Shivani Dadhwal


TW: Sexual Harassment

As the sexual harassment case filed against the head of the Chemistry Department (HoD) moves to a third panel, despite the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) finding the perpetrator guilty 19 months ago, it is time to acknowledge that the harassment culture in DU is more predatory than it seems.

A safety audit carried out by the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) across colleges affiliated to the Delhi University (DU) stated that one in every four women studying in the University has faced sexual harassment. One in five cases of harassment were of touching or groping. Lewd gestures, staring and vulgar comments make up for the most rampant kind of harassment.

A total of 188 cases were recorded by the survey. The survey also highlighted cyber harassment. Carried across 24 colleges with 736 female respondents, it stated that one in five cases of harassment concerned trolling on social media or harassment through calls, text or WhatsApp messages. The report also stated that not even half of the respondents were aware of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in their institutions.

Last year, when the #MeToo movement was a billowing surge, DU’s debating and MUN circuit ignited their own version of it, with female debaters coming up to narrate incidents of sexual assault or harassment. It was a shocking revelation to be made, the debating circuit has long been a platform with liberal ideas as its mainstay, and constant debates on feminism and equality. With allegations being made on a Facebook Group that served as an announcement board for tournaments called, ‘Debate Lokpal’, they called out senior members of DU’s debating circuit.

In April 2019, Moksh Nair, a third-year student from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies (SSCBS), was accused of harassing seven third-year girls at a farewell party, and the girls ended up dropping any legal charges against him.

A Political Science professor, from Delhi University’s Daulat Ram College, was arrested by the Maurice Nagar police on Monday, 5th February for allegedly sexually harassing a 17-year-old student. The student alleged that Professor, Abhay Kumar, had often tried to touch her inappropriately whenever he found her alone. The girl reportedly informed the police that he would follow her and ask her to meet him. He would even, allegedly, threaten to fail her in internal exams if she rejected his advances.

Principal Savita Roy had allegedly been informed about the Professor’s misdemeanour beforehand but had refused to take action. In fact, in the six days it took between the complaint being filed (31st January) and Kumar’s arrest (5th February), students point out that the Professor was not only allowed to enter the college premises but also allowed to take classes until he finally submitted his resignation.

In 2015, a St. Stephen’s Ph.D. student has accused a professor- Satish Kumar- of the college of sexual harassment. The victim in her complaint has alleged that the Professor harassed her while she was working with him in college. She also said that the college Principal, Valson Thampu, tried to stop her from going to the police and instead forced her to end the matter in the college. The reasoning behind this was stated as not causing any delay or problems in the completion of her Ph.D.

In 2013, The principal of Bhim Rao Ambedkar College was booked by Delhi Police for abetting the suicide of Pavitra Bhardwaj, a former employee who had accused him of sexual harassment. Instead of hearing her out, the college had sacked her two years prior. Bhardwaj, who succumbed to injuries on 7th October, alleged sexual and mental harassment by Arora and another staff member.

These cases are a few of the many that go unreported, unnoticed or are hushed down. It becomes essential to acknowledge the fact that there remain to be a few isolated cases, wherein the accuser fabricates the case in an attempt to shame the accused.

Yet, it becomes important to also acknowledge the fact that most of these cases are factual and are hushed down by authorities in an attempt to not tarnish the reputation of an institution, or even a community. With the Bharati College case reaching its 19th month and the perpetrator having been found guilty with no actions taken, it becomes vital to try and understand why it is that an institution that prides itself for being a safe, largely-liberal and accepting space, does so much to silence its survivors and protect its perpetrators.

Feature Image Credits: HuffPost India

Shreya Juyal

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Using the concept of “writer’s block” as an escape route, many writers avoid work. Read further to learn how to get over this myth.

Writer’s block is a myth, period. You can come up with multiple arguments so as to convince yourself otherwise, but in the end, it is all just a defence mechanism. Think of it as an excuse to not write and to not push your brain further when it experiences the slightest amount of exhaustion. When you say you’re experiencing a “writer’s block”, you’re simply giving yourself an easy ticket to procrastinate, protecting yourself from the anxiety of not being able to write well.

It’s like the concept of inertia- a body will remain at rest until an external force acts on it. You keep waiting for your external force, what you call your inspiration, until all your deadlines pass, and you are still left with a blank page. You blame your “writer’s block” for this but again, you are just living in denial. Does a doctor ever refuse to treat a patient because (s)he’s experiencing a doctor’s block?

I like to think of “writer’s block” as simply a “fear of failure”. Very often, writers avoid writing because they are worried that they may not be able to articulate their ideas as well as they wish to. Or maybe they are just afraid that they may not have an idea at all.

Well, I believe that it is not possible for your brain to entirely run out of ideas. It is not necessary that you will have a good idea, but you will always have at least something. That something can be the worst idea in the century, and it may not make any sense either. But I think that something is always good enough to start writing with.

This brings me to my next point- just start writing. It is genuinely as simple as it sounds. Penning down a bunch of bad ideas will eventually give rise to something worthwhile. But you will never get anywhere if you do not start at all. Just pour your heart on your paper or screen and see what you get. If it is not good enough, you modify it and make it better, but you do not hide behind excuses.

Writing is hard, and that is a fact, there is no escape from it. But that is what distinguishes a professional writer from other casual writers. You write no matter what, you push yourself and you do your job. Some of the major causes leading to the so-called “writer’s block” include the presence of distractions. You need to get rid of them and focus on your work. Lack of confidence, as I mentioned earlier, too may lead to such blockage.

Remember, no one can judge your work unless you show it to them. So, allow yourself to write pages and pages of garbage until you finally get something presentable. Give yourself targets and deadlines but also, award yourself for meeting these deadlines. Believe me, it is all in your head- both fears and ideas. And it is also up to you if you wish to work on them.

Featured Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat

Aditi Gutgutia

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University of Delhi (DU) has introduced an inter-college society system, in an attempt to tackle the divisions within the Varsity.

DU’s Extra Circular Activities (ECA) and Sports Committees have launched the Delhi University Collegiate Culture Circuit (DUCCC) with newly formed inter-college societies. This initiative was collectively taken in the Executive Council (EC) meeting held on Saturday, 26th October. The two day long EC meeting witnessed long formulated debates on both sides of the matter. A certain level of hierarchy along with team esteem exists in all the societies of DU, and the scheme may not play out well there.

Many college students have expressed their disagreement with the decision, as they believe it will create segregation instead of belonging. Amaal Kumar, President of Natuve, dramatics society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, said, “We spend each day of our college life with our society. Now with that gone, it takes away our convenience as well as bonding. It should also be noted that when you’re in the same college, you face similar issues, and are around people with same teachers who understand your society needs. Now all of that will be gone.”

However, the decision has been taken to do away with the college elitism that exists in DU. Ramesh Ray, the ECA Committee Chairperson, said, “This will do away with the resentment among students that has been created out of years of competition, and bring feeling of community as a whole among students.” The DUCCC has been set up to look after the many changes this decision will bring. Allotting areas for practice and scheduling the practice time of inter-college societies will be taken  up by this newly formed committee, along with the matters of society elections, and dealing with  administrative work.
The official announcement has been made on the DU website and thereby, the scheme will be initiated after the upcoming fest season of January to March, 2020. The campus has received this news with contrasting opinions; many feel a loss of identity to be not known by their college society names. Some others feel this will give an opportunity to meet students from all walks of life.

Karan Thapar, member, Vurbum, the western Dance Society of Motilal Nehru College, said, “This
is a great step. The barriers of college, location, and seclusion will be broken with this. It will be great to see a Hindu College society member with a member from Ram Lal Anand College to perform, united by their art.”
Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated and not accepted.

Featured Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba
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Power dressing and its impact can be incorporated in our everyday college wardrobe. Read on to know more.

Power dressing emerged as an alternate style of dressing that allows you to convey that you are in a position of power. Its whole purpose is to emit authority, confidence, and strength. The main motive is to dress smart, and feel like it. Now, what does power dressing look like? Giving patriarchy its due credit, now power dressing focuses on putting the well-dressed in the position of power and that position has been enjoyed by men since time immemorial.

Hence, power dressing is masculine in its foundation. It comprises of suits as it is basically workplace dressing. However, based on the concept of “dress to thrive”, power dressing is now evolving to be about more than just clothes. It’s your body language, posture, confidence, and even your hair.

Even though power dressing focuses highly upon corporate culture, there are ways to incorporate it into our daily style, especially with winters right around the corner.

Strive on structure:

Tight silhouettes with broad jackets make you look more uptight, improving your body structure, and give you the needed curves, making the outfit provide you a sense of self-confidence and alertness.

Choose matte: 

Power dressing is formal in its origin, hence, it fails when paired with bright textures. The entire point of power dressing is to look calm while emitting your authority. Therefore, matte textures in black, brown, blue, and burgundy go a long way.

A-line kurtas are A-plus: 

A-line kurtas provide you the perfect tight structure you are longing for. Choose vertical patterns over horizontal ones to add height to your outfit. Stay away from anarkalis and patiala suits, and you will be good to go.

Choose the right fabric: 

Choose fabrics like cotton, silk, chanderi, etc, rather than fabrics like chiffon and georgette. The stiffer and  tighter the fabric, more formal the attire will be.

Layering is the key: 

Any mundane t-shirt can be made edgy with just wearing an old shirt over it. Power dressing has great emphasis on layering as it’s the easiest way to add structure. Go for jackets, shrugs, and even t-shirt over t-shirt layering for a more concluded look.
Power dressing may provide external strength, but always remember what really matters is how you feel in what you wear, so if a long t-shirt with shorts is your thing, wear it with confidence!

Featured Image Credits: Lavanya Topa for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba
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The sexual harassment complaint filed by an Ad-hoc professor against the Chemistry Head of Department (HoD), Delhi University (DU), moves to a third panel with the accused roaming free.

After 18 months of a sexual harassment complaint being filed by an Ad-hoc professor, in the esteemed University of Delhi, against the Head of the Chemistry Department, the case has been forwarded to a third committee by the DU administration. Professor Ramesh Chandra and six others, who are accused of this, continue to be free. Two separate complaints were filed in March, 2018 by the Ad-hoc professor and a postgraduate student, while the accused claimed that the allegations were false.

The professor filed a complaint with the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) on 21st December that year, while the student filed a petition with the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) which then forwarded the same to the ICC. Initially, the ICC found the accused guilty, however did not award any punishment.

This followed another investigation committee being set up by the DU administration. This three-member committee in its report suggested a hearing to take place in the Executive Council (EC) which is the appellate authority. This too was rejected by the administration and a third one-member committee was set up consisting of one lawyer. When the report by the second committee received multiple objections, the EC stated, “It was not conducive to bring both parties together and conduct a trial on them”. Hence, the lawyer in the third committee would listen to both parties.

As per the Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act (POSH), an ICC must be constituted to deal with instances of sexual harassment. In case of an inquiry, the ICC is supposed to come to a decision within 90 days of the complaint being filed. The complainant termed this a “delaying tactic” by the Varsity. “Why has the ICC report not considered yet? Does it have no merit?”, she questioned. She further alleged, “The ICC has found him and the others guilty but there was no specific mention of the punishment”.

To our surprise, the HoD Chemistry still presides over interviews and meetings in the department. The victim alleged that even though he was specified not to, Professor Chandra was present in her interview for the post of an assistant professor on a guest basis. Last week she wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, the Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene in the said case.

Featured Image Credits: Frontline

Aditi Gutgutia

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Students talk about several dress code restrictions in several Bachelor of Science (B. Sc) courses for female students in Kirori Mal College.

In 2019, it might come as a surprise that several colleges all around India still introduce and promote dress code restrictions for female students. The reasons suggested by the various administrations for these restrictions might vary, but they still show the orthodox mentality prevalent in many higher education institutions throughout India. The idea of higher education comes with a certain sense of liberty. These practices will only destroy that sense of liberty and make these institutions into regressive and oppressive campuses.

A recent example is St Francis College for Women in Hyderabad, who implemented the banning of shorts, sleeveless and similar dresses on campus as of 1st August, 2019. It seems that Kirori Mal College, which is a part of Delhi University, might also be facing similar issues. Kirori Mal does not have a stated dress code for any student in its rules and regulations. However, students from B. Sc (Honours) allege that certain teachers still implement dress codes for female students.

A student studying a course of Bachelor of Sciences stated that they are not allowed to wear revealing clothes. She said, “We are not allowed to wear dresses above knee length and even off shoulders are not allowed”. Another student pointed out that both these departments are present on the second floor of the Science block, and these restrictions and rules are passed down by the one of the departments. These are followed by several of the teachers other B. Sc departments.

Another student talks about an event that she witnessed first-hand at the Bachelor of Sciences department Freshers. She said, “A girl who happens to be the Class Representative of a department was questioned about the way she was dressed. The part that disgusted all of us was that she was apparently being slut shamed by our female professor.”

She continued, “This is not an isolated event. During our Fresher event, girls were not even allowed to wear something which would expose their knees and if they did, they would not be allowed to attend the Fresher party. This message was directed to us by our teachers from our department.”

These restrictions bring to the light and into question the misogynistic attitude present in every section of the Indian society. The sexist nature these restrictions show the still prevalent culture of victim blaming and failing to address the main problem. The problem is not what women or anyone as individuals choose to wear, but the fact that women are still objectified. The problem being that instead of addressing the root cause behind objectification and harassment, we are still trying to pin the blame on the victim.

Feature image credits: Aditi Seth

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Slowly yet steadily, we see our monuments wearing and tearing away, taking away the glorious heritage that had been bestowed upon us. Let us look at what our role, as the posterity, should be.

Concentrated with a vast array of monuments and temples, the capital city of India, Delhi, presents itself as a hub of the Indian heritage. From the Red Fort in the North to the Tughlaqabad Fort in the south, comprising Humanyun’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar and numerous others lying in between, Delhi’s archaeological diversity knows no bounds. However, it is devastating to see the reverence for this diversity gradually fading away.

Do you remember the last time you visited Qutub Minar, or maybe Lodhi Garden with your friends or family? You must have noticed the walls and rocks, and even tree trunks, scribbled with hideous quotes like “Raju loves Pinky” or “Anjali + Prachi BFFs forever” or maybe simply “Gopal was here”. Honestly, it is highly doubted that one would care to find out whether Gopal visited Lodhi Garden or not.

It is hard to understand the thrill behind tainting these structures of such immense historical importance. One may say that the person wishes to “immortalise” his or her love for the other. But the question remains- at what cost? I find it fascinating to note that the scribbling is even found in places which is almost impossible to access without external support. I must say, I commend the dedication.

Very often people tend to go beyond simply scribbling their names or other abusive words; they use sharp objects and engrave them, especially where there is plastered work. One may not realise this but all these scribblings and engravings not only diminish the aesthetics of the monument but also degrade the quality, basically weakening the structural integrity following the pre-existing wear and tear resulting due to the time factor.

“Institutes like the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), Aga Khan Trust, and Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) have been crucial in the renovation and restoration of our age-old monuments. It is sad to see the disservice we, as a society, render to these places of antiquity by defacing them or littering them. A feeling of pride that comes from our cultural heritage and history can only be sustained if we individually try to preserve what our ancestors have left behind,” says Shankar Tripathi, a history student from Hindu College.

Apart from this observed vandalism, the disregard towards the heritage can be seen in other forms. Go back to the last time you visited one of these monuments. Do you remember noticing young couples cozying up in some corner thinking they are invisible to the common eye? All these historical sites have today become merely a hotspot for lovers to unite being completely aloof towards the aesthetics that surround them.

Most people these days aren’t aware of the glorious history preceding these monuments; the journey that led them to exist in the first place. This tends to bring about a lack of appreciation for what these structures truly stand for. Heritage means different things to different people. The material traces found in the monuments are now merely an object of entertainment. Disheartening as it is, every day we stray further away from this heritage of our country, remaining ignorant towards its importance and values.

Heritage awareness remains an integral component of heritage conservation. Lack of such awareness among the public at large is one of the major reasons behind the damages faced. There is a serious need to change the public attitude and re-establish the feeling of respect and pride that we, as citizens of India, must experience towards the glorious cultural heritage that our ancestors have bestowed upon us.

Feature Image Credits: Surbhit Rastogi

Aditi Gutgutia

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A breakdown of the Aarey Forest conservation movement of Mumbai, in light of the current global climate crisis.

The Aarey Colony protests began on 5th October 2019, after the Bombay High Court (HC) allowed the Mumbai Metro to
cut nearly 2,500 trees to build a car shed for the new Mumbai Metro constructions in the vicinity. The HC’s move was in line with
a fine technicality that the Aarey Forest was not really a forest after all, but it was merely an urban cluster and hence it could
be felled for the purpose of establishing the Metro infrastructure. This move was met with severe backlash, as Mumbaikars
and green activists around the country opposed the felling of 2,500 trees that gave the much-needed respite from pollution
and heat to the residents of the colony.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) began to cut down trees in the area merely hours after the HC order, at odd hours of night in another move that faced resistance from citizens and environmental activists. The Mumbai police arrested close to 29 people on the charges of allegedly obstructing and assaulting police personnel at this protest. Many people, including several celebrities, took to social media to express their support with the activists protesting in the Aarey Colony. After these events, a special hearing on the matter was scheduled with the Supreme Court (SC) and, as a result, Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was implemented in Aarey Colony. Although lifted for the hearing, the section was later reimposed after the hearing.

The Apex Court, this past week, restrained authorities from cutting any more trees in Mumbai’s Aarey. A special bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan said that it would have to examine the entire matter closely, and it extended the date of the next hearing to 21st October, which would take place before its forest bench. The court also ordered the Mumbai Police to release all the activists who were arrested in the past two days.

The SC recorded an undertaking by the Maharashtra State Government, where it was assured that no more trees would be felled in Aarey. The SC observed that “…it appears that Aarey was some kind of forest at some time,” taking note of the 2012 Management Plan for the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which describes Aarey as an unclassified forest.

The Court further lashed at the Maharashtra State Government,  “Tell us how many saplings you planted? How have they grown? What’s the status of your forests?” The Apex Court’s question came after the Mumbai Metro claimed that it had planted around 24,000 saplings to replace the trees it had cut in Aarey. The court asked the state authorities to also produce a mandatory afforestation report.

Rishav Ranjan — the law student whose letter to the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, was converted into a suo motu writ petition for the matter — has requested MMRCL Managing Director, Ashwini Bhide, to desist from any construction work in the area until the next SC hearing on 21st October.

Complex climate change situations necessitate nuanced interventions. However, for the most part, India has resorted to afforestation without consulting local communities or conducting serious impact assessment studies. In light of the latest global climate crisis, a Global Climate Risk Index released at the Katowice summit in Katowice, Poland, in 2018 showed that intense cyclones, excessive rainfall, and severe floods could make India and its neighbours among the worst affected countries in the world. This leads to the conclusion that afforestation is not enough. The
effects of climate change in tandem with the development agenda require a two-pronged, well-researched, and balanced
approach that needs to be initiated by the governments at grass-root levels.

Featured Image Credits: India Times

Bhavya Pandey
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Students of the prestigious University of Delhi institution, Miranda House, feel like there are a lot of differences in the so-called Arts and Science blocks of the college.

Miranda House is an Arts and Science college in North Campus. It offers eleven B.A. (Honours) courses, a B.A. Programme course, five  B.Sc. (Honours) courses and two B.Sc. Programme courses. The college building is broadly divided in such a way that the right blocks have labs and classes for students pursuing Science courses are conducted there, while classes for students pursuing Arts courses are conducted in the left block. 

Recently, a new building was constructed, which is also termed as the “Science Block” by the students. The building is equipped with better infrastructure and more facilities, as compared to the Arts block. Elevators are installed, as are sensor-driven taps which speak of better infrastructure. Science students are more than those pursuing Arts, and that their events are given more priority. 

Another fact pointed out by many students is ‘the Science canteen’. A comparatively small canteen near the front-gate of the college called the science canteen is located close to the Science block. There is another main canteen and other cafes in the college, but there is no such place called the Arts canteen in the college. However, the so-called Science canteen can be accessed by all the students, but the name given to it by the students is enough to raise a question.

A student of B.A. (Honours) Political Science said, “The Arts and Sciences divide becomes very visible by things like infrastructure and facilities in the buildings. While there is a lack of basic facilities like properly functioning fans in classes for Arts students which aren’t looked at even after repeated complaints, there are several rooms in the science block which are equipped with air conditioners also.”

The Wi-Fi network is another issue. It is the strongest in the science block while there is negligible to none network in other areas of the college. Wi-Fi works in almost all the rooms where science classes are conducted, and near the Physics Department where the network is the strongest. A recent survey conducted on the college campus for testing the quality of drinking water revealed that the Science block had the most suitable water for drinking, as compared to other places. 

Mani, a third-year student of B.Sc. (Honours) Physical Sciences said, “There are many instances which show this bias. The theme of ‘Tempest 2018’ was based on the technology where robots and gadgets adorned the campus. Many big scale events and competitions of the Physics Department are organized by D.S. Kothari Centre, which witnesses high footfalls and requires more space. Science Conclave, which is a three-day event with various competitions and international speakers sees mass participation. While there are no such events for the Arts department.”

Another student of B.A. (Hons) History who wished to remain anonymous said, “A general bias can be seen in the facilities for Arts and Science students. However, according to me the reason for this bias is the academic background and inclination of our ex-principal, Dr. Jolly. As she was a Science faculty, more preference was given to events conducted by science departments, and this could also be the reason for better infrastructural facilities in their department. However, with the appointment of Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda as the acting Principal, there are chances of change in the situation.”

All these instances make the differences between Arts and Sciences in Miranda House evidently foregrounded. A number of these issues were also put forward during the manifesto reading, but the Student’s Union hasn’t addressed any of them yet. The President of Miranda House Students’ Union (MHSU) has also denied speaking on the issue.


Image Credits:

Priya Chauhan

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University of Delhi (DU) released an official notification stating that free attendance would be provided for social work, and  for the promotion of social awareness among students.

After continuous protests by All India Students Activism (AISA), DU has agreed to recognise social work as a parameter for attendance concession. 

On 12th October, the Varsity released a notification on its website, stating that social work has now become applicable for attendance concession, along with sports and various extra curricular activities. This step has been taken to promote social work and humanitarian relief initiatives among the students. 

Earlier, AISA, along with National Service Scheme (NSS), was protesting in North Campus to demand free attendance for social relief activities. The main aim was to bring NSS and social work  at par with the cultural societies that are largely celebrated in the University circuit. Kamalpreet Kaur, President, AISA, told DU Beat, “Students who spend their time working for the society, going on relief trips or workshops often face repercussions when they miss classes. They get punished instead of rewarded.

The University, in their press release, has regulated that minimum of 50 hours of service per week is required to be eligible for 33 percent attendance concession. NSS representatives and core team will be eligible for 7 percent more than the rest. 

The criterion as extends its benefits to students not affiliated to NGOs, and are working towards betterment of the society apart from NSS. Activities involving education of the underprivileged, awareness about sanitation and hygiene , working against discrimination, social awareness drives, book donations, cleanliness drives and plantation drives have been recognised under this. 

Students who are not part of NSS, but are working with recognised NGOs and companies are also eligible for the attendance. Independent students with valid certificates as per the list released by the university also come under this category. The lack of NSS enrolment has been the major factor for this decision. 

The notification, however, still does not recognise Women Development Cell for free attendance but students with valid certificates can still apply for the confession. 

Yagesh Tyagi, Vice Chancellor of DU, said, “Delhi University is a premier institution of India. We want each and every student to contribute to India’s upliftment. Social work is as important as any course or society.”

He also added that the aim is to integrate social work in mainstream activities of the University. Allegedly, the University will further take steps to integrate social work quota even for admissions.


Feature image credits: Gauri Ramachandran for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba 

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