Students of the prestigious University of Delhi institution, Miranda House, feel like there are a lot of differences in the so-called Arts and Science blocks of the college.
Miranda House is an Arts and Science college in North Campus. It offers eleven B.A. (Honours) courses, a B.A. Programme course, five B.Sc. (Honours) courses and two B.Sc. Programme courses. The college building is broadly divided in such a way that the right blocks have labs and classes for students pursuing Science courses are conducted there, while classes for students pursuing Arts courses are conducted in the left block.
Recently, a new building was constructed, which is also termed as the “Science Block” by the students. The building is equipped with better infrastructure and more facilities, as compared to the Arts block. Elevators are installed, as are sensor-driven taps which speak of better infrastructure. Science students are more than those pursuing Arts, and that their events are given more priority.
Another fact pointed out by many students is ‘the Science canteen’. A comparatively small canteen near the front-gate of the college called the science canteen is located close to the Science block. There is another main canteen and other cafes in the college, but there is no such place called the Arts canteen in the college. However, the so-called Science canteen can be accessed by all the students, but the name given to it by the students is enough to raise a question.
A student of B.A. (Honours) Political Science said, “The Arts and Sciences divide becomes very visible by things like infrastructure and facilities in the buildings. While there is a lack of basic facilities like properly functioning fans in classes for Arts students which aren’t looked at even after repeated complaints, there are several rooms in the science block which are equipped with air conditioners also.”
The Wi-Fi network is another issue. It is the strongest in the science block while there is negligible to none network in other areas of the college. Wi-Fi works in almost all the rooms where science classes are conducted, and near the Physics Department where the network is the strongest. A recent survey conducted on the college campus for testing the quality of drinking water revealed that the Science block had the most suitable water for drinking, as compared to other places.
Mani, a third-year student of B.Sc. (Honours) Physical Sciences said, “There are many instances which show this bias. The theme of ‘Tempest 2018’ was based on the technology where robots and gadgets adorned the campus. Many big scale events and competitions of the Physics Department are organized by D.S. Kothari Centre, which witnesses high footfalls and requires more space. Science Conclave, which is a three-day event with various competitions and international speakers sees mass participation. While there are no such events for the Arts department.”
Another student of B.A. (Hons) History who wished to remain anonymous said, “A general bias can be seen in the facilities for Arts and Science students. However, according to me the reason for this bias is the academic background and inclination of our ex-principal, Dr. Jolly. As she was a Science faculty, more preference was given to events conducted by science departments, and this could also be the reason for better infrastructural facilities in their department. However, with the appointment of Dr. Bijayalaxmi Nanda as the acting Principal, there are chances of change in the situation.”
All these instances make the differences between Arts and Sciences in Miranda House evidently foregrounded. A number of these issues were also put forward during the manifesto reading, but the Student’s Union hasn’t addressed any of them yet. The President of Miranda House Students’ Union (MHSU) has also denied speaking on the issue.
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