From DUB Editors


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]

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]

Here is a note from our Editors to help you embrace a world that feels new and scary (but not for too long).

  • Facing the Transition: School to College

NBC once used to air a sitcom called Community. Troy Barnes, one of the lead characters is a high school jock, but at Greendale College, hardly anyone raises a brow seeing him. It’s initially disappointing but eventually, Troy finds his weird bunch of friends and enjoys his life of leading the not-so-popular life in college.

The highlights of every school are its star students – the trophy-kissing champions, the high-ranking class toppers, the big-mouthed debaters, artists, writers, quizzers, and so on.

However, if the competition keeps decreasing, and hardly puts sweat on one’s brow, then one might succumb to pride and arrogance. Luckily, after high school, if you get enrolled in an educational institution like the University of Delhi (DU), it becomes an enlightening destination for a much-needed reality check.

Many ex-head boys and head girls, school toppers, the ones that might have worn the ‘Mr Popular’ and ‘Miss Popular’ sash in their farewell, would feel disillusioned because the world of college needs starting over.

You see, there are hardly any Karan Johar-style heroes in the college, hardly any people around whom the whole world revolves; it is like this film set and we are all members of the supporting cast.

The school debating champion might make a face on hearing better intellectual arguments made by members of various debating societies. The conventional poet from secondary school might now explore more spoken-word genres in the college literary circuit. Your magnificent high school self might look like a watered-down version of itself in college.

Therefore, it is up to us whether to continue fussing over having lost our high school glory or whether to pick up the pieces and work on building a new glory all over again.

In the end, Andy Samberg’s lines from the 2016 film Popstar would best sum it up – “Sometimes, you’re up. Sometimes, you’re down. But the trick is not to lose yourself along the way.”

  • Mental Well-being in College

College is a rollercoaster ride, with many ups and downs. Keeping up psychological wellness may appear to be a simple activity, yet a number of students battle to make that a priority in view of the measure of work they put in, consistently. They have a regular course with assignments, projects, extracurricular activities, sports, internships, along with a social life and 24 hours isn’t sufficient time in a day. The path to graduation, while maintaining a balance between social life and good grades is definitely not easy especially for the students just transitioning to college where, just a few months ago, they had to raise their hand to use the bathroom!

To the batch of 2022, you will endure stressful situations in your first-year. But it is important to not let that sink you and to find ways to cope with it. The experience of first-year is always sublime; suddenly, you are not a kid who would ask permission from their parents to go out, but a responsible person who will make wise and responsible decisions about their own life.

The pressure of fitting into the University culture can take a toll on your mental peace. You might end up thinking that you are not the perfect kid you used to be in school, and in reality, you might just not be and there is nothing wrong with it. The best way to maintain peace is to not compare yourself to others. This comparison leads to unrealistic expectations from oneself which makes us blame ourselves for certain things and situations that are beyond one’s control. Sometimes, we can be really harsh on ourselves without realising.

  • Coping Tactics

The toll your health takes on the distance from the familiarity of your home, maybe city, and definitely your school is also influenced by an intense need to compete (sometimes, you don’t even realise what you are competing for). This, to some extent, is not limited to a particular year in college. We do exactly what Yuval Noah Harari warned us against – “Nothing should be taken for granted, even if everybody believes it.” We take for granted the fact that it is a do-or-die world and college is the place to chisel yourself for it.

It takes some time to make peace with the fact that it could be a do-it-if-it-feels-okay or you-will-learn-it or you-do-not-want-to-do-it world, depending on how you navigate your way around the myriad of new opportunities that college offers. In fact, the very belief that it is your only chance to determine the course of your life by picking the right course in the best college, and hopefully getting it. Not being able to achieve it is disheartening, but inevitable for many considering that DU received 2,78,574 applications in the 2018-19 admissions season, and the odds of each individual aspiration being achieved with this number are moderate at best. Even probability, dear aspirants, is telling you to calm down and relax.

Marks and awards have always mattered, and will always matter in a materialistic world, but they will never be the endpoint of that world. For the sake of your health, a good rule of thumb would be to let go of your 18-year-old conditioning gradually, because it has prepared you to think of an ‘unseen, looming’ future. Everything has been justified to you – the cost of your deteriorating body strength and your mental well-being – by arguing that there is a brighter, safer, and more ‘stable’ future you are securing with the endless toiling. But the crux of the matter is – there will always be a future to be scared of and to chase, in true oxymoronic fashion. However, the present – right here when you are stepping into your college class for the first time – demands that you take things at your own pace and don’t participate in a race that tires you. It’s your year, and your life, no matter how many cut-offs or forms or society acceptances you think give it meaning- you choose, starting now, to pick your pace and path. In this new journey of life, have faith in yourself. As Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh says, “Promise me you’ll always remember – you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

With Love,

DU Beat Editors

Feature Image Credits: Debaangshu Sen for DU Beat


Anoushka Sharma

[email protected]


Anushree Joshi

[email protected]


Shaurya Singh Thapa

[email protected]