DU Beat began as a dream. In a pre-Facebook world, there was no way for students to come together and talk about the issues that affected them, the issues that mattered. DU Beat aimed to bridge that gap. And with that small dream in mind, I founded DU Beat.
It was not easy. We faced resistance from everyone – teachers, students, political parties, the administration. No one knew who this new entity was, where it came from, and what it was trying to do. But we were the ones who wanted to talk about what mattered – education, fests, clean bathrooms, well-stocked libraries, healthy canteen food, healthcare in colleges, and many more issues without the pressure of political rhetoric.
We started from scratch, from nothing. The first publication was a Big Bang of sorts. The universe of DU Beat was infinite molecules coming together to form student groups that would focus only on the real issues. We thought college students must learn from the best and so we elicited writings from the best we knew – from William Dalrymple to publishing the last ever interview of Sabina Sehgal Saikia to Shashi Tharoor – we worked hard to get these diverse perspectives.
We engaged with principals, teachers, karamcharis, and students alike. All with a singular purpose – to evolve the student experience to the best it could be. We thought about the biggest problems facing students and brought about campaigns like ‘Dirty Loos’ to hold DU colleges accountable for the conditions of restrooms to writing stories about lack of healthcare to providing systematic knowledge about intercourse through the wildly popular Sex Amma column.
For me, the most inspiring idea behind DU Beat has been how it enabled students who had been involved to find their calling. From our first ever Head of Content and Head of Design running their own start-ups to subsequent alumni becoming investigative journalists, being featured in the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’, winning national awards, and attending Ivy League schools, DU Beat alumni conquer the world. We learnt at an early age what it meant to break the mould.
Education is important to attain abilities. It also teaches obedience, which often is not a helpful skill for innovation. The best innovators break the mould, look at life from a micro lens, understand problems, find solutions, and change the world. This has always been the main focus of DU Beat. To find passion, inculcate it, and excel.
Marx said, “Question everything”. This is the philosophy that propels DU Beat to constantly strive for brilliance, find cutting-edge stories, and bring news that is important and relevant to students week after week. Journalism is the fourth estate. Its role is to question the authorities and set notions and norms, and to bring to light new and better ways of life for students at every level. Over the last 10 years, DU Beat has committed itself to this standard of excellence. It will continue to do so for another 10 years. And 20. And 30. And 40. And on and on and on.
Happy 10 years! We have loved being a part of your lives. We hope you bring us the same love, care, and commitment, always.
Founder, DU Beat
Feature Illustration by Sayanee Mandal for DU Beat