
Her work such as Pinjar and Ajj Akhaan
Waris Shah nu (I ask Waris Shah Today)
shot her into literary fame. People came
to look towards her words not just for love, comfort, and solace, but for the hint of rebellion. The tragedies that she faced in her life—migrating from Pakistan as a Partition refugee, early death of her mother, and subsequent loneliness, divorce from her husband, the unrequited love she had for Sahir Ludhianvi, another famous Hindi poet—made Amrita’s words shine stark against the pantheon of vernacular literature.

Born in 1919 in Gujranwala in what is Pakistan’s Punjab today, Amrita Kaur was an only child of Raj Bibi, a school teacher and Kartar Singh Hitkari, a poet. She published her first set of poems entitled Amrit Lehran in 1936 at the age of sixteen. In the same year, she married Pritam Singh, an editor and childhood friend. She then changed her name from Amrita Kaur to Amrita Pritam.

After Independence and her subsequent
migration to India from Lahore, she got
involved in social activism and a part of the e Progressive Writers’ Movement, a
defiant collective of writers like Syed
Sajjad Zahir, Rashid Jahan, Ahmed Ali,
Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Hameed Akhtar, and
Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi. She helped in the
establishment of the first Janta Library in

Her early poems published between 1936
and 1945 were filled with romanticism, a
prose that spun wildfire through exotic
images. Later, her work became grittier as Partition changed her both as a poet and as a social activist. These poems clearly reflected the trauma Partition had had on her.
Amrita Pritam, Sahir Ludhianvi and
Imroz’s love affair is probably one of the
most famous love stories memorialised
in prose, poetry, drama and other art forms. A play called Yeh Kahani Nahi
was performed by Miranda House’s
Hindi Dramatic Society Anukriti on the
same. The play, based on Amrita’s life
and directed by Shilpi Marwaha, was
brilliantly executed by the students and
left the jam-packed audience moved. In
many ways, Amrita’s words and her life in her words thus live on around us. Thus, in many ways, it was her tryst with words and the sonorous lines that poured from her pen that gave her true immortality. In one of her poems, Amrita wrote with a hint of melancholy:
A little smoke floats up,
and my ‘me’ dies like an eighth-month
Will my ‘me’ one day be my contemporary?

Amrita Pritam passed away in her sleep on 31st October 2005, at the age of 86 in her residence in New Delhi, leaving a heartbroken lover in Imroz and an even more devastated audience. Unsurprisingly, her words refuse to die down and persist as our glorious contemporary truth.

Feature Image Credits: The Hindustan Times

Sara Sohail
[email protected]

The UN celebrates its 73rd UN Day on 24th October this year. Here is a look at why this organisation continues to be important to us.

The United Nations (UN) again gears up for the UN Day on 24th October, marking the ratification of the 1945 UN Charter that officially established the international organisation. The 73rd UN Day is a reminder to the organisation to face the new dangers that the world faces today, and work towards its mitigation.  

In a public lecture to students, journalists, and officials from around New Delhi on 2nd October 2018, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueteres made the pitch for global terrorism and climate change being the greatest threats to humanity today. He spoke about the need to support Rohingya refugees, the growing environmental hazards that endanger the future of the planet, and also criticised the US for backing out of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). In a speech in the 72nd General Assembly, Mr. Gueterres had listed the seven main threats faced by the world: nuclear peril, terrorism, unresolved conflicts, and violations of international humanitarian law, climate change, growing inequality, cyber warfare and misuse of artificial intelligence, and human mobility, or refugees.

In 2018, these issues remain as pertinent as ever as policy makers, politicians, and leaders come to terms with the new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which would claims that the world has just 12 years to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Failing this, we might have to deal with an apocalyptic-like situation with heat waves, annihilation of virtually all coral reefs, climate change refugees, melting of polar ice caps at unprecedented rates, not to mention the creation of climate change refugees. The report, another manifestation of the important information dissemination the UN does today, is a wake-up call that should serve to curl the toes of even the hardest of skeptics.  

The UN day has been a part of the UN Week which runs from 20th to 26th October and is devoted to making people know about the aims and achievements of the UN. The day came to be formally celebrated as UN Day from 1948 when the UN General Assembly declared that the day would follow such a course and also be used to drum up support for the work of the UN. Each year the UN Information Centres organises ceremonies, seminars, panel discussions, symposiums, art competitions, rallies, films screenings, book/photo exhibitions, and media campaigns to mark the day.

Often the UN has been called toothless and a “talking shop” for its apparent inability to contribute to solving the global problems because of the indecision of its members, the extraordinary veto powers of the UN Security Council members, its resistance to taking a tough stance on excesses of power by countries like the US, and its inability to curb its own excesses such as the sexual violence perpetrated by its Peacekeepers. However, the UN is important for the communitarian resistance it offers to global problems by bringing people and countries together, however symbolic its action may be. Hence, this UN Day, one can only hope that the UN, true to the spirit of the day, brings people together to address the impending dangers faced by the world. Even if it is for one day, talking, listening, and learning to solve our problems collectively can help us immensely in the long run.


Feature Image Credits: United Nations Peacekeeping

Sara Sohail

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While the event was a huge success, many volunteers had a lot of complaints. The MHSU quickly tried to resolve the issue. 

Actors Radhika Apte and Ayushmann Khurrana promoted their upcoming film Andhadhun on 3rd October at 11 a.m. in the auditorium of Miranda House. They were warmly received by the Principal, faculty, and the students at the auditorium which was packed to capacity with around 400 students attending the event. There were also bouncers, and police men in the auditorium, for security of the celebrities.

However, disagreement later ensued between the volunteers and the Miranda House Students’ Union (MHSU) as the volunteers alleged that the event was poorly managed and many of them were ‘misled’ having been promised that they would get a chance to interact with the celebrities. Amola Shrivastava, a volunteer, said, “Volunteers and audience were misled by the information regarding the event on 3rd October. It was said to be an ‘interactive session’ with the makers of Andhadhun, which ended up being a promotional event. The named and registered members to manage the event were made to dance blindfolded for around two minutes and act surprised upon the arrival of the star-cast (we were not informed earlier about this), that too in front of visually impaired students. At the end the people who were the backbone of the event were not allowed inside the venue and were told off saying that they are done with us. I understand the importance of such events but the way

it was organised and we were treated is categorically unacceptable.”

Aafreen Fathima, a student of B.A. Programme told DU Beat, “We were told that because they are avoiding bouncers and security, human chains have to be formed. We planned out strategies and got instructions for an hour and a half, but then just 10 minutes before they arrived, bouncers came out of nowhere and asked us all to move, and that there was no need of us volunteers.”

The volunteers were also asked to dance blindfolded for two minutes when the actors were being welcomed and “act surprised” upon their arrival. Another volunteer, on the condition of anonymity, told DU Beat, “Everyone, including the presidents, was under the impression that a few members from cultural societies of the college would get to talk to the actors that came today and have a good talk, but that’s not what happened. We were treated horribly, we were screamed at like children during the entire event, we were made to dance blindfolded in a room with visually impaired students and had no time to interact with anyone. After the insensitive nature of this event, we couldn’t even enter the auditorium because it was so overcrowded. It was poor management, terrible organisation, and a very insensitive, not at all thought out event.”

Other kinds of allegations were also raised by the volunteers. A volunteer told DU Beat, “The anchor didn’t acknowledge Radhika Apte’s presence during the event and kept asking girls to hoot for Ayushmann Khurrana.”

A petition was floated by the different cultural societies of the college to be submitted to the Principal. However, the MHSU held a meeting with the heads of the different societies in the college two days after the event. After the event, when DU Beat approached the elected society members for their statements about how the issue was ‘resolved’, they refused to give any statement. The MHSU members also refused to categorically make any statement even after being contacted repeatedly. It was heard that the society members and the MHSU had decided to not issue any statement to DU Beat in an effort to refrain from “unnecessarily stretching things”. However, this cannot be verified as this correspondent was not present at the meeting.

A society President, however, who attended the meeting, talked to DU Beat on the condition of anonymity. She said, “Miranda House has always been a radical space that focuses on democratic decision making. The fact that the students of the college have the ability to put forward their views in response to college activities only bears proof of the same.” When asked about how the MHSU handled the issue, the source said, “The student body confirmed of small glitches in management and the offence that the students complained of was not intended. There was an intense dialogue between the society members and the union and it eventually culminated in a settlement looking at intimating the authorities about the students and their reservations with the event, the rate of such promotional events, and the use of educational spaces for the same. The authorities are ready to listen and redress the issue.” A formal settlement for the issue is awaited by the society members by taking it up with the necessary authorities, said the source, when asked about the future course of action.

When DU Beat approached the Principal, Dr. Pratibha Jolly, she said, “The students collective from all societies worked hard and the event went rather well. I am proud of my girls. Those who try their best and spend immense time and energy on organising events. (It is) never easy to mobilise large number of volunteers at very short notice.”

“The measure of a well managed event is that despite an overflowing auditorium, there was no stampede or discomfort. Students were ecstatic and even those in the middle of the overflowing hall got a chance to ask questions. That several hundred got more time in preference to a few is good. Any big event does have a margin of error that means things not being just as planned each second,” the Principal added.

While it is true that the event could have been better organised, it is equally true that there was great enthusiasm noticed by this correspondent on attending the event among the students in the audience. Yashvi Mehra, a second year student, told DU Beat, “The event was fun. It was cool to watch Ayushmann sing live in front of me.” Sakshi Handa, another student who attended the event, said, “The event was great. It provided us a respite from the everyday college routine. We need celebrities sometimes in college too.” Another audience member, Chandrima Sarma, said, “The Ayushmann Khurrana event was like rain during the month of May-June in Delhi, surprising, amazing, and totally unexpected and full of fun.”

While the disagreement between the society members and the Union has been put to rest, for now, it remains to be seen what further steps the college takes.

Sara Sohail

[email protected]

The feminist organisation Mittika, in collaboration with Oxfam India, organised an interactive session called ‘Festival of Voices’ in Miranda House.

The Women’s Development Cell of Miranda House organised an interactive session with students who identified themselves as feminists with Mittika (in collaboration with Oxfam India), a Delhi-based organisation on 5th October 2018. Mittika, which claims to work for “enriching life spaces” is primarily a research and advocacy organisation that works through on-ground direct intervention, disseminating knowledge and information, and by building stakeholder capacities. The session witnessed two representatives from the organisation, Radhika and Saransh, coming forward to encourage conversations between the audience members about various narratives surrounding experiences of women living in Delhi.

In her own words, Radhika said, “I am here not just as a representative of Mittika, but to share my experience of what it means to be in the city and what it means to be a Delhite.” The conversation that flowed from there was informal, spontaneous, and largely audience-driven.

The audience talked about the various ways in which the city was liberating in terms of providing spaces to wear clothes that they wanted to, have conversations on topics that would be otherwise uncomfortable such as gay rights, and also escaping the often stifling atmosphere of their families and hometowns. “I have been in a boarding school since fifth grade so I have been independent, but living alone brings its own challenges. The metro stations were initially very confusing, however with help of fellow commuters I learned to navigate across the city. Living in a flat also gave me the freedom to wear shorts and over the months I have gained confidence to call out people who just can’t stop staring,” said Khushali Jaiswal, a student from Miranda House.  

“Even in our families, little things like the Satyanarayan puja which was only to be performed by boys, can be very patriarchal, now, after coming here, I understand this,” said Manishi Divya, another student from Miranda House.

The conversation then flowed into related topics like politics, protest culture in the university, and the recent instances of sexual harassment such as the Brett Kavanaugh case, the Tanushree Dutta allegations, as well as those made against Utsav Chakravarty.  

DU Beat talked to Tanvi and Shambhavi, both Economics students from Ramjas College who had attended the event. “It was good to know that a lot of people think the way I think. The atmosphere in Miranda is very open and engaging and we usually don’t have such conversations in Ramjas,” Tanvi said.

“This session is a testament to the fact that when women are in a safe space, they slowly reveal how they feel harassed or discriminated against, even at the hands of their family or a cab driver. We need these spaces to encourage dialogue and build a sense of solidarity,” said Simran Pachar, a third-year Political Science student from Miranda House, as the event concluded with a group photo.

Feature Image Credits: Mahi Panchal for DU Beat


Sara Sohail

[email protected]

Radhika Apte and Ayushmann Khurrana promoted their upcoming film Andhadhun in Miranda House today, amidst loud cheers.

In a packed auditorium filled with teachers and students (and some bouncers) actors Radhika Apte and Ayushmann Khurrana greeted the audience for the promotion of their movie Andhadhun. The members of the Miranda House Students’ Union who had organised the event, welcomed the actors.

The trailer of the movie was showcased to the students as well as an unplugged version of a new song Naina Da Kya Kasoor, sung by Mr. Khurrana that was shot in a school for the blind in Mumbai. The audience were extremely appreciative and reacted with loud cheers and claps. Pratibha Jolly, Principal  Miranda House, welcomed the actors, reminding them of the “historical place” that was Miranda House with a number of films that had been shot in the college in the past including Tamasha, Half Girlfriend and Fukrey, and its list of illustrative alumni in the performative arts such as Mira Nair and Nandita Das.

Mr. Khurrana and Ms. Apte thanked the college for inviting them. On the request of the audience, Ayushmann sang two songs. Ms. Apte described her role in the film as “twisted, but true”. She said that she enjoyed the twists and turns that the movie is replete with and hoped that the audience would also enjoy it. The movie narrates the story of a blind piano player (played by Mr. Khurrana) who witnesses a murder. Tabu, a member of the film’s cast was also supposed to be there for the event but could not make it.

However, several complaints regarding the arrangement of such an event during the college hours were raised by students. The issue of allowing commercial events like movie promotions to happen within the college premises was also deemed problematic by several students our correspondent talked to. The volunteers of the event also raised several objections. For instance, Aafreen Fathima of B.A. Programme told DU Beat, “We were told that because they are avoiding bouncers and security, human chains have to be formed. We planned out strategies and got instructions for an hour and a half, but then just 10 minutes before they arrived, bouncers came out of nowhere and asked us all to move, and that there was no need of us volunteers.”

The volunteers were also asked to dance blindfolded for two minutes when the actors were being welcomed and “act surprised” upon their arrival. Amola Shrivastava, a volunteer, said, “At the end the people who were the backbone of the event were not allowed inside the venue and were told off saying that they are done with us. I understand the importance of such events but the way it was organised and we were treated is categorically unacceptable.”

Andhadhun is a romantic thriller film directed by Sriram Raghavan.   It is set to be released on 5th October, 2018.

Feature Image Credits: Vaibhav Tekchandani for DU Beat

Sara Sohail

[email protected]

India born Gita Gopinath, who is a graduate of Lady Shri Ram College, has been appointed as the Chief Economist at International Monetary Fund.

Gita Gopinath, who is the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University, has been appointed as the Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She will succeed Maurice Obstfeld. “Gita is one of the world’s outstanding economists, with impeccable academic credentials, a proven track record of intellectual leadership, extensive international experience,” said Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF in a press statement. The IMF which is headquartered in Washington D.C., is responsible for enforcing the international monetary system and promoting free global trade.

Dr. Gopinath was a B.A. (Hons.) Economics graduate from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, who later when on to pursue a Masters in Economics from Delhi School of Economics. She later completed her PhD. in Economics in Princeton University. She is the second Indian after Raguram Rajan to hold the post.



Dr. Gopinath has had an illustrious career as a professor in University of Chicago for four years (2001-2005) and then at Harvard from 2005 onwards. Additionally, she has also been the Co-Director at National Bureau of Economic Research, an Economic Adviser to the CM of Kerala, and a Member of Eminent Persons Advisory Group on G-20 Matters in the Ministry of Finance, India. She is also the co-editor of the American Economic Review and the current Handbook of International Economics. Her areas of work have involved trade invoicing, bank funding, macroeconomics of border taxes, the international price system and fiscal devaluations, among others.

Dr. Gopinath’s achievement — as the first female IMF Chief Economist — is also indicative of a number of women occupying important positions in global policy forums. She will join the likes of Christine Lagarde, Kristalina Georgieva (CEO of World Bank), Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg (Chief Economist of World Bank) and Laurence Boon (Chief Economist of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development).


Feature Image Credits: Livemint

Sara Sohail

[email protected]

In a flash protest, the DUTA raised several demands criticising the privatisation policies of the government such as the loan-granting system under the Higher Education Funding Agency, release of pensions, the removal of the Dyal Singh College’s Chairman, and so on.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) raised some crucial issues regarding the higher education funding policies of the central government in its flash protest in front of the Vice Chancellor Lawns at 11 p.m on 27th September 2018. It was protesting against the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD), University Grants Commission (UGC), and University of Delhi (DU) were supposed to sign, in order to access loans from the Higher Education Funding Agency. According to a recent report in The Indian Express, the MoU reportedly calls for the universities to “ensure gradual annual increase in the user charges/fee charged by it for various courses and facilities.” This essentially reflects that Universities would have to generate 30% of their funds through their self-financing.

Rajib Ray, President of DUTA, speaking to DU Beat said, “The tripartite MoU basically gives you (the University) a target for generating revenues and a huge segment of the revenue will come from the user charges and that is, the students. And if anybody is adversely affected, it is the students.”

DUTA was also protesting against the changes in the roster according to a 5th March letter by the UGC that reportedly led to a decrease in the number of reserved seats posts for teachers; a release of pensions for teachers who have retired; promotions for the non-permanent teaching faculty (currently DU has the most number of non-permanent faculty members at 60% of the total teachers); and the removal of the Dyal Singh College Chairman, Amitabh Sinha, over the recent fracas that happened there (the Chairman had shut down the college 24th September to hold a Governing Body meeting that had led to a clash between the students and teachers with the ‘private bouncers’ of the Chairman.) Teachers from Dyal Singh college, Mr. Sachin N and P.K. Parihar, speaking at the protest spoke against the way the Chairman of the college had suspended the Principal of the college in a gross misuse of his powers.

Several students from All India Student’s Association (AISA) and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were also present in the protest, extending their support. Kawalpreet Kaur, the President of AISA in Delhi University told DU Beat, “The MoU is against the idea of the public funded university. The idea of making education a loan-based commodity is very dangerous because students from marginalised backgrounds won’t be able to afford (the fees). Also, the Chairman of Dyal Singh College, who is a part of a non-academic body, is setting a dangerous precedent by not letting the students and teachers come into the college and by harassing the Principal of the college.” Mayank, an activist from SFI also told this correspondent that the SFI was demanding the removal of the college Chairman because it was against the “culture of hooliganism that he (the Chairman) was spreading.” Mayank also demanded that the Chairman should apologise for the alleged manhandling of the students and the teachers on 24th September by his “hired bouncers”.

An Executive Council meeting of the University supposed to be held that day to deliberate on the issue of MoU. Previously, the MHRD had written to the University to sign the MoU, failing which the funding from UGC would be withheld.


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat.

Sara Sohail

[email protected]

Covering protests properly is important for journalists to present a real account of what the students actually think and how they behave. They are the tools for effective empowerment of a disgruntled section of the society.

In every University campus in the world, there have been agitations and instances of conflict between students and the people in power— whether they are teachers, student leaders or the administration. Sparks of dissent arise from such conflicts. Sometimes, these sparks also arise from everyday conversations among students. For instance, what happened in JNU in 2016 was an instance of conversations leading to protests.

Protests are perhaps the most spontaneous form of political action that would take place. Not surprisingly in the so-called liberal, freethinking, modern campuses of Indian education system, protests seem to become the norm and not the aberration. For better or for worse, these protests empower students to show their dissent, ideas, frustration, and their power. The protests also teach important lessons in organisation, mobilisation, symbolism, use of rhetoric and actual politics to the students. At an age when we are constantly evolving, the power of collective action, through protests, can be very stimulating for young minds. At the heart of their inception, therefore, protests represent battles fought everyday— between the all-powerful and the less powerful; the privileged and the dispossessed; the adulated and the marginalised. They are the quickest and best way to gauge the pulse of the youth.

So, is it any wonder that in DU Beat we cover protests diligently and doggedly? As a student journalist who has been to several protests, I can honestly say that it remains the most exciting part of the job. The interactions between students, teachers, police and the often unhelpful (seldom benevolent) University staff provide unique glimpses into the status quo. When these protests turn violent, it becomes all the more incumbent upon us to draw out the truth and find out what really happened. Providing an unbiased account of the ground reality has to be the aim of a good journalist.

Therefore, covering protests right— and not necessarily participating in them— become all the more important. In fact, it is almost unethical to be a part of protests which you are covering. Although it is true that journalism is hardly unbiased and journalists, like any other people, are political beings, some ground rules do apply on the field. For instance, I never indulge in sloganeering when I attend a protest I intend to cover. I try to talk to almost all the parties involved in the protest: the protesters, the opposition, the police and the officials. In fact, in one of the protests I covered one person asked me why I kept on sitting and clicking pictures for hours without uttering a single word. Did I not believe in the cause? My answer was that it was because I believe in the cause I cannot be seen to be biased when I report on it. My personal opinions can, in no way, clash with my professional practice.

However, what journalists in the country often succumb to is a false sense of objectivity. In pursuing a so-called “impartial” narrative, they often fall trap to a he-said/she-said view of events which leaves the reader more confused than ever. The primary goal of journalists has to be to uncover the truth, no matter the consequences, and present it in the best way possible.

In this vein, protests remain one of the most challenging aspects of the profession we are involved in. Its fast-paced nature, its unpredictability, the manifestations of power relations, which are themselves very fragile, the slogans that pulsate through the air— these are some of the reasons that will draw me to my cause of covering protests every single time.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Sara Sohail
[email protected]

Some candidates of Law Centre I alleged voter malpractice in the college elections held on 12th September. They have submitted an application regarding the same to the University.

On 12th September 2018, elections across University took place. The counting process on 13th September saw allegations of EVM tampering being raised in various places. In a new allegation, Jitender Singh, an ex-Presidential candidate of Law Centre-1 at Campus Law Faculty alleged voter malpractice and misconduct by election officers in holding the LC-1 elections on 12th September. He, along with two other candidates, Mayank Yadav and Sandesh Jha, submitted a formal complaint to the University Grievance Council.

On 12th September, Mr. Singh wrote in the application, that they noticed a case of voter impersonation of a second-year LC-1 student Amit Kumar. They also alleged a discrepancy between the turnout and the final voting figures. The Election Officer of LC-1 was informed about the bogus voting, but he offered a concession of 10 votes to Jitender Singh, which he refused, as per Mr. Singh’s application. In a Facebook post regarding the same, Mr. Singh also said that after complaining to the Election officer S.K. Singh, their cries for holding the election results until a decision was made by the University Grievance Council, were dismissed.

The application also alleged that there was gross violation of the Code of Conduct by the winning panel of Ajay Dahiya (President), Akshay Kumar (Vice President), Digvijay Singh Bisht (General Secretary), Shambhavi Srivastav (Joint Secretary), Aditya Chauhan (Central Councillor) by campaigning through social media on the day of polling. There was also the absence of any kind of camera recording and the compulsory signature of students while opening ballot boxes, which was a violation of the Lyngdoh Committee regulations.

Mr. Singh, when talking to DU Beat, said how he found out that when a member of his core team, Amit Kumar, went to vote found out that his name was already used to cast votes in the evening of 12th September. After he rejected the concession of 10 votes, they went on a protest against such malpractices on 13th September. However they have received no notice from the authorities, Mr. Singh told DU Beat. A hearing regarding the application submitted at the University Grievance Council is scheduled to be held on Monday.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Sara Sohail
[email protected]

In a session today, AISA-CYSS and NSUI presented their election manifestoes in Miranda House. The Miranda House Student’s Union elections were also held.

Half an hour after noon today, the Miranda House auditorium was abuzz with students who had come to hear the candidates for various student’s unions making their election speeches. After the Miranda House Student’s Union elections (MHSU) candidates made their election speeches, representatives from AISA-CYSS and NSUI came forward for their campaigns.

Abhigyan, the AISA-CYSS Presidential candidate said in his campaign speech, “There is a narrative which has happened that university-level politics is very self-centred and is used as a stepping stone for advancing a person’s career, we are trying to change this narrative. Why shouldn’t there be a narrative where we can talk about politics? We are trying to build a Union which is not going to dictate the students.” Abhigyan raised several issues like financial autonomy, the use of muscle power and the masculinity that has crept up in politics. He also talked about how AISA had helped in building a girls’ hostel in Hindu College, fought for metro bus passes as well as campaigned against financial autonomy.

Abhigyan was then questioned extensively by the students who asked him on AISA’s stand on gender discrimination committees, why AISA was fielding a male Presidential candidate and so on.

After that, NSUI’s student candidate for the Vice-Presidential post, Leena tried to present her manifesto. However, some of the students of Miranda House opposed her before she could say anything, demanding that she leave the podium and that she was not “fit to be contesting elections.” Amid massive booing, Leena talked about the NSUI’s stance for women empowerment, to make University of Delhi (DU) an Institute of Eminence which would bring in public funds, to launch a thali for students worth 10 rupees, etc. Leena, who is a graduate of Miranda House, claimed that she used to “stand outside the gate of Miranda House regularly and campaign.” However, many students shouted that they hadn’t seen her outside the gate. She was also called out on her claim of not distributing any pamphlets in her name, what she would do on her part to change the politics of the University, and the fact that her name was changed from Leena to “A.A. Leena” in an alleged claim for getting the first ballot. Although Ms Leena tried to defend her position and that of her student union, the students booed her off the stage.

Ambica, a Miranda House student said, “The girl from NSUI didn’t have answers for anything. She just repeated a few things that she had been told to say. But it wasn’t surprising because once your party member has been accused of molestation and rape, there isn’t much that you could say.”

Muskan Dhar, the Vice-president of Women’s Development Cell of Miranda House, when asked if the booing was fair, said, “We heard Abhigyan and he was pretty correct in saying that the ICCs are not functional. As an ICC candidate, I know the kind of resistance we face in having meetings. The candidate from NSUI, however, did not have any proper manifesto. How Miranda reacted to it was two-fold. Some of it was justified since we know of the increasing violence around the campus, but I think we could have channelised our concerns in a better way.”

No official candidate of ABVP showed up and no official reasons were submitted for. Later in a notice released by the Staff Advisors of Miranda House, it was informed that the ABVP candidates would address the students of Miranda House tomorrow at from 12:45 to 1 p.m.

Feature Image Credits: Mahi for DU Beat

Sara Sohail

[email protected]