From the recurrence of several ‘misogynistic incidents’ perpetrated by society members, negligence of supervision, to ‘targeted bullying’, we uncover the dark side of Sri Venkateshwara College’s Film-making Society, ‘Effulgence Films’.

Sri Venkateshwara College’s film-making society, ‘Effulgence Films’, is one of the reputed societies within the Delhi University circuit, with several productions across the year. However, beyond the disguise of ‘galaxies of creativity’ lies the truth about the ‘toxic and horrible’ working space that society provides, as several sources allege.

Flashing back to January of the present year, a student from Sri Venkateshwara College, in conversation with DU Beat, claims that a ‘highly problematic incident’ took place within the society circle, which was reported to the Internal Complaints Committee with the signatures of several students within the society. Following this, several members of the society who were ‘traumatised’ by the event left the society. The Internal Complaints Committee of the college, after conducting a six month-long sequence of hearings, removed the perpetrators from the society in June- two of them, who were also a part of the core within the FilmSoc.

Moreover, the other societies within the college had also released a Statement of Condemnation following the ‘horrible incident’. Some parts of it read as follows:

As of today, 11 members of Effulgence, The Filmmaking society of SVC have taken the decision to leave the society post after a series of events over the course of the past few months.

There has been a culture of toxicity pervasive in Filmsoc centred around misogyny. Female directors and writers were constantly spoken over and have had projects taken over by arrogant men whose memberships weren’t removed even after being given repeated warnings as they were considered “cherished assets”. The general nature with which women who spoke up were treated, how female members of the core were called “token women” and mocked behind their backs, called trash “to be cleaned out,” and how instances of objectification were treated as dismissible, is utterly appalling.

However, despite being legally removed from the society by the college ICC, the perpetrators continued to be a part of official FilmSoc events like the recent Indian Film Project (IFP), openly participating in film shootings and so on.

“The convenor of the society was also present throughout the ICC hearings. However, no action was taken against the perpetrators re-entering society-circles despite being banned by the ICC.”

A student at SVC.

Despite legal procedures kicking in and several call-outs, the society space still remains a home ground of toxicity, with rampant groupism, the core isolating other core members, targeted bullying, and the list goes on.

 “The new core has also been formed out of the friends of the previous perpetrators, who are extremely close with each other and sideline the work and opinions of other members. The society has two Presidents and one of them was removed by the core for speaking out against their sexist behaviour. It is a horrible space to work for women, and if anybody raises their voice, they condemn it with “Zyada woke mat bano!” (Don’t be too woke).”

Sources within SVC.

Students also claim that the Filmmaking society has been a trap for this cycle of toxicity for several years, but recent events show that ‘they can do anything and everything and get away with it’. Members are not given due credit for their ideas if they are not too close with the core, and the January incident is often shoved under the carpet with “Ek hi incident tha, forget about it!” (It was just one incident,;forget about it!).

“But that one incident left so many within and without the society traumatised.”

alleges a student at SVC.

Pin-pointing at this culture of toxicity, the statement of condemnation further elaborates that:

“The focus of the society has also severely detracted from filmmaking, with the creatives constantly undermined and put second to those with logistics prowess. Apart from this, the dirty politics of keeping friends of friends in power as well as recruiting and raising many inactive members within the society just for the “vibes” were unjust and demotivating.”

Hitherto, coming to the “vibes”, the society has also been proving to be an unfair space for the freshers and new-recruits who are unaware of the ongoing-climate of the FilmSoc.

“Considering how freshers are new to the college climate, all societies in the college must strive to create a safe atmosphere for them, as freshers are unaware of the power dynamics existing within societies and are desperate to do anything in order to join the society. However, in an ice-breaking event of the FilmSoc, freshers were asked to go down on their knees and propose to seniors and dance with them, which could be uncomfortable for any newbie in college.”

– a student at SVC.

Moreover, students also pin-point several ‘triggering instances’ taking place during the recruitment process of the FilmSoc as well:

“The core members were drunk during the recruitment process and were openly consuming alcohol. Also, the interview questions were nowhere related to FilmSoc, and they were like, “Are you into drugs?”, “Do you drink?” or “Do you have a flat where we can party?”. What sort of climate is this society going to provide to the new-comers?”

The Internal Complaints Committee of the college claims that no incidents were reported after the procedures of the January incident. However, students claim that they were too ‘traumatised and triggered’ to have the courage to talk about such incidents in fear of ‘targeted bullying’.

The Statement of Condemnation concludes by saying that:

“We have time and again tried our best to endure everything and work professionally with these people. However, we were disrespected amongst their circles and within the larger society. So, at the very least, we seek to make this public now, as it is only fair that in the future, people will be aware of the culture that permeates this society and cognizant of the environment they are interacting with.”

While societies form an integral part of the ‘DU culture’ and a beneficial part of the self-development and growth during college years, unhealthy spaces can leave a lasting impression on many. It is imperative to raise your voice against unjust practices and foster safe spaces within campus.

Read Also: North-Eastern Student of Hindu College Faces Racially-Motivated Attack

Featured Image Credits: Arush Gautam for DU Beat

Priyanka Mukherjee

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Be it getting denied the status of citizens in Athens – the cradle of Democracy, to historically being deprived of power, being subject to oppression, to getting the right to vote for the first time only in 1920, to being excluded from positions of leaderships – both in public and private sphere since times immemorial till today, women have historically been denied equal rights and opportunities.

The global share of women in parliaments has jumped from a sad 18% figure in 2008 to 26.5% as of Jan 2023 – this presents a sorry, painstakingly slow picture of progress towards gender equality. According to a UN Women report, at the current rate, gender equality in the positions of leadership and power will not be reached for another 130 years. This implies that we are headed towards another 130 years of underrepresentation of experiences of 50% population, systematic prioritization of more ‘masculine’ aspects of national interest and a simultaneous setback to social facets of welfare, political campaigns being designed by men, pandering to men, drastic under-utilization of half of the human resource, continued ignorance of women’s capacity to peacefully resolve conflicts, promote peace and flagrant exploitation of women’s human rights in political spaces.

The biggest hindrance which prevents women from escalating higher up on the political ladder is the societal conditioning which constantly affirms and reaffirms that politics is not ‘feminine’ and requires one to have ‘masculine’ attributes of courage, resilience, shrewdness, competitiveness and dominance. ‘Power’, as a term has historically, always had masculine connotations, resulting in deeming Politics, a space of power play – ‘A Man’s domain’. It is high time we discard the gender-neutral approach to politics and start viewing it from a gendered vantage point, since the former denies the distinctive ways in which policies uniquely affect women and difference in the way women experience the full force of various political phenomena such as war.

Now with regards to answering the question of why bolstering women’s participation in politics is important – the first and very basic reason stems from the state’s obligation to promote equality under the social contract theory. Thus, morally and principally states are required to commit to actualizing the goal of an egalitarian society. Underdevelopment and weak democratic institutions in a country are a direct function of the status of women in that country. Be it the middle-east countries, instability stricken Afghanistan or the Sub-Saharan nations plagued with decades long spell of underdevelopment – constant oppression of women, their near invisibility in leadership positions are common to all these countries. Embracing inclusivity, plurality, diverse experiences of masses are the hallmarks of a successful democracy.

Women offer unique perspectives owing to their vulnerabilities in a largely patriarchal world and this further helps devising better policies for women and children, social development, sustainability and durable peace. According to studies from UN Women, when women were involved in peacebuilding – it was more likely to be sustainable for upto 2 years by 20% and for upto 15 years by 35%. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini in her book Women building peace highlights women’s special agency in mitigating the “call to arms.” Women are often among the first to publicly denounce the march to war. Anderlini provides diverse examples of this type of activism, including the Women for Peace that formed in Sri Lanka in October 1984 and the anti-war group Women in Black that, in October 1991, protested against the escalation of the war in the Balkans.

Women’s political leadership has shown greater prioritization of social indicators of development such as education, health, child care, mortality rate etc. At the local level of governance, female voter turnout and female political participation proportionally increases with presence of women in leadership positions. The Role Model effect of women breaking stereotypes, shattering the glass ceiling and claiming their space in the political domain closes the aspiration gap between girls and boys with regards to building successful political careers. But, this alone is not enough to generate a spontaneous surge in the number of females in political spaces. Systematic and deliberate policy initiatives are needed to be pursued consistently to change the global political landscape.

Proper utilization of reservation quotas for women, identifying and nipping instances of proxy governance by men through female relatives holding seats, promoting political literacy among women of all ages to create both – capable political workers and intelligent female voters. Campaigns and bootcamps can be organized by political organisations, think tanks and political parties to aid re-conditioning of women and to help them realize their political potential. Us women need to realize our potential as significant vote banks as well. Organizing women in voter blocs – something that seldom happens (thanks to cross cutting identities of caste, class, religion and polarization of electorates on communal basis), incentivizes it for the political players to raise women’s issues and make it a crucial part of their agenda and election campaigning. Having conversations with women in power, in the system and those with the valuable experience of working at the grassroot really helps develop a great sense of understanding of nuances associated with politics and policy spaces. Such community interactions spark conversations on issues like historic marginalization of women, harassment in working places – politics being one of them and the need to have greater representation for women in politics.

Image Credits: achonaonline.com

Rubani Sandhu

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Societies have been touted as the best way to engage in extra curricular activities while studying in Delhi University (DU). There are times however when they fail to meet the expectations we have and make us ask whether its time to leave.

The first thing that many of us in first year are told after we get into DU is that our lives will revolve around whichever college society/ies that we choose. “ classroom se zyada society mai seekhega tu ( You will learn more in your society than in the classroom.) , “tujhe tera crowd society mai milega (You will find like-minded people in your society.)” While these monikers might stand true for the right society for an individual, it is not universally true.

What one should keep first and foremost with all endeavors including societies is the affect that it is has on our mental health. Societies and the extra work load they bring can have a negative impact even if we are surrounded by wonderful people in the society. Paridhi, a first year student from Jesus and Mary College, says “ I was not in a good place mental health wise, and I didn’t think I could commit to the work in a way I would’ve liked to, that resulted in me learning more too. With something like Poetry too, despite the society being full of amazing, empathetic women; it felt like a burden to keep afloat with everything that was going on.”

In the current political scenario, if you are one of those who believe that now is the time to stand up and raise your voice for what India stands for, a college society can be a roadblock in your way and a source of frustration. Lots of societies choose to be ‘apolitical’ o down right apathetic to the situation in the country. With your societies refusing to take stands and/or prioritising practice or work before dissenting, It is a very valid reason to leave your society. Apoliticism, of all things, is ironically one of the things followed in many societies that function around expressing your opinions. All this, amongst major national political crisis.

Another reason one would join a society is for professional growth, and this dilemma between professional growth and fun is the reason why many of us end up in academic societies as well as cultural societies. But managing many societies at a time isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, which at times forces one to leave a society. Theoretically, one should go for professional growth but cultural societies get an upper hand because of the family like feeling that one gets owing to hours and hours of practice, hundreds of cultural fests to compete in and the liberal way in which they function.

But not all societies are a family, a fresher to the society may find it difficult to socialise with their seniors, thus getting the sense of lonesome even after spending most of your day with their society. This feeling of alienation could also be the reason you want to leave your society.

Amidst all these fun and partying that these societies offer, they also come with a pinch of salt in the form of toxicity arising from the “circuits” that each society has in the University. Every weekend there is a new competition, a new tournament, with the same people in the circuit one would see the same people quite often! While many of us would want to be friends with different people within the circuit, there is also this competitiveness owing to everyone’s desire to win the cash prizes that leads to this toxicity. Sadly, this is the ugly truth of societies that make it unbearable for someone who is not much dedicated to the art.

Whatever be your passion, there is a society for that, but at the same time, if you feel like a particular society would not help you to pursue your dreams, it is okay for you to leave it and make a trail of your own, for one can take the road less traveled.

Feature Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Akshat Arora

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Prabhanu Kumar Das

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University of Delhi (DU) has introduced an inter-college society system, in an attempt to tackle the divisions within the Varsity.

DU’s Extra Circular Activities (ECA) and Sports Committees have launched the Delhi University Collegiate Culture Circuit (DUCCC) with newly formed inter-college societies. This initiative was collectively taken in the Executive Council (EC) meeting held on Saturday, 26th October. The two-day long EC meeting witnessed long formulated debates on both sides of the matter. A certain level of hierarchy along with team esteem exists in all the societies of DU, and the scheme may not play out well there.

Many college students have expressed their disagreement with the decision, as they believe it will create segregation instead of belonging. Amaal Kumar, President of Natuve, dramatics society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, said, “We spend each day of our college life with our society. Now with that gone, it takes away our convenience as well as bonding. It should also be noted that when you’re in the same college, you face similar issues, and are around people with same teachers who understand your society needs. Now all of that will be gone.”

However, the decision has been taken to do away with the college elitism that exists in DU. Ramesh Ray, the ECA Committee Chairperson, said, “This will do away with the resentment among students that has been created out of years of competition, and bring feeling of community as a whole among students.” The DUCCC has been set up to look after the many changes this decision will bring. Allotting areas for practice and scheduling the practice time of inter-college societies will be taken up by this newly formed committee, along with the matters of society elections, and dealing with administrative work.

The official announcement has been made on the DU website and thereby, the scheme will be initiated after the upcoming fest season of January to March, 2020. The campus has received this news with contrasting opinions; many feel a loss of identity to be not known by their college society names. Some others feel this will give an opportunity to meet students from all walks of life. Karan Thapar, member, Vurbum, the western Dance Society of Motilal Nehru College, said, “This is a great step. The barriers of college, location, and seclusion will be broken with this. It will be great to see a Hindu College society member with a member from Ram Lal Anand College to perform, united by their art.”

Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated and not accepted.

Feature Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba

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With every change of guard, from one President to another, from one Secretary to the next, there is a constant transfer of authority. But is such a transfer aware of the corresponding responsibility? Are inactive or precarious Presidents and Society Heads a thing?

It’s strange how with every new session, more than the excitement of a new curriculum, an alarming number of DU students await the culmination of their contributions into being elected society post-holders or heads. In a self-proclaimed political atmosphere, such expectations are natural, some would say. There is not a lot of space for selfless action. And why should such a concept even exist, when all we are, is measured by the responsibility we hold, the productivity we profess, and the authority we command? In the face of such reckoning, positions of responsibility become titles just for the sake of CV’s and job interviews, and that is precisely when the shams associated with authority are revealed.

It happens ever so often that people volunteer to take up positions of power, and fortunately, they also come to access them. Notably, they also volunteer to assume power in societies they are passionate about. How is it that on assuming authority, some of these promising candidates resolve to inaction? 

Once in power, the excitable idea is to step beyond the last set precedent. But more often than not, at least in my experience, even as a new imaginative thinking is employed in a defined position, something does not quite click. Everyone who has ever had to work with a group of people would agree how difficult it is to materialise ideas into tangible models with the combined effort. To speak matter-of-factly, there is an annoyingly normal lack of initiative in societies and organisations. In attempts to avoid overwork, we limit the scope of our responsibilities. Are societies then Just for Fun? Should every member be allowed to practise individuality or is there a moral obligation every person associated with a society is bound by? Questions like these reverberate in every society meeting, unspoken and unheard. However, there are two sides to this dynamic: the power-owners, and the sources and subjects of said powers. Failure to accomplish goals on either side complicates functioning of the structure as a whole. While it is easy to hold the latter responsible for fall-outs, who can question the former higher authority? College spaces instill a sense of free-rein, but as practitioners of such liberation, we regularly overrule the corresponding ideas of responsibility. 

A constant game of power dynamics is sustained by innovation and newness. Many a time, the creative, however, is sidetracked by the administrative. To top it off, we are also an age of burnout “ded” youngsters, and that seems to justify more than our general lack of empathy, as it also enables us to do away with our responsibilities at times. 

Almost all literature on Management Studies emphasises the correlation and co-dependence between the concepts of authority and responsibility. One of these cannot exist in a vacuum. In the face of such a mutually exhaustive structure, we often find ourselves contemplating the delusional non-issue that is life. To some extent, the transitional formative understanding of authority-responsibility relationship can cause disconcerting disillusionment, in the event of which, ignorance becomes bliss. We switch off our phones, ghost the council groups, evade our responsibilities to spite others. But everything about this maneuver spites us in return. How do we then, evade a voluntarily taken responsibility?

One of the greatest challenges in college is learning to prioritise. A position of responsibility teaches a lot, but it also takes away, sometimes much more than what it offers in return. There comes a point when authority seems coaxing. “Why am I doing this? What is the purpose of this all? I have a life outside of this space, where is my assertive power to say “No”? Why am I the only one working?” A collective space of authority tends to become a toxic agency in time, because of the very substance holding it: subjective inventiveness. Since every person brings their own mental faculty to the fore, the contributions also vary. It is indeed very easy to question someone agential, as the true measure of a leader is the sum total of the team lead by them. In the end it is for the team to decide the nature and scope of authority, as it is the leader’s decision to blend power with responsible action. But how often does that happen?

Feature Image Credits: @bambashkart via Instagram.

Kartik Chauhan

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The University of Delhi (DU) owes its fames to the college societies, in part. Touted as the best platforms to skyrocket your explorations into your skills and art, every society maintains a paradigm to approve their novel associations. More often than not, these auditions turn out to be hysterical memories. Here we discover some of them. 

Art is defined varyingly. Art is all about subjectivity and your ability to unravel exclusivity in monotony. Oscar Wilde captured it in his famous quote : “Life imitates art, or art imitates life.”

Our present discussion shall disgress from such ambiguity however, because our idea today is to revel in hilarity (as it should always be, in my not-so-humble opinion).

Now as we all know, life is as hilarious as hilarious gets (as mine is, always). Life is absolute conjecture in motion, a breathing being of uncertainty. And life is never a bed of roses (I wonder what that must feel like). Some people would tell you that art requires your life, in all its entirety. These people, you will find in large numbers in most of the Drama Societies around the varsity. 

Drama Society auditions are usually borderline crazy, most us will agree. From being a chair or a generator to shouting your lungs out from the farthest corner of this world (the venue for auditions of course), DramaSoc auditions have no reigns. More often than not, these tasks prey on taboos. They require you to push yourself, to be as raw, as unabashed, as uncivilized as you can dare to be. 

Having sex with a chair, sex in all its entirety – moaning and changing of positions expected; enacting masturbation in public or performing your best impression of any other carnal activity, these are just the first few tasks you are required to do. 

As unexpected is the emotional and physical turbulence that you go through. 10 rounds of the college ground, 50 push-ups, planks for 5 minutes; the slouch in me shudders to hear these tales. Hysteria? Maybe. 

Interestingly, the new recruits are forbidden to narrate their hysterical stories verging on humiliation to anyone. They are required to take them to the deathbed, but then, rants bring out the best in us. 

But if you thought that only Drama Societies qualify for this contest of hysteria, you could not be more wrong! 

As it is, the society auditions really vary according to the person who conducts them. When the interviewer is a skeptic, as was the one in a Literary Society, you can expect a question like – “Are you stoned?”- for just being your usual hip self. Hysteria travels from the candidate to the post holders too. One of the candidates in the same Literary Society heatedly claimed that being in the society was his lifetime fantasy, and that he do anything to get in. Another candidate heatedly entered into an argument with the President and discredited her merit by claiming her to be insufficient to judge his rightful claim (not worth) to be the only sensical member of the society. 

Literature and Drama might well be deemed expected candidates in our hysterical readings, but wait for the next stories still. 

In an audition for the Finance and Investment Cell in a college, a candidate having failed almost all the questions, was asked to teach any topic of his choice from Class 12 Accountancy Book. He did, and was surprisingly selected! 

Most society members agree that the key to sure selection is your dynamic spontaneity. In this vein, the Debating Society of a college conducts its audition. 30+ existing members of the society question one candidate at a time. As questions fly in all directions, your only defense is your spontaneity. In another Debating Society, they called Mr. Ashok Srivastava, editor-in-chief, DD News, to their auditions, for no reason at all. 

To conclude, probably a winner among disastrous auditions would be this one : 

In a fashion society, a fresher auditioning for a model, dressed himself as Salman Bhai and danced to Main Aisa Kyun Hoon. It is easier to say that he had the last laugh, because the entire hall was hushed and traumatized by the end of it. He also challenged the unanimous decision to reject him. 

And so they are, hysterical society auditions. And so they will be. Surely, these become stories we narrate to please ourselves, some years into a droll life. What is college if not hysteria, after all? 

Feature Image Credits : DU Beat Archives

Kartik Chauhan 

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Whether you are a fresher who just got into a college society, or a second or third-year who got promoted, read on to understand what kind of a relationship you should share with your fellow members.
The University of Delhi (DU), while being eminent in terms of education, is also recognised as an institution which aids the overall personality progression of a student because of the numerous extra-curricular activities it provides. It would be safe to say that not many colleges or universities take as much pride in their societies as DU does. But along the same lines, runs a parallel that might not be so luminous.
Because of the immensity of the work, the countless hours of practice, the sword of Damocles constantly hanging over the members’ heads to live up to the legacy that their seniors had left them with, it is not difficult to slip into this looking-down on juniors who never seem to know what they should do.
The true judge of an office-bearer’s character is how well they tackle these blunders of the juniors, because, in their defence, they have never been in a similar situation before, and need constant assistance till they reach a point where they can handle the work themselves. Conflicts are bound to happen, but it is how well these are tackled that determines the future of the society.
A lot of time is spent doing society work, and it becomes an increasingly toxic space for the juniors if they feel they are not being respected enough, and are treated as if it were sheer privilege, and not their merit that they were made a part of the society. But in reality, these students have had to clear several rounds of auditions, and were selected amongst a large pool of applicants, thereby confirming their excellence.
It is essential for the juniors to know that their seniors deserve respect, not because of their seniority, but because that is basic civil behavior. At the same time, they must not forget that they, too, are supposed to be on the receiving end of such civility.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Maumil Mehraj
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As Natuve, The Theatre Society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College comes up with its annual street play fest, Paigaam ’19, the showstopper to the University fest season, our correspondent traces their success journey through the fabled hippodromes of the capital this far.

A typical day at Safdar Hashmi Theater. Delhi’s play going coterie, an endangered species, the entire crowd, standing on their feet, clapping, like a part of them knew that they hadn’t seen anything of this warmth for a time. A mere college theatre society, Natuve’s original production Mx. Mute had just got over.

There are many words which come to mind when one tracks the progress of this theatre society over the last four years. If you happened to take a walk down the left wing of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, any day of the year, the weather bleak or rosy, the sun on your shoulders or shying away from your eyes, you can count on finding the kids from Natuve, drifting in their black kurtas. Right from the soul scorching heat of the Delhi summer to the glorious winters, the society works to bring out the best in themselves, and magically makes their very own amateur effort, with a world of experiments, imperfections, and innocence, rise and shine.

Natuve came up with two plays this year. Mx. Mute and Vyavsaaya Me Tarakki Paane Ke Chamatkaari Totke. While the formeer gave a subtle spin to the issue of assimilation of the LGBTQIA+ identity in the society, standing out particularly for the phenomenal work of the chorus to showcase genders, characters and societal reactions, Vyavsaaya, on the other hand was a hilarious musical comedy, keeping the audience at the edge of the seat at all times, not missing to prickle, however, with its sharp, nuanced satire.

The plays had many an innocent flaws. A few hiccups in transition, a tad too overexcited lightwork, a few rookie mistake in the sounds, and a few mis-directed laughs, yes. Nevertheless, what stood out was the hard work of every last person, what won hearts was their sisyphean desire to make their play the best it could be. The constant fire to give as much life to the art as possible. This won them awards, yes, the most in the college circuit this year, but more importantly, they continued the meteoric rise of Natuve. Yes, that’s the word we were looking for. Natuve continues to be a beloved.

Join them at their fest tomorrow. With Natuve, you have my word, the sun would be a bit kinder to you.


Image credits: Nikhil Kumar for DU Beat

Nikhil Kumar
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Despite having extraordinary achievements
in STEM, women scientist remain unacknowledged and forgotten.

A few weeks ago, the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology were awarded collectively for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Amongst the 33 winners, only one was a woman (Dr. Aditi Sen De). At the onset the of lack of female winners might seem to stem from the general lack of women in science, but a close analysis of sexism in the fields speaks volumes about how women have been systematically sidelined. 

American astronomer, Vera Rubin, who provided the evidence of the existence of dark matter, was turned from the astronomy program at Princeton because they didn’t allow women. Miles away from America, Kamala Sohonie, a biochemist whose discoveries played a pioneering role in
tacking malnourishment in India, was declined admission in Indian Institute of Science by Nobel Prize winner, C.V. Raman simply because of her gender. Sohonie, who topped the Bachelor of Science course, had to stage a Satyagraha in Raman’s office for him
to take her in. This attitude of not accepting women in science prevails today as well.

According to a study at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, titled “No gender differences in math performance” modern-day parents are less likely to encourage their daughters’ mathematical and scientific abilities, as compared to their sons’, despite them both having identical scores.

Women, historically, throughout the world, have been associated with a life of immanence, as opposed to the transcendence of male labour. To understand the disallowance of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), in the words of an average misogynist will be- “Women are too emotional for science.”

So, when women’s achievements in science proved otherwise, the circumstances became a threat to the consolidation of patriarchal social order. Erase them, if you can’t silence
them- this is the strategy adapted by patriarchal history-keepers, as the contributions of Rosalind Franklin, Kamala Sohonie, B. Vijayalakshmi, and multiple women have been concealed behind Watson’s, Raman’s, Chandrasekhar’s, and other men’s.

Amrita Vasudhar, a graduate of Physics from Miranda House and a student of the Indian Institute of Science, notes, “There are layers to discrimination. The society says- Okay, go ahead, pursue science, but make sure it’s
biology because women understand the theoretical subjects better.” Male scientists have found a way to deny women their rightful access to the discipline.

Women scientists, innumerable times, have found a way of non-conformation to live their love for science. Thus, the next time we use an equation or the refrigerator, we should pause and wonder how many women have had to fight to contribute to it, or more frighteningly, to not be forgotten for it. As a tribute to those smart-fierce women we must remember the names like Asima Chatterjee, Charusita Chakravarty, Janaki Ammal, and Chien Shiungwee.

Image Credits: Wired

Anushree Joshi

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The Gillette commercial has divided opinion and provoked boycotts of the firm by some men. Is it really that offensive or just a sign of toxic masculinity which men keep on denying?

Toxic masculinity. You’re already so tired of reading and re-reading this phrase in every feminist piece of writing, right? Well, that’s good. People should make themselves aware of one of the main causes behind women getting killed, raped and mutilated every year.

The Gillette ad, which has been in the news recently talks about toxic masculinity. The advertisement features news clips of the #MeToo movement, as well as images showing sexism in films, in boardrooms, and of violence between boys and asking men in the end, “Is this the best a man can get?” The way men reacted to it talks lengths about the very prevalence of toxic masculinity in the society. Who knew that a shaving ad which is asking men to hold each other accountable could provoke such a negative backlash?

What are men exactly complaining about? They believe that the advertisement emasculates men. Others are screaming, asking to leave men alone and not jump in the “Men are trash” bandwagon. There are a few who are stating that it’s a marketing strategy by the company to monetise the #MeToo movement and basically, cater to an audience which is self-aware and demand that corporations take a stand on social issues.

Do you see the problem here? Why do I have a feeling that the men that are offended over this ad are the very men responsible for the things that they are being called out for? How can being asked to not sexually harass women on the streets threaten you and your manhood so much as to boycott the company whose products define your manliness? Is it too feminine for you to not be violent? Well, boys will be boys, right?

Of course, there are men who’re doing their best to make this world a better place. Even the advertisement is not denying this. Nobody expects men to let go of their presuppositions and their deeply embedded, social conditioning which time and again, makes them think that they possess more power and privilege over others, overnight. It takes time, but small steps are necessary in this direction. Educating yourself and listening to the women in your life is one such step.

It was time that somebody talked about it, publicly. Yes, this was an advertisement by Gillette to sell its products but it did start a conversation around positive masculinity. The world is paying attention, and so are you. Isn’t that the reason why you’re reading this article? Well, now you’re thinking about it and maybe giving a thought or two about your own skewered, toxic masculinity and Gillette’s shaving blade too. Mission accomplished.

Feature Image credits- Paste Magazine

Disha Saxena
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