Guest Post


Read on to find out the plights of students from a student of Delhi University (DU). This piece gives an insight into how different colleges withing our University are dealing with the pandemic. 

In these intense or rather stressful times of COVID-19 when the students are sceptical about their college and future and the college should take some actions to calm the students down. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College (DDUC) of Delhi University is paying no heed to any of these issues and moreover still using their tactful ways to bother and impose irrelevant obligations on them.

The hostel administration of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College is forcing the students to pay their quarter fees while no one is residing in the hostel. In these stressful times of lockdown when no one is allowed to go out and the financial conditions are not in good shape, the administration is forcing the residents to pay the quarter fee. The fee for the facilities (water and electricity) no one is consuming.

Moreover, the administration has denied answering any queries of the students or parents regarding this matter saying “no clarification would be issued in this matter. It is a compulsory fee and needs to be paid”. If not paid there is an imposition of INR 50 per day as a penalty. And this amount would not be refunded to the students. The very fact that this all is happening even after the orders of the government for asking for any further fee is saddening. This just another way of extracting money for these capitalist institutions. This sense of torture from the hostel authorities is now affecting us personally, with following a different set of rules for girls and boys’ hostels for handling situations.

This is just not it; the students of this college are suffering from the start of this academic session and this is just a chain of events that has led us to this point. The residents of the hostel have been facing such problems from the start of this academic session. After not having had got any answer from the authorities the residents resorted to the action of putting up a strike for the basic needs against the administration. But this was dismissed by the principal by the threat of suspension.

The union council elections were also suspended by the administration which is the basic entity for getting our voice to the ears of the authorities. The cancelling of union defeats the purpose of decent and our say of asking any questions. There is no transparency in any sort of matter.

All these add up to a totalitarian rule of the principal and other authorities which is suppressing the students and hostel residents, leading to no other option left to get our voice reached to the people. These links are for the support of the prior strike held against the authorities.

“Don’t just book it… Thomas Cook it” was the business tagline used by the company which signifies its prestige in the tourism industry. Being the world’s oldest travel brand, the company started its operation way back in 1841 and in the subsequent years, it continued on its conquering sprees in the global market. With a magnificent history of 178 years, the travel titan was one of the Victorian brands that bravely survived the ferocious world wars, depressing recessions, hostile takeovers, and reorganizations and even having a Robert Maxwell as a major shareholder. The company didn’t restrict itself to tour operations but also entered the business of airlines, hotels, local transports, and meals.

On 23 September, 2019, the travel giant with such a prosperous legacy filed for bankruptcy triggering a heartbreaking domino effect of sudden job losses and shocks not only to the employees but also to the customers. Huge outstanding debt of 1.7 billion pounds and liquidity crunch were called the causes of downfall but in truth, the tour operator’s woes go back much further – victim of a devastating merger, incompetence of the executives, internet revolution and the BREXIT uncertainty, a final nail in the coffin.

Thomas Cook had an analog business model in the digital world that insisted on physical stores called as ‘High Street’ for sales of the tours and packages. The Hercules failed to analyze the dynamics of the business environment, in turn, failed to pitch a new generation of travelers. Over and above these high maintenance stores, it faced a robust competition from the online travel company, Expedia.

The tour operator offered package tours to the customers which gradually declined in popularity with the advent of technology and information access to the customers. People shifted their consumption patterns from predefined plans to more user-defined adventurous tours. The new generation with access to the internet could easily learn about cheap tickets and new locations. Package tours were seasonal; yet again were a major risk to Cook’s business model was posed by the risk of season failure. This challenge was not new for Thomas Cook.

This UK based company followed an aggressive expansion policy and in the 2000s absorbed Condor, Frankfurt-based airline that was formerly a subsidiary of the Lufthansa group. In 2003 it started its airline, Thomas Cook airline, with 34 planes in the fleet flying to 82 destinations. As Richard Branson, rightly quoted, “If you want to be Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline”. The airline industry has its complexities and sunk cost which incentivizes big names to stay away from it. Thomas Cook faced difficulties in sustaining the sunk cost and operational cost of crew, maintenance, etc. Germany based rival, TUI Group started operating in cruises and hotels; also witnessed strategic benefits from the competitors’ downfall. Low-cost carriers RYANAIR, EasyJet and low-cost accommodation by Airbnb magnified the misfortunes of the company.

Market obligated payments and aviation fuels expenditure in dollars became expensive when pound started depreciating because of geopolitical tension from BREXIT. Inevitably, perhaps, Britain’s political crisis already cast a shadow on the company’s demise. Heatwaves in the homeland and uncertainty of the visas, driving license stimulated Brits to postpone holidaying.

The merger with ‘My Travel’ way back in 2007 to save 75 million pounds turned out to be a disaster and they had to write off loses worth one billion pounds. Turkey and Tunisia, the most preferred travel destinations dealt with geopolitical tension abandoning tourism, yet again a major setback for the business.

The collapse has jeopardized the future of 21000 employees out of which 9000 are from the UK itself. More than 6 lakh travelers are affected and stuck in their respective destinations. The British government instead of stepping in and giving Thomas Cook breathing space has launched the biggest peacetime repatriation for the citizens in British history. The government does not want to set an example of moral hazard by injecting funds in the debt-laden operator. The company secured credit of 900 million pounds and wanted 200 million pounds more which when denied set off the collapse.

No sooner did the moratorium on the street trigger the fall in the stock and beleaguered the Thomas Cook India than the company’s executive clarified that they have a strong financial position and have no connection with the UK based company. Fairfax Financial Holding, a Canadian MNC led by an Indi-Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa acquired the Indian arm in 2012.

Businesses have moved from bricks to clicks and paced up with innovation in technology. This episode has been a great learning opportunity as it highlighted the fact that a business irrespective of its age, size, goodwill needs to change with time and should continuously monitor the business environment so that one can make strategic moves for sustaining the business in the long runs.


Ayush Agarwal
[email protected]

Growing up in a conservative family in Haryana my effeminacy was always discouraged. People often ask each other to stay real, but nobody ever said that to me. In fact, I was always asked to behave like someone I was not.

The shift started when I first came to Delhi in the year 2012. I remember wearing a palazzo and a black, glittery cut-sleeved top with my high heels, framing it as an experiment to ease my anxiety.

Growing up, gender was a confusing concept. I just didn’t get it. It felt like people were sorting other people into just two groups and neither of them worked for me. I had a very difficult childhood because I constantly found myself trapped between the two opposing options – never masculine enough for boys and never feminine enough for girls. After some research and introspection I discovered the word “genderqueer”. Not that it gave me a way to label myself, but at least it told me that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Now, the way I understand my gender is that I am both a man and a woman, and neither a man nor a woman. I am outside these categories. I am Rovin, and Rovin exists outside of society’s heteronormative gender binary. “I wasn’t born in the wrong body, I was born in the wrong world” was what I told myself.

The story goes something like this: Every morning when I wake up and look at my closet I ask myself, “How much do I want to be harassed on the streets today?” You have no idea how walking down the street as our authentic selves can invite so much verbal abuse, or even worse. It is a sad reminder that this world doesn’t live and let live. Before leaving the house every day, I wonder if my lipstick is too dark, or whether my makeup is too loud, in an attempt to reduce the threat of harassment and violence.

We are often erased from history and are told that we are not supposed to exist. But the fact is that I am everywhere around you, it’s just that I am often asked to pick a side. There is hardly a place where we can be who we really are- not in school, not on the streets, not in the metro, not at college, not at work, in fact not even in public restrooms.

For me the question “How do I present my best self at work?” becomes “Can I present my best self at work?” I was told that I am not professional, but I feel I am professional in my own way, a way which most consider alien. “Professionalism” has been my enemy, because it requires that my gender identity is constantly and unrepentantly erased. If you dare to step out of line, you risk being mistreated by coworkers, losing promotions or even losing your job. In fact, I did lose a job- my employers fired me saying that I am “too casual”.

People are constantly told to “act professionally” without a second thought. Wear a garment that represents your non-Western culture to work? Your boss may tell you it’s unprofessional. Wear your hair in braids or dreadlocks instead of straightened? That’s probably unprofessional too. Wear shoes that are slightly scuffed because you can’t yet afford new ones? People may think you’re not being professional enough.

We deserve to have our work ethic and intellect respected regardless of how we choose to express our gender identities. We deserve to be able to wear clothing and behave in ways that affirm our gender. We deserve to be treated fairly in the workplace.

While people may try to discriminate against me and tell me that I’m dressing “inappropriately” for work, I will hold on to my gender identity and sense of self. In the workplace, I will stick up for those who, like me, find that their gender does not match a prefabricated box. I will wear my heels, pearls and skirts to work until, hopefully, the world can learn to respect people like me.

So to all of the discriminatory employers out there, you better watch out, because I am genderqueer, professional and unafraid.

Feature Image: space538.org

Guest Post by Rovin Sharma for DU Beat

(This post first appeared on Pink Pages, a national LGBT magazine)

I enrolled myself in a BA Sociology Honours degree in 2014, with a score of 85%. Initially I was apprehensive about the subject, but who isn’t? I hailed from a commerce background that I thoroughly enjoyed. It would be safe to assume that now I was miserable, for I had to reluctantly pursue a subject that was frowned upon for being inadequate and a sop, with ‘no future’ whatsoever. I had resigned to my fate; it was depressing to watch my counterparts majoring in conventional fields of study that the wise elderly folks considered lucrative and ‘respectable’. I envied them.

For the uninitiated, sociology is the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. It deals with social problems and their root causes, which are often overlooked by mainstream scholars. On the contrary, these scholars stress the significance of economics and science in matters concerning individuals and society, but ironically dismiss the relevance of social studies.

My perception of sociology changed after attending a few lectures in college. The course appeared to grow more interesting with each class. We studied about class, caste, sex and sexuality, religion, kinship, the social dynamics existing in politics and economics, and many other facets of life that we typically discuss over tea. I was quick to develop a liking towards the subject, albeit detesting some particularly theoretical aspects of sociological theory. By now, it seemed to me almost absurd that people discounted this discipline.

For this reason, I thought it necessary that the public deserved to understand not only the importance, but also the relevance and scope of sociology.


Almost every field of study, particularly in humanities, comes with a set of preconceived notions that may discourage a potential student from opting for it. Sociology also faces the task of busting certain myths related to it:

  • Despite the fact that sociology is based on predictable social issues, it is not merely common sense. Andre Beteille, a renowned Indian sociologist, expertly describes how sociological thinking and common sense differ.
  • Students with lower grades are not the only ones who opt for this discipline. Sociology attracts students with remarkably high grades, as well as students who study the subject as a backup. In this way, it is no different from any other academic discipline.
  • Sociology is not synonymous with social work. Social work is the practice of advocating for individuals and communities, while sociology is the study of societies and human interaction. The former does not necessarily need a degree.
  • Sociology does not have undergraduate campus placements, but that does not make it a waste. Many humanities degrees offer no placements at the undergraduate level.
  • Jobs are not exclusively offered to sociologists who hold a Master’s degree. Like most fields, a Master’s degree enhances your capabilities and would offer better employment opportunities, but this is not exclusively applicable to sociology students.


No discipline comes without its shortcomings, and I do not intend on withholding crucial information that is capable of affecting life-altering changes. Here are some of the limitations of pursuing sociology as a degree:

  • Sociology is an extensive body of knowledge. It consists of general information which runs through almost all fields of study. This means that a specialisation or Master’s becomes indispensable if you aim to get a high-paying job and a stable career.
  • Sociology requires critical thinking. Do not opt for this subject with the expectation of acing it without first truly understanding how various societies and their dynamics function.
  • Sociology is offered by a limited number of colleges, which also happen to be the best in the business. Therefore, getting into a college for Master’s can be a daunting task without putting in additional studying hours.


  • It is an underrated and an underestimated field of study, which is emerging as one of the most sought-after disciplines in humanities.
  • A student of sociology is bound to stand out in a crowd, for the subject provides a broader skill-set by virtue of its all-encompassing syllabus.
  • It encourages critical thinking which leads to a well-rounded individual and consequently an ideal workforce.
  • It offers potential for joint Honours degrees.
  • It prepares you for the future. From government jobs to the corporate sector to leisurely pursuits, sociology prepares you for all tests that the education system could throw at you.



As mentioned previously, the vast range of the subject allows you to pursue almost every Master’s degree that involves humanities. Furthermore, sociology is a great asset in various fields of employment. These range from criminal justice and law enforcement to advertising, human resources, and leadership training. Government and private services of security, planning, and research, as well as labour rights, adoption, and child care are also areas where sociological knowledge is a coveted skill-set. Sociology is also a lucrative field in education and communication.

There is a large set of well-renowned people who are sociology graduates. One of these is Martin Luther King, Jr., who changed the way the world views civil rights. Closer home, Arnab Goswami is an example of a successful sociology graduate in the Indian media fraternity.



I have come a long way from opting for sociology reluctantly to appreciating it fully as a discipline. The study of sociology has been instrumental in shaping my personality. Today, I am more sensitised than I was two years ago. I understand the subtleties underlying various social institutions and the conditions of oppressed groups. I have discovered that the personal is also political, and that being tight-lipped about social issues solves nothing. Possessing such knowledge has given me confidence in public settings where I can challenge armchair activists who talk about ‘mundane issues’.

Do not discourage students from opting for sociology, or any subject for that matter, simply based on its stereotypes or without properly analysing the facts. It all boils down to one’s aptitude, interest, hard work, and career goals.

To me, it’s not just a degree anymore. It’s my passion.

Guest post by Shreya Sankar, Janki Devi Memorial College

If you have similar stories or a love-hate relationship with your major to share with us, write to us at [email protected].


Have you ever wondered why some people around us stand out for how short or skinny they are? Or noticed the children in or around construction sites, a little infant who seems to walk/crawl but looks not older than 6 months to 7 months? Dear reader, these observations infact point to a very big problem that we as a nation have failed to address. A frail body or being too short for their age is nothing but a manifestation of childhood malnutrition which is taking a toll on our future. A deeper understanding of the scourge is well evident from the appalling statistics that came up in a research undertaken by CRY, a non-profit organisation that works for Child Rights in India.  

An Opportunity Missed

The 0-6 age group is the time when most of our physical, mental and social growth and development happens. The impact of early childhood care and nutrition remains telling throughout our lives. Children who fall prey to malnutrition at this age are very likely to fall short in a lot of areas for almost all of their lives, while those who get the right nutrition, immunization and education would do much better in all indicators of growth, intelligence and social development.

The Glaring Reality

In an effort to see whether children in India are getting ahealthy start, CRY carried out a study on malnutrition in children between the ages of 0-6 years in 18 Slums across 5 metro cities. The results show a very dismal picture with over half the children being too short for their age, and about half of them being underweight for their age. It was also found that other essential services such as timely immunization, regular deworming and provision of nutritional supplements were also not optimal.


Nutritional Status of Children


Reaching children who missed out

There remain gaps in the effort to reach the affected children as the study found that the planned interventions reach less than half of the beneficiaries. Only 47 per cent of the children were enrolled in  Anganwadi Centres through which most of the schemes for children are channeled. The outreach efforts that are planned to educate parents about the right nutrition for their child are also effective only 20 per cent of the times.

Making the difference

In the face of these challenges, the green shoots that stand out are promising, for example 83 per cent  children like going to the Anganwadi Centre. The study also pointed that if the quality of services at the centre is bettered then the incidence of child malnutrition also falls. Therefore, there are clear signs which point to the direction which policy should take to create a better future for the children of this country. Let’s move and give our children the bright future they deserve!


-Pankhuri Jha

(Intern, CRY – Child Rights and You)

Pankhuri Jha is an intern with CRY, Delhi. An alumni of Lady Shri Ram College college herself, Pankhuri’s interest lies in the field of development economics, especially the financial and health risks faced by the poor. At CRY she worked very closely with the research team in the analysis of data of the nutritional status among children from the age of 0-6 years in slums across Delhi.  The research, in her words helped her, “get a practical insight into the health consequences of living in poverty and a first hand idea as to how this can be corrected”

Image Courtesy : CRY Database 


It was a warm and dry afternoon in Delhi and I was carrying Arpita’s copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude in the hope of finishing it either in the library or at Gothic Door. Arpita had her Linguistics test and left for it at three, so Ishan and I planned to head back to his place for some beer. Nothing in the air, or in the university, or on the streets that run wayward across Kamala Nagar told us that hours later, when I would start reading the last pages of the novel at Sonnet’s flat in Vijay Nagar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez would take his last breath thousands of miles away from India.

At Ishan’s place I met with Soumya and asked her if she’d read the novel. It was only after she said yes with an expression on her face as urgent as my own that I told her my queer desire to meet with Marquez, somewhere quiet, if only for five minutes, to weep myself out in front of him. This urge was something she and I quickly recognized in each other, and we spent about half an hour discussing the novel. I don’t remember hers but my favourite character was Amaranta. Every reference which we promptly caught and understood lit up our faces. It was then that I claimed that if I ever took the PhD route, my thesis would be on his work. Ishan was amused. Gabriel Marquez was still alive.

 In the evening I came to Sonnet’s flat in Vijay Nagar. I opened the book again, thinking it was time I finished it, and during the initial couple of breaks that I took from reading, I joked with Sam and Ruma how everything was possible in Marquez’s narratives. That he could successfully twist our notions of time and space. That he could make us believe that an elephant looking for a home in the clouds was perhaps the most obvious occurrence on our planet. That a person could live for four hundred years and still make trips to Macondo in all good health. It was then that Sonnet complained of a certain pungent smell in the room. Sam and I couldn’t sense it at first, but when the new waft of air hit my face with it, I could only remember hospitals.

Half an hour into the novel, I came across this line, “It rained for four years, eleven months, and two days” and found out in the succeeding pages that with an unnerving certainty, the people in the book were waiting for death.

 The winds arrived in Delhi. Since it was getting more and more humid in the room, I went to the balcony to find Vijay Nagar drenched in rain. This poetic coincidence made me smile. I stayed there till the showers were reduced to a more pleasant drizzle. The rain also brought with itself a sudden but welcome drop in the temperature, so instead of continuing with the book, we ended up buffering videos on YouTube. I took that moment to check Facebook, something I wish I had not done. Though, I’m sure there are many who share the same unfortunate wish with me.

It is not really a good feeling— knowing that Gabriel Marquez, that excellent magician of words, whose book I was reading with such admiration passed away when he was being read. People read him and love him for all sorts of reason, but it’s the reassuring voice which always fuses a lively imagination into things which hold us captive in their codes, the intense pursuit of memory and nostalgia when nothing breathes but solitude, and his sublime ability to turn the morbid into wonder, which makes me hopeful for a magical, if not better, future.

Perhaps Heaven is crying over Delhi after meeting with Marquez. The open doors and windows in the flat below are thundering against the walls with such force that even the omnipresent silence of the night no longer seems capable of dispersing the noise into its darkness. There are still some pages left to end this One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Mihir Vatsa.
Mihir is a final year student of M. A. English at Ramjas College.

Hello old friend,

The elections just went by in your city and the turnout didn’t climb up by much this time either and you have shown solidarity to our cause by taking a stand. Please don’t feel guilty for not voting, no matter how much the media and activists says so. You have taken a stand and you have chosen to support us and there is no way we are going to let you down, individually. Collectively, we aren’t responsible for our actions and hence, you will have to watch out for yourself.

The mess of democracy to elect clean candidates and those who actually work takes out all the fun and lechery from the political process and it is only because of people like you that it still survives. You had the chance to vote but you didn’t. You felt lazy at the right time and you made sure to make the most of your holiday rather than sweating it out in queues to vote for a candidate that won’t care about making money as much as we do.

You also had your name in electoral rolls as well as your Voter’s ID card, but not going to vote is a definite sign of belief in our cause and furthering our agenda to loot money out of the country and make sure that no reason survives in the long run. Your love for watching movies and TV shows is not hidden from anybody and your apathy towards the political systems has just made it easier for us to get through without much intervention. Fourth season of Game of Thrones is underway and the government expects you to vote? Blasphemous, isn’t it?

I hope you are enjoying your shows as much as we are enjoying partying off the taxpayer’s money. I hope you continue to ignore reports of scams and scandals in the newspaper which the media makes up, because if the country is meant to survive, it will. How much change can a vote bring, anyway? I thank you for staying out of the mess and lending your voice to civil disobedience.

Perhaps you don’t like any candidate and you believe all are thieves and debauchers. Hence you didn’t go, which is a perfectly good reason because voting NOTA is wasting your time, energy and money.

It has been too much work for me getting this letter typed from one of my literate sycophants and I must get back to some harassments and kidnapping to feel better. I hope you will stand in the cause of anarchy in the future as well. Thank you for not giving the right candidates a chance and we made sure people voted for us on your blank vote which was going to go waste, anyway. You can thank us later since we have a little less time to pay heed to your words and wishes.

Thanking you from the bottom of the alcohol bottle I am sending along,

Your good old corrupt politician


Image courtesy: educationalservice.net

Mayank Jain
Trainee Editor at Youth Ki Awaaz. Tweets @mayank1029 ! Believer in the power of happiness, internet and great food. Loves to read, write and disucss. A lot more than just boring atoms.