Read the words of our Editor-in-Chief for one last time, before she graduates, as she complains about her stolen sixth semester.

I remember last year, around this time, I was preparing for the farewell ceremony for my seniors at DU Beat- my phone would blow up with some 250 random messages on WhatsApp, endless calls discussing the venue, theme, gifts, and what not. At that time, I didn’t actually understand what the final semester meant to my seniors because I was too engrossed thinking about how life and work would be without them being around. But I also had the settling feeling that I would know when time comes.

Cut to 2020, the last semester of my college life as an undergraduate student, sitting at home, writing this article, and thinking about where my last semester went. I think of the stuff I would have been doing with my college friends and my team at this wonderful organisation.

However, I have always believed ‘expect the unexpected’ and I think that this is the only thing that is keeping me sane in such uncertain times. As kids, most of us might have experienced an unsettling feeling when somebody would snatch out a lollipop from our mouth. This is exactly what happened to our final semester.

Having said this, I would not talk only about the sad situation we are in. As a graduating student, a host of memories flash in front of me right now- the day I got admitted to the University of Delhi(DU), the day I met my college best friend, and the day I joined this organisation.

The three years of my college life have been the most challenging, yet the best years of my life. From being a student coming out of the protected cocoon of school life to graduating college with confidence and an identity, this is what these three years have made me. As college students, we are stuck with assignments, internals, submissions, deadlines, placements, societies, and endless preoccupations.

The nationwide lockdown gave me enough time to introspect and surprisingly, all that mattered to me during this difficult time were the people. I realised that my college life was not only defined by a degree or my friends, but also the security guard of my college who would wish ‘Good morning bacchon’ every morning, the canteen staff who would talk about their families, and the housekeeping staff of the college who would smile and wish me luck before every exam.

I wish I could get to relive all this one last time because I didn’t know that the chai I had on 6th March in my college canteen was the last cup I would have with my college friends while Ravi bhaiya (college canteen staff) talked about his Holi plans. You know something impacts you a great deal when you are unable to write about it without being cheesy and clichéd. It’s a faux-pas I’m willing to indulge in for the sake of honesty.

As much as I have talked about the final year students, I would also like to talk about the juniors. They are also the ones who hope to give their seniors the most memorable days of their college life. The end semester is also a reminder that they have become older, and are now themselves seniors. It’s a nostalgic time for the third-year students but what we often forget is how overwhelming it is for the juniors as well.

Dear Delhi University, the batch of 2020 will miss their last fest season, internals, college parties, night stays, bunks, submissions, and the last lectures and yes, they will miss you too- a place which gave them friendships, lessons, and lots of memories.

Feature Image Source: Anoushka Sharma for DU Beat

Anoushka Sharma

[email protected]

In her last editorial of her tenure, our Print Editor talks about the socio-political and cultural connotations of expecting productivity in the midst of a Pandemic.

The University of Delhi (DU) is a revered dream for many, with its soaring cut- offs at the top ten colleges, promises of placements (mostly for commerce- based courses), and the affordability of its fee structure which allows undergraduate students to get a degree for as low as INR 50,000. Owing to the hullabaloo and cry over privatisation, one cannot say whether the last factor will sustain much further or not, but for now it is safe to estimate that this University is not home to selectively privileged youngsters.

Therefore, in unprecedented times like these with the Covid-19 Pandemic, DU’s 12th March Press Release, which insists upon maintaining the “continuity of the online teaching-learning process” is premised upon a sweeping generalization of social, economic, cultural, and political privilege.

With over 75 colleges, having an approximate total strength of nearly 1.5 lakh regular students, it is the infrastructure and physical access to the resources (libraries, notes, Internet, classes) available in respective DU colleges that is integral to the teaching-learning process for many students. The national lockdown due to the Pandemic has confined students, like all others, and many students have had to return to their respective homes.

The foundation of the belief that it is possible to continue an education process in the illusion of normalcy is the myth that the accessibility to resources is fair-play for all. Take for instance, the Kashmiri students in the University who have difficulty downloading byte-sized PDFs due to the restricted Internet access, and one would understand that video lectures on Zoom, Hangouts, and reading on JSTOR are synonymous with a utopian fancy in many students’ homes.

This is not to say that professors and peers in colleges are entirely ignorant of the aforementioned limitations, but there is significant pressure upon students nonetheless to go about internal assessments and coursework, as if it is an extended vacation.

To be fretting over grades and submission deadlines is not a privilege available to many whose mental health gets threatened in abusive or patriarchal households. Especially for women in India, many of whom choose DU because of its affordability and residential facilities that are liberating as compared to conservative, controlling families, being forced to stay in an inevitable lockdown can be a severe trigger for anxiety and, in some cases, trauma as well. There are urban and rural households alike which put a gendered burden of housework and chores like cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. upon the women in the family – a factor that is not only troubling in terms of its sexist and patriarchal strain, but also because it practically limits how much time women can devote to an education they fought to attain in DU.

In times like these when Instagram influencers and many others have taken the approach of selling the ideals of ‘productivity, evolution of self, finding yourself’ among other things, it is integral for teachers and administrators of an educational institution like DU to realise the exploitative and harmful burden an undeveloped, inaccessible system of ‘online teaching-learning’ puts on young minds. This needs to be considered before generalising and declaring that students can afford to be studying more, finishing course work properly, and working hard, from the apparent comfort of their homes.

In this last editorial for this paper, I thus urge the students, teachers, and administrators of this vividly diverse University to acknowledge unequal privileges, and be kinder.

Anushree Joshi

[email protected]

The COVID-19 situation has created an unprecedented period of complexity and uncertainty. Fears about the virus can take
an emotional toll, especially for college students, who are suddenly thrust into choppy and uncharted waters.

As college students, we are in a time of massive upheaval. There are so many things outside our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and what the future holds. That is a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen.

But as long as we are focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhere aside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed. Universities across the nation have resorted to online teaching methods to ensure that there is no academic loss.
However, many students are not comfortable with the teaching process, while, others face the issue of internet connectivity as an impediment to access online classes. In times like these, it is vital to stay informed about the happenings globally and follow the required precautions. Sensationalistic media coverage and misinformation will only add to fear and uncertainty, so keep a tab on the information that is shared with you. Stick to trusted sources like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discern information about the pandemic. Do not constantly check for updates on social media, it becomes compulsive at one point of time. Stay away from media altogether, if you feel overwhelmed. With the US President Trump repeatedly referring to coronavirus as ‘Chinese virus’ fuelling theories that the virus was a biological weapon used by China, things have taken an odd turn with people using it as an excuse to attack the natives of Northeast India.
A report by Rights and Risk Analysis group shows that residents of the Northeast part of the nation are facing racism and discrimination ever since the onset of the global pandemic. The report titled, ‘Coronavirus Pandemic : India’s Mongoloid Looking People Face Upsurge of Racism’ cited at least 22 cases of racial discrimination or hate crimes against such people between 7th February and 25th March. These incidents are not very new to the University of Delhi (DU). On 22nd March, an M.Phil student from Manipur was spat on near North Campus and called ‘coronavirus’. A similar incident was reported by two female students of Kirori Mal College (KMC) when they were harassed and called ‘coronavirus’ by a group of six men, who also threw water balloons on them on 3rd March. On a social media group called the ‘Northeast Solidarity Group’, people are sharing their stories of ill-treatment by their neighbours and the society in general. All this clearly exhibits the cruelty and apathy towards the people from Northeastern part of our very own country.

Recently, I attended an online session which talked about ways to manage and control anxiety during the global pandemic. It reflected on the desire of humans to manage and  control everything. What I learnt through the session was that grounding yourself in the present situation will help you spin out the negativity and panic. I also know that this is easier said than done.

There are questions, a lot of questions surrounding us right now, some of them like- what about exams? Will they take place online? What about graduation or admission to a master’s degree? However, I firmly believe that spiralling out the what-ifs from our life in a situation like this will help us to feel calmer. Humans are social animals and are hardwired for communication. This is why it is important to stay connected digitally. Social media has emerged as a powerful to communicate with friends and family, in-person meetings have now been substituted for video calls, which more or less acts as boosters for our mental health.
Nevertheless, don’t let the coronavirus dominate your conversation. Remember to take breaks from the stressful situation and talk about work, family, share jokes and laughter. Be kind to yourself, maintain a routine, take out time for the activities you enjoy, exercise, and most importantly, help others. Amid all the stories of people hoarding up the essential supplies and fighting for toilet paper, all of us need to remember, we all are in this together.
I would conclude with a quote circulating in Italy, which says, “We’re standing far apart now so we can embrace each other later.”

Anoushka Sharma 

[email protected]

The strong suit of Arvind Kerjiwal’s politics is education and it is allowing him to maintain strategic diplomacy amid the rising protest wave. Read our Editor’s breakdown of the same for the young voters.

It is a pivotal time to be a young person in India. One is, in all likelihood, emerging out of the cocoon of years of familial and social conditioning on politics, caste, and religion in India. For those with marginalised identities, it is a time to see hypocrisies and ‘apolitical’ apathy exposing before their eyes in the disguise of ‘liberal’ peers and acquaintances. For one and for all, this time of life in Delhi – the capital city of the democracy at crossroads with itself – is a time to find the most acceptable notions and ideals of politics.

The protest wave across the country has ensured that the policies of the current administration do not go unchallenged, unnoticed, and undemocratic. But what the upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections bank on is not the ideological fabric, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Indian National Congress (INC), and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on different angles of an abstract, but the confidence of the electorate is being towed for using tangents that do not exist in the same plane. It is not a pro-immigration, anti-immigration stance of the US politics, for instance, that is being used by the parties with their hats in the ring, but if one is speaking of Issue A, the other two are not even using letters from the English alphabet.

In a discourse like this, the prospect of choosing in itself becomes daunting to young voters. Shaheen Bagh, Hauz Rani, Seelampur may be sloganeering to defend the Constitution from the fascism-echoing Central Government, but the fact of the matter remains that the Chief Minister (CM)-incumbent, AAP’s Kejriwal is not a messiah either. He has a flighty reputation that is hard to salvage in politics, but in choosing to pick performance as his pitch, Kejriwal seems to denounce the religious and communal sentiment that is the lifeblood of BJP’s politics. INC, running circles in its own stubbornness to move past monarchical party politics, only appears to have the support of 2.4% of the population of the Capital, as per the IANS-CVoter survey conducted on Republic Day.

Developing India’s middle-class finds itself concerned with the issues of practicality – education and healthcare. Religious politics in the Country may be a deeply entrenched institution that impacts the rest of its social and economic fabric, as asserted by Ambedkar in Caste in India, but it appears to be insufficient for winning over the electorate in 2020 Delhi. BJP’s model of growth under the leadership of Narendra Modi brought immense confidence in the economic strategy of the party, and despite the Hindu radicalism that paved a way for the 2002 Gujarat Riots (some argue that maybe, based on the Riots itself) the rise of the hero-like figure was inevitable. The different ways TIME magazine has presented Modi over the past decade (as researched and articulated by The Wire) shows the shift in the areas that the BJP hailed to gain its electorate’s confidence. With the latest tag of “Divider in Chief”, the religious grounds have become more explicit than ever.

What AAP then offers Delhi is not the promise of its cleanest show of politics, but AAP’s strategy to denounce the fight involving communal sentiments and the CAA-NPR-NRC debate is as diplomatic, and evidently efficient, as a move gets. Over 58% of the voting public expresses satisfaction with the work Kejriwal has engaged in for Delhi, and that renders BJP nearly bewildered. For INC, it had the whataboutism concerning the Kashmiri Pandits and the accusations of a Muslim-appeasing ideology to rope in its Savarna vote-bank on a national scale, but AAP refuses to take up this debate in its entirety. While the state-of-the-art infrastructure and conditions of government schools in AAP’s Delhi portray the development in the education sector with a chunk of the party’s budget focusing on the same, former BJP President and present Home Minister, Amit Shah, spews about how electing BJP would amount to the rightful (according to him) suppression of dissent at Shaheen Bagh – these different focal points leave no room for a civil political race that cuts close.

In a discussion on the elections with a former NDTV journalist, he called BJP “anti-knowledge” and that is the most suitable terminology for its attitude towards Delhi as well. In taking its religious politics too far, it is losing its façade of economic prosperity. In politics, you can’t piss off too many people at once and that is what the BJP’s overconfidence seems to have forgotten in Jharkhand, and now, apparently Delhi. Ambedkar’s refrain of “educate, organise, agitate” is echoing across the protest-sites, and in making education his playing field, Kejriwal appears to be organising a strategic agitation against the communalism-oriented BJP.


Anushree Joshi

[email protected]

The even semester has begun, and so has the countdown to live your life as the final-year college students.

‘Knock knock’

‘Who’s there?’

‘Your last semester is here’

These must be hard-hitti ng lines for every third-year student right now. Applications, entrance exams, scholarships, internships, placements, interviews, and expectations-these are the words which define the life of a final year student. Most of us are stuck with the question of “Aage kya karna hai” (What should I do in future?). Days pass by and we still can’t find an answer to it. Most students define the last year of their college as stressful and exhausting. Some of us are applying for a job, some are preparing for entrance exams, and some are still trying to figure it out. With the beginning of the last semester of your college life, it is important to take a step back, breathe, and relax. If I look back, I don’t know how these three years passed by.

It is said that college really transforms you. It feels like yesterday when we were filling out the registration form to be a part of the University. Remember how we entered college with heavy bags of expectations and immaturity? First-year goes by completing assignments, attending morning lectures, and ‘trying to fit in the university culture’. The second-year brings about a more settled person in you. You are no longer a ‘fresher’ now, you are probably the one giving advice to the ‘freshers’. By the beginning of third-year, you have transformed into a mature, responsible adult, making decisions for yourself. The final-year of college is an emotional roller coaster ride, where your life will revolve around the happiness of graduating, and the sadness of leaving your college life behind. This phase is often accompanied by self-doubt, anxiety, insecurities, and nostalgia. Everyone around you will have only one question: ‘What next?’, and before you realize, you are already sailing in the sea of disquietude.

So how to keep yourself calm in this storm? My only advice will be to take one step at a ti me. Francis Assisi quoted, “Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” I think this is probably the solution we are looking for. Most of us are also stuck in the dilemma of whether to pursue a Master’s degree or a job. While all of us have preferences, this decision is extremely important and can define how your life shapes up. Enlist the pros and cons, talk to your family and friends. Don’t take such critical decisions in haste. As a final-year student, there are some important lessons that I would like to share with the juniors. Firstly, utilise the ti me you have in your college days. Take up any activity which helps you build contacts, be it joining the Placement Cell of your college or a work from home internship. College is the best ti me to build your resume. Secondly, use the internet for activities that do not involve Netflix and Instagram. You can probably set-up your LinkedIn profile or enroll yourself in an online course. Participate and attend events or gatherings. The events don’t have to be related to your field of study. It can also be a seminar on the involvement of youth in politics or a talk on a completely different subject like Botany. Lastly, give yourself some ti me and space. Most of us while struggling with applications and placements, forget enjoying the last year as a college student. Sometimes we make ourselves “too busy” to enjoy the moments we will cherish once we graduate. Don’t forget to live the wholesome experience of the University of Delhi. In the end, my fellow thirdyear students, whether you have figured it out or are still clueless, remember to breathe. Take each day as it comes.

Anoushka Sharma

[email protected]

As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day, let’s take a look at our dissenting Republic.

According to the Oxford dictionary, a Republic is defined as a State in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated President rather than a Monarch.

India, the largest democracy in the world, became a republic on 26th January 1950. In over seven decades, 103 amendments have been enacted as of December 2019. India celebrates Republic Day with much grandeur where our military might is put on display for the world. The celebration witnesses world leaders as Chief Guests for the day. This year, Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, has accepted to be the Chief Guest for the celebrations.

All the citizens of this nation have been granted the Freedom of Speech and Expression; however, many have questioned the Government when it comes to the Freedom of Dissent. A student from the University of Delhi (DU), on conditions of anonymity, said, “In 2014, our PM said that the country’s democratic principles will not sustain if we don’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression. When we go out to protest, we are detained, even when it is a peaceful protest. I ask ‘why’? Is the Right selective? Do we have the Right depending on the Government’s wishes?”

I believe that dissent is not anti-national. Our country has been built on expression at crucial times in history. Gautam Buddha and Mahavira had expressed their displeasure over the rigid Vedic system and the associated rituals during the sixth century. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 was the first form of dissent by the Indians against the British rule. This even continued after Independence.

J. P. Narayanan’s call for a revolution in the social, economic, and political sphere in 1975 led to the imposition of Emergency and the whole Country turning against the then Government led by Indira Gandhi. A country cannot be free if its people feel threatened in any way, or if there is a fear of expressing oneself.

It is important that the youth, as responsible young citizens of India choose to fight for what is right. It is our prerogative to make sure that there exists a culture of democratic discussion and peaceful dissent, where there exists no violence, where the youth protests for the cause, and not for name and fame.  It is disheartening that during the times when the entire nation was protesting, some student leaders found their way to be a part of larger political organisations to favour their interests. Thus, at that time, the cause is left behind, and the political career is given more light. I saw a few people who came out to ‘protest’ at Jantar Mantar on 19th December 2019, while they saw the protesters raise slogans against the Government, one of them remarked, “acha timepass ho raha hai” (this is a good way to pass time).

The Constitution also provides for an independent Judicial system and the integrity of the higher Judiciary. So, doesn’t the judiciary hold any conscientiousness towards the alarming situation of India? I strongly feel that the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, and an independent Press are the real pillars of India. Even if one of them doesn’t question the damaging image of India, then they are not justifying their existence to the citizens of the country and to the rest of the world. In these times when grave violations of human rights are being alleged every day, it is imperative of the judiciary to fulfil its constitutional duty, maintain its democratic significance, and uphold its institutional prestige.

India’s population of over 1.37 billion people gives us an indication of how many ideas and opinions can flourish in a democratic set-up. Constructive criticism and meaningful dialogue area hallmark of a democratic society and depends on its informed and active citizens who will speak out and distinguish themselves from rabble-rousing.

Anoushka Sharma

[email protected]

These are powerful times. These are politically volatile times. These are disappointing times. These are resisting times. Most important of all, these are questioning and questionable times.

With the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) being protested against vehemently in the North-East and across the rest of the country, including the popular hubs of politics and entertainment – Delhi and Mumbai – respectively, the citizens of the country are awakening to the anti-people policies of the current administration, including (but not limited to) the controversial abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the policies to privatize education, the Trans Person’s Bill, and the continual curbing of dissent by arresting protesting activists. As I write this, the Farmers’ Leader, Akhil Gogoi, is being charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act – a move that has invited widespread criticism for its arbitrary and oppressive nature.

In a backdrop such as this, it is impossible to go about one’s life – especially as students who study Foucault, Orwell, Ambedkar, and Marx in the classrooms of one of the premier universities of the country – without being the least bit affected with the socio-political climate of the country. The slogan, “Personal is political” manifests itself  powerfully before us, now more than ever, since the majority of us who are on any social networking platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, among many others, cannot possibly scroll through the feeds nonchalantly, without coming across stories, posts, or articles on the current climate. What, then, becomes of social media activism?

I confess that I myself, in the past, have sneered at ‘social media influencers’ and the like, believing that the social and cultural capital enjoyed by them, by virtue of their popularity, was taking up unfair space in the powerful discourse of ground-level activism. However, the past few months have altered this perspective drastically, because social media has now seemingly emerged as the preferred space of discourse for many, includingsystematically disenfranchised communities like trans-people, women, and people from conservative households. When paramilitary troops and police forces are employed in the ratio of three is to one, at organised protests in India Gate, Jantar Mantar, and brutalise the students of Jamia (JMI), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), among other locations, then being on-ground becomes a life and death battle for many from the aforementioned communities.

Social media, then, serves as the forum to express dissent, become informed, and share awareness. This is not to say that the women at Shaheen Bagh, sitting in the chilling winter of Delhi for about a month now, are not palpable to a violent crackdown, or that the resistance that has engulfed Kashmir for multiple decades is on equal footing with sharing a tweet, but it is to acknowledge the newfound power that is threatening the authorities in control. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) IT cell has been notoriously in the news for circulating numbers, advertising that calling said numbers would get the people “free subscription to Netflix” or rendezvous with porn-stars. Doctored photos of students holding placards like Hinduo ki kabrkhudegiinstead of the original “Hindutva ki kabra khudegi,” were instantly circulated in social media pages, attempting to polarize communal sentiments against students at JMI and AMU. In no time after actress Deepika Padukone stood behind JNU Students’ Union President, Aishe Ghosh, and activist Kanahiya Kumar, that the hashtag “BoycottChhapak” was trending on social media and sexually profanity being hurled at her. Internet lockdown in Kashmir has continued for over 150 days now, while internet services in numerous states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, and Gujarat were blocked. Instances like this are testimony to the fact that any platform of public dissent, especially a technologically savvy one like social media that people from older generations in the administration are largely unable to grasp or master, acts to counter the narrative of normalcy our Prime Minister has been propagating with his famous line – Sab changa si!” A single tweet on the everyday violence in the country is indeed momentous enough to throttle this false narrative.

While the criticism against social media has always been the legitimacy of the sources and the accountability of any debates/discussions over it, private citizens like Mitali Bhasin, Sukhnidh Kaur, Pravan Sawhney, Divya Kandukuri, are some of the few names who have set precedent for researching their own resources for news and compiling information for public use in these tumultuous times. Pages like With Kashmir, and media houses like The Wire, The Print, Quint have proven to be reliable sources of information and discourses, publicized and accessible through social media platforms.

The language barrier parting English, Hindi, and other regional languages in India has always been a drawback for left liberal discourse in India, and the dearth of similar resources / activism in languages apart from English, including in Hindi, remains a blind-spot that needs correction in an era where the voting public, from Savarna households, including in our family WhatsApp groups is unaware of the manipulation and propaganda being targeted towards them, because of language or technological gaps that disengage their participation in social media activism. However, as millennials and post-millennials, it is our prerogative to engage in sharing the information that reaches us, creating the much-needed space for dissent amid the hoardings of propaganda.

Most important of all, it is time that to take heed of all the tools at our disposal in fighting violence sponsored by the State. It is time to change those display pictures to red, to make highlights on Instagram with curated information, to tweet and flood the judiciary, the Police, and the ministries, because when we fight fascism in Orwellian times like these, it becomes poignant to break free, in any and all ways possible, from what 1984 labelled the Thought Police.

Anushree Joshi

[email protected]

Three men walk into a bar and I’m the bartender. With my inherent humanity, I’m bound to judge these three specimens of so-called “masculinity”.

The first male was your typical “dude” (if I may stereotype that word for the purposes of this article). He is not homophobic, but he is still not comfortable with any gay men around him. He wants them to do their “hanky panky business” in private, but not in front of him. He is not talking about gay public display of affection, but just the stereotypical gay notions of people beyond heteronormative ideals of love in his head. He does not want to see any men dressed in flashy colours, talking about Pride parades, organised by privileged city kids, and other matters of those sorts. And yet, he says he is not homophobic. He loves his “bros”, but whenever he hugs them, or says that he loves them, he feels it is his moral obligation to say “no homo”. As if every same-sex physical contact implies gayness, or that he would be something “impure” if people even go to the extent of thinking he is gay. The smoggy air levels outside in Delhi are toxic, and so is this man’s masculinity. I’m pretty sure he would be an avid aficionado of lesbian porn though.

The second man is gay and proud. He has fought judgemental looks and judgemental judgements from everyone around all his life, and I have major respect for him in that sense. My only problem, however, is how he is turning into a victim of reverse stereotyping. This is the 21st century where we are acknowledging, or at least trying to acknowledge every human on the sexuality and gender spectrum. Everyone is equal and deserves equal treatment at a bar and, by extension, in this world. But the purpose of this equality is defeated when people like him start judging each other’s queerness, and stereotype matters themselves. As I serve him a pint, he examines my hands. “Such soft hands. You must be queer,” he says, as I laugh it off. A female friend approaches and he tells her that her bosom looks very appetising. The female friend knows that the second man would not approach her with any sexual intentions, but she is still clearly disturbed by his remarks. Her face says it all. But the second man does not realise this. He thinks that it is fine for him to comment on women like this, or sexually objectify them because to him, they are not objects of his own desire, and to them, he is not a “threat”. The third descendant of Adam is the worst probably, as he is more of a chameleon than a man. To win brownie points in the “woke” world, he continuously posts Instagram stories of protests at Jantar Mantar, the Pride flag, and other stuff of that sort. But who knows how he feels deep inside? For I heard him talking to another male friend who was dressed in a fine pink shirt. “Arey meethe,” (where meethe is slang for a man who seems conventionally non-masculine and is perceived to be gay) he said while hugging him, and I just squinted with cringe. Such people are the epitome of the word “pseudo”.

I was about to continue my character study on the third man but I got interrupted by many more men walking into the bar. You see, today is International Men’s Day, and so the bar has offered a special discount for all male customers. I laugh at the irony, for almost every day is International Men’s Day if you think about it (okay, maybe the second man hasn’t enjoyed privileges all the time). From the times of God in religious texts to figures of “his’story” to present day, it has been a man’s world. What kind of man do you want to be – someone in the joke or someone who learns to improve his ideas of masculinity in the evolving world – is a question you must try answering for yourself.

Shaurya Singh Thapa

[email protected]

Read our Print Editor’s take on entitled social media activism and its removed and elitist enforcement on ground.

A few weeks ago, the Global Climate Change Strike struck its momentum on the streets of Delhi, and organisations like Fridays for Future started marching to mobilise the population against the silence of Government authorities and policy-makers on environmental degradation plaguing our planet. Social media flooded with posters and invitations to partake in the various marches – at Lodhi Gardens, Faculty of Arts, Jantar Mantar, and any place in Delhi which could make the authorities in power take notice, and twist a little in their comfortable seats (on airplanes for some of them).

What appeared to be an excellent initiative and the righteous action in theory, however, raised unsettling questions when seen with a critical lens on ground. A security guard walked up to us during the march at Jantar Mantar, and he asked one of the protesters with sincerity, “Yeh morcha kisliye kar rahe ho aap logg? (What are you guys marching for?)” The person whom he addressed had been sloganeering a few moments ago, but fumbled to express the basic agenda of the protest. This is not to highlight that she herself was ignorant – which, in our millennial thirst for “wokeness”, may verily be an absurd possibility – but to showcase that she did not know the right words in the tongue of the guard (Hindi) to explain the enormity of the issue.

The slogans, cries, and popular references employed in these strikes are, if not monopolised by the English language, subservient to a mainstream understanding which is accessible to a rare few. The “rare few” does not refer to the number – these marches had plenty of people supporting what is a pressing cause – but the strata of the diverse Indian society this form of a movement caters to is, consciously or unconsciously, significantly English-speaking, upper/ middle class. In today’s time, social media has become the norm of propaganda and publicity, but there is an inevitable class and culture divide which makes it impossible for many to become aware, let alone partake, in the cause of the environmental movement.

There are many like the security guard in our country who do not have access to the Instagram stories of the English-speaking, highly privileged influencers, or even concerned educated youth, but that lack of access does not essentially translate to a lack of concern. The movement in India appears to take this language and culture divide for granted. When aspiring for the quintessential western values and standards of awareness, we often laugh at the typical Indian behaviour by equating it with callousness. Knowing at least a minimal level of the English language has become a prerequisite for being included within the ambit of environmental activism in India. The mainstream media and television channels’ non-existent contribution to a movement that is becoming the most threatening matter of survival to our generation, is questionable. While Indian politicians make statements in absolute disregard of science, facts, and anything logically acceptable to an informed brain, it is an unfortunate reality that informs the realms of knowledge for most Indians.

Mainstream media broadcasts the Prime Minister stating, “Climate has not changed. Our habits have changed,” or education ministers claiming that cows exhale oxygen. Media is no longer a vehicle for bringing in expert panels that dissect the threat of global warming and climate change. While Greta Thunberg is an inspiring figure for the movement, a Western icon cannot define the entirety of our understanding of the movement’s complex practicality in India. This becomes a tool for exclusionary caste politics of the movement, since Adivasis and other marginalised tribal communities have been on the streets, fighting for the cause before it became popular on social media. The movement for environmental conservation is not an individualistic fight, and it cannot be a successful one if we delude ourselves in believing so. As youth, these strikes and marches showcase the strength of collectivism and have the power to bring significant policy changes. However, all movements are rooted in the context of their times, or else they lose any real power of change. It is imperative for us, to keep our jargon aside, keep the banners down, and explain our cause to those who will then join their force with ours.

Anushree Joshi

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The life at the University of Delhi (DU) teaches us to internalise pressure and believe that everyone is capable of handling their pressure the way we have been doing so far. Caught up in this web, we millennials tend to let go of empathy and kindness.

Last week, as the World Suicide Prevention Week was coming to an end on 14th September, in a casual conversation with a friend – who thinks Jake Peralta is the best thing that happened to planet Earth – she said to me when a movie she loved ended, “Oh God, I want to die it was that good!” Neither did it make me uncomfortable, nor did it make me question her if “wanting to die” was the phrase she actually wanted to use, but it made me laugh and move on. Only when the very next day, I found myself in my bed, wanted to vanish into a world only Jaadu could know of, did I come to think of how trivially she, and most of us, use death terminology in our daily lives. I was not suicidal – I want to make that very clear (and not only because my parents read this) – but I was triggered into a state of unbearable sadness, and numbing anxiety, due to something relatively insignificant in retrospect.

DU is a space that swings between two extremes: one, of lethargy and passivity to a point that you feel your potential decrease, or two, of activity and competition to an extent that you feel you are always short of your own best version. If you are somebody who is driven by the second extreme of DU, then the pressure of balancing academics (the neverending assignments and internal tests), internships, co-curricular, and social life, gets to you. This is not an advisory on how you need to prioritise and compartmentalise to maintain your mental health and sanity, because I know we all try to do that. Nobody likes always being on the verge of a breakdown, overworked and, in proper millennial slang, “dead inside”. But we often forget that the world around us has an integral role to play in how stressful our lives are.

For students who find themselves in the same classroom, society, or college, it is tough to develop understanding and familiarity. At our age, we are used to a certain lifestyle, a certain mindset, and a certain kind of friend circle. However, empathy is a concept we often forgo in this literal and mental journey. We are all so infused in our adjustments and issues that we trivialise the value of someone else’s issues. We are quick to pass judgments and form lasting opinions based on Instagram stories that fade away after twenty-four hours. Caught up in our 8:45 a.m. lectures, Friday deadlines, and weekend trips to Majnu ka Tilla, we generalise that everyone is capable of handling their pressure the way we have been doing so far.

When my friend suggested “death” in that moment of thoughtlessness, I paid no heed. But data suggests that there is approximately one suicide happening across the world every 40 seconds. The statistic is a frightening reminder that self-harm and death are not punchlines for over eight lakh people who die in just a year.

It is insensitive to categorise every stressed or sad youth as depressed, but it is important to understand that so much of what we do, say, or give out to the people around us – especially our peers – has the power of being a trigger. We, in our bubbles of tremendous pressure, have come to a point where we are empathetic to causes in Hong Kong and China because of accessibility, but we are mindless to the well-being of our peers, despite accessibility.

While it is not possible to save everyone around us since our well-being is compromised every day in the challenge that young adult life is, the least we can do as learners of empathy and kindness, is not pushing or even nudging, somebody off the cliff.


Anushree Joshi

[email protected]