The Delhi University Students Union election inch closer, after a three-year long hiatus, amidst bouts of violence, forced entry in colleges and aggressive campaigning, certain issues like the lack of women’s representation seem to have lasted the stop-gap. There still only seems to be two women’s colleges even part of the election process, one being Miranda College. Moreover, even after elections, women do not seem to occupy high roles, and are known for being “dummies” for other male candidates. This article aims to look at the larger narrative behind women and student politics, how it has evolved and what it means for national politics.

 The evolution of student politics can be traced to the pre-independence, wherein most mass student mobilizations were to protest against the introduction of the English language as a medium of instruction in universities across India. Eventually, student unions merged with the larger independence movement. However, the use of violence in campus politics has been a pervasive issue since its inception as it was often the only way to express their grievances, in what was a political system which frequently ignored the needs of the youth.

For the illiterate and the literate without any contacts, a quick of venting anger and grievances was to resort to violence (Arnon & Altbach 1973: 164)”

Due to the nationalization of campus politics and the flow of funding from national parties, the two stages – the campus and the nation have become reflective of one another, wherein the factionalism on the lines of caste, class and gender in national politics can be seen in student politics as well, due to the monetary links formed between the two. This too often leads to violent outbursts.

It is no surprise that the transference of women’s underrepresentation can also be seen in campus politics, given the lack of female representatives on the national level as well. In the coming elections, most women’s colleges won’t be represented as they’re not a part of the student union.  This is an issue that extends beyond Delhi University, with several state colleges facing the same issue. The women’s wing of Arunachal Pradesh’s student union claims that parental and social pressure plays a part, many afraid of the dangers of campus politics, which are notoriously violent. This institutionalization of force in student politics, which is traditionally associated with masculinity, is also an ideological barrier which dissuades women from even trying to make it to higher positions within the union. Similarly, in Panjab University, party vice-presidents raise the same grievances, stressing on the lack of importance given to female candidates despite the presence of women’s wings, which are mostly tokenistic. They also highlight how this lack of representation is detrimental to women’s causes within campuses, like creating safe spaces, provision of feminine hygiene products etc.

Moreover, since visibility creates such a big part in campus elections, the lack of women being present during campaigns is also detrimental to their cause. Given the proximity of the student elections, and more so India’s national elections, it is important to note how such issues of underrepresentation are magnified as we move up the administrative ladder. If we cannot adequately represent women’s issues within the student body, how can we do so on a national scale?


Read also. https://dubeat.com/2023/07/23/women-in-politics-or-the-lack-thereof/

Image credit. Deves


Chaharika Uppal

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 College is often a foray into many new experiences, a lot of which involves the night life. The glamorous ideal of Delhi clubbing, parking lots filled with fancy G-wagons, tons of booze, popping DJ sets has often attracted many young students, looking to enjoy the first dregs of freedom associated with university. However, behind the glitz, many realize that the city that never sleeps doesn’t always have to offer the best experiences once the sun sets.

Clubs are inherently unsafe for many, especially women. Dingy lighting, crowds of strange men, all under the influence of alcohol, and usually heavily intoxicated, spell disaster for several young students. Almost all young women have faced some degree of assault at clubs, from something as easily brushed off as cat-calling, to serious cases of assault.

My first few experiences in Delhi clubs hadn’t been the worst, somehow I had warded off creepy stares or unwanted gropes, but a few months into having moved to the city, I ended up at Ansal Plaza, a place frequented by DU students looking to party. This changed the false sense of security I had gained over the past few months. I suddenly felt suffocated and unsafe, I could feel the stare of random men. I ended up leaving in 30 minutes. Since then, I became more wary of the situations I put myself in. However, I now have a deep seated fear, one that usually gets me whilst traveling back in Ubers late at night, at how women often lose out on the joy of many experiences, because of the sense of endangerment created for them.

Other female students have had similar experiences,

There have been several times when I have been stared at or groped, in many of the supposedly elite clubs in the city. But I guess these are just the things that come with being a girl, and don’t deter me from having my fun” – Siona Arora, B.A. Programme, Kamala Nehru College

 But the issue runs deeper than just personal experiences, incidents like drink spiking run rampant across clubs in general, where women usually account for more than half of the visitors. Articles like this one suggest measures like, regulated security personnel, more female security members, checking men for drugs and a general no-tolerance policy towards drug use in clubs.

Adding to this, several unaware college students, many of whom hail from non-urban areas in India and are unfamiliar with the workings of the city, its various areas or clubs in general, are especially vulnerable to being exploited in such scenarios. Being charged extra money to enter into “exclusive events”, women being forced to couple up with often strange men to enter into clubs, commuting late at night in cabs through unknown roads or routes etc. can all ruin youngsters’ attempts to just have a good night.

Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/05/25/du-reconstitutes-a-women-safety-committee-in-all-women-colleges/

Image Credits – Getty Images

Chaharika Uppal

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The Supreme Court of India recently released a handbook that deals with countering harmful language used in court that fosters stereotypes against women.

The language spoken and accepted in court may not directly influence the outcome of a plea, but it serves as a significant indicator of the values upheld and endorsed by a country. Taking a step towards countering inappropriate and harmful language used against women and gender minorities, the Supreme Court recently issued a 30-page handbook detailing alternative and preferred phrases to be used in legal matters. 

(…) the language a judge uses reflects not only their interpretation of the law but their perception of society as well.” -Chief Justice Chandrachud

The handbook tries to eliminate some disdainful language that promotes stereotypes. Some of the identified phrases include ‘career woman’, ‘obedient wife’ and ‘chaste woman’. Another stereotype that the handbook aims to do away with is the idea that women are inherently overly emotional and thus incapacitated to make decisions. It also acknowledges that assumptions made about women’s characters depending on their sexual history and clothing preferences tamper with the judicial assessment of sexual violence cases as they diminish the importance of consent in sexual relationships.

The handbook also wishes to implement the use of more dignified language towards the LGBTQIA+ community. Moving forward, ‘sex assigned at birth’ is stated to be the preferred phrase in place of ‘biological sex’.  

When announcing the publication of this handbook in court, CJI D.Y. Chandrachud said that he hoped this would mark a milestone in the journey towards a more equitable society.

Implementation of measures like this one, especially by a nation’s highest authorities, is crucial for driving a fundamental transformation in how women and gender minorities are perceived within a country. Such initiatives not only signal a commitment to gender equality but also play a major role in determining societal norms in the long run. 

By challenging these long-existing biases, the Supreme Court of India has contributed to a broader cultural shift that recognizes and respects the dignity and rights of women. Hopefully, there is potential in this handbook to inspire change not only within the legal system but also in society as a whole. 

Read also: Handbook on Combating Gender Stereotypes – SC 

Featured image credits: Boom Live

Arshiya Pathania

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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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A first-year resident of the LSR hostel suffered major injuries when the ceiling of a bathroom stall collapsed. Students raised concern over the safety measures of the hostel and expressed their frustrations over the college’s lack of accountability. The incident occurred among previous allegations against the functionality of the hostel, such as food poisoning, irregular water supply, obsolete infrastructure, and a lack of air conditioning facilities.

On March 27, at around 8:15 in the morning, a first-year resident at the Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) hostel was severely injured when the ceiling of the bathroom stall disintegrated and collapsed on top of her. The student was immediately hospitalised due to debilitating injuries to her arms and legs. The incident has raised several concerns regarding the safety precautions and the obsolete infrastructure of the hostel.

When the incident occurred, the students heard a loud crashing noise emerging from the bathroom cubicles and a screaming noise. The injured student was trapped inside the bathroom and was unable to unlock the bathroom door due to her injuries. The nearby students immediately notified the superintendent of the hostel, who lives right opposite the bathroom and allegedly had not heard the collapse of the ceiling or the wailing of the injured student.

The superintendent was unable to push through the bathroom door without further injuring the student. Immediately, four men were called, and they assisted the student and accompanied her to her room. However, adequate support was delayed, and the student did not receive immediate care due to the technicalities of the hostel administration.

“They had first taken the student to her room and offered her tea. She did not get medical attention immediately, which is very weird, and they were saying that they needed a legal guardian for her to be taken to the hospital, which did not happen eventually. They ended up taking her themselves to the Moolchand Hospital. The hostel did pay for her because it was the hostel’s fault that this happened.” – A student and resident of the LSR hostel

The bathroom stall had been immediately closed and placed under supervision for further maintenance. Later, at 7 p.m., the head and assistant warden of the hostel organised a meeting to discuss the incident. They blamed the occurrence of the accident on the debilitating infrastructure of the hostel. Apparently, the hostel required constant maintenance, and the most recent repairs were made around September 2022. However, several students raised concerns regarding the quality of such renovations.

“Renovation of the building is not enough because the foundation of the building itself is not concrete. The architecture is very old, and the pipelines are iron, so they have rusted. The ceilings also have issues. It’s a problem with the infrastructure. Whenever we tell the warden, we are given the same response: that the hostel is a very old building, and Delhi University (DU) does not give any funds. To fully renovate the hostel, at least a year is required, and in that case, they cannot offer the facilities of the hostel for an entire year.” – LSR student and hostel resident who was present in the meeting

In the meeting, it was also stated that starting the following day, checks will be administered in all the bathrooms to ensure safety precautions. However, students are raising concerns over the safety measures of the hostel, as the bathroom stall where the incident occurred is considered to be one of the “safe” stalls. When the students expressed their frustrations over the lack of accountability on behalf of the college, the administration warned the students to vacate the hostel if they were dissatisfied with the facilities offered by the hostel.

“It felt like they were threatening us by saying they will close the hostel. They were saying that if we want proper renovations, they will need to tear down the building and the students will be required to vacate the hostel. This is, of course, not feasible for many students, who will not be able to find such accommodations on such short notice. They also said that if we want renovations with more qualified people, they will increase our fees, and the next year students will blame us for the increase in fees.” – LSR student and hostel resident

The parents of the injured student visited the premises to accompany their daughter to their hometown. The student will remain in her hometown for a few weeks to recover from her injuries.

Read also: LSR Invites Controversial Politician Anurag Thakur as Guest, Students Raise Objection

Featured Image Credits: Lady Shri Ram College Website

The police have identified eight more students since the sexual harassment incident transpired at a fest in Indraprastha College on 28 March.

Eight students have been identified through CCTV footage and analysis of their CDR locations during the Indraprastha College for Women’s (IPCW) annual fest “Shruti”. The Civil Lines police intends to question the students, who are all students at Delhi University. The police have also recorded the statement of a woman who was allegedly sexually harassed during the fest.

Students protested within the campus, a day after several men abused students aft scaling its outer walls. Students demanded accountability from the administration and Delhi Police for their failure to secure the event. They also demanded the resignation of the college Principal, Prof. Poonam Kumria. In order to get an explanation for the security failure during the event, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) sent a notice to the police and the college administration. It also demanded a report on the steps taken by April 3. 

“It has been over a week and we were promised the results of the committee. In the starting, there was a lot of momentum but we fear things are dying down. No definite action has been taken and we’re all hoping that more pressure will be put on the principal and she’ll give us answers. It’s a very slow and tiring process, the students are mentally exhausted but we won’t give up till we get her to take accountability.”

                                                                                                 –An anonymous student from Indraprastha College, in conversation with DU Beat

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) stated in the report that the Delhi Police had recorded the statements of only two survivors under section 164 CrPC despite two weeks since the passage of the incident. The commission, in its interim report to IPCW, said that the Delhi Police arrested five students on the day of the incident. However, they were later released on the same day. The unknown men harassed the young women inside the campus and hurled abuses at them. However, the police said that no student came forth to report such allegations.

It is disappointing that no action has been taken against any official of Delhi Police or IP College over the security lapses. Girls are sexually harassed in their own college fests and the authorities are not doing enough to prevent these incidents, bring the guilty to task and to support the survivors. We have given our report on the matter and I expect strong action.” – Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of DCW, in conversation with The Hindu

The Commission conducted an investigation and summoned officials and interrogated victims of the incident.

In our interaction with the survivors, the Commission learnt that four persons were injured and a girl even sustained a fracture due to this harrowing incident. Also, in the past, similar crimes have occurred in other colleges in Delhi University including Miranda House and Gargi College,” – the DCW’s statement.

The commission stated that there was a lack of coordination between the police and the college to ensure an effective security strategy.

The Delhi Police told the Commission that IP College grounds cannot accommodate more than 2,000 persons and this was not informed by the college before organising the event, in which they had invited thousands of persons,” – DCW

The commission also noted that the Delhi Police did not obtain the incident’s CCTV tape until April 6, 2023. Following the commission’s involvement, they gathered the film from the college, but they later learned that it was insufficient.

Feature Image Credits: Anjali, AISA DU Secretary on Twitter

Read Also: In Recent Developments of IPCW, DCW Seeks Reports from Police

Sri Sidhvi Dindi

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In its report, the Delhi Commission for Women has exposed various inefficiencies on part of the authorities and the police, and has asked for accountability.  

Following the reports of sexual harassment of women during the annual fest- ‘Shruti’ of Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took suo moto cognizance of the situation. Its chairperson, Swati Maliwal on Tuesday asked the police, Delhi University and the colleges concerned to submit an Action Taken Report by 18th April. According to the official notice, college authorities and the police have to submit a set of guidelines and mechanisms before that panel that will help in preventing such incidents in future.

On March 28, a group of men barged into the Indraprastha College for Women by scaling the boundary walls, leading to a stampede. Several women were allegedly harassed and injured in the chaos. The incident led to protests by hundreds of students, who demanded strict action against the accused persons and the resignation of Principal Poonam Kumria.

It is disappointing that no action has been taken against any official of Delhi Police or IP College over the security lapses. Girls are sexually harassed in their own college fests and the authorities are not doing enough to prevent these incidents.” – Swati Maliwal

The Delhi Commission for Women also issued interim recommendations to Indraprastha College for Women, DU and Delhi Police. It found several lapses on the part of the authorities and the police in conducting the investigation. 

Its inquiry showed that the Delhi Police officials did not act in time to collect CCTV footage of the incident and have not made any arrests.

It’s unfortunate that despite the passage of ten days, police officials had not secured CCTV footage of the incident from college authorities which is crucial in identifying the perpetrators of the crime. Commission again summoned the officials on April 8, wherein they informed that CCTV footage has been collected from the college now, but the footage is incomplete, and they have contacted the college to provide them the complete footage.” – Delhi Commission for Women

It also added that the college had sought police security for a crowd of 8,000 plus people on their premises but did not seek permission for the event. The Commission further stated that “the Delhi University and Delhi Police should design a coordinated strategy for ensuring adequate security before any fest is organised in colleges” as it had noticed that there was a “complete lack of coordination between the two authorities on the matter, as no police permission was obtained by IP College for the event”.

Additionally, DCW suggested that the local SHO and college principal meet, ideally one week before the program, to go through the security measures in place to ensure the safety of the students. The commission discovered that, as of April 6, accusations of sexual harassment had not yet been transmitted to IPCW’s Internal Complaints Committee and that the ICC should have representation from students and an external member from a reputable NGO working on women’s rights.

Read Also: The Invasion of IPCW: A Student’s Account

Featured Image Credits: The Indian Express

Samra Iqbal 

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In a society that is run on patriarchy, by patriarchy, how much autonomy do women get in religious spaces? Are religious spaces even made to accommodate women?

As someone who identifies as a woman, you will know what I mean when I say “male gaze”— something that doesn’t leave your side in public, something that still occupies your mind in private. This isn’t something that is found only in one aspect or one dimension of society, but rather it forms the foundational structure of the world we live in.

Women are making their choices from a menu of options that has been structured by men for men.” -Adam Swift

Ideals and practices of patriarchy or misogyny can be found in every nook and corner of the world, as easily as the potholes that are found on every single street in India. Thus, this sexism is not just a regional problem, but rather a global one.


But humans being humans are still sitting with their hopes in one hand and their miseries in the other. We are still trying to find places where we might not be treated differently, where we might not be unequal. One such place, where anyone would rationally expect equality in its truest sense to exist, is the “house of God”.

Religion occupies a huge proportion of importance and value in the lives of a majority of individuals living in the world— be it in the form of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, among numerous others (the list of religions that exist in the world currently is virtually endless).


But reality exists in stark contrast to this theoretical view and belief of gender equality. Most of the world’s religions consider women to be part of the second tier of devotees, the first tier being obviously occupied by men. They are usually seen as a sort of support system to the existence of man in the religious world, existing only to augment the male purpose and ego. Historically entrenched, women have been denied rights to property, wealth, and even things as basic as the right to freedom or opinion, while all of these claims have been held up by crutches that we call religion.


This is not a novel phenomenon. In early Indian history, the Vedas (which are considered as one of the earliest religious texts in India) were conceived and popularised to establish the dominance of the Brahmans and their worldview. They reflected the realities of society but also tried to shape the perceptions of those living in this society. Based upon similar ideals, modern religion has taken assistance from age-old traditions, interpreting even the handful of non-sexist ideals through a misogynistic eyehole.


Under Hinduism (a religion followed by a huge majority of the Indian population), women are not considered independent individuals but are only seen as attached to the authority of a man. 

According to the Hindu code of Manu,

In childhood a woman must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, [and] after the husband’s death to her sons; a woman must never be free of subjugation.”


Under Christianity, the scripture in Genesis says, 

The Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet (fit or suitable) for him,”

again, suggesting that women are to play a supportive role to men. This is further found in passages in Colossians and Peter, which call for women to submit to their husbands and to stay silent in their shadow.


Islam might be seen as holding a better position in some respects— such as the existence of alimony (nafaqah) and the provision of a right to divorce for not just men, but also women under Islamic law (khul). But in other respects, Islam also holds a similar notion where women are seen as inferior and subject to subjugation by men. It also gave men the unequal and unfair right to instantly divorce their wives by saying “talaq” thrice. This led to a massive judicial case, bringing to light the question of religious boundaries and state intervention. Ultimately, the Indian government ended up criminalising the practice of “triple talaq”, but that does not point towards a very significant betterment of the status of women in Islamic society.


One branch of Jainism, that is, the Digambars, does not even consider women eligible for enlightenment as they believe that enlightenment is only possible by giving up all possessions, including one’s clothing. As the female body goes through the biological process of menstruation, it becomes inherently impossible for women to give up clothing, thus, leaving them excluded from even the choice of being part of this process.

How much sense does it make— that owing to an inequality based not on one’s choice but rather on the autonomy of nature and biology— women are subjected to such rules and restrictions, not even free from this bias in a place where people turn to for finding intrinsic peace?


A similar incident gained a lot of media coverage in the past years, that is, the Sabarimala case. A 2018 Supreme Court verdict lifted the ban that had prevented women of menstruating age to enter the Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala. Not surprisingly, this was met by a lot of outcries from religious groups as well as the inhabitants of Sabarimala itself. The breaking and violation of an age-old tradition, that had been followed by ancestors through centuries, was enough blasphemy for the people. But does faith in a religion or God or divinity give an individual or society the right to deny women (who, ideally, should also be as important in the “eyes of god” as men) their freedom of faith and practice?


The feminist movement has constantly argued about the problems that exist in the religious sphere and stem from the religious sphere— the practice of Sati, the Pardah system, unequal property rights (and the ensuing social and political inequality and dependence). But this also does not mean that religion as a whole only exists as a tool for the subjugation of women (even if a majority of it does). 

Case in point would be the constant discussion over the wearing of the Hijab by Muslim women, a practice that people jumped upon as being “oppressive”, “unfair”, or “going against modern feminist ideals”. This is not what feminism truly means. Feminism gives women the right to freedom— to make choices for themselves, be it in alignment with traditional practices or with the modern. Such a blatant and blind viewpoint does not achieve anything for women and their rights. Rather it builds upon the same precept that has been put forward by the proponents of patriarchy for decades, taking away from women the freedom to make an independent choice for themselves. 


But coming back to the norm and not the exception, most independent-thinking women do not think that the co-existence of religion and feminism is possible. Every step that is taken differently from what your religion or its scriptures or religious leaders prescribe and preach, is also seen and considered as a step away from your faith. 

If a religion simply becomes a tool of subjugation, and not of freedom, then such a faith has nothing to contribute to human society,”said an article from dailyo.com


So, does that mean that in this modern world women still need to exist in parts, hiding away something to be a part of something else? Does it mean that women cannot exist as a whole, as human, but only as an anomaly of pieces stitched together as per convenience?


Read also ‘Show Me the YA Section, Please!’ 

Feature Image Credits: ‘Women and Religion’ by Carole A. Barnsley


Manasvi Kadian

[email protected]

On 3rd May, social media users of Instagram and Twitter exposed an Instagram group chat called ‘Bois Locker Room’ which contained boys from several Delhi NCR Schools objectifying women.

The group had boys aged around 16-18, who indulged in stalking and sharing pictures of womxn, including minors; passing vulgar comments, body shaming, and slut shaming. These men shared several nude pictures in the aforementioned group too. These chats have gone viral on Twitter and Instagram, and have made several people to speak out about the toxic misogynist culture perpetuated in schools by cis-het men.

Following are some of the chats from the group:


[Trigger Warning: Slut Shaming, verbal abuse, rape ideation]

Following the expose of the group chat “Bois Locker Talk”, another group was formed namely “Jai ka skirt skrt gang” where the members of the former chat talked about damage control by threatening to injure everyone who put up a story. One of the members said, “I’m gonna make some calls and turn this shit around” while the rest talked about possible switching of accounts, deactivation and shocker – making a despotic group chat like this on Snapchat next time. Several Instagram accounts with usernames such as @boiislockerroom and @boys_locker_room69, amongst many others have been made and are serving as the revival of the previous group. The account holders are posting up stories blaming the attempt of the girls as merely an act to seek popularity and attention. The latter of the two, mentioned above has recently put up a story declaring, ”I have contacted the best lawyer in the city, AP Singh who was the defence lawyer of the four accused people in Nirbhaya case. He is ready to take up the case and assured that not even a single thing will happen.” he ended the story with asking the people to peace out.

Ashna Sharma, one of the first whistle blowers of this event told DU Beat, “I have honestly put everything out there. I genuinely have a lot of things to say but at this point I am so drained out. A lot of minors are involved and I don’t want to cause them or their reputation any harm. Nevertheless thank you for spreading this. These guys deserve to be exposed.”

Parth Vashisht, one of the former members of the Group Chat said, “Whatever was in the group was outright disgusting, it cannot be tolerated. However accusing someone falsely wasn’t the right thing. I’ve been receiving death threats too. As far as I know, the group wasn’t made to pass degrading comments on girls, it was just a normal group. I was not aware of this, and I believe the ones who are guilty should be punished.”

Students from several schools of Delhi NCR have rightfully condemned this incident, those who personally knew the boys and went to the same school as them have expressed shock, disgust and despair. Many of the group chat members hailed from the erstwhile prestigious schools of India – and students have come forward and identified them as their juniors, seniors and batchmates. Several of them  were pass outs of these schools.

One of the victims, told about Tushar Rijhwani, an active participant of the group, “It gives me extreme pain to announce that I have been in a relationship with Tushar; during my entire tenure of dating him for an year, he has emotionally manipulated me and has shown my private pictures to his friends. After 12th boards, which is usually a time for students to enjoy and celebrate, I was in a major depression because of him.” She further said,”He used to talk a lot of ill stuff about his parents and mother, now I feel a boy who can not respect his own mother, how can we expect him to respect other women.” She further pointed out that she thinks he is in need of professional help as she spoke about certain incidents where he behaved abnormally.

A member of the group chat posted on Instagram story, “I just want to say that I realize the gravity of my mistake and I’m in no position to defend myself in any way. I take full responsibility for my actions. I would like to publicly apologize to every single person, especially all the women I’ve angered. I know we do not deserve this, but please I beg you to not take any further actions as it would be detrimental for us.” One of the admins of the Group Chat posted on his private Instagram account, “Such incidents are supposed to make us become aware of our acts, and not to do it again. I saw my best friends leave, I had panic attacks, anxiety, self loathing and suicidal thoughts. The only way forward is to accept what happened, own up to it and apologize. I will make sure that I, and my friends in the group never repeat such behaviour. We are still fresh out of school and have a whole life ahead of us that would be affected by some stupid testosterone fuelled decisions.” DU Beat reached out for a comment from both, but have received none so far.

According to News18, this issue has been taken up with lawyers as well as security agencies. Following the outrage, Shubham Singh, a cyber cell investigator who is on Instagram under the name @Shubhamcybercop started an investigation and managed to find the contact information of some of the members and admin of the groups in question. As per latest updates, some members of the group have been arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act for cyber bullying. The Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) has issued a notice to the authorities of Instagram and Delhi Police asking them to provide the names, Insta handles, Email-Ids, IP addresses, locations and further details of the accused boys, by 8th May, so that a proper action can be  sought against each. “This is a very serious matter wherein an open media platform is being used for illegal activities. In view of the same the commission has instituted an enquiry into the matter”, the official notice comprised.

‘Boys locker room’ and the other parallel online groups like these are just a manifestation of the toxic savarna cis-het culture of Indian schools, that glorify abuse of power by men. There is a vagrant display of toxic masculinity and inherent misogyny in various forms across social media, something which is glorified. Films, songs, and pop culture propagate the objectification of womxn in all spheres. This particular instance is a reflection of the hegemony of ‘privileged’ schools which often protects these boys while promoting a culture unsafe for womxn, offline and online. The ‘boys will be boys’ mentality needs to end, all of them should be held accountable for their actions.

However, according to recent updates, Delhi Police has identified all the members present in the group and will be examined by the Delhi Police Cyber Hub.
Featured Image Credits: The Vice

The Aurat March is an annual political demonstration organised in various cities of Pakistan. 

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pakistani womxn organised Aurat March across various cities in Pakistan. The Aurat March is organized under the banner of “Hum Auratain” (we women), an umbrella term for a collective of feminist women, transgender individuals, nonbinary persons, and gender and sexual minorities who stand against the patriarchal structures that result in the sexual, economic, and structural exploitation of women.

It all started two years ago when a couple of feminist groups from Karachi decided to hold a march on International Women’s Day, 8th March. Nighat Dad, the founder of Digital Rights Foundation and one of the organisers of the march in Lahore wrote, “The agenda of the march was to demand resources and dignity for women, for the transgender community, for religious minorities, and those on the economic margins, but more importantly, to acknowledge that women’s emancipation is inherently linked with improvement of all mistreated groups and minorities”.

According to the ‘Hum Auratain’ collective manifesto, there was no NGO or corporate funding and no political party alliance. It demands economic justice including implementation of labour rights, the Sexual Harassment against Women in the Workplace Act 2010, recognition of women’s input to the ‘care economy’ as unpaid labour and provision of maternity leaves and day care centres to ensure women’s inclusion in the labour force. It also demands environmental justice.

Women’s right to climate justice and resilience must be recognised and ensured, it said, access to safe drinking water, safe and clean air, protection of animals and wildlife, including cessation to the culling of stray dogs, and ensuring and protecting women’s food sovereignty, and recognition of women’s participation in the production of food and cash crops.

Other points in the manifesto included accountability and restorative justice against violence, access to a fair justice system, the inclusion of women with disabilities, the inclusion of transgender community, reproductive justice, access to public spaces including transport services and clean public toilets, inclusion in educational institutions, etc.

Then there were the more sedate messages. Five coffins were placed at one end of the park, with chilling signs stuck to them. ‘Honour Killing’, Transgender Killings’, ‘Child Victims’, ‘Domestic Workers/Polio Workers murdered’, and ‘Domestic Violence’ – a reminder of why women are killed every day.

The rally, organised by a collective called ‘Hum Auratain’ was huge and held in different cities – Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Hyderabad.


Feature Image Credits: Zuneera Shah for Dawn

Paridhi Puri

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