Tooba Towfiq


When and Why: Syrian War history

The conflict began due to multiple factors, the major one being the unrest of the 2011 Arab Spring and the successful mobilization against the government in Tunisia and Egypt that spilled over in Syria due to the already present discontent with the Assad families long reign. Other factors included Assad’s special priority towards the Alwaite minority in a Sunni majority country, the socio economic situation of Syria and extreme drought condition of Syria during 2011.
The Syrian people organized peaceful protests against the regime in March 2011 which later turned into a armed conflict after President Bashar Al Assad’s government violently repressed protests calling for his removal. In the same year, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was formed, headed by Riad Al Assad, a former Syrian army colonel. The year saw the formation of other rebel groups against the government.

After the failed peace talks in 2012, the Syrian government allegedly used chemical weapons on 21st August 2012 in a Damasus suburb killing up to 1400 civilians. Russia while did not enter the war till 2015, manoeuvred Syria to dismantle its existing chemical facilities.
In 2013-4, ISIS entered eastern Syria and transformed Raqqaa into its de facto capital after entering the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria in 2011.
Who: Foreign countries
According to the map by Thomas van Linge, the combatants can be grouped into 4 broad categories – Rebels (from ‘moderate’ to Islamists), Loyalists (regime forces and their supporters), Kurdish groups (control autonomy of the north-eastern Syria after fighting with ISIS, they as of now do not wish to overthrow the Assad regime), and finally the foreign power which are either fighting or claiming to fight ISIS at the moment.
The foreign powers include the as of now pro Assad regime of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah and the opposition that is the US led coalition along with Turkey, Arab states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia who maintain their statement about the removal of Assad from power. Russia has according to Reuters, achieved its goal of stabilizing the Assad government, also providing it with new armoured vehicles, surveillance equipments and various weapons including guided bombs for planes. It has allegedly led air strikes against not just ISIL, but also the rebel groups. The US on the other hand in July 2012, granted a non government organization called the Syrian Support Group a license to fund the Free Syrian Army and also provided arms and training to certain ‘vetted’ rebel groups. The foreign countries have while maintained their claim of fighting the ISIS, but have also been taking action to either support or remove the Assad regime

Which: Right side
There are no ‘right’ side or country in the war as according to the UN report, both the sides have led to casualties and death of civilians.

What: Current situation
November 28: After months of intense air strikes, the Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of a large part of eastern Aleppo from the rebels. The Kurdish YPG militia later moved into at least two of the areas left by the rebel forces after an arrangement according to Reuters.
December 13: Regional director of UNICEF, Geert Cappelaere reported that around 100 unaccompanied children were trapped in a building under heavy attack in East Aleppo.
December 15: Russia and United States suspended talks on ways to resolve crisis in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo.
December 20: The allies and non allies of the government reported varying evacuation reports but according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, no new evacuation were made on Saturday. As of Tuesday, 25,000 people have been evacuated from Aleppo including 15,000 on Monday and 10,000 last Thursday.

The current situation of the Aleppo citizens is extremely bad with thousands left in cold, injured and the war is far from over.

Feature Image Credits: Reuters

Adarsh Yadav
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Three students from St Stephen’s college along with a private resort owner drowned in Periyar river in Kerala’s Ernakulam district and lost their lives, Friday evening.

Anubhav Chandra from Bihar, Aditya Patel from Uttar Pradesh and Kenneth Jose from Kerala’s Wayanad were on a college trip accompanied by two female wardens. Anubhav and Aditya were third year students from the Department of Sanskrit, while Kenneth was a first years student from Chemistry.

The three had left their group to visit the location by the side of a private resort on Friday evening. They were accompanied by Benny Abraham, who owned the resort. The incident occurred at Paniyeli Poru, a tourist spot where the river has dangerous clusters of slippery rocks, near Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district. It has been reported that one of the four slipped into the river and the other two jumped to save him. Upon failing to do so Abraham, the resort owner who was familiar with the water also jumped, but lost his life while trying to save others. Abraham’s daughter is also a student of St Stephen’s College.

John Varghese, principal of the college addressing the incident said, “This is a moment of great sorrow for us. This was part of college trip. A warden was accompanying the children.They went away from the group. One student was drowning and others died while saving him”. He also reassured that the college would assist the parents concerned in all its capacity.
The three students were a part of the Malayalam Literary Society, which organises a trip to Kerala every year. The spot where the incident happened had warning signposts too. According to the police, the spot is known for its death traps for tourists because of strong undercurrents, though the water is only few feet deep. The bodies of all four have been recovered and taken to the Taluk hospital at Perumbavoor.

According to students, Aditya and Anubhav were very close friends. A condolence meet had also been planned for Saturday morning .

With inputs from

Tooba Towfiq

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 A school of Journalism and Communication is likely to start from the 2017-2018 academic session in Delhi University. The initiative has been taken by the newly appointed vice chancellor, Yogesh Tyagi.
 The faculty of the new school will regulate the workings of all the Journalism and Communication courses offered by Delhi University in various colleges.Concerning the New School of Journalism and Communication, Professor Tyagi said, “We are planning a new school for journalism and communication. But what we call it will depend on the outcome of the consultation that is to take place very soon with various stakeholders”.
The new school is likely to start with a five-year integrated masters course. The procedure for admission is expected to be entrance exam based, similar to other Masters courses. However, a final call about the admission procedure has not been given. The school, apart from the integrated masters’ programme, is likely to start undergraduate, a conventional masters’, MPhil and PhD programmes as well in the future.

Initially the school is expected to work from the Arts Faculty in the North Campus of the University, with a strength of 30 students in the first batch. The authorities are consulting various stake holders such as teachers, journalists and students for finalising the plans.

With inputs from Times of India

Tooba Towfiq
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“The desire for nights where the moon and the star is not glimpsed through barbed wires, where the sky is not forbidden through rods, through gates and locks” –  Pinjra Tod

Pinjra tod an autonomous women collective, organised a Night march in the North Campus of University of Delhi on 23rd of September. A large number of students participated to support the campaign.

Image Credits: Pinjra Tod: Break the hostel locks/Facebook

The march was primarily organised to reiterate and implement the new UGC circular against sexual harassment. It also demanded a regulation of the exorbitant fees structures of hostels and PG’s.

A night mass of women and men, took to the streets at night and marched from Arts Faculty of Delhi University to Miranda House Hostel, Meghdoot hostel, UHW, hostels of Hindu, Hansraj and St Stephens college. They marched sloganeering through areas such as Malkagunj, Kamla Nagar and Vijay Nagar. In some cases, they climbed up the locked gates of some hostels and shouted slogans against moral policing by wardens and restrictions put on movement of women by discriminatory hostel curfews.

Image Credits: Pinjra Tod: Break the hostel locks/Facebook

In spite of problems caused by some ABVP members, the march carried on for quite long in the night which was followed by a night vigil at Vijay Nagar.
The group also sung songs, recited poetry and danced to reclaim the night and call it their own. The mood of the march and vigil was of a serious celebration. It exercised and celebrated the freedom that Pinjra Tod demands for women and was a way of militantly reclaiming the streets denied to women at night in the pretext of ‘security’.

Featured image credits: Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks/Facebook

Tooba Towfiq
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The Students Union election of Miranda House was held in the month of September. The elections were hotly contested and the percentage of voters had increased. Shallu Chatta, was elected the students union President for the session 2016-2017

Miranda House Students Union elections were one notch fiercer than the earlier years. After a challenging and a controversial Students Union Election, Shallu Chattha emerged as the President of Miranda House for the session 2016-2017. Shallu is a Third Year Student, from Miranda’s Political Science Department. She has been actively involved in college activities. She has served through NSS and has been a member of Gandhi Study Circle. Shallu had also been one of the most active core committee members of MHSU in 2015-2016.

DU Beat got in touch with her over a cup of cold coffee in Miranda’s activity hub; the ever bustling Nescafe Lawns. The newly elected Miranda House Students Union President provided us with some fruitful insights:

Congratulations on your win, Shallu!  You have not been a stranger to most of the Mirandians since they have seen you involved in many of the college activities. Was becoming the President of Miranda House always on your vision board?
Thank you!  Becoming the MHSU President had not really been on my vision board. I always had a passion to work for the college, be it in NSS, Miranda House Students Union or any other college society. For two years I had been constantly working for the college and it gives me immense pleasure that I would be able to continually to do so.

 Miranda House witnessed a very fierce student’s union election this time. Had you anticipated such a competition?
No, I had not anticipated such a competition but I was ready to face criticism and opposition. The fact that four candidates were contesting for the post of the President was very challenging in itself. This is why the elections turned out to be fiercer than before.

Despite ferocious campaigning from all candidates, you managed to hit the chord with Mirandians. What was your plan of action and which one of them garnered you the support that you got?
The basic plan of action was to get involved with each and every person at a personal level. Every Mirandian is different and getting personally involved gave me leverage over the other candidates.

What is your plan of action for the session 2016-2017?
Action plan for 2016-2017 constitutes significantly, efforts to solve the problems of all the students which they face in the college. My focus would also be to organize college events in a more planned and a productive manner.

Many have blamed erstwhile students unions of a lack of accountability. Are you going to put in place a system to address that and bridge the gap? Or do you think there were other reasons for the same?
MHSU (2015-16) tried to bridge the gap between students and Union by creating WhatsApp groups with all the Class Representatives. I would like to continue with that.  In addition, we have also planned monthly General Body Meetings with the post holders of all the departments and societies. Co-ordination between students and Student Unions is central to this process. I will try my best to improve that. Everyone is free to put up their suggestions.

Renovation has been one of the hot topics in the cafeteria gossips. How soon should the students expect the College Auditorium to be functional again?
Well I can’t say much about that because the construction work entirely depends upon the college administration.

Miranda House has been in news about retrenching around 13 ad-hoc teachers. What are your views about it?
The immediate outcome of the removal of ad-hocs teachers was felt by us, the students as well. We are aware that the teachers are facing a lot of difficulties. However, looking through the lens of college administration also gives a different picture. However, as students we sympathize with the teachers affected.

Students Unions don’t have a lot of discretion as far as funds are concerned. As a president how are you going to tackle with it?
It is a fact that the college funds are not under the discretion of Students union. But I do think that the Students Union can chalk out certain ways in which the funds are utilized in a pro-student manner. We can propose a number of ideas for the fund utilization in ways that will prove beneficial for the students.

Last year has seen tremendous amount of coercion as far as the scope of dissent and debate in educational institutes is concerned. Where do you see Miranda in this war against the platforms of meaningful Free Speech?
Miranda has and should always stand in favor of debate and dissent. It is integral to our education. I have been encouraged and would like to encourage all Mirandians to preserve, protect and expand this fast narrowing space under attack.

Do you find some issues in college that you would want the students to think about? What is your message to fellow Mirandians?
Yes, we all know that Miranda has the most clean and green campus in Delhi University. However, a major problem faced by Miranda is regarding cleanliness especially in the Canteen and the mushroom hut areas. So I would request Mirandians to act like Mirandians! Students have to act responsibly, without which the maintenance and cleanliness of college cannot not be taken further. Co-operation and unity are the pillars of Miranda’s integrity. So I look forward for the same from all Mirandians. Let us all move together towards success!

Thank-you for all the support.

Featured image credits
Mahi Goyal

Tooba Towfiq
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ABVP has secured three and  NSUI one out of the four seats in the Students Union elections of Delhi University. 

Amit Tanwar (ABVP) has bagged the post of the President, Priyanka Chabri (ABVP)  the post of the Vice President and Ankit Sangwan (ABVP) the post of the Secretary. Mohit Garid from NSUI secured for his party the post of the Joint Secretary.

Amit Tanwar, elected president for the session 2016-2017 has been actively involved with ABVP for the past four years. He is currently pursuing M.A. in Hindi from PGDAV college.

Priyanka Chabri was one of the three women standing up for the post of the Vice president. This year saw a significant number of women in the DUSU elections. Four out of the seven candidates for the post of the President and three out of five candidates for the post of Vice President were women.

The voter turnout had been low especially among the North Campus colleges. On Friday, the morning turnout was approximately 33%, significantly lower than last year’s overall turnout of 43.3%. It was reportedly the lowest in comparison with the last five years. Voting had taken place in two phases across the university on Friday.

Featured Image Credits: Indian Express

With inputs from Indian Express

Tooba Towfiq
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Miranda House, Delhi University. DUTA and the Miranda House Staff Association have raised their voice against the termination of the teachers, who had otherwise been appointed till November of this semester. The Principal of Miranda House claims that she made an administrative lapse in appointing 210 teachers. According to the authorities, the college can only provide the salaries for 160 sanctioned teachers and up to 193 posts that were promised as a part of the second tranche of OBC expansion. However, MHSA and DUTA oppose this and claim that the cap should have been considered prior to the appointment of the new ad hoc teachers. MHSA had even volunteered to raise funds from the permanent staff. College teachers had also been asked to redo their timetables in MH, which had recognised 16 ad hoc teachers as ‘surpluses’. Departments, such as the English Department of Miranda House had refused to make these changes on the grounds of being contrary to the guidelines set by the UGC. Earlier UGC had attempted to change the workload but this decision was withdrawn later. The work load had then slipped back to 16 Hours per week for assistant professors and 14 hours for the associate professors and professors. Nandini Dutta, who teaches Economics at Miranda House said to Times of India, Our Timetables were drawn up as per the 16-14 hour norms. Now the college is insisting on 15 and 18. None of the documents placed before us to justify this are recent or valid.” According to MHSA and DUTA, the Principal had taken a decision without having consulted the governing body of DU or UGC. They have extended their full support and are demanding that the ad hocs should be reinstated. Thus, MHRD has taken up the matter and demanded an explanation for the same. Meanwhile, a large number of classes and study slots remain untaught and unattended because of the unavailability of teachers post the termination. DUTA and the MHSA will be organising a joint Press Conference addressing the issue at the DUTA office at 1.30 p.m. on September 5, 2016, and invite everyone to attend the conference to extend their support. Featured image credits: Tooba Towfiq [email protected]]]>

A mass hunger strike, ‘Hostel Satyagrah’ was organised under AISA’s “A Room of My Own” program near Arts Faculty on 26th and 27th of August. Students from around 30 colleges across Delhi University participated to demand the availability of more hostels, rent regulation and rent allowances. The hunger strike was a part of a campaign started by AISA (All India Students Association). More than 20,000 students had given their feedback on postcards distributed by AISA earlier this month.  The postcards were submitted to the DU Vice Chancellor and a demands memorandum was submitted to the Principals of around 20 colleges.

In addition to students, a number of intellectuals, artists, poets and theatre groups joined in support of the movement. Alongside the hunger strike, various other events were organised. The events included lectures by Prof Nandini Sundar (Sociology Dept DU), Dr P K Vijyan (Hindu College) and Anil Chamadia.

On the ‘Idea of University’ Professor Nandini said, “The need for hostels is not only for a cheap accommodation but rather it should be linked to an idea of a closed campus where students live and share their ideas throughout day and night. One must link it to freedom of living and sharing academic ideas.”

By addressing the issue through the lense of ‘Una Movement and Dalit Upsurge’, Anil Chamadia added a crucial perspective. “ The movement for hostels is necessary for the students coming from reserved category and financial weaker sections of the society. There is an attempt by the government to make the campuses elite to exclude people coming from the lower sections of the society from coming to campus. One must link this struggle inside campus to the struggle going in Una”, he said.

The event also witnessed some cultural performances by by Hirawal (People’s Band from Patna), Sangwari (Resistance Cultural Group) and Moksha (Aurobindo Theater Group).

According to Sudhanshu Shekhar, President of DU AISA,” The ABVP which is winning all posts in DUSU from the past two years has not only overlooked the issue of accommodation for DU students but rather it openly advertises for private PGs and private hostels. We are positive that DU students will stand with us this time saying no to ABVP which has completely failed on this issue.” The issues related to accommodations is likely to be one of the main agendas of AISA in the upcoming DUSU elections.

Featured image credits: Tooba Towfiq for DU Beat

Tooba Towfiq
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Celluloid, the film society of Miranda House kick-started the new academic session with a two day Short-Film Festival on 16th and 17th August, 2016. 

The film festival was in line with the previously organised Comedy Film Festival and the like. Short movies which were chosen for the festival served to create a scope for freshers-friendly and an easy critical evaluation to brace up the newcomers. On the first day of the festival, short movies such as ‘Bypass’, ‘How I Raped Your Mother’, ‘Kriti’ and ‘Ludo’ among others were screened. The response on this was overwhelming. The seminar room was jam-packed with frequent applause from an engaged audience.

The second day of the festival was successful albeit some glitches. Hindrances were caused due to the restoration of the renovation of the venue without prior notice to the organisers. Students from Miranda House expressed their concern about the slow progress of the construction work taken up in different parts of the college. However, with the assistance and co-operation of the college authorities, the construction was stopped and the venue was temporarily made feasible for the event. The turnout for the second day was decent. Short films which were screened included, ‘French Toast’, ‘Geri’s Game’, ‘Alarm’ etc.

The event concluded on a productive note and the organisers were satisfied with the responses. The society members seemed positive about a new year ahead and had chalked out plans for the current session. In addition to organising discussion sessions, making and screening documentaries and movies, the film club also maintains a blog. The blog called, ‘Celluloid: The Official Blog of Miranda House Film Club’ can be followed at

Featured Graphic Credits: Celluloid, MH Film Club

Tooba Towfiq
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Delhi has been experiencing a lot of rain lately. For some people, it has only brought inconvenience along with it. Yet there are others who have no qualms about getting drenched in the rain, getting their footwear dirty, or their clothes wet. They are the rain lovers!

Rain, no matter how unwelcome it may seem to some, is very dear to many. It is beautiful to see the sky pouring down the purest of drops to change the harshest temperatures.  The rain lovers have unique and sometimes inexplicable reasons for loving rain. Whenever it rains, they have oodles of ideas to make the most of it.
Following are some of the things rain lovers do when it rains. Those who would want to join their league, can try the following:

1. Enjoy the scenes

Some people love rain, but only from a distance. If you are apprehensive of getting too excited in the rain, appreciate it from a distance. Take charge of a window, a safe corner outside your residence, or even an umbrella with a comfortable pair of shoes will help you a lot. Once you are ready, behold the beauty!

Enjoy the scenes

2. Abandon the umbrella

“What’s in an umbrella?”
Most of those who cherish rains are too bold for umbrellas. You will watch them walking calmly right next to a bunch of people trying to fit under the limited available umbrellas. Rain is not harmful for them. They love to feel it touch them. Being anti-umbrella is being pro nature and definitely, pro rain.
If you wish to enjoy rains, don’t wait outside your classrooms or in the foyers for the rains to stop. Take that leap of love, walk boldly and slowly in the rain and feel one with nature.
Disclaimer: Figure out a way to protect your books in this process.

Abandon the Umbrella

3. A thinking mind and a sheet of paper

For some reason, rain makes you delve deep into everything. It makes you imagine and think about beautiful concepts and emotions. Rain is a stimulant for a lot of stories. Grab yourself a sheet of paper and pour down your thoughts while the sky is pouring along.

Thinking mind

4. Food and rain

Rain can be absolutely irrelevant without food. A lot of people take to thadi (small tea shops) and enjoy looking at people with their hot cup of chai. Some take to cooking hot parathas, or pakoday. A hot cup of coffee is too obvious to mention.

Food and Rain

5. Plan an event!

There are people for whom rain is an event. A celebration!
They would curse you if you don’t tell them it was raining. Abandoning sleep won’t be an issue, neither is a good hairstyle! They would rush out when they hear the noise of the rain falling. They will take the most prominent space in some lawn, a terrace or even crazier- a road, and feel it!
Next time you want to enjoy the rain, just step out fearlessly. Stay right there and you will find good and deep feelings rekindling.


6. Some ideas borrowed from recent scenes and encounters

Go out with your significant other and take a long walk. Pair it up with some good music and you are good to go. Don’t forget to hold hands, because the rain just seeps in and both of you end up sharing the drops.

Play loud music on the terrace of your house, flat or PG and call friends over. Then start dancing. It gets that simple.

Generous friends will volunteer to click you some #RainGoals pictures too. Try being a bit dramatic, if you fail, don’t worry. The rain has got your back.

Choose to ride a cycle, or a bike or scooty to feel the rain and wind on your face.

Write a new song, or sing along to one.

Tee hee!

Featured image credits: Shiwani Mundiya

Tooba Towfiq

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