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Did you know the reality behind these DU misconceptions?

1. Fashion: Dressing sense, no bars. Wardrobe revamping for the new session? Hear, hear. Before fashionastas jump to conclusions and come up with the next session campus couture, let us make it clear for all. DU does not believe in following so and so trend predicted by so and so designers. With all due respect to national dailies, Delhi University refuses to abide by their “must-haves” and “campus fundas”, and remains the quintessential free spirited campus, where fashion is (not)concerned! Yeah, college is all about wearing what you like, whichever way you like.

2. Love-shove, et al.: Ah, Bollywood fillums, you know. I could never fathom this one, why did they (read directors, producers) always think college was this place for puppy love, candlyfloss and bubblegum chewing yuppies? I mean yes, we love love and all the other things associated, but then, there is a lot more to us than boy-meets-girl stories, for Christ’s sake.

3. Academics and DU: Do not, ever, fall into the dark with this one. You will pay, and heavily too. College is fun, frolic and fantastic, but not all the time. We study. Whoever said college is all play and no work? No, it was not always about bunking classes, like our dear celebrities so happily announce!

4. Nonsense abbreviations: K’nags (Kamla Nagar) and BTMs (read behenji-turned-mods) is understandable, but GJs? Seriously now, when did Gulab Jamuns become shortened to that? And, “fucchas”. For my life, I never heard any sadistic senior address any hapless fresher with this word.

5. Rivalry, eh? : Okay, we may have grudges against so and so college; however, it definitely isn’t as pronounced as the world around us projects it to be. Some of the best friendships are forged across the common wall, and some of the best activity/society partners are made yonder.

6. Girls’ Colleges: Guys on motorbikes circling girls-only colleges, did you actually ever see that happen? No. We are not talking about the shady Delhi-ite here, but still, this is one sight I am yet to come across in campus. Nah, college was not that romantic ever.

7. “Happening crowd”: Agreed, college is cool and hip and all that, but honestly, it’s overrated. University is a mixed bunch almost always, so we do have a fair share of wannabe Rakhi Sawants and Rannvijays. Isn’t that what going to college is all about? Meeting your (in)famous celebrities right there!

gay

The t-shirt slogan splashed across the media waves certainly did not fail to catch the attention of the masses, the only major difference perhaps this time being that it did not have the right to be questioned. And with these words has finally risen the once oppressed society of the homosexuals, which has taken the first step to move away from physical, mental and societal seclusion to a real, more equal world; anonymous letters of complaint and blog posts having given way to pride parades and revealed identities, and shame to confidence.

Besides, the calling should have come to us much earlier, as Britain despite leaving a section of India under 160 years of hostility and subjugation legalized homosexuality in England and Wales way back in 1967. But all’s well that ends well… or does it?

A lot of people clearly haven’t taken the High Court’s decision to decriminalize homosexuality down too well, the factors ranging from religious to personal, some even claiming it to be an irrelevant issue altogether. To this, Aditi Jain, a second year student of Gargi College says, “Tell that to the many sexuality minorities who as victims of a hypocritical, half- baked law get beaten up, harassed and/ or humiliated by the society and authorities alike.” Also, the various historical texts in India seem to defy the cause of protests staged on religious and cultural fronts. As found in Same Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, formerly lecturers in Delhi University, evidences of homosexuality have been found in literature going back two thousand years into history, and traces of increasing homophobia were only seen after the nineteenth century as a result of the rising influence of colonial legacy and infliction of Victorian morality with the passing of anti-sodomy laws, one example being that of heterosexualisation of qawali poetry which till before colonisation also celebrated homoerotic love.

Times have certainly changed since then. However, fact remains that acceptance of the law and the community will still be limited to the metropolitans where the luxury of approval and retreat lies directly proportional to one’s resources, slowly evaporating as it permeates to still minor places where ignorance eclipses needs. Thus; the least we can do as conscious citizens is give everyone achance to lead a normal life, the normal way. As for the people who’re still finding it hard to swallow, the fact that the act is both legal and consensual leaves nothing to be disputed about.

Besides, jab miya miya raazi, toh kya karega qazi.

The Global Climate Campaign is a collective name given to all organizations, groups and individuals across the world who are contributing towards saving the environment and taking progressive measures to combat the threat of global warming. This year the group organized its ‘Global Day of Action on Climate’ on 6th December at the ‘Faculty of Arts’ (Delhi University), midway through the UNFGCC’s Climate Talks taking place in Poznan, Poland. The prime motive of organizing this campaign in the university premises (unlike at Jantar Mantar last year) was to engage a large number of youth and educate them regarding the perilous climatic variations arising from their own daily activities. The focus was on ‘bringing about a social change rather than a climate change.’
The affair started off with Navin Mishra, the National Coordinator of ‘Global Climate Campaign’, addressing the 700 odd audience and enlightening them with some of the basic facts about Global climate changes and stressing on the urgent need to confront the global crisis. “Two things are infinite in this world, one is the universe and the other is life. The paradox is that very soon both of them would struggle to maintain their infinity, courtesy climate changes,” said Navin Mishra. This was followed by a release of a booklet, ‘Climate Changes in South Asia’, by Professor S.K. Vij (Dean, Student Welfare) and Professor Sanjay Bhatt (HOD, Department of Social Work) There was a discernible enthusiasm amongst the young participants who voiced their solidarity to find solutions for global warming, through a peaceful demonstration across the University Campus. Providing strength to the cause were various street plays performed by the students of Daulat Ram College, School of Environmental Studies and the theatre group ‘Antraal.’ All these plays propagated the necessity to save natural resources and popularize the use of public transport in developed metropolitan cities. The proceedings ended with the dignitaries offering possible solutions to the predicament and measures that can possibly be taken by the current generation in order to safeguard the future of their world.

‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” Almost a century after, Tagore’s prayer still seems to fall on deaf ears. After all, how long does a nation have to suffer, how long do we as a people have to suffer before we are finally free? Not a stranger to terrorism, this one of a kind, unprecedented barbaric terror strike on Mumbai on 26th night left the nation reeling. Touted as India’s 9/11, a tragedy of this scale seems to have integrated the diverse elements of the country as the nation stands by Mumbai . For two continuous days, the country awoke to this ongoing siege.  As one people, as Indians and foremost as fellow humans the country shares the city’s overwhelming grief, and outrage. Even as the rest of the nation comes together, the sentiment seems to be completely lost on politicians still caught in their disgusting banal political competitiveness.  As polling takes place today in Delhi and Rajasthan, they are back at playing the politics of division even as the need for united political action reverberates throughout India.  Tired of the clichéd  “spirit of Mumbai”, and its famed resilience, many feel maybe the answer lies in not bouncing back. As an eerie silence encompasses the once bustling roads of Mumbai, it becomes obvious that people feel the onus of getting back on their feet should not always solely rest on them. Sometimes it is in the light of such circumstances, that the real heroes emerge. The unimaginable courage and dynamism exhibited by our defense forces: the Indian Army, the National security guard and the Maharashtra police cannot be put in words. As students of DU, as witnesses to this horror and as citizens of India we salute the supreme sacrifices they make daily so that ordinary people like you and me are even in a position to read, write, publish express and live our lives with a semblance of normality.  Sometimes situations like these also make heroes out of ordinary civilians .We also acknowledge the valor of these unsung maccabis, many who do not live to tell their tale .The unceasing and painstaking efforts of journalists, hotel staff, doctors, fire fighters amongst others who rose to the occasion are in no way insignificant. The human aspect of the tragedy leaves many shattered. Not only is this barbaric act a physical one but it also deals a blow to the psyche of the common man.  It makes people think twice before going to cinema calls, shopping complexes or any other public place. Indians, irrespective of caste, class, religion and region cannot remain unaffected by such unmitigated violence. It is our duty to not let this terror perpetuate our lives. However, it should not be confused with passivity. On the other hand it does not necessitate uncalled for accusations or extremism.                                                                                   Every once in a while an event comes along, which shapes the nation. The question remains, is this the one for us? Is this the event that unites us or will we not cease to be caught up in our own stultifying divisions and limitations.

To place a finger on the pulse of prevailing mood, DU Beat brings you responses of various people from different walks of life:

“ This is a terrible tragedy and a calamity, it points to a complete internal security failure. Its not even been one month since the blasts in Delhi; many innocent people have suffered at the hands of the terrorist. This was a planned organized move and stringent action needs to be taken against the offender”

-Ashok Randhawa, (man who provides relief to victims of terror attacks in Delhi)

“ I feel that Indians operate best in such situations and are able to transcend caste, class and religious differences.  Sadly, it takes tragedies like these for the nation to unite and respond as one individual identity. A question to Mr Raj Thackeray: our men, north and south Indians alike, are out there risking their lives for the city of Mumbai. They lead rescue operations side by side with the Mahrashtra police.! Where now, Mr Thackeray are your “Maharashtra Manavs”?            So stop trying to fragment our country on petty regionalism. We as Indians should learn to rise above these senseless differences”

-Colonel Virmani ( The Indian Army)

Ex NSG Training Personnel

 

“I think its extremely sad and traumatic not only for the people stuck in there but also seeing how much damage is caused to your loving city. When i go there, I can sense the pain they feel right now. its like a part of you is being destroyed for no reason whatsoever. Heroic efforts from the police and army are seen though the entire city, and as Bombay, has, is and shall always stand united”

-Apeksha Harahar

 2nd year Student of Bombay University

“There was a lot of crowd on the highway near the new bridge built next to sahara star hotel (previously known as centaur hotel) The police had gathered in an effort to disperse the crowd.  The scene was utterly horrifying, with blood spots near the victims. I saw remnants of the rear part of a taxi, in which a bomb had gone off. The driver’s body was charred completely, with visible holes in his abdomen. Rumors were rife that a foreigner was one of the occupants. Remains of burnt money lay strewn on the road. The police were very prompt and immediately sprang into action, checking all nearby vehicles. It leaves me with a memory that may haunt me forever, even though I was allowed to stand there for less than ten minutes or so.”

Kunal Sanghvi

Student Bombay University (eyewitness )

 

” To quote John Gregorry – Violence is the way stupid people try to level playing fields: these attacks on Mumbai are also such a dastardly act”

          Pragya Mukherjee ,  1st year student ,LSR college

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. What are the key issues for the next academic year?

We have decided that all PG courses will follow the semester system from 2009, while the same will apply to UG courses from 2010. This will ensure systematic and consistent work by students throughout the year. In addition, this year 3 new M. Tech courses will be introduced: Business & Technology, Materialism & Non-materialism and Organics. These courses are important in an energy-starved country like ours.

2. So, was the internal assessment the 1st step towards such a system?

Internal assessment is necessary because teachers know their students better than someone who checks an anonymous answer script. I think we should include the grade system-1 and 2 marks don’t matter- what matters is what you’ve learnt and what activities you’re a part of. Evaluations should be regular.
We’re also thinking of introducing e-learning for students as a back-up for their classes. In addition, we plan to move towards a revised, credit system for PG and UG courses. Trying to introduce an Institution of Lifelong Learning (ILLL) will help in the direction of answering students’ want for quizzes or tests or self-evaluation processes.

3. How can students get a grasp of key issues outside the classroom?

The University Lecture Series, I believe, is a good way to start looking beyond the classroom. There is also a need to introduce more than adequate channels to connect all the colleges. The main challenge here is to make education stimulating and simultaneously to encourage extracurricular activities. Some ideas are to make the best 5 assignments, online tutorials etc. available for students to read.

4. What is your opinion on the quota controversy and politics in Delhi University?

When the Parliament passes something, the debate becomes dated. I don’t want to waste time discussing it. We should make the most of the situation.

5. What is your opinion on reservations at the teachers’ level?

When people are nervous about their positions, they try to carve places for themselves to feel protected. Courses that are important for national development should see an increase in seats. Quotas are here to stay: that’s the reality of the situation. We need to find other creative ways to help students of merit around the country.

6. How can we ensure that merit prevails in the quota system?

The only thing to do would be to ensure that the best students come through even in the general category. We increase the seats of those courses where employment opportunities and students’ enthusiasm is present.

7. Recently there was a huge uproar about girls’ hostel closing early. What is your opinion about street security?

I don’t think there should be time limits in hostel, and we should rather focus on improving street security.

8. But who takes care of that, why is it such a huge concern?

Headlines in newspapers scare people. Improving street lighting and continuing to talk to the police might help. The youth of today is very- if I can say- vigilant. Students should ensure that women’s security is functional on a large scale and there should be more student solidarity. We should work on reporting more complaints. For example, we have taken up many cases of sexual harassment, and many staff members have been dismissed from their jobs. Possibly, we could increase hostel accommodation instead of people living in private hostels.

9. What is your stand on the smoking ban in campus?

I have mixed feelings about this. I agree that if someone wants to take a risk on his/her life, they should be given the freedom. But young people are not taking care of their health. I don’t want to talk about smoking and drinking in particular, I feel the youth should emphasize more on physical exercise.

10. One of our readers wrote to us saying that the only difference this ban has made to him is now he walks all the way till outside the college gate. That is a form of exercise!

But then, how many times will he do that. It’s a good thing, because eventually he will get tired of walking out, and his intake will decrease.

11. Sir, but that becomes an issue of personal freedom…

Yes, I agree it is about personal freedom, but we need to discourage it.

12. While we are talking about personal freedom, when CCTVs were introduced on campus, a lot of people were a little uncomfortable with it.

All these things need to be avoided- because it gets introduced only when a case comes up. I think privacy needs to be maintained. At least, college canteens should not have them.

13. How has the character of the DU student changed over the years?

Options are more widely available, students are perpetually connected to the Internet. The exposure is huge but personally my concern is how much value are they adding to themselves while in college. Education is far more important than merely going in for a job. Also, I feel they’re not taking too many initiatives and their reading habits have decreased. Not many show a keen enthusiasm in knowledge. But I do realize the challenges today’s youth face.

15. Lastly, our readers would be interested in knowing what your favorite books are or the most recent one you’ve read?

Sudhir Kakkar’s ‘The Indian Psyche’.

Interview by Kriti Gupta and Aniruddh Ghosal
Compiled by Swetha Ramakrishnan


Countdown to Justice: A Dialogue on Bhopal

A Panel Discussion on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, organised by DU Beat in association with COVERT-a fortnightly magazine

DU Beat- An Independent Students’ Newspaper, in association with COVERT

Friday, August 8, 2008

12:30pm – 2:30pm

Seminar Room, Hindu College, North Campus, University of Delhi

The panelists for the event are:
1. Mr. Satinath Sarangi, Intl Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
2. Rashida Bee, Goldman Environment Prize Awardee
3. Ms. Sarita Malviya, second generation victim and activist
4. Dr. Suroopa Mukherjee, Author of Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The Worst Industrial Disaster in Human History
5. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, RTI campaigner , Magsaysay Awardee

The proceedings will comprise of a half hour Q & A session with the panelists, screening of a film, ‘Secrets and Lies’ by Stavros Stagos and a five-minute documentary by students of Delhi University on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Most of believe that the gas kaand is history, but the fact is that even after 4 political parties, 8 prime ministers, 12 hunger strikes and 1600 kilometers of protest on foot; the catastrophe is still a living component of every Bhopali’s life. The gas tragedy and Bhopal, in essence, are microcosms of everything that could have gone wrong in a civil society. Similar acts of corporate irresponsibility are replicating themselves in several parts of India-be it Cuddalor or the neighbouring Yamuna.

Let’s meet on the 8th of August and learn more about the tragedy by interacting with those who’ve been its victims and/or have spent a lifetime fighting for justice through a non-violent movement.

Hope to see you at the panel discussion.

RSVP
9971958311


-Kriti Buddhiraja

A final year student of Economics at St Stephen’s College, Upasana Sahu, was found hanging by the ceiling fan in her east Delhi residence last Thursday. She was rushed to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, where she was declared brought dead. In a three-page long suicide note she apologized to her parents, and held herself solely responsible for her death.

Upasana had limited eyesight, and had taken admission into the college through the quota for disabled students. Although she was never an outstanding student, she maintained a fairly good academic record and participated in other department activities as well. In fact, she had already been placed at Infosys by the College’s placement cell.

However, failure in the university examinations came as a rude shock to her, following which she ended her life. Her distraught parents regretted that she didn’t speak to them before taking this drastic step, for that would have perhaps saved her.

That Upasana was reduced to such a miserable situation is a grave reflection on the kind of premium our society places on a single system of evaluation.

What is even more appalling is the near absence of efforts to deal with the problem. Even though there are a fair number of counselors at colleges and otherwise, little is being done to address the causative agent of the problem. Much needs to be done to make education a more engaging experience, and not one that is exclusively result-oriented. Internal assessment is a step in this direction, but clearly not enough.

Further, the government needs to invest in expansion of infrastructure, in order to ease the pressure off students and make education a more enjoyable affair.

Wrapped in a crisp, golden-bordered traditional Keralite nine-yard; hair glistening with coconut oil and twirled in a garland of mullapuh (white jasmines) ; a dab of kumkum on her forehead, she sits among aromatic candles and mountains of books on the most tabooed subject- SEX. Having devoted a lifetime to sex, sexuality, sexual rights and reproductive life; it’s quite a mystery how she’s upheld her virginity (or so she claims, and promises to share how she managed to do so with our readers in the upcoming issues).

Living on a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, she will wait to hear from her children in Delhi University every week, and will answer all their queries with copious amounts of objective, non-intrusive advice, served with a pinch of humour, and sprinkled with tales of triumphs and tribulations of her own sex life- which are today part of her village’s folklore.

So, dear DUB reader…welcome to the world of Sex Amma, your weekly confidante on all questions on that ssshhhh topic. Mail her your queries at [email protected]. All you need to write to her is your question, Sex Amma won’t ask for your age, gender or relationship status unless required to answer your query.

P.S.: “Aiyo…Flouting ethics of confidentiality is against my principles”, informs Sex Amma.

– Anaita Sabikhi

Let’s talk numbers. Delhi University officially has 78 colleges, 4 recognized institutions and 84 postgraduate departments with approximately 320,000 students. Let’s assume that half of these students are in north campus, which brings us to a watered down figure of 1,60,000 students. The hub for eating, meeting or plain hanging out for this vast group is our very own Kamla Nagar Market. Being only a 10 to 15 minute walk away from most colleges you would expect it to have a distinctly collegiate atmosphere, teeming with small coffee shops and the one quintessential student thing – books. Walking on the crowded, narrow pavement, at first glance, you’ll get the wrong impression when you’re met with an array of shops selling books.

Is it absolutely ludicrous to ask for a book STORE and not a quick, ask-what-you-want and get it book depot?

Starting off with University Bookstore that is by far the most popular and is always full of people. It has all your textbooks, plus classics and other books considered ‘young’, like a Pink Floyd biography or maybe ‘Almost Single.’ It’ll have the popular books, for example Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. The point though is that it isn’t a store, it’s simply a place where books are stocked. No tantalizing displays, no space to stand and browse and absolutely no concept of simply having a look.

Datta bookstore has a buy and sells system, where you often get second hand books for as little as Rs. 10. But most of these books are sleazy crime novels or Bob the Builder variety kids books. The staff is efficient, asks you what you want and are usually quick in finding it, but again no browsing. Book Land is next, but their fiction section comprises one paltry shelf behind a glass cabinet. International Book House is run by two sardarji’s and is usually less crowded but well stocked. The last in this row is Charkha Oriental which sells Sanskrit and religious books. You might just find a sadhu sitting there going through devotional music books!

The infamous pirated bookstalls that litter the streets are next. If you’re looking for the books by Chetan Bhagat or the ubiquitous Khaled Hosseini you’ll find them here for a cool hundred bucks.

So here’s my pitch. Is it absolutely ludicrous to ask for a book STORE and not a quick, ask-what-you-want and get it book depot? It’s hard to believe that the reading population among students is so low that it is not worth the while of a bookstore owner to open shop. Not even a small underground one…Where you can sit and browse for as long as you like, and be allowed your cup of tea to sip…Where a stranger can recommend a book they liked and you read it and have it change your life…Where writers and readers alike can meet for the occasional book reading…

I wonder, if it has something to do with our very psyche? Have we been grilled since time immemorial by just tuition and textbooks? And we actually have no taste or idea about the others? Even if that is the case, having a bookstore will change things. In a reversal of roles, apart from bookworms flocking to it, it will encourage more people to read. A smart display will have people coming in. And in a high student density place like Kamla, word spreads like wild fire and there is no doubt, that if a book or a store gets popular there will be no looking back for it. So someone, hear our plea and bring us salvation – all we ask for is one proper bookstore.

By Anushree Deb and Nandini Swaminathan

Delhi University, recently ranked 254 for its research quality, graduate employability, international outlook and teaching quality, is one of the most desirable destinations for students in India. However along with all of this the fact remains that the standards vary from college to college. And each college has their individual pitfalls and brilliant redeeming qualities. DU Beat provides you with a closer look at these colleges in DU. The best and the worst:

Hindu College
Best: It attracts a good and is the only college to have a ‘Parliament’. It functions with a proper budget.
Worst: Inefficient politics and administration has often quoted to be the greatest fault in the college.

Ramjas College

Best: It offers one of the best language courses available and has an extremely well furnished ECA room that is much talked about. The infrastructure is good and is well maintained.
Worst: Recent controversies and allegation surrounding the college have caused people to form incorrect and often biased opinions.

Hansraj College

Best: It’s known for sports and has been winning the vice-chancellors trophy for four consecutive years. It is the only college to have an indoor archery range.
Worst: Not having a girls hostel makes it very inconvenient for many students.

Kirori Mal College

Best: With newly renovated labs situation there is a lot better with newly renovated labs the situation is much better. Known for its brilliant ECA, the college has earned many laurels.
Worst: The leaking auditorium roof and other infrastructural deficiencies have long troubled the college

Miranda House

Best: The beauty of the college and its structure is quite dazzling. It also has on of the best arts faculties in Delhi University.

Worst: Students often complaint off the bad state of the college gymnasium.

SRCC
Best: It provides a congenial and focused atmosphere as the majority of the students are pursuing similar interests.
Worst: Students often complain about the ‘geek problem’ and how their peers seem to be very one tracked and dull.

Jesus and Mary College

Best: JMC is one of the few colleges that has a well-equipped, fully functional gym.

Worst: The location. The area around JMC is rather unsafe for women, especially towards the evening.

Gargi College

Best: Gargi’s societies, says a student, add to the fun atmosphere.

Worst: Placements are not conducted in an organized way – there is a placement cell, but students complain that it is barely functional. Hence students complain that they miss out on many opportunities that their peers from other colleges have.

Sri Venkateswara College

Best: The college atmosphere gives students a free, fun, and laid-back feeling, while at the same time it is ideal for academics. Also hygiene has improved greatly, with new loos being constructed in the college.

Worst: Students often complaint of the lack of an auditorium and a hostel which makes life hard for quite a few.

LSR

Best: The best thing about LSR is the café – prices notwithstanding, it offers a delectable variety of food for everyone from the junkie to the calorie – conscious.

Worst: There is a lot of institutionalisation, in the sense that there isn’t much scope for freedom of expression and criticism against attributes of the system students might not agree with. In addition, there is an unnecessarily excessive tendency for self-celebration, which makes students overlook a lot that is not right in the college and the system.,

Dyal Singh

Best: Dyal Singh has an excellent, state-of-the-art seminar room, where most events are conducted.
Worst: Many of the classrooms, especially the Science block classrooms are in a deplorable condition, with lights and fans not functioning, among other things.