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The University of Delhi’s (DU) administration, principals and teachers have shown support towards the idea of having an ‘integrated North Campus’  ahead of the high-rise construction which is taking place and threatens to change the landscape of the area permanently.

In light of the recent developments with regards to the proposed construction of a high-rise building adjacent to the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station in the North Campus of the University of Delhi, the administration is planning to integrate the University campus and transform it into a closed campus, with no free access to the public for the same.

Speaking at the 96th convocation of the University last month, Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi gave a fresh impetus to what has been a long-standing idea, saying he hoped the area will be turned into an “integrated campus with no thoroughfare” within one year.

Bipin Tiwari, a member of the task force set up by the University’s Campus Development Committee, said that a closed campus could mean the setting up of entry and exit gates at certain key roads such as Chhatra Marg, Cavalry Road, University Enclave and the GTB Road. Through this, the University hopes to restrict the movement of vehicles, not belonging to the staff or students, which currently pass through the area freely. It would also mean setting up alternative routes to divert the traffic.

The task force has written to the Public Works Department (PWD) asking it to carry out a traffic survey of the area and determine what routes may be possible. According to sources, two main hurdles being faced in lieu of this plan include – firstly, a traffic survey of the area and secondly, the much disputed construction of a 39-storey building in the campus.

The North Campus area, flanked by the Najafgarh drain on one side, the Kamla Nehru ridge on the other, the Ring Road in the north and Kamla Nagar in the south, is primarily dotted with university buildings, including various colleges, hostels, sports complexes and administrative blocks. And if the university authorities have their way, the campus will be closed off to the public, quotes The Hindu.

“We are demanding free movement, not a bigger cage to live in, which is what a closed campus will be,” the representative said, adding that the university would use the pretext of a closed campus to clear out street vendors, rickshaws, tea stalls and other small traders.

A representative of the Kamla Nagar Market Association said that while it would be too early to comment on any such proposal, the other stakeholders, including the residents in the area, would have to be taken into confidence for any such move.

Abhinandan Kaul, a first year student of St. Stephen’s College, favours the move of the administration in this regard, and says, “Making North Campus a closed campus would benefit the students by putting their security on priority. The closed campus would also ensure that the traffic is better managed and commute becomes easy for both staff and students. At the same time, I feel that the campus should only be made into a closed campus by increasing its reach, taking the example of other closed campuses such as that of IIT Delhi.”

Another first year student from Daulat Ram College, said on the condition of anonymity, “…a closed campus would benefit the students of DU immensely. They can avail the free environment of a public campus without compromising their security concerns. Even hostel curfews and strict deadlines would be extended if the campus is converted into a closed campus.”

Most principals and teachers of the DU colleges, though, support the idea of an ‘integrated North Campus’ as the under-construction high-rise threatens to change the landscape of the area permanently.

However, the campus and administration await the orders of the Supreme Court (SC) on the matter of the high-rise before any steps can be taken in the direction of having a closed campus.

 

Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

Bhavya Pandey

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Every aspect of North Campus has its own story to tell. Just take the walls for instance; there is something or the other stuck, painted, splattered on these walls that are bound to catch your eye.

One can begin their “Dilli Deewar Darshan” with a common Delhi University thing i.e. student politics. Take the left or the right, various shades of political opinion are expressed on the bricks that form the foundations of several colleges and lanes. This definitely includes the posters and bills featuring quirky close-up photographs with loud fancy fonts. Even before a fresher gets to know about parties like ABVP and NSUI, he will know who is Rocky Tuseer, Rajat Chaudhary or Mahamedha Nagar, all thanks to the endless posters and vibrant graffiti. Getting layers of these posters is like a monthly affair for many such “walls for democracy” on the campus. And some of the thin paper bills even start getting shredded over time making the wall look like a bizarre work of modern art. Sometimes rain might be the reason for the tearing away of these posters. However, we all know that rain and Delhi don’t have long-lasting relationships. So, one might wonder which beast goes on scratching off these posters in a savage fashion ravaging our North Campus walls.

However, the walls don’t get tattooed with the names of DUSU candidates always. Sometimes there are scribbles of meaningful text and art as well.  Many free thinkers and peaceful revolutionaries form a part of the DU family and their mental product is reflected on the walls too. For instance, you can spot the words “Free Saibaba” spray-painted in different areas. This refers to the sudden arrest of DU Professor GN Saibaba who has been hailed as a crusader for peasant movements. Some detailed imagery and messages can also be found relating to women empowerment, road safety and menstruation awareness. These adornments to the North Campus walls are much needed for the aesthetic appeal and social relevance.

Talking about art and politics and social messages, it is no surprise that the Father of the Nation is also a featured guest. Mahatma Gandhi’s face is virtually everywhere in the country be it in textbooks or currency notes or the DU walls. A few walls near Vishwavidyalaya metro station and the souvenir shop, in particular, have several bright murals on Gandhi’s morals (no pun intended).  Apart from Gandhi, historical greats like Swami Vivekananda and Bhagat Singh also keep a watchful eye on the students of DU.

 

gandhi

 

A knowledge hub like Delhi University attracts people from diverse parts of the country. Many shift to North Campus with hopes, dreams and their parents’ money in their pocket and tend to shift in flats and PGs. So, it’s no surprise that amongst the tons of Post It notes stuck on the walls, advertisements for PG and other facilities occupy a major share too (especially on the Kamala Nagar and Hudson Line side).  The names and ads are totally random so you can expect anything from “Radhe Radhe Boys PG” to “Cook Dhoni”.

Ranging from mundane to outrageous, these walls are something which makes North Campus what it is. The walls are filled with diverse colours, fonts, political parties, student unions, rebel messages, and paintings. Maybe indirectly, this symbolises the whole DU culture itself, a life filled with hues, cultures, and ideas of all sorts…

no staring

 

Featured Image credits- Shaurya Singh Thapa

 

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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Thursday witnessed litthis and chokhas at the North Campus as students from the University of Delhi (DU) held a protest near the Vishwavidalaya metro station to show their displeasure against the construction of a 39-storied building near the Campus. 

A wave of voices raised in unison on 7th November to protest against the construction of a building near campus. Vishwavidalaya metro station, being the nearest spectator to the protest, witnessed students from DU put forth their concerns and issues.

An uncanny side of the protest was the campaign of “solidarity through food” at the North Campus, serving litti chokha as a way to amplify support against the construction. Jagannath Jaggu, one of the organisers of the event, pursuing M.A. in Buddhist Studies said that they were trying to unite people living in the University area. He further added that the E-rickshaw Drivers’ Association has extended their support to the campaign.

The roots of the protest were traced out to be an issue against the construction of a 39- storied building near campus, on the grounds that it could compromise the privacy of women’s hostel in the area. The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and the University administration joined hands in opposing the construction. The Hindu reported that the construction by a private builder is reportedly being undertaken on a land that originally belonged to the Ministry of Defence. It was transferred to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC), and finally to the builder. It is told that the DMRC had acquired 3.05 hectares of land from the Defence Ministry in 2001, of which the metro station was built on 1 hectare of land. The rest was given to a company, which is planning to build residential flats.

Rasal Singh, member of the Campus Development Committee said, “The University was united over the issue.” He said that the building would “bulldoze the teaching-learning culture of the University.” He further added, “Government authorities must take serious cognizance… and immediately stop the construction of this illegal building.”

One of the participants in the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I am here for a different cause too. The Air Quality Index of North Campus has hit a severe low. Constructional activities have to stop, otherwise, the air shall remain choked.”

 

Feature Image Credits: The Times of India

 

Priyanshi Banerjee

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The University of Delhi (DU) organised its 96th Annual Convocation on 4th November 2018 at the Sports complex in North Campus.

This year’s convocation witnessed the highest number of graduates, a total of 3 Lack students were to be graduates from DU, out of which 700 were present at the convocation. From these 700 students, 300 were recipients of special awards and scholarships provided by the Varsity. The occasion was graced among others by the Chief Guest Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal, honourable Human Resource and Development Minister, with Professor D.P. Singh, Chairman, University Grants Commission, and Shri. Chandra Shekhar Dubey, Director of Campus of Open Learning. The function was presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Yogesh Tyagi. The event commenced with a combined blowing of the Indian Shankh and beautiful classical performance by the students of the Faculty of Music.

A podium was set up next to the stage on which two people translated the whole event in sign language for the hearing impaired students.

The convocation was declared open by Registrar, Professor Tarun at 10:45 am. People from various parts of the world joined the event through podcasts. Vice-Chancellor took to stage and stated various achievements of the University of Delhi so far in 2019 enlightening the crowd. He talked about the importance of an integrated campus of DU. He also emphasized on the fact that there is zero place for corruption in the institute to maintain the ethical standards. And the Delhi University is the only institute with schools for children established unlike any other institute in the country, marching towards excellence

The ceremony also honoured the prominent alumni of the varsity and awarded them with medals and discussed their achievements. Famous journalist, Mr Rajat Sharma was awarded for his accomplishments. Anil Kumar Tyagi, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, and an alumnus of the University of Delhi was also honoured at the event along with more such distinguished personalities.

The event saw joyous faces of students in black robes and graduation hats who clearly worked really hard to make it to this day, along with their proud and happy parents in the audience who couldn’t stop applauding celebrating this glorious event even for a little while. Nikita Bhateja, MSc Statistics from Hansraj College was the recipient of five awards followed by several other students from all sorts of courses who made a difference.

Feature Image Credits: Deewanshi Vats for DU Beat

Avni Dhawan

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Culture preservation and safety has motivated the University of Delhi (DU) to convert the North Campus into an enclosed area to form a proper campus, much like the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) campus. The initiative will be completed within a year and was informed by the Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi at the executive council (EC) meeting on Saturday 26th October 2019. 

Currently, the proposal is in the contact phase where government agencies and departments are told to start the process, an official announcement hasn’t been made yet. 

The two-day meeting held on Saturday, was a platform for many issues to be discussed, the IOE proposal, construction of 39-storey building and the closing of North Campus. 

However, while these issues may seem independent, they are interconnected. If the EC’s proposal is accepted to enclose North Campus, the construction of the building will be deferred. And, IOE (Institute of Eminence) proposal would pave way for the closing of North Campus. 

EC member Rajesh Jha, said, “We have always demanded that the campus should be closed as we want DU to have a character of its own just like JNU and other varsities in the country. The closed campus will also help authorities improve the security on the varsity premises.”

North Campus is a hub of academics at the University of Delhi, with many colleges and departments within meters of each other, and so, it has always witnessed the greatest college student footfall. This raises some serious questions regarding the safety of the students, with recent developments in many violent cases taking place at North Campus. This concept will increase the safety of students manifold. However, it may subject them to false seclusion and isolation. The culture of campus may be gone when only students of those colleges could take part in it, and not all could witness it.

Interviewing students from all over the campus, DU Beat received many mixed responses.  Here’s what DU students have to say about this. 

Aditi Raj, Daulat Ram College, North Campus said “The idea seems far-fetched, I don’t know how they will manage to do it. The campus is full of roads that connect two parts of the city. And other universities like JNU, have a huge campus with all departments to enclose, where we are just calling few colleges and departments the entire university campus.” 

Satviki Sanjay, Miranda House, North Campus said, “I don’t think DU North Campus should be closed. To ‘maintain its culture’ sounds like a terrible reason as DU ‘culture’ is not just limited in the North Campus but also the other colleges. Closing it would just strengthen the already prevalent elitism in the North Campus. Moreover, there are logistical issues that need to be resolved. DU North Campus is not just educational institutions but an entire ecosystem of students, teachers, market places, transportation and all which make DU North Campus what it is and closing it would rather hamper the ‘culture’.” 

Akshat Arora, Motilal Nehru College, South Campus said, “I feel like restricting an area to a limited number of students will work against your intentions if you intend to preserve “cultures”.”

Whereas, A counter-opinion also existed among the DU students. Priyanshu Sinha, Delhi School of Journalism, North Campus believes, “When we step out of the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station to head towards our respective colleges, it feels more like going to an isolated corporate office than going to a University. Like JNU, Delhi University needs to have a closed campus.”

Many times the argument comes that DU is a collegiate like Oxford which is based in the Oxfordshire. But then we forget that Oxfordshire is completely established for Oxford University whereas Delhi is a diverse city having government offices, corporate buildings along with the University. It doesn’t feel like a University campus when cars flock all the time, outsiders who have nothing to do with the college or the education roam around in the campus. It also dilutes unity of the campus as a single entity. This step by the administration is very pleasant and we welcome it wholeheartedly.”

Pranavi Prabhakaran, Daulat Ram College, North Campus, told DU Beat, “North Campus is a truly important academic area. It’s only surprising that this move hadn’t been taken earlier. I hope it will be cleaner now.”

While different opinions surface in the University, many questions like whether the infamous Hudson Lane and Patel Chest Photocopy Lane be part of mainstream campus? Will the stalls and Chai corners that exist, still cease to exist? Will colleges provide parking spots to those who earlier parked outside?

To answer all these questions and many more, a formal official notification is awaited. 

Feature Image Credits: Dailymail

Chhavi Bahmba 

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The University of Delhi’s long-time pending demand for the construction of two hostels has finally bore fruit with the University ready to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). This stands as one of the key developmental issues that will take place in the University.

The University of Delhi (DU) along with the CPWD is planning to construct two hostels in the North and South Campus. A ‘400 bed capacity with double accommodation’ hostel is to be constructed in Mukherjee Nagar and the one in South Campus is yet to be finalised.

Currently, there are only 17 hostels in the University with a total capacity of 3,215 students whereas the total number of students for undergraduate, postgraduate, and certificate courses stands above a staggering number of 2,23,000 students. Having more hostels will bring better and safer living alternatives for the students of the University.

Along with the construction of the hostels, DU is also planning to preserve the century old Central Library as a ‘heritage building’. The Central Library is a host to a collection of 1,380 gifted books and functioned as a shifting space, until it found the present location at the Faculty of Arts in 1950. According to the plan, the library will be renovated and preserved along with the addition of another new block to it. The plan includes the construction of smart class rooms, seminar halls and an auditorium.

These two projects are spearheaded by CPWD along with the construction of a fully ‘digitalised Academic Block’ which will be located at the Maurice Nagar. The academic block will only be used for teaching purposes and will be constructed with digital and world class technology.

The University is working on more interesting plans and new technology for the students. As reported by The Pioneer, Mr. Tarun Das, Registrar, DU, said, “With the CPWD as the executing agency of the project, an estimated budget cost of the entire project is said to be 200 crores.”

The environment angle will duly be kept in check while all of these construction projects take place. Mr. Das also quoted, “Permissions need to be sought from environment department for felling trees.”

All of these projects stand as great stepping stones in bringing world class facilities to the university and making the spaces more accessible and centres of learning and ease for the students.

Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat

Amrashree Mishra

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A video of men dancing atop cars seen to be disrupting traffic, surfaces post Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) Election results. Violators are yet to be identified.

A video of men dancing atop cars in the vicinity to the North Campus caught many eyes on the social media. This video appeared post the victory of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in DUSU elections, for the posts of President, Vice President, and Joint Secretary while, the candidate from National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) won the post of Secretary, paving way for Akshit Dahiya to become the President, Pradeep Tanwar- the Vice President, Ashish Lambba- the Secretary, and Shivangi Kharwal- the Joint Secretary.

The video comprises of men dancing atop cars, sitting on their windows, bonnets, throwing pamphlets out of their cars, and disrupting vehicular traffic near North Campus area. As reported by Hindustan Times, Anil Mittal, additional Public Relations Officer of Delhi Police, when asked about the incident, said, “We are analysing the videos and are trying to identify vehicles and the persons seen in them.”

Sidharth Yadav, the State Secretary of ABVP said, “ABVP concluded its victory procession in the evening while those videos were shot at night. There are no ABVP members and candidates in those video clips. Police should identify those who violated traffic norms and take strict action against them”. Akshay Lakra, NSUI Delhi President also said that they did not carry out any procession of Friday.

Harsh Singh, a student from Shri Ram College of Commerce, said, “The most fair and accurate, or at least what should be representation of our opinion, should be election. People may have different ways of expressing their opinions, some ways being more violent than others and not allowing them to do so would be against our Fundamental Rights, but the question which arises is- where should we draw the line between availing our rights and infringing on others?” Another student, Swarnim Agrawal from Lady Shri Ram College, said, “This is what we call ‘dirty politics’. I can’t believe the magnitude of resources wasted in these extravagant campaigning for just an election. The acts of violence are also a very grim picture of the ugly and chaotic political atmosphere that we, unfortunately, are living in.”

Feature Image Credits: India Today

Priyanshi Banerjee

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The University of Delhi (DU) has come face to face with the Delhi Government with regards to the construction of a 39 storey private building in North Campus.

As per a report by the India Times, DU has written a letter to the Centre, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal, demanding to stop the construction work immediately.

In the year 2001, The Delhi Government had acquired three acres of land from the Ministry of Defence to construct the metro line. Only an acre was used and the rest two acres were sold to a private builder in order to build a 39 storey building.The University believes that the construction of private property would lead to great repercussions for the varsity as it threatens its educational space and can also pose a threat in terms of safety.

In 2018, varsity had written to the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Housing, lead by Mr. Durga Shankar Mishra requesting for restraining North DMC from granting any sanction to the Group Housing Projects of Young Builders Private Limited, near Vishwavidyalaya Metro station.

Delhi University’s Officer on Special Duty Mr. Vipin Tiwari talked to India Today, about this move. He stated that he had witnessed the construction of the building behind the metro station.

According to him, this poses a great threat to the University space as it’s a private building and is very close to not only four girl’s hostels but also the office of the Lieutenant Governor and the DRDO office. The construction was not stopped despite various complains, not only that it will also be the tallest building around if constructed. It poses a great threat as this a high-security zone.

He also added that this also violates the three points of Clause 11 of the Delhi Master Plan 2021. Various political parties also showed their dissent against this move. The Mayor of Delhi Mr. Avatar Singh responded by stating that a letter requesting the clearing of doubts raised has been sent to the Governor. “All at being fault shall be persecuted”, he added.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Stephen Mathew

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On 3rd August 2019, the University of Delhi (DU) witnessed one of its most vibrant pride marches ever in the North Campus, starting from the hostel of Hansraj College, till the office of the University’s Vice Chancellor.

On Saturday, Project CLAP organised the DU Pride March, as a celebration of fifty years of pride. The march was inaugurated with a performance by the Western music society of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College.

Members and allies were seen with face paints, flags, and posters. The event began with an introduction by the members of CLAP, followed by a Bollywood mashup rendition. Rishi Raj Vyas, a famous queer activist, addressed the parade and spoke about the repeated suppression of the community’s gender identities and sexual orientations.

Chants of “prem che, prem che, tharo maro same che” (your love and my love are all the same), and those of “Aazadi!” (freedom) from homophobia.

When asked what Pride meant to them, a member of the community commented, “For me, pride is being proud of who I am and finally accepting myself, it feels like I have a place where I belong.” Another supporter who was attending their first-ever pride march felt relieved to be a part of the event.

Arshia (name changed), a student at Lady Shri Ram College and a part of the community, remarked about how homophobic the Indian society is, how members are constantly subjected to violence just for showing love, and how pride representation was important.

With the marchers getting down to the tunes of the dhol, each step drew more traction and support. The event drew to a conclusion with an open-mic where few enthusiastic members and supporters took to the mic and performed for spectators with a vow to promote awareness and break the shackles which restrict people to love freely. “Pride is a day to showcase yourself as freely as possible, and to ask more and more people to support you. So it’s more of a supportive act than being proud of yourself, because we’re proud of ourselves every day,” a member of the community remarked.

 

 

Feature Image Credits: Bhagyashree Chatterjee for DU Beat

 

Shreya Juyal

Anandi Sen

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The National Student’s Union of India (NSUI) held a protest march against the amendments made to the Right to Information Act (RTI) by the Government. Read on to know more. 

On 1st August 2019, the NSUI held a protest march in front of the Faculty of Arts, North Campus, showing its strong displeasure towards the move taken by the Government to make amends to the RTI Act. The members of the students’ political party marched from the Faculty of Arts to Kirori Mal College, all the while chanting slogans like “RTI Bachao, Desh Bacho

Neeraj Kundan, National President, NSUI said, “Today the RTI is one of the most important laws in the country, it directly affects the people. In 2017, when the BJP Government saw that the RTI could expose high government officials like Smriti Irani, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they started trying to curb its power. The Government is now trying to reduce its autonomy and cage it. NSUI is going to hold protests all over the country until our rights are given back to us.”

Students and associations like The North East Students’ Society, Delhi University (NESSDU) turned up in large numbers to support the NSUI’s protest against the RTI amendments. They marched with bold banners and enthusiastic slogans. The presence of the Delhi Armed Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) showed how protests in the DU are feared to turn violent, but this was an extremely peaceful protest.

Surbhi Dwivedi, National General Secretary of NSUI and the RTI Team Convener emphasised on the importance of the RTI for the student community. She said, “The RTI is the most effective tool in student politics. It helps students to find discrepancies in the University. A strong RTI is our right.” Robin Chaudhary, National Secretary of NSUI, said that they were determined to fight for democracy and that if the Government did not heed to their demands, they would go on a hunger strike.

The RTI Act, 2015 is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens”. It has made the workings of the Government more transparent, helped to reduce corruption and has facilitated in the workings of this democracy. The RTI Commissioners used have fixed five-year tenure and their salaries were equal to certain posts in the Election Commission and the bureaucracy. The recent amendments made to the act by the BJP Government have changed this. According to the new amendments, the central government now has direct control over the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners’ term of office and salaries. The changes made to the RTI are being seen by many as the Government trying to control it, and as a result of this many voices in objection to the RTI amendments are being raised all over the country.

 

 

Feature Image Credits: NSUI

 

Juhi Bhargava

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