The ‘Prana Pratishtha’ celebration of Lord Ram in Ayodhya on January 22 has evoked varied responses across India. Its impact is particularly noticeable in educational institutions, where some colleges experienced joyous events while others faced instances of violence and police intervention. Amidst resistance and celebration, the article aims to explore the question of religion within educational spaces by examining diverse perspectives.

On January 22, Ayodhya celebrated the grand opening of the Ram Mandir, which was celebrated like a national festival. A celebratory vibe permeated both outdoor and digital areas as the streets were decked out in saffron and echoed with “Jai Shri Ram” chants. Temples and streets flourished in the festive mood, signifying a unique happy occasion for believers. To underscore the importance of the occasion, several state governments went a step further and declared holidays for businesses and educational institutions.

As New Delhi was rife with saffron flags and bhakti music on January 22nd, the merriment was shared by educational institutions alike in the centre. The grandeur of the ‘Prana Pratishtha’ festival was evident by the active participation of educational institutions, with some expressing support and others voicing opposition. This dual participation highlighted the complexities of sentiments that many, particularly younger generations, had about the occasion.

The celebrations demonstrated a dichotomy in how individuals perceived the event—whether it was seen as solely religious and legitimate or as part of a greater political agenda. This interplay of ideologies was displayed with enthusiasm by diverse student groups across various universities.

Prestigious colleges like IITs and IISC, Bengaluru were out in force for celebrations. A student group at IIT Kharagpur took out a procession in support of the inauguration of the temple, while IIT Delhi organised the Akhand Ramayana path, followed by a bhandara and deepotsava

We’d been given a half-day, but then eventually the holiday extended up to being a full day. There were rallies from the main gate to another end of the campus, with many saffron flags.

-A Student from IIT-Delhi

In Ashoka University too, celebrations were observed through bhajan sandhya and pooja organised by students.

On Delhi University’s North Campus, festivities were observed at the Arts Faculty while candles were lit near the streets of Hanuman Mandir. The University of Delhi itself was shut for half a day until 2 p.m., according to the notification released by the authorities. Many such campuses across the country organised hawans, rallies, and even allowed the live telecast of ceremonies being held at Ayodhya.

In Shivaji College, University of Delhi, a student who was visiting the campus during the weekend for a debate tournament said,

Shivaji College had conducted an event with the campus being decorated with rangolis and diyas, as it set up a stage for live music performances and had visitors showing up.

This, however, is only one side of the story; many students expressed their disapproval and criticism, and not all student factions were in agreement with this kind of festive mood.

For instance, Fraternity Movement Jamia Millia Islamia organised a university-wide strike in remembrance of the Babri Masjid. “Boycott for Babri, Resistance is Remembrance,” said a post on X (previously Twitter)  by the Fraternity Movement, along with a video of students protesting with posters of the Babri masjid. As the videos of the protest went viral, police forces were deployed outside the premises as precautionary measures.

NIT Calicut’s students were forced to witness the cancellation of Thathva, their techno-management festival, which led to a stream of angry comments online. The festival was first postponed and then cancelled due to Central Security Agencies ordering the college after a student protested the Ram Mandir inaugural celebrations and was beaten up by the police, leaving no entity from the college with the power to intervene. Indignant NIT Calicut’s students’ comments read online, “Imagine all the work done by students to hear its cancellation due to a communal riot in the north.”

Tensions were also observed in Pune’s FTII (Film and Television Institute of India), where banners condemning the demolition of Babri masjid in 1992 were displayed with the statement ‘Remember Babri, Death of Constitution’. They took it a step further with the screening of the 1992 Anand Patwardhan documentary, “Ram Ke Naam.” The documentary delves into the communal violence that ensued after the Vishva Hindu Parishad campaigned to build a temple at the Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya. Additionally, they even invited Patwardhan on January 22nd for it.

However, according to a press statement released by the Students’ Association of the institute, chanting of the “Jai Shree Ram” slogan took place loudly outside the main gates, which the security was initially unresponsive to. Then, an agitated mob of 20–25 people entered the campus, and security was unable to contain them. Many students of FTII were brutally beaten up, and the banners were also damaged. 

While the side of Samast Hindu Bandhav Samajik Sanstha, who was involved in the clash, claims that the move of FTII students was offensive to the sentiments of Hindus, provocative statements against Lord Ram merely created more rift amongst two religious groups. However, the students at FTII clearly see this violence as an attack on their democratic rights. They also claim that no action was taken towards the offenders, and they were allowed to roam free.

A post on Instagram describes the events that led to the violence at the FTII Campus, which involved the vandalism of college property and harm to students. The press release statement reads,

We appeal to the police and all relevant authorities to take prompt action against those who perpetrated violence against the students and who entered with the intent to vandalise property on the campus of FTII, Pune.

The student fraternity of ILS stands in solidarity with the Students’ Association of FTII and has even released a joint statement with signed signatures. Additionally, multiple students of FTII have released their own statement with signatures, demanding a response from Bollywood actor and Chairman of the Institute, R. Madhavan.

Similarly, in another college, the Indian Institution of Science and Research (ISSER), Pune, witnessed a distinctive response from certain students. Allegedly, on January 22nd, some students celebrated the temple’s inauguration in the campus common room. The movie club coordinator then planned the screening of Ram Ke Naam, sending details to students with a description of the movie copied from its IMDB review page. Unfortunately, this led to an unexpected turn of events, with policemen arriving at the campus. They questioned the movie club coordinator and, without clear justification, took them into custody. The move has left students at ISSER feeling intimidated by law enforcement, especially since they perceive a lack of support from the college administration.

Similar cases of violence and protest were observed in places like Jadavpur University and Hyderabad University.

In Hyderabad University, NSUI, which is the student wing of the Indian National Congress, organised a protest against the inauguration by intending to screen Anand Patwardhan’s documentary ‘Ram ke Naam’. The screening was disrupted by ABVP students, leading to its cancellation. The screening was later conducted peacefully at the North Ladies Hostel in the evening. Students in opposition state that campus spaces belong to everyone; hence, it’s their democratic right to express their concerns, and the screening of ‘Ram ke naam’ was a symbol of their resistance and not a step to offend people.

We ensured that organisations conducting their events went peacefully despite threats and attempts to disrupt by ABVP. Campus spaces belong to everyone; all ideas exist here. However, the administration and ABVP don’t want dissenting voices to be heard. The student community strongly opposed the saffronization of campus spaces; they attended in large numbers for SFI’s ‘Ram Ke Naam’,

-Md. Atheeq Ahmed, HCU Union President (source: Maktoob Media).

The unfolding of two contrasting scenarios in various universities prompts reflection on the democratic principles by which the country aspires to abide. The celebration of religious victories and moments in educational institutions raises a fundamental question about the integration of religion within these spaces.

We observed different celebrations, including bhandaras and rallies, where students enthusiastically chanted ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and danced.

Since religion is a very personal subject for me, I  personally decided not to take part because I feel it is improper to hold large-scale religious festivities in colleges where you have such a diverse population. Students from minority groups experienced exclusion as well, and those who chose not to participate in the festivities were called anti-Hindus.

-A mass communication student from Madhya Pradesh described the events at her college. 

She went on to say, “The decision to celebrate such moments should be left to individuals, and nobody should be placed in situations where they feel alienated in their own colleges.”

If institutions are justified in endorsing such events, does it imply that religion is an inherent part of educational institutions? If so, the ramifications in multi-religious countries like India are complex, as institutions should then consider accommodating the religious sentiments of each community rather than catering to the majority alone.

Would this extend to allow students from diverse communities to practice their religion within educational institutions through their own expressions of uniform, festivities, and prayers? If such practices become widespread, it raises concerns about their impact on student identity. Will the subject of religion either further divide them in spaces where they seek empowerment and education or provide them with greater freedom to embrace their individual selves?

Students are free to choose sides and voice their emotions, whether it be joy or dissent. However, carrying out religious activities in an educational setting is inappropriate and goes against the goal of the organisation, which is to safeguard students’ rights, interests, safety, and development. In these situations, political factions’ fuel for violence and conflict goes against both religious and constitutional norms.

-A second-year Delhi University history honours student

Through this, one can note that if educational institutions strive to maintain a secular nature, any form of religious exhibition contradicts their fundamental goal of providing education free from religious influences. At the same time, they must safeguard students from feelings of alienation or offence.

Can dissent coexist alongside the celebration of the auspicious arrival of Lord Ram? If one student group is allowed to express their joy, should others be hindered when they protest against it?

Lastly, considering religion is a personal matter for individuals, how appropriate is it to introduce it into educational institutions? Can our colleges and universities become safe spaces for discussions, education, and growth, free from the spectre of violence over religious differences? Can the youth liberate themselves from the constraints of rigid political and religious ideologies?

As we grapple with these questions amid both joy and turmoil, the answers lack uncertainty. The quest for meaningful resolution necessitates a delicate balance between respecting individual beliefs and nurturing an inclusive educational environment that promotes intellectual growth for all.

Read Also – Saffronisation of Cultural Expression

Image Credits – Bloomberg.com 

DU Beat 

Concerns over student safety at prestigious universities are raised by the latest molestation incident at IIT-BHU. Students from different colleges question whether such institutions effectively prioritise security of its female students.

In recent times, an alarming surge in incidents compromising the safety of gender minority students has come to light in college campuses. Notably, such occurrences are increasingly prevalent in some of the country’s most popular universities. From instances of girls being recorded while they were changing at IIT Delhi during a competition to the distressing case at IIT-BHU, where a girl was undressed and molested; similar reports have emerged from Delhi University’s campuses, including Miranda House, Gargi College, and IPCW, where men forcibly entered gender-minority spaces. 

While the nature of these cases varies, they all raise a common concern: Are gender minorities genuinely safe in campus spaces? 

At IIT-BHU, an alarming incident occurred on November 1, where a student was molested by three unknown men late at night. This led to a widespread protest organised by students, not just for the victim’s justice but for broader concerns. 

“IIT-BHU shares its campus space with the main university. The open campus allows unrestricted entry even post-midnight, with inadequate checking and recordkeeping. The absence of a boundary wall and a lack of security pose a risk to safety. It’s because of these loopholes that the offenders in this case are still not caught,”

-A student from IIT BHU. 

However, the blame for the incident was wrongly placed on the victim herself, highlighting a double-standard whereby male students can roam freely at any hour while female students face restrictions and are held responsible for any mishap. It makes one wonder if the administration will ever accept their failure or not. These security concerns are not unique to IIT-BHU; they echo across various renowned universities. 

“Female students often find themselves confined to hostels during festivals like Holi and Diwali from potential threats created by men. However, there is a lack of measures to control and manage the actions of those who make common public spaces unsafe for female students. How will this situation change when the onus is always on the female and there is a lack of control and action on the people who create this nuance?”

-Shreya, a student from IPCW, argues. 

“While I feel safe at my college campus, the same cannot be said about the surrounding campus area, especially at odd hours. Cases of Eve-teasing, bag snatching, and stalking have repeatedly happened, and it is worrisome for students who have to be constantly vigilant while they live in such areas with narrow roads and less security.”

-Ananya, a student from Miranda House. 

While all-women spaces generally offer more comfort and protection, there remains a fear of outsiders violating these spaces. In co-ed colleges, where there is a persistent fear of the male gaze, posed by both outsiders and insiders. Students describe how they are constantly concerned about what they should wear, say, and do. 

“We can’t guarantee the behaviour of students at colleges because of the extremely diverse population. In many coed colleges, casual teasing and mocking are normal, and nobody takes any notice unless something really serious occurs.” 

-A student from Dyal Singh college. 

When examining the role of college administration and the police, students believe that basic safety measures such as security guards, CCTVs, and boundary walls are present on the majority of campuses. The lack of this has led to the recent fight of IIT-BHU students where they demand a secure campus with a suitable security method to track the entry of outsiders. Although, it is a crucial step forward, accounts from other supposedly “safe” campuses like IIT-Delhi, IPCW and Miranda House where these measures were breached, shed scepticism about how effective these measures really are. The fundamental question still stands: Are college campuses truly able to safeguard gender minorities, or are we normalising harassment in these seemingly “student friendly” places? 

It should be noted that resolving gender minority safety issues on college campuses necessitates a comprehensive approach that includes strict safety standards, heightened awareness, police patrolling, and a change in collective mindset. Regardless of the gender, it is imperative to establish a safe space for all students and ensure that the onus of safety does not unfairly fall on the victims.

Read Also: Women’s Safety in DU: How Safe Are We?

Featured Image Credits: Edexlive

Priya Agrawal 

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As the calendar turns to October, the enchantment of Rendezvous, IIT Delhi’s annual cultural fest, once again sweeps through Delhi-NCR. This year, Rendezvous is all set to happen from the 5th to the 8th of October 2023. What began in 1978 as a humble gathering of talents has blossomed into Asia’s most prominent college festival, a beacon of creativity, unity, and artistic excellence. Over 160,000 attendees from more than 1,000 colleges flocked to Rendezvous last time, making it a resounding success. This festival is renowned for its cultural and musical performances, and Pronites where acclaimed national artists such as Nucleya, The Local Train, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have graced the stage. Our illustrious history also includes hosting distinguished speakers like Aman Gupta and Ashneer Grover, adding intellectual vibrance to its celebration of creativity and talent.

RDV’23 is wrapped up, and RDV’24 is on the horizon for next year. In the middle of this, the IIT Delhi team wanted to embrace a new, evolved identity while returning to their old normal – honouring the cherished Rendezvous legacy. Hence, this year it was christened RendezvousX! Talk about truly bringing the X Factor? 

As RendezvousX takes the stage, they would like to acknowledge the invaluable support of their sponsors. This year, they are proud to have Phillips and Coca-Cola as their prominent sponsors. The commitment of the sponsors to nurturing creativity and fostering cultural enrichment has been instrumental in making RendezvousX a reality.

Philips, a global leader in health technology, brings innovation and creativity to the forefront. Their partnership with RendezvousX underscores their dedication to promoting artistic excellence and technological advancement. Coca-Cola, a household name and a symbol of celebration, adds the fizz to the festivities. Their association with RendezvousX is a testament to their belief in the power of cultural unity and the joy of shared experiences. With these sponsors, RendezvousX promises to be an unforgettable celebration of talent, creativity, and cultural diversity.

This year, the Rendezvous team presents to you the theme of ‘Contemporary Fantasia’. Fantasia, a melange of different forms and styles, a symphony of art, music, and boundless imagination that transcends boundaries. With Contemporary Fantasia, they embark on an odyssey that fuses modern creativity with the rich tapestry of their cultural heritage. Anticipate immersive art, electrifying musical performances, and a celebration of diverse cultures that defies expectations. It’s an invitation to traverse the frontiers of imagination and immerse yourself in a world where art knows no bounds.

Now let’s come to the events at Rendezvous which are the heartbeat of the festival, pulsating with creativity and talent, weaving together a vibrant tapestry of unforgettable moments. They are the essence of RDV, igniting passions, and creating cherished memories. RendezvousX proudly showcases a remarkable lineup of flagship events that truly encapsulate the essence and spirit of the festival. These events go beyond being mere showcases; they promise immersive experiences that will leave every participant and spectator spellbound.

First on the list is Faces of Rendezvous, a platform for individuals to shine bright with their charisma and wit. Next, picture this: the electrifying cheers of the crowd amplifying the rhythm of your music, adrenaline surging through your veins as you stand under the spotlight, heart pounding, and the crowd’s chants echoing in your ears. This is what Blitzkrieg is all about—an ultimate Western Battle of the Bands competition. It’s your moment to shine and mesmerise the audience with your musical prowess.

And then there’s Lifestyle, an event that takes you into the world where fashion reigns supreme. RendezvousX proudly presents Lifestyle as its flagship fashion event, where clothing transcends its utilitarian purpose and becomes a canvas for art. There’s also the Kavi Sammelan and Qawwali to watch out for!

In addition to the flagship events, RendezvousX is proud to host a multitude of activities and competitions organised by their various clubs, catering to diverse interests and talents.

For the dance enthusiasts, there are electrifying dance-offs and workshops, providing the perfect stage to showcase your moves and learn from the best. Drama aficionados can immerse themselves in the world of theatre with captivating plays and dramatic performances in Natika Vatika. Literary enthusiasts can indulge in wordplay and creativity with slam poetry, writing and debating events. Quizzing enthusiasts will find their haven with mind-boggling quizzes with the great waves of quizzes.

These events add an extra layer of depth and diversity to RendezvousX, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy and participate in. It’s a celebration of talent in all its myriad forms, making RendezvousX a true extravaganza of creativity and culture.

Though these events form the core of the Rendezvous, it is still incomplete without our live stage and pronite performances.  Rendezvous Live Stage events serve as the vibrant heart of the festival, consistently enchanting audiences with mind blowing performances by a diverse array of incredible artists. What makes these events truly special is their dynamic nature, unfolding throughout the day and offering a platform for numerous talented individuals and groups to showcase their skills and entertain the audience.

From morning to night, the Live Stage is a hub of cultural exploration, taking attendees on an immersive journey through the electrifying realms of music, dance, and entertainment. Emerging artists and local talents kickstart the day with their raw passion and creativity, setting the tone for what’s to come. The stage continues to be a bustling epicentre of activity, featuring a rich tapestry of performances, ranging from soulful acoustic sets to high-energy dance routines.

Rendezvous Pronites are more than just events; they are monumental experiences that leave an indelible mark on those who attend, creating lifelong memories to be cherished forever. These nights offer a holistic and captivating experience that engages all the senses.

From the moment you step into Pronites, you are transported into a world of pure musical enchantment. The stage comes alive with captivating performances that not only entertain but enrapture your senses. The artists who grace these events, like Nucleya, Sunidhi Chauhan, Benny Dayal, and Shankar Ehsaan Loy, bring a unique blend of talent and charisma, making every Pronite a star-studded spectacle that ignites the atmosphere.

Each year, the organisers commit to raising the bar even higher, promising attendees an experience like no other. Expect to be serenaded by soulful voices that touch the deepest corners of your heart, moved by powerful beats that make you dance with abandon, and transported to a world of pure musical euphoria that transcends the ordinary.

Get ready to dance, laugh, and create memories that will last a lifetime, all within the enchanting realm of RendezvousX-Contemporary Fantasia. RendezvousX promises to be an unforgettable cultural extravaganza. Join in this celebration of art, music, and imagination, and let RendezvousX leave an indelible mark on your heart.

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi’s grand annual festival Rendezvous came to an end today.

The third day of Rendezvous 2019, the annual cultural fest of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) was a success, despite starting slow, owing to the venue recovering from the previous night’s rain.

The day saw many competitions conducting their finals and semi-finals. “Swar“, the classical solo singing competition conducted its finals, which had seven participants showcasing their vocal abilities and captivating the audience. The competition, which was organised by the Music Club, was being judged by Pundit Chethan Joshi. The competitors gracefully awed the audience.

Abdul Samad Kahan of Shaheed Bhagath Singh College and Shradha Singh of Hansraj College bagged the first position. Whereas the second and third positions were bagged by Rishab Raghuvanshi of Shaheed Bhagath Singh College, and Chinmaya Iyer of Kirori Mal College respectively.

Simultaneously, the seminar hall saw talented dancers grooving to the beat with individual performances, entertaining the crowd with their dance moves.

The “Pop Battle” which was being judged by Nidhish Pandey had nearly 200 participants, with back-to-back competitions involving various western dance genres under the pop culture.

The dramatics society of IIT-D conducted the prelims for “Natika Vatika”  a multilingual stage theatre competition with prominent judges like Ashok Nagar and Rejneesh Gautham. These plays dealt with various social issues like corruption and the philosophy of life.

Mr and Miss Rendezvous (RDV’19) was filled with spirited faces eager to display their talent and personality. From over 80 entries, 24 participants were shortlisted for Mr and Miss RDV. Out of these 24 entries, 14 were present for the event. The event was judged by the famous Instagram influencers, Stefy Gupta, and Raghav Gogia. The first round consisted of a ramp walk, where the contestants put their best foot forward, literally. The shortlisted candidates from those were then asked to showcase their talent. The six final shortlisted candidates were then asked questions by the judges. The title of Mr RDV was won by Siddhartha Dayani and Miss RDV was won by Tarushi Anand. The judges had asked Dayani what his biggest accomplishment was in the judge question round to which he replied, “My biggest accomplishment has been leaving home and coming to Delhi. I was a mama’s boy at home but now I live on my own which I think is great.”

As young men and women were competing in one of the auditoriums to be the idol of Rendezvous’19, young women were competing in the hall right above to be the Campus Princess. The competition was conducted by the Miss India Organisation and was judged by Viren Barman, Peter England Mr India, 2016 first runner up, and Siddhi Gupta, FBB Colours Femina Miss India, Uttarakhand 2019. From over 180 registrations, there were 62 selected for the competition. The first round was a ramp walk round, where the contestants had to walk in pairs of two. The second round was an introduction round, where the contestants introduced themselves, and the last round for the shortlisted candidates was talent round. The contestants came from different backgrounds, with future lawyers, engineers and even airforce officers present. They were all dressed in black cocktail dresses and looked ready to light up the ramp.

“Allegro” was the Western Group Singing Competition organized by the Music Club of IIT-D. The preliminary round was online where colleges had to send in a video of their performance. From 30 online entries, 12 were shortlisted for the finals on 4th October. The competition saw music societies of various colleges singing beautiful mashups. The competition was judged by Joshua Peters, a western classical music maestro, and Nirupan Sinha, a Delhi based singer-songwriter and composer. After a tough musical battle, Echo, the Western Music Society of Jesus and Mary college stood first. Euphony, the Western Music Society of Gargi College and the Western Music Society of LSR were the first and second runners up, respectively.

Day three also saw the reputed IIT Delhi MUN, where students came as delegates and put their diplomacy skills to use.

Apart from these, there were quizzes and games going on all over the campus. From quizzing enthusiasts racking their brains in the Open Numbers Quiz and Conjurors Bout. SPIC MACAY, an organization for the promotion of Indian classical music and culture, also organised Bharatnatyam and Madhubani Painting workshops.

Conjuror Bout, a word game event was also held. The game ignited the literary gene in all to crack questions based on word jumbles, meaning and literary references. Participants received a question paper, and were given 1 hour and 30 minutes to find the answers. They were given rough sheets and stationary to answer the questions.

The event witnessed bibliophiles, literature enthusiasts and poets all throughout the Delhi circuit with their friends, teaming up to answer questions on British Literature, pop culture references, and solve jumbled words through their meaning.

The four-day long IIT Delhi’s fest, Rendezvous ended on a spectacular note on October 5, 2019. A day full of events and performances from every spectrum of life found its way in the four captivating days of the event. 

The final day begun with a plethora of events that happened simultaneously ranging right from the debates to performing arts.

One of the key highlight events of the day, ‘Instrumental Impromptu’ saw participants from all colleges who presented their mesmerising melodies for the audience. The judge of the event was Mr. Vinayak Panth who has been playing the Sitar for the last fifteen years and has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was awarded the CCRT Scholarship by the Government of India and has been a part of various ensembles, sub-collections and Anirudh Varma Collective, amongst others. 

With each performance, the audience was hooked to the beats produced, from various instruments such as the Sarangi, to the drum set. Out of the ten teams that participated in the event that turned out to have an intense competition, Nabeel Khan from Zakir Hussain College won the first prize, Saarah Roy from Daulat Ram College won the second prize, and Saksham and Sarthak from SGTB Khalsa College bagged the third position in the event.

The events began at 9 a.m. Debutant- IITD’s vigorous debating competition- came to an end with Gargi College bagging the first prize, followed by Lady Sri Ram College, and Hansraj College. 

Quizzing whizzes battled out their wits in the India Quiz Competition as well as the General Quiz later in the day, at Rendezvous, which was conducted at the Lecture Hall Complex, with questions varying from Pop Culture-  Music and Entertainment- to History and Science, sensitising the participants as well as the spectators.

Belly Dancing event saw a wide range of cheerful spectators. The performers showcased their impressive dancing skills, making the crowd thrilled with excitement. However, a few spectators raised objections to the lewd nature of the audience’s perspective. “The majority of audience saw the event not as an art form, but rather a way to get cheap thrills. It degrades the participants,” a spectator commented. The general ambience too, was more of a way of objectifying rather than appreciating the dance form. Yet, the participants were energetic and well-rehearsed, and set the stage on fire. The first prize was bagged by Shivani Gupta, and Muskaan Singh bagged the second position.

Duo Dance event witnessed scintillating performances by dance duos from the entire Delhi Dance Circuit.

The biggest highlight of the competition was liberalisation in terms of dance forms and dance types which paved way for diversity and Versatality among dancers.

All performances ranging from Bhangra, Kathak and Bollywood displayed their dance routines.

Members of Spardha, Dance Society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College came first in tie with Angat. The second position was banged by Athak and Kathak.
The special mention was bagged by Phulkari and Adrita.

Monoact provided the grandeur that IIT Delhi’s Rendezvous needed to come to an end.
The event was filled by artists from all over DCTC i.e. Delhi Collegiate Theatre Circuit.

Monoact which works on the principal of one actor in one scene, stood alone to set the mood for last day of Rendezvous.

The beauty of art is to be an anecdote of emptiness of existence in the society, and the many monoacts performed on pressing issues like lack of choice, lack of sexual preference, domestic violence and patriarchy raised necessary conversations.

Echoes, the Western Solo Singing Competition was also conducted at LHC at 1 p.m.  The event drew a heavy crowd of music lovers. There were 11 participants, all from various colleges and universities. The participants were allowed to either sing solo, or with an accompanist, and the singers were joined by pianists and guitarists. The competition was extremely subjugating in its aura- with the singers entertaining with high notes and vibratos. The first prize was bagged by Dattatreya Biswa, from Deen Dyal Upadhyay College. The second and third position went to Rashim Anand from Daulat Ram College and Janhavi Rajaram from Delhi Technological University respectively.

Another interesting event was FAIL! Initially the idea of this event was conceptualized in Massachusetts Institute of Technology to bring out stories of successful people who have come so far after facing many failures in their life. IIT held a desi edition where celebrities  including Rajat Sharma, Sudhir Chaudhary, Laxmi Agarwal, Sharad Sagar and Captain Raghu Raman addressed the audience with their inspiring life stories.

The event started with a captivating speech by acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Laxmi suffered a barbaric acid attack at the age of 15 and came out as a warrior. She started a campaign called Save Sale Acid and has never looked back in her life. She talked about her journey post the incident very modestly. Laxmi’s speech was followed by a video conferencing with Sam Pitroda. A telecom engineer by profession, Sam is considered to be the pioneer of hand held computing in India. He talked about his humble family background, friendship with Rajiv Gandhi, contemporary politics in India over other things. While there was a connectivity problem initially because of technical glitches he took a jibe saying what an irony it is to face such technical glitches in an institute like IIT. His brief address was followed by Sudhir Chaudhary who organically took the audience by his presence. He spoke about his life, his profession and the nationalism that he preaches. Acknowledging the humble response that he gets in IIT he said there’s another university in affinity just about 5 kilometres away where he never gets such overwhelming welcome. He implicitly referred to JNU with which he shares a controversial relationship because of the 2016 JNU Sedition case.

Captain Raghu Raman appeared next. His quirk and unconventional ideas about life enthralled the audience. The second journalist in this event’s list was Rajat Sharma,  editor in chief of India TV. Keeping himself apart from other speakers he held a rather interactive session asking questions from the audience for the majority of his speech. Event was concluded with a speech by young and dynamic Sharad Sagar, who heads the Dexterity Global foundation.

The final day was a melange of events right from the ones of competition and team spirit to the ones which fuelled up the people around. 

With an energetic and captivating performance, the famous dance group MJ5 had the crowd shimmying along with the members of the group to the tunes of famous Hindi and English numbers!

In what could be best defined as the perfect conclusion to a four-day relay of events and performances, Amit Trivedi and band had hundreds of people swooning and crooning to the exuberant tunes of his songs.

The unified and synchronised coordination between the band members reflected the positivity of their music. With this unforgettable rendition of a timeless musical experience, Rendezvous 2019 came to a grand end.

Feature Image Credits: Surbhit Rastogi for DU Beat.

Satviki Sanjay 

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Stephen Mathews

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Chhavi Bahmba

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Shreya Juyal

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Amrashree Mishra

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Shivani Dadhwal

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Kartik Chauhan

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In a bid to improve the rankings of the Indian institutes globally, the Human Resource Development Ministry (MHRD), on the 9th of July 2018, announced the name of six universities which have been deemed eligible for the ‘Institute of Eminence’ (IoE) status.
While Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Delhi and Indian Institute of Science Bangalore are the three public universities selected under this list, Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation, BITS Pilani, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education are the three private universities which have been granted the status of ‘IoE’.

Rationale And Implications

Prakash Ravi Kumar, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at IIT Bombay, which features in the list of IoEs, told DU Beat, “The government’s proposal to set up Institutions of Eminence had come after no Indian University had found a place in World University Rankings last year. This proposal was followed by an official notification released by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in September 2017.”
According to the panel, the Empowered Expert Committee (EEC), which had chosen the IoEs, the chosen institutes showed the potential to find a place among top 500 of global rankings. Unlike other institutions, IoEs will get greater autonomy to start new courses, admit foreign students, hire foreign faculty, and collaborate with foreign educational institutions without the need for government approval.
Manoj Kumar, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at IIT Delhi told the DU Beat correspondent in a phone call conversation, “One of the implications of our institution being a part of this list is that this tag frees us from many regulations governing higher education and fetches us INR 1,000 crore spread over five years.”


Interestingly, in conversation with students of some of the institutions which were conferred IoE status, there was substantial skepticism regarding the same.
Anand Sinha, a final year student of Production and Industrial Engineering at IIT Delhi told DU Beat, “It is indeed a proud moment for us to be chosen among the Institutes of Eminence by the MHRD. However, how exactly the government wishes to place us among the top 500 institutions of the world is a little questionable.”

Vandana Kaul, Professor at Deshbandhu College of the University of Delhi told DU Beat, “I don’t see how Jio Institute, which does not even appear on the Google Search results, managed to find itself among these deemed institutions.”
Significantly, the list of institutes chosen features the Jio Institute, which is yet to be launched.
Amid questions of the credibility of the list and allegations of favouritism, the University Grants Commission – a panel of which carried out the selections – said the institution made it to the list under the greenfield category for new or proposed institutions.

The UGC clarified that the regulations allowed “greenfield institutions” or new projects to apply and Jio Institute was proposed by Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance India Limited that is led by the Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani.
Despite these clarifications, many critiques have suggested that the Union government’s alleged closeness with the Ambani family influenced the decision. Many others questioned how any university can be judged worse than a non-existent one.

Whether granting the tag of IoE to these institutions will indeed help them secure a place in world rankings is subject to debate, the result of which will only be produced with time.


Feature Image Credits: News Nation
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
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The Centre for World Universities Rankings (CWUR) is an annual academic ranking system of global universities. The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the global university rankings that measure the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.

The CWUR Rankings
The CWUR Rankings

As per the latest Centre for World Universities Rankings (CWUR), four Indian universities have clinched places in the recent rankings, and three of them manage to get into the top 500. In CWUR-2017, the University of Delhi tops the chart. It has got a world rank of 397 with 43.61 marks, followed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, which has a world rank of 399 with 43.6 marks. At number three is the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, with a world rank of 470 with 43.27 marks. But, coming a close fourth in national rankings is Panjab University (PU). It is at fourth place with 43.06 marks and also manages the 550th spot in world rankings.
The Centre for World University Rankings uses eight objectives to rank the world’s top 1000 universities. The quality of education is measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals relative to the university’s size. It has a weightage of 25 percent. The alumni employment is measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have held CEO positions at the world’s top companies relative to the university’s size. It carried a weightage of 25 percent. The quality of faculty is measured by the number of academics who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals and carries a weightage of 25 percent. The publications are measured by the number of research papers appearing in reputable journals and have a weightage of five percent. The Influence is measured by the number of research papers appearing in highly-influential journals, carries a weightage of five percent. The citations are measured by the number of highly-cited research papers, having a weightage of five percent. The broad impact is measured by the university’s H-index, carries a weightage of five percent. The patents are measured by the number of international patent filings and carry a weightage of five percent.


Image Credits: www.du.ac.in

Sandeep Samal

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This year’s admission cycle has once again been subjected to a tumultuous trajectory. On Friday, the Supreme Court stayed the counselling and admission procedure in IITs, NIITs, and all government-funded engineering colleges. The order was passed to counter IIT’s decision to compensate for the erroneous questions in the Joint Entrance Examination ( Advanced) paper by awarding them 18 bonus marks. It is reported that 33,000 candidates have already enrolled in IITs spread across the country.

The apex court, with Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar on the bench, ordered all engineering colleges to cease the admissions procedure until the marking controversy could reach a conclusive decision. The proceedings came into effect after two students filed a petition to contest IIT’s decision. “It is a problem and it has to be solved at the earliest … We will think about the solution but don’t create further confusion by giving admission,” The Indian Express quoted the bench.

The contention stems from IIT’s decision to award 18 bonus marks to all candidates for the incorrect questions in the paper. The breakdown of this includes offering 11 marks for incorrect questions in Paper II and 7 marks for incorrect questions in Paper I. The argument that whether the marks should be awarded to all the candidates or only to those who attempted the said questions has been brought to the fore by this restraining order.

However, the IITs have reasoned that the said solution cannot be executed. Appearing for IITs, Attorney General KK Venugopal has commented that the re-evaluation of the answer sheets of 2.5 lakh students was not possible. He further mentions the two courses of action implementable. “We do not know who took test in Hindi. It is very difficult to find out and that is why it was decided that bonus marks be given to all students. Till date, more than 33,000 have already taken admission and whole process would have to be started afresh if merit list is revised,” Venugopal said.

He further argued that out of the fallacious questions, two questions were there in only one set, out of a total of 10 sets of question papers which was in Hindi medium. The two practical options at hand, he says, are ether to continue with the bonus marks or to refrain from including the wrong questions.

IITs have filed an affidavit to fight the plea, which mentions:

It is respectfully submitted that the relief is entirely against equity since the process of seat allocation is going on and around 33,000 candidates have already accepted the allotted seat and reported for physical verification of the documents … It is submitted that in case ongoing counselling and admission process is disturbed, the admission procedure of more than 36,000 students in 97 institutes under the joint seat allocation programme for IITs, NIITs, IIITs and GFTIs (Government Funded Technical Institutions) would be scrapped.

The other side of the legal tussle is led by Senior Advicate Vikas  Singh and lawyer D K Devesh, who maintain that the decision taken by the leading engineering college is ‘arbitrary and illegal.’  The petitioners rationalised that despite clearing the exam, their ranks had been devalued substantially due to this mechanism.

The Apex court sought to cite a precedent of 2005 when the Supreme Court ordered that the awarding of bonus marks can ask be justified to those students who attempted the eponymous questions.

This year’s JEE Advanced was conducted on May 20th and the results were announced on June 11th, 2017. Every year lakhs of students eye the JEE entrance to enroll into the likes of IITs and NIITs. The bench has scheduled a hearing on July 10th to reach to a conclusion after examining all options.


Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times


Saumya Kalia
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I distinctly remember when I entered grade 8 of school, coaching institutes were wooing their potential candidates, lecturing children as young as 12 and 13 on ‘success’ and how one achieves success by cracking an ABC entrance exam after which they gets a nice ‘package’ and settle in life. It was all aversive to me, how people would pay so much to sit in a cramped classroom where mock tests decided your self worth.

What I saw was very obvious to me, but it wasn’t to my fellow schoolmates who did decide to sign up for coaching. My parents’ anxiety loomed each day as I continued to refuse coaching classes. I get where my parents’ anxiety comes from. It is indeed very hard to get a respectable, good earning job in this country without stomping on thousands of others, including your peers. ‘Cutthroat competition’ although a buzzword today, quite effectively describes the situation.

This anxiety is omnipresent and coaching institutes, vicious enough in their business strategies decide to tap these anxieties to squeeze out money from the masses. A lot of those include people from poor backgrounds, without means to access proper education who only seek a better life after investing hard earned life savings.

Coaching institutes which boast of guiding students to gain the top ranks in exams seek to reduce the individuals to their most marketable essence. The totality of their existence is judged by the decimal digits that follow 99 and they are confined to their passport sized photos on a large banner along with their All India Ranking (Much to everyone’s suspicion, all the toppers seem to be associated with all the coaching institutes)

Coaching culture is so widespread and accepted that most of actually consider it a basic necessity in getting an education. That explains the sorry state out higher education system is in, where school and college teachers wouldn’t ever give a damn about a student’s further studies.

When I learnt that earning money is not just the end motive but the soul motive of coaching centres, I refused to acknowledge their credibility. Why do I hear about people who crack Civil Service exams, only to quit their jobs after a few months to teach a class where they earn in lakhs? Why do IIT graduates, instead of giving back to the government that invests so much in them, vow to make you the next IITian?  

Education in India is not a transmission of knowledge but actually a very strategic trade. Coaching institutes are seemingly the throne bearers of this trade.


Kartikeya Bhatotia

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Not everybody has the gift of art, and of those who do, not all are lucky enough to get their share of fame and recognition. This is where iOTA enters the frame. iOTA is a platform linking specially-abled artists to their prospective buyers.

Conceptualised by Megha, Preena, Pranidhi and Prateek, this is an endeavour promoting the art of differently abled artists with brilliant skills. As they rightly believe in ‘Canvassing Lives’, their motto, this group of young enthusiastic undergraduates from SRCC, Delhi University and IIT Mandi step in to redefine the lives of thousands of such artists by channelising their talent towards the deserved platform.

iOTA is entering the market by holding India’s first crowd -funded Exhibition for differently abled artists. For the same, they are putting up their campaign on the crowd funding platform ‘Desired Wings’ to raise funds for their maiden themed exhibition to be followed by theme based art exhibitions in multiple cities. iOTA is also developing an online bidding platform for artworks to remove the international barriers and attract art lovers from all over the world.

The artists that they have on board are from various sections of society, longing for the appropriate bargain for their artwork along with a respectable name. Here’s a small introduction of a few artists they have, besides others.

Sheela Sharma: Paints the world right with her left foot; her work defines empathy, love, bonding amongst others.

Shreekant Dubey: A renowned artist, he always carries the go-getter instinct and has his unique way of painting.

CV Surendran: Hails from Kerala, he paints with ball point pens and doesn’t let his paralyzed body affect his soul.

Amita Dutta: She suffers from bilateral hearing loss. Her style of coffee painting is one of its kind.

Vipul Mittal: An offbeat artist. Mute lips and silence is his world, but his art speaks a lot.

Shivraj Singh: A veteran artist, his well-crafted sculptures make up for his cramped legs.

Neelesh Ganesh: A 23 year old autistic kid, who paints music and god in his work.

Their crowd funding campaign will go live on www.desiredwings.com/iota on 1st February 2015 and the money will be used to organise their first exhibition.

Jeff Lieberman needs little introduction. He is the host of Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp”, who holds four degrees (two B.S. degrees, in Mathematics and Physics, two M.S. degrees, in Mechanical Engineering and Media Arts & Sciences and is currently pursuing a doctorate at MIT’s Media Lab) behind him. He has headed the design of the Cyberflora installation, a robotic flower garden that senses and responds to people in a lifelike manner, and the Motor Learning Robotic Wearable Suit, a robotic suit that teaches motor skills (dance, sports, rehab, etc). One of the most successful roboticists in the world, Lieberman is currently on an India tour that he kick- started with a lecture at Tryst, the Technical festival of IIT Delhi, on Sunday 3rd March.

Lieberman spoke about the intersection of art, science, technology, human perception, learning, passion and consciousness, enlightening students through the use of numerous videos from his show. Most of us tend to overlook the most subtle aspects of our humanity, as we are what our mind makes us believe. The human brain is the most malleable as well as the most important aspect of our being, and Lieberman made this complex theory appear so simple that students were left in awe.

Lieberman talked about some really interesting experiments, for example, if one wears glasses in which the world appears upside down, after a few days when one removes the glasses, the world actually appears upside down to our eyes! Lieberman also showed some clippings of the effect that a drop of water makes on water, the effect of sound waves on drums, and many more. Using expensive cameras and high speed technology, Lieberman and his team have managed to show the world how beautiful waves are, since they are mostly overlooked by us as we do not have the infrared vision that would have enabled us to see them. Lieberman encouraged all students to follow their passion and pursue their weirdest dreams. He managed to show the students how they could strike a balance between art and technology, by creatively employing their technological expertise to come up with wacky ideas.

It was a wonderful session, with students staying engrossed till the end. Lieberman truly managed to make most students change their perception about technology, and those students belonging to a non- engineering background too marvelled at the spectacular inventions of Jeff Lieberman. This year, Tryst had some amazing guest lecturers with scholars like Kazutaka Kurihara speaking on acoustics and Chittaranjan Andrade speaking on the habit of nose- picking! However, Lieberman’s lecture was the most awaited event of Tryst, with the seminar hall of IIT seeing a packed audience. Tryst ’13 indeed inspired students to bring out their innovative and wackier side, and students are eagerly awaiting the next years’ fest!