The year 2016-17 has been a year of constant campus activity and mobility. Many protest, dharnas, drives and other such events have taken place rampantly across the campus with the students and teachers unifying to protect their cause. From student politics to intra college protests against unfair means, DU has seen yet another year of mobility and expression on campus. Here we take a look at some of the protests, dharnas and drives which shook campus:

  • May 2016- Hindu College cancels girls’ hostel admission: After heavy protest and strikes by students and teachers of the college and later by DUSU led to the intervention of Delhi Commission of Women (DSW) in the issue of exorbitant fees of Hindu College girls’ hostel, the college cancelled the girls’ hostel admissions for this year.

Read the whole story here.

  • May 2016- SFI protests against the callousness in investigating Jisha’s rape and murder case in Kerala: A huge gathering of people along with the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) participated in a protest at Kerala House against the inefficiency of the authorities and the carelessness and insensitivity with which the case has been handled. They raised their voice against the increasing brutality and offences not only against women but also against the underprivileged sectors of the society. The protest focused on how such crimes are nothing but an “exercise of naked power” on women in the patriarchal society of today.

Read the whole story here.


  • July 2016- DUTA protest delays results of students: Teachers of Delhi University protested against an UGC notification that increased the working hours of teachers and this led to Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) boycotting the admission and evaluation process of University. Only after the notification was withdrawn, teachers joined the evaluation process.

Read the whole story here.


  • August 2016- Protests at Ramjas College regarding canteen prices: Ramjas College saw organised protests held by its students on 11th August, 2016. The protest primarily targeted the exorbitant increase in prices in the canteen since the start of this academic year. The canteen staff apparently charged higher prices than those mandated by the college. In what a student called an act of “corruption,” the canteen staff would charge a first-year student INR 50 for an item that actually cost INR 30. Speaking out against this practice, a group of students spread word through social media and organised a protest by inviting the Ramjas community to gather at the college gate and march towards the canteen.

Read the whole story here.


  • August 2016- Protests at Daulat Ram College questioning the governing style of the chairperson: Protests regarding the governing body took place in Daulat Ram College on 6 and 8 August 2016. Both students and teachers came together to question the governing style of the chairperson, Ms Suneeta Sudarshan. The protest revolved around key infrastructure problems that the college faces, as well as the chairperson’s reluctance to handle these issues. The protest concentrated primarily on the issues of infrastructure such as unhygienic washrooms, inadequate space in classrooms, and the unstable condition of the college building itself.

Read the whole story here.


  • September 2016- Mass failure in Law Faculty, students protest in agitation: The students of the Law Faculty, Delhi University sat on a hunger strike from 2 pm, 14th of September. The strike was against the mass failures of students that had occurred for the second year in a row. Alleging some problems with the results, they went on an indefinite hunger strike, urging the authorities to look into their grievances.

Read the whole story here.


  • October 2016- Law faculty students go on hunger strike: The students of law faculty went on a hunger strike demanding supplementary exams and rechecking of their papers. The strike also found the dean of the faculty going on a parallel hunger strike. The strike was called off after discussions and assurance of the Vice Chancellor.

Read the whole story here.


  • October 2016- AISA’s meeting disrupted by ABVP: AISA’s seminar on ‘Idea of University’ was disrupted by ABVP members who latter even roughed up several members of AISA including its president. Both sides got into a scuffle, after which the event was cancelled. The surprising fact was, all of this happened even after heavy police presence.

Read the whole story here.


Battle of ideologies: ABVP vs. AISA

  • December 2016- The Pinjra Tod Movement: What began as a Facebook page turned into a great call for revolution within academic institutions to relook on its hostel policies which cage students with curfew times. The movement not just grew largely in Delhi University but also spread to other parts of the country.

Read the whole story here.


  • February 2017- ABVP protests against Umar Khalid and disrupts two day conference: A two day seminar on Cultures of Protest, organised by Wordcraft, the Ramjas literary society and the English department of Ramjas college, was disrupted when members of the ABVP protested against Umar Khalid speaking at the conference. Khalid is a PhD scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a student activist who was slapped with sedition charges last year. ABVP’s reason for obstructing the conference was the presence of Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid, JNU students, who were amongst the speakers at the conference.

Read the whole story here.


  • March 2017- Students, teachers AND politicians join in thousands to protest against ABVP’S hooliganism: A historic march consisting of over a thousand students, teachers and politicians started from SGTB Khalsa College and culminated at Arts Faculty. Students and teachers from colleges across University of Delhi, Jamia Millia and JNU joined in huge numbers to protest against the hooliganism that was allegedly perpetrated by ABVP karyakartas on 22nd February at Ramjas College. The march, which was called ‘Save DU’, garnered many students who were first-time protesters.

Read the whole story here.


Scuffle between ABVP and Ramjas college students

  • April 2017- Students and Karamcharis join DUTA in its MARCH AGAINST ‘AUTONOMY): With growing demands against the grant of ‘autonomous’ status for colleges, Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) called had called for a joint protest of students, teachers and karamcharis on 29th March.

Read the whole story here.


Protest over the ‘dangers of autonomy’


Picture Credits: DU Beat Archives

Anahita Sahu

([email protected])

The struggle by Kirori Mal College’s students and teachers against the VC and KMC Chairman Baleshwar Rai; and in support of their suspended principal, Dr. Bhim Sen Singh has developed into extensive protest marches and dharnas. The KMC Teachers’ Association has been staging a dharna for two days to oppose the functioning and “authoritarian decision making” of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dinesh Singh. The association issued a statement on Thursday, lamenting the manner in which Prof. Dinesh Singh has been handling the protests and especially showcause of two teachers. They also demanded for an autonomous and impartial body that would decide on the whole suspension issue.

“The DUTA executive condemns the autocratic manner in which the university administration has attacked teachers’ rights to protest, as evident in the case of the letters of the university registrar of 1st August 2012 and, subsequently of the acting Principal of Kirori Mal College to the teachers, denying the right of casual leave,” reads the official statement issued by KMC. DUTA has demanded for withdrawal of the showcause notices against post-holders of the staff-association. It further states the “attack on the staff association is an attack on DUTA. Therefore, DUTA demands immediate withdrawal of showcause notices against office-bearers of the staff association. DUTA shall not tolerate this continuous attack on our right to protest and will resort to direct action unless the letters are withdrawn.”

On being asked the acting Principal Dr. S.P Gupta about the showcause notices that were issued, he said that he had no idea about how all this happened and he did what he was directed to do by the VC. He never meant to suppress and undermine the rights of the Teachers’ Association.

All the teachers and students now require a permission slip to meet the new acting Principal in his office and entry without permission won’t be allowed. Students have not been attending classes as they have been active along with the teachers to stage protests and dharnas. A few students from the hostel were summoned and asked to end their protests and dharnas. There is agitation among students and teachers because the results of some of the university courses have still not been declared, the University recently announced some new fundamentally flawed Meta Courses, the M.A admissions are still not complete (the examinations being in November); and VC Singh is trying to focus on other trivial things like issuing showcause notices to teachers for no rhyme or reason.


The Delhi University Teachers’ Association staged a protest in LSR today. They were protesting against the idea of establishing a Meta University floated by the VC, and of a four-year undergraduate programme, through the media, without placing the proposal before the Academic and Executive Councils for proper evaluation of the desirability or feasibility of such policy changes. Teachers from various DU colleges gathered outside the college cafeteria handing out pamphlets to get the support of students.

While the teachers are still upset over the recently introduced semester system and its effects on students as well as teachers, they feel this new proposal is despotic  and undemocratic.

In their written appeal to students, DUTA says that, “The experience of semesterized courses in the last one and a half years has confirmed our worst fears about severe academic dilution and adverse effect on teaching processes. Teachers are being forced to instruct students through modules that do not allow the time to engage with different levels of competence of different students, nor do these modules allow teachers to communicate a sense of fundamentals and depth of any academic discipline. To cloak the disastrous impact of semesterisation on the performance of students, the DU administration has resorted to irrational inflation of marks which has put a question mark on the credibility of our results which will result in devaluing our degree.”

Teachers already had been feeling undervalued as their opinions and protests were not taken into consideration during the finalizing of the University’s decision to semesterize undergraduate courses. According to Ms. Vijaya Venkatraman, who teaches Spanish at the GRS faculty of arts, “The semesterisation process saw the abolishment of democratic functioning in DU. DUTA protested but  no one paid heed, and just as we had feared, semester system led to simplification of exams and inflation of marks. Our second year students are worried that they wont be able to survive the competition in the job sector, which is like a blot on our reputation. The VC has decided to add this sudden ‘grandeur’ to the University without even taking the collective opinion of teachers.  We, as professionals, are sad that we can no longer operate our teaching the way we want to, which is why we want students on get on board with us for our cause.”

The teachers’ collective is demanding expansion of Government funding in higher education to meet the growing demand for the same. It is also resisting large-scale commercialization of higher education, as they believe that the role of education is to strengthen social and national integration of the country.

You can read DUTA’s charter of demands at: http://gaurnaveen.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/draft_charter-of-demands.pdf


Following the Delhi University Teachers’ Association’s decision to protest against the implementation of the semester system in its last general body meeting earlier this month, A dharna was held outside the vice chancellor’s office on Friday to protest against the same.

Thursday had witnessed a similar scene with teachers protesting and sloganeering in their respective colleges. An open house debate had been organized in some colleges to educate students about the implications the semester system has for them.

Friday’s dharna witnessed representation from most Delhi University colleges. The Vice Chancellor however remained unavailable for comment. It was later discovered that Professor Pental was not in his office at the time of the dharna in spite of prior notification. By adjusting the students’ time – table, teachers made it a point that classes would not be disrupted.

This decision to implement the semester system comes at a time when many colleges of the University are reeling from the moderation of the internal assessment marks. As teachers pointed out at the Dharna, the university which is still trying to tackle the flaws of the recently introduced internal system, is certainly in no position to adopt the semester system.

The gathered teachers also expressed skepticism at the vice chancellor’s earlier conciliatory proposition of engaging in “extensive dialogue” with the staff as a similar promise had been made last year but to no avail. In the absence of any further communication from the VC regarding this issue, the DUTA plans to hold more such dharnas .

The recent gay pride parade held in June was a riot of colours, a celebration of diversity, and a march against anti-gay laws. It was a procession that demanded freedom of choice and expression. And there could not have been a better place for its culmination than Jantar Mantar, the epitome of freedom of expression and Delhi’s prime demonstration destination. In fact , many DU protest marches / rallies have been known to culminate here..

Jantar Mantar of Delhi, one of the five observatories built by the 18th century Rajput king Maharaja Jai Singh II, has been the site for many a protest, demonstration, procession, strike and dharna ever since the Narsimha Rao government banned rallies at the Boat Club. This choice of location seems to be very apt as it is situated on Parliament Street, which leads up to the Parliament House. The dharnas at Jantar Mantar that have been going on for three to four years are a testament to this fact. Says Sheetal, a little girl holding fort at a bandh with her mother, “We have been here since 2006. We want the government to rehabilitate the Bhuj earthquake victims. There are still a lot of people who have not been given any support and are without shelter.”

Sub-inspector of Police at the Parliament Street Police station, Bhup Singh, said “There is at least one procession here every day. Most of the time the demonstrators restrict themselves to Jantar Mantar, but sometimes, with prior permission of the Police, come onto Parliament Street, in which case we need to block the road and divert traffic”. The traffic is diverted to the parallel road, Jai Singh Marg. This diversion of traffic causes great inconvenience and chagrin to commuters. Says Subroto Das, a retired executive, “the traffic is often diverted( because of the demonstrations). When that happens the buses do not come here. I have to walk a lot to get to the nearest bus stop. This disrupts my routine and is very irritating”. Agrees an employee of a bank located on Parliament Street, “Even though we employees have found alternative routes to reach our office, this almost-daily drama serves as a hindrance to our customers who have trouble reaching the branch. This causes minor losses to our business.” However, some daily commuters have acclimatised to the frequent disruptions. Says Promila, a personal assistant to an MLA, “These protests do not bother me. If one is underway, I simply walk a little to Janpath and catch my bus.”

These protests often get out of hand, and the police have riot control vehicles on standby. “If the protesters get too rowdy, we are forced to use water cannons and tear gas to contain the mob”, adds the Police officer. This tear gas also seeps into the offices on Parliament Street and leaves the employees with their eyes stinging for a long time. Moreover, the noise is an irritant to these employees.

Delhi University has made life easy. All you need to do is study as final exams approach. It worked for the lazy lot, but the university seems to be heading towards a revision of plans, with talks of introducing the semester system post recommendations made by the UGC and NKC . This however has generated mixed reactions.

The Vice Chancellor in an online addressal to members of the university elaborated the rationale behind this system. Enlisting the numerous benefits, Professor Pental said that introduction of the system would inculcate better paced understanding of the subject and more focused classroom interaction. Two semester examinations would not only inculcate regular study habits among students but also eventually halve their workload, as they’d only have to prepare half of the syllabus that is presently prepared for the final examination.

Introducing this system also implies greater stress on interdisciplinary courses. While some professors and students feel it would be compartmentalizing knowledge and discouraging in depth study of any course, the upside is that undergraduate students would be imbibed with relevant knowledge outside the boundaries of their primary subject..

The supporters of this system also insist that by introducing the concept of credits, students can avail the use of short term study abroad programmes that would give them the opportunity to gain greater inter university exposure, both at the national and international level.

Introducing the semester system at an undergraduate level in Delhi University would automatically synchronise it with the prevailing system of examination at the post graduate level as well as that with the few courses already following it such as bbs and journalism.

This is not to say the system doesn’t have its detractors. At a dharna held outside the VC’s office this June, the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation had expressed concern over the excessive academic demands of the system , saying that it could take away from the students’ social and extra curricular activities.

Those against the implementation of the system also point out that it would be detrimental to the interests of teachers because the short period of a semester would hinder them from getting leave both for medical reasons and for research work. In such a situation a compromise either with the research work or the students’ syllabus would be inevitable. Conducting and evaluating two examinations a year would increase their workload immensely.

Many members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association feel that maybe the varsity is not logistically enabled for such a transition and needs to do a lot of research before implementing it. As a teacher from Hans Raj puts it, “In principle, I think it’s a great idea. It’s a worldwide system and it would make the course more rigorous. I just hope that in our university, with so many colleges included, the authorities find the right way to implement it”. What teachers are adamant on is that the results should be declared sooner and the class hours should not be reduced.

The AIDSO had earlier insinuated that the semester system was an inseparable part of those recommendations of the Knowledge Commission, which were conducive to globalisation and liberalisation policies as it made education a salable commodity while simultaneously adapting the system to suit the market economy. They feel that in the name of imparting quality education the character building aspect of the process would be destroyed merely making education a saleable product.

Students are keen on this change but confused about its implications. A student from Hindu college says “This would leave me with no time for ECA and I can’t promise so much regularity.” On the other hand, a student from SRCC approves of it saying ‘It would make our study pattern more flexible, making it parallel to other universities in and around India and allowing movement across universities.”

The students already in colleges with the semester system have something else to say. According to a student pursuing B.Tech (IT) from Kurukshetra University, “The system is good but there’s the pressure of exams coming up every 6 months after which new subjects are introduced. At the end of the day, you don’t feel satisfied with the amount of time you are able to give to each subject”. Another student from IP college feels that “it gives us two chances in a year to improve on our own marks and we don’t have to study as many units as other colleges in one go”.