Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak


Courtesy of a hectic schedule,  many students fail to prioritize their health and reduce it to a secondary concern. In recent times, we have witnessed disturbing trends of unhealthy Blood Pressure levels, Diabetes and stomach infections among students. Here, we explore some healthy foods that would help keep you up and active all through the drudgery and toiling that studying in the University of Delhi (DU) necessitates.

Milk, Yogurt and Eggs

Low-fat dairy products can be extremely beneficial. Rich in proteins, Vitamins B and D, these foods offer nutrition on a budget. Vitamin D is imperative for the healthy growth of your brain. With the flavored variants of the aforementioned products so easily accessible, the required tastes can be incorporated to your own liking. Eggs are again, rich in proteins. A couple of eggs daily will improve your stamina.


It being possibly the most nutritious breakfast option, Oats are whole grains digested slowly by storing the energy for a long time.  Moreover, it also provides vitamin B and fiber as well as potassium, zinc, and vitamin E, all of which are substantial to maintain a healthy brain.

Dry Fruits and Nuts

All nuts offer you brain fuel in the form of protein and both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Almonds help in improving retention, as is widely known. Walnuts on the other hand, are proven to be helpful in enhancing deductive reasoning. But in the sweltering heat that Indian summers offer, stick to only a palmful of nuts since eating nuts in excess may cause some problems.

Dark Green Vegetables and Beans

Spinach (shoutout to Popeye(s) out there!), broccoli and sprouts provide you with folate, an important element that improves the functioning of the brain. Beans also, for that matter, offer you magnesium, Vitamin B, protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Rich in antioxidants and omega-3s, kidney beans are highly recommended. So, bring on the RajmaChawal (a popular vegetarian dish consisting of kidney beans served with boiled rice).


Finally, yet importantly, fruits are easily the best sources of all nutrients. It is no wonder then that the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’  has gained such wide currency. Fruits are low in fat, sodium, and calories and none have cholesterol. Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under-consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Also, due to the easy accessibility of fruits around the corner of your Paying Guest accommodation (PG)  or in the markets, these become very feasible nutritionists. Bite into an apple or a banana or a pear and you are instantly charged. Come winters and the season of oranges, the citric kings can be the ideal basking-in-the-sun food.

The mounting assignments, notes, reasoning and writing will leave you exhausted! But the idea of prioritizing your health should never be secondary. Give yourself the nourishment you need and also, the proper sleep. Keep yourself active and exercise too. Go out for a walk or a run daily. Do not skip meals at all! Keep true to a balanced diet, replete with pulses and the like. Follow simple diet plans, and you will never be left swooning, at least not due to starvation!


Feature Image Credits: gethere.fitnessfirst

Kartik Chauhan

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As your initial classes begin, so does your fear and anxiety regarding your course. While having second thoughts about the chosen course is a common phenomenon amongst students, knowing how to maneuver through these doubts and uncertainties is important in order to extract the most out of the three years’ undergraduate programme in the University of Delhi (DU).

As the alarm clock resounds and a new morning invites you, your drowsy self gets up and gazes into the mirror. While you attend to your routine morning activities, your mind is shrouded by a cloud of perplexing thoughts.  College is the arena which beholds the foundations of your career. Hence, it is natural to feel minor pangs of anxiety about your chosen course and worry about your compatibility with the same.  However, you must not stress about these apprehensions,  since these are mere insecurities which will fade away very soon.

Every course offered by DU has significance, so don’t get jittery or plunge into a confused state of mind based on assumptions that your chosen course is not adequate or not good enough. Exhibit some gratification. Queuing up for admission in the sweltering and oppressive weather of Delhi to secure your seat in DU is an achievement in itself! Then why do these unwholesome thoughts come into your mind and engulf you in a bout of uneasiness? It is because you haven’t received clarity of your course yet.

The best way to acquire greater clarity would be to undertake some research and understand what exactly your subject of choice entails and what it has to offer.  You may also look for opportunities like internships associated with your field of study to get better insight into the same.

Here are a few points to bust the insecurities:

Research Extensively on Your Course

Thanks to the age of the internet, you will be able to gain access to many websites providing you the information required to conduct an extensive research on your course and the career prospects emanating from it.

Coordinate Your Future Plans With Your Course

Since it is your first year in college, don’t be too hard on yourself. While you don’t need to be ascertained about what you want to pursue in life,  you must start structuring basal ideas about how you can connect the offerings of your course to your areas of interest.

Experienced Faculty Across All Courses

If there’s one thing which makes Delhi University so great, it is the amazing and supremely qualified faculty brimful with years of experience and unparalleled expertise. Your teachers will be able to do away with your qualms once the classes begin and you delve into your syllabi.

Time Heals Everything

Last, but surely not the least, give some time to your course and to the other changes that you have encountered. As Leo Tolstoy would say, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Give it time as it is an inherent aspect of human nature to invariably take time before  adapting to something unfamiliar. So don’t be under the impression that you’re the only one skeptical about your course.  Once you take a few deep breaths, you will soon be able to comprehend what a privilege it is to get to spend three years in one of India’s most prestigious universities.


Feature Image Credits: Eflux Conversions

Avnika Chhikara

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The ‘firsts’ are always memorable. Here’s recounting my first week at college while hoping yours went likewise.

Truest of joys are lived in the coalescence of our dreams. The 20th of July 2018 marked my Orientation Day in college, and it also marked the day I saw my dream of studying at the University of Delhi (DU) come true. While thousands of us approached our colleges in the highest of spirits,  there was a great deal of anxiety too. However, as the week progressed, the anxiety also dwindled. Thankfully, the weather has been blissful, if the resulting muck is not to be accounted for. But this week has been an amazingly informative and inspiring one. The atmosphere increasingly becomes more intoxicating! However, it goes without saying that some inherent downsides were also present. Henceforth, I have endeavored to be more realistic in my account.

Our fear of crowds, seniors, and our own batchmates takes root from the fear of judgement. In this regard, a senior of mine told me, “Everyone judges you, but this is why you are here. You judge people and find in them the requisite companionship. Do not fear this judgement. This is your time, live it fully. Let nothing hold you back.” As repetitive as it sounds, it is an absolute truth. Initially, I was afraid of being laughed at. I feared that a wrong answer to a question would probably diminish my credit among rest of the stellar performers who have made it to my college and course. But at the same time, I reminded myself that if one can make people laugh, it is his or her victory. However, if they laugh mockingly, it is their loss. This week I have learned so much about the discipline that I always dreamt of studying, that every moment in learning this discipline has been an insightful and learning experience.

Undoubtedly, another highlight would be the brilliant people I have come to know. From the learned to the rad, all my seniors have offered the best advise and counsel. A large number of us came here hoping to find friends for life. While many have already struck similar chords with like-minded people, many others have not been as fortunate. After years of being with their high school friends, they find it difficult to fill the void of companionship in a week. Give yourself and others some time because all good things take time, after all. But remember to remain original and true to yourself while creating new bonds, because you are all you have to offer. Presenting any other version of yourself would not do justice to who you inherently are.

Today, after a week of walking straight into a dream, it still feels surreal. And very ideally, it will always be. I do not presume I have learned all in a week, neither should you. But I have witnessed a change already, as have we all. Acceptance and compassion start with us. We all are afraid, varyingly if not equally. But it is in the nature of fear to take away our happiness. Fear is the end of growth. Opportunities will come, but your endeavor to grasp them will determine everything. This idea is my greatest takeaway from this week. Most colleges have commenced their registrations for enrolling the excited freshers in a number of societies – possibly the most celebratory avenues in colleges. Before I entered the gates of my college, I was told about societies,  “Join them all, even the ones you find remotely interesting. Live them fully, as per your interests. Do not ever hesitate.” Now whenever I enter them, my conviction strengthens.

Believe and thrive, grasp and grow. I hope you have an adventure as great as you deserve. I hope we all do. With the first week’s closure, I know one thing for sure, that I will have loads of fun. Will you?


Feature Image Credits: Kartik Chauhan for DU Beat

Kartik Chauhan

[email protected]


You can do anything if you really want to! Even if you get nothing to learn in college, there are some opportunities that are inevitably provided to you.

You must have often heard people talking about how there are never enough opportunities for them in college. They substantiate their argument by claiming that somebody else always takes it up or their college is not supportive of the same. However, you need to realize that these are excuses. You can do everything you want to! Even if nothing works out, there are some opportunities inevitably provided to you in college. How you use them and whether you use them at all is up to you. So, regardless of your overall experience as a college student, you will get the following opportunities in your college life:

Connecting with Like-minded People

College is the best time to create a social cum professional network, through which you can access opportunities later in life. This network of contacts might help you climb the ladder of career even after college ends. However, the benefits availed through these contacts is not unidirectional. You would also have to help some of these people later in life. This is a place where all the people around you are like-minded by the virtue of being in the same course of study or field of interest as you. Furthermore, because college societies provide a platform for people with similar interests to come together, the same provides a fertile ground for nourishing your network of contacts.

Pursuing a Hobby

College gives you the scope of doing something other than studies. Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is not built just on the basis of your grade point. Besides helping you to indulge in and rear your hobbies, there are several other opportunities that are accessed if you join a college society or do internships. It may get difficult and tiring and but it is worth it. It teaches you how to manage time and work under stress. Hobbies are great escapes from the monotony of academics as well.

Exploring and Failing

Now, though it may sound strange, you need to realize that the option of exploring and failing is actually an opportunity. You are just in college and are still exploring your life and career options. Therefore, it is your time to go and explore all you can – food places, sectors of interest, jobs and careers, offices and other possibilities for the future. You are allowed to get a “feel” of what you want and choose accordingly. When people around you see you as a fresher or just as a college student, they understand that you are allowed to commit mistakes and learn from them. Many will also want to teach you how to move past mistakes! This becomes very conducive for your growth and development as a person. College is that place which allows you to fail at things and still not be socially disregarded.


Feature Image Credits: HuffPost


Khyati Sanger

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The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Delhi (DU) has announced an ‘Official Freshers Party’ (OFP) to welcome the freshers who have been admitted to DU in the academic year 2018-19. The freshers has been slated for the 3rd of August 2018, and the Faculty of Arts in North Campus has been finalised as the venue. The VC of the varsity, made this announcement during a press conference held in his office, on Friday.


Answering queries from members of the press, the professor mentioned that Bollywood celebrities who have graduated from the university, including Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Sidharth Malhotra, and Anurag Kashyap, have consented to be part of the celebrations. He also disclosed that a 12-member Planning Committee, consisting of DU’s Professors (4), former students (4) and members of the DU Students’ Union (4), has been given the responsibility of organising the freshers party.

A string of events has been planned for the occasion. The opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., in an open auditorium which has a seating capacity of 800 people. The events lined up for the 2nd include competitions such as ‘Treasure Hunt’ and ‘Couple Dance’. The latter will be judged by Director Anurag Kashyap, an alumnus of Hansraj College, along with Mallika Sherawat, an alumna of Miranda House. The line-up for the evening is star-studded. Sources have revealed that Shahrukh Khan will take to the stage at 7 p.m. and will be performing to the tunes of Bollywood hits such as ‘Baazigar’, ‘Chaiiya Chaiiya’, and ‘Chakde! India’. At 8 p.m., Shaheed Bhagat Singh College alumnus Sidharth Malhotra is expected to perform on the 2016 hit ‘Just Nacho’.

Significantly, the entry to the freshers party would be limited and will be based on a system of manual ticket entry, with each ticket costing INR 1000. The freshers party would be able to accommodate only 800 students. The tickets would be sold on first-come, first-serve basis and the window for the same is expected to open on the 28th of July. Further, the dress code for the party has been established as black for boys and blue for girls.

An official circular has been sent to different college administration departments, instructing them to observe a holiday on the designated day. Notably, some colleges, including St. Stephen’s College and Kamla Nehru College, have reverted back to this circular, seeking permission to hold classes for the 2nd and 3rd year students on the same day. DU Beat would be updating further details of the same shortly.


Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated and not accepted!

Feature Image Credits: Warwicks
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

[email protected]


We are often very busy worrying and preparing for the first few days of college. In the process, we tend to forget some things that can enhance our experience as we step into our college for the first time. Here are a few of those reminders:

Take a Few Pictures

It is understandable that when one first encounters life as a college student, one’s priorities are really different. But it is a good idea to take a few pictures here and there, during the day. Not only will you thank yourself for it later, but you might also want to remember what you wore on day one, or perhaps recreate a similar photo at the end of your college life. It is an important phase of life and you would want to capture it a little.

Build Strong Networks of Contact With Seniors

It is good to build contact networks with people who can help you expel your confusions and doubts on the first few days itself. The seniors are generally very enthusiastic to invite the freshers and are mostly willing to share what they know with them. It will be all the more productive if you can exchange numbers with the Union Members of your department in college and ask them to coordinate a small interactive session between your class and the seniors’ classes.

Be Presentable

The first impression is not always the last impression, but it is important. Be yourself and do not overdo anything. However, at the same time, try to be presentable in how you look and what you do. You will feel confident if you look amazing on day one itself. Besides being on time for college, you must also be presentable in the way you treat people.. While maintaining your politeness,  you must also be bold in whatever you do. This will help you interact with like-minded people and maybe even create some good friends!

Understand That Everyone Feels Similar to How You Feel

You need to remember that you are not the only one feeling confused, apprehensive, self-conscious and even excited! Everyone around you feels the same way. They are as desperate to make friends, as excited for what the future holds and as confused about how a college functions. You are not alone and the confusion and uncertainty settle after some time. You won’t even be able to discern when your college would become home to you. Before you know it, you would be laughing with your friends about all the insecurities and first impressions you had of each other on day one of college.


Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Khyati Sanger

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The University of Delhi’s Faculty of Law, on the 11th of June 2018, had announced the results for its undergraduate entrance examinations to the institution. However, within an hour of publishing it on its website,, the management had to withdraw the same after receiving complaints of irregularities.

Candidates who had appeared for the exams, held on the 18th of June, alleged receiving less than expected marks and many other students claimed that they were unable to find their names in the results’ list.

Notably, the online entrance test was conducted at a number of examination centres most of which are in the private sector. Significantly, this was the first time that the Faculty of Law had chosen to go online to conduct its entrance test.

Professor at the Campus Law Centre (CLC) Parikshit Sirohi told DU Beat through a phone call conversation, “If students are indeed complaining that they are unable to find their names in the results’ list, then a probability is that their biometric attendance has been skipped.” He further explained, “Even I had gone as an invigilator for the entrance examinations. Sometimes, the server faces problems while recording the biometric attendance of the candidates.”

Another Professor from the Faculty of Law, Rahul Kumar, told the DU Beat correspondent in a tone of assurance, “The University of Delhi is faithful and oriented towards the aspirations of the student community. I don’t believe the management would do anything to harm the students’ interests.” When asked to express his views on the anomalies within the system made evident by this incident, he hesitated to comment and said, “As a Professor of the institution, I’m not in a capacity to comment.”

When this correspondent tried to survey how the student community of the institution felt about the incident, many students came out strongly against the inefficiencies displayed by the administration in the past.
Chandan Karmhe, a final year law student at the institution told DU Beat, “The University administration is not only inefficient but is inflicted with apathy towards the students. This is not an one-off incident. There is some consistency in delinquency as far as the people employed in the administration are concerned.”
He went on to cite an example, “My friend was marked absent in her third-semester exam result, even after having appeared for her exam. She had to run pillar to post to get it rectified.”

When asked what he had to comment on the current mishap, he remarked, “It is absurd! How can you upload the results which can make or break careers of thousands of students without ensuring proper checks? We are in the headline mostly for wrong reasons- sometimes for paper leaks and at other times, for grave errors in the result. Unless we take strict and remedial actions, this haloed faculty will be pushed towards further decay.”

In an earlier article, DU Beat had reported on the students’ allegations of irregularities in the conduct of the same examination. Candidates had alleged that many students were allowed to cheat openly, besides complaints of technical glitches and slow Internet while taking the exam. Shilpi, one of the examinees, concluded, “This clearly shows DU cannot handle the online mode.”

The DU Beat correspondent had sent an email to the Dean of the institution Ved Kumari and had sent a copy of the same to the coordinator for admissions of 2018 Dr. Kiran Gupta.Till the filing of this report, the email seeking insight into this incident has not been responded to by either of the two.
Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
[email protected]

In a bid to improve the rankings of the Indian institutes globally, the Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD), on the 9th of July 2018, announced the name of six universities which have been deemed eligible for the ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE) status.
While Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Delhi and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore are the three public universities selected under this list, Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation, BITS Pilani, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education are the three private universities which have been granted the status of ‘IoE’.

Rationale And Implications

Prakash Ravi Kumar, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at IIT Bombay, which features in the list of IoEs, told DU Beat, “The government’s proposal to set up Institutions of Eminence had come after no Indian University had found a place in World University Rankings last year. This proposal was followed by an official notification released by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in September 2017.”
According to the panel, the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which had chosen the IoEs, the chosen institutes showed the potential to find a place among top 500 of global rankings. Unlike other institutions, IoEs will get greater autonomy to start new courses, admit foreign students, hire foreign faculty, and collaborate with foreign educational institutions without the need for government approval.
Manoj Kumar, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at IIT Delhi told the DU Beat correspondent in a phone call conversation, “One of the implications of our institution being a part of this list is that this tag frees us from many regulations governing higher education and fetches us INR 1,000 crore spread over five years.”


Interestingly, in conversation with students of some of the institutions which were conferred IoE status, there was substantial skepticism regarding the same.
Anand Sinha, a final year student of Production and Industrial Engineering at IIT Delhi told DU Beat, “It is indeed a proud moment for us to be chosen among the Institutes of Eminence by the MHRD. However, how exactly the government wishes to place us among the top 500 institutions of the world is a little questionable.”

Vandana Kaul, Professor at Deshbandhu College of the University of Delhi told DU Beat, “I don’t see how Jio Institute, which does not even appear on the Google Search results, managed to find itself among these deemed institutions.”
Significantly, the list of institutes chosen features the Jio Institute, which is yet to be launched.
Amid questions of the credibility of the list and allegations of favouritism, the University Grants Commission – a panel of which carried out the selections – said the institution made it to the list under the greenfield category for new or proposed institutions.

The UGC clarified that the regulations allowed “greenfield institutions” or new projects to apply and Jio Institute was proposed by Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance India Limited that is led by the Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani.
Despite these clarifications, many critiques have suggested that the Union government’s alleged closeness with the Ambani family influenced the decision. Many others questioned how any university can be judged worse than a non-existent one.

Whether granting the tag of IoE to these institutions will indeed help them secure a place in world rankings is subject to debate, the result of which will only be produced with time.


Feature Image Credits: News Nation
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
[email protected]

Paying Guest accommodations can be like the film adaption of books: Almost always terrible without the essence of the original, that is, the home.

While most Paying Guest Accomodation (PG) owners claim zealously to replicate aspects of your home, with some even going to the extent of naming their PGs, “Home Away From Home”, most fail to do the same. Now that the admission season is at its peak, here is a guide to PG hunting for students looking for an accommodation in the city.

The Curious Case of the ‘5-Minute Walking Distance’:

Regardless of whether the PG is at a distance of 1.5 kilometers or 15 kms away from college, the claim of it being at a 5-minute walking distance from the concerned prospective client’s college is universal. As you will realize for yourself, it is wise to manually check the distance between your prospective PG and college or the market rather than accepting your prospective proprietor’s fraudulent claims at face value.

Inclusive Of All Overhead Costs: A Myth:

When I had gone PG hunting last year, one PG proprietor in Kamla Nagar had told me, “Sab Included Hain Ji (everything is included). Electricity, food charges, everything is included in your rent.” While I seemed impressed by the cost effectiveness of the entire proposition, I still wanted to verify these claims by taking first-hand information from the inmates of the PG. When I asked around, I was told that besides laundry and the electricity bill for the AC, the residents also had to pay for the drinking water. I understood that “Everything Is Included” is a tag-line fondly used by proprietors to seize the prospective residents. Students are advised not to fall prey to these fancy claims. Proprietors are like mobile service providers. They promise too much, deliver very little.

Exclusive Electricity Charges: A Tale of Wondrous Deception

In PGs wherein the electricity bill is not included within the rent, there remains room for ghastly swindling and tampering with the power units recorded on the meter. Doreen Barpujari, a student of Ramjas College who was a resident of a PG in Shakti Nagar told DU Beat, “For the first few months, the meter in my room displayed that I had consumed 500 units which is a a massive amount considering the fact that I didn’t even have an AC in my room. As such, I had to pay over INR 1,000 in those months.” She added, “Finally, a group of us who were victims of similar grievances decided to go on a fact-finding mission. We realised that the proprietor had been trifling with the power meters in our rooms to secure extra money from us.”

The Fable of The ‘One Fruit Everyday’:

During the admission season last year, when I had first visited the PG wherein I would spend the next one year, I remember my proprietor bragging, “We give one fruit everyday. That is why, year after year, our rooms get filled up after the first cut-off list itself.”

Both of his claims, I realised much later, were as perfidious as Donald Trump’s hair. The authenticity of all three were questionable. Halfway into my first month in the PG, I realised that far from providing us with ‘one fruit everyday’, the food wasn’t half as good as the sample I was made to taste when I had first visited it. In fact, this act of fabricating their quality of food is a common phenomenon in most PGs. While some PGs send special instructions to the cook to prepare the most appetizing of food for sampling during the admission season, others hire specialists in food making as long as the cut-off lists keep coming. It is important not to be lured by this duplicity and confirm the food-related claims through first-hand information from the residents themselves.

Security Money Scandals:

Most PGs require the residents to deposit a particular amount of money as ‘security deposit’, mostly fixing it as two months’ of rent or more. The idea behind keeping an amount for security is to ensure that the residents do not leave the PG in the middle of the academic session. For if they do, it becomes a herculean task to fetch new residents. While most PGs pledge to return the security deposit when the residents leave, only a few PGs religiously follow this pledge. The DU Beat correspondent was told by Priyanka Singh, a student of Hansraj College, “My PG only returned half of the security deposit.” On the other hand, Tanvi Ghosh, a student Ramjas College testified, “My PG did not return the security deposit at all. Despite repeated calls and warnings of taking legal action, I did not get the security money back. One idea to prevent this swindling of money is to document all cash transactions in legal terms and bonds, the absence of which allows the PG proprietors to fleece money and trick the students.

Washroom Woes:

For rooms without an attached bathroom, most PG proprietors try to accommodate a number of residents within the ambit of one common washroom itself. Pallavi Das, a student of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur (SGTB) Khalsa College lived in a PG in Mukherjee Nagar for a year. She shared her washroom woes with this correspondent, “I had booked a room without an attached washroom and I was told that only 3 people would be sharing the washroom which was allotted to me. Two days after living in the PG, I noticed that the washroom would be occupied every time that I had gone to use it. Two more days later, I realized that my washroom had been allotted to 7 other people.”

Like all other businesses, PGs are also run by both well-meaning and duplicitous people. Moving away from home is a task in itself requiring immense change and adjustment. Your PG adding to your problems and making the transition even more complicated is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, do not be lazy while researching for PGs. Look at all possible accommodation in person,  ask detailed questions, have all transactions and promises on the record, and seek recommendations and feedback from current residents while making this decision that will greatly affect your college life.

Feature Image Credits: Wudstay

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

[email protected]

Women have been denied access into temples for menstruating for centuries. When their agency is taken away, for performing the most natural of bodily functions, we see the patriarchy seeping into what is seemingly the “holiest” aspect of society. 

I was 14 when I started menstruating. One of the first things that my mother did on that fated day was prepare a list of do’s and don’ts, of how to conduct myself around mortals of the opposite gender, how to choose sanitary napkins wisely, how to sleep without staining the bed-linen, and so on. One point in that list that seemed particularly intriguing was my bereavement of access to temples and kitchens during “those days” of the month.

As I grew up, all my refutations of this rule were repudiated with the claim that a woman is ritually ‘unclean’ during her menstrual period and hence cannot go to the temple or worship at that time. While my grandmother tried to validate this argument by maintaining that women in ancient times worked hard and needed to be given a ‘religious reason’ to rest, Aunt Daisy from across the street vehemently believed that the tradition comes from the Manusmriti, a textual tradition of Hinduism

However, many temples go a step further that my mother’s list. Since it is impossible to know whether a woman is menstruating, certain temples have banned all women aged between 10 and 50. Somewhere between engaging in heated arguments with my grandmother and making sarcastic remarks on how we needed a machine which would be able to detect whether women were on their menstrual period, I grew distant from my culture.

But it is not just one religion whose socialization harbors these abhorrent anathemas. A parallel can be drawn between Hinduism and other religions of the world which endorse similar taboos. As a girl, Noorjehan Niaz had visited the well-known Muslim shrine of Haji Ali. Walking down the coastline in south Mumbai, she would push through the throng to reach the inner chamber of the mosque which housed the grave of the 15th century saint. Here, showering rose petals on the green silk cloth draping it, she would seek blessings of the saint by pressing her head against the grave.

By 2011, as an adult, she was shocked to find the entrance shut. Now, the Ulema allowed women into the mosque’s other areas to pray but the shrine’s trustees had decided that only men were allowed inside the inner chamber and the reason for the ban was to prevent menstruating women from going near the grave.

B.R. Ambedkar was once asked why he was so passionate about the issue of temple entry for Dalits. The statesman had replied, “The issue is not entry, but equality.” It was inconsequential for Ambedkar that he, himself, was indifferent towards religion. In fact, temple entry was hardly the solution for Dalit oppression. What he did accept was the fact that denial of equal access to religious and sacred spaces is one of the most powerful tools by which an unequal society expressed and reinforced its hierarchies. He understood that this form of reinforcement had to be eliminated in its totality. More than 80 years later, on 26 August 2016, the Bombay High Court upheld Ambedkar’s views when it held that that denying women entry to the Haji Ali Dargah violated not only their fundamental right to religious freedom but also their right to equality and non-discrimination.

Disoriented with my culture, I had stopped going to temples in 2016. I had decided that if I am not allowed to enter the holy sanctums when blood and tissues lining my womb break down and shed from my body, I wouldn’t want to enter when the lining is getting made either. But earlier this year, an individual I am romantically inclined to led me into a temple despite knowing I was on the 2nd day of my menstrual period. He dismissed my protestation and assured me that “it was a most natural process”.

He made me realise that people have started questioning taboos entrenched in the Indian psyche. Even institutions such as the Supreme Court has time and again asked how a physiological phenomenon like menstruation can be a guiding factor for denying women of a certain age the right to enter and worship in a temple.

But challenges ahead are many. Despite the progressive stances taken by the apex court, in general, the Indian courts still do not have the judicial courage to take a stand in favor of women.

Therefore, the initiative for change has to be taken at the micro level actively. Forgoing social norms that are redundant and reminding your loved ones to do the same is a healthy way to challenge these deep set norms. 

Feature Image Credits –  Mordi Ibe Foundation

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

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