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Withdraw gender discriminatory rules and fees in upcoming women's hostel in Hindu College!

This petition had 336 supporters

Dr. Anju. Shrivastava
The Principal,
Hindu College,
University of Delhi

Respected Ma'am,

While it is a welcome news that Hindu College has finally, after all these years come up with a hostel for its women students, it is with utmost dismay that we observe the rules prescribed for the upcoming hostel. Women across the world, and women student in Delhi University in particular have a long history behind them of struggling to access public spaces and institutions on an equal footing with their male counterparts. The university space, and hostels within them have been a crucial location of that struggle, as it is here that many women have gained access to greater knowledge of their own history, a wider imagination of their own possibilities and an opportunity to explore the world independent of the restrictions they often face at their homes.

Students across various women's hostels in Delhi University have time and again articulated their basic demands with respect to regulations in hostels. In almost every women's hostel on campus, from Ramjas in 2006, to Miranda House from 2007-09, to Daulatram in 2012 to St Stephens in 2012-13,  students have come out demanding freer mobility in and out of the hostel, limitation on the arbitrary authority of the warden and hostel administration, limitation on the role of local guardians and parents in granting permission for leaves and late nights, freedom from moral policing over clothes etc. This has in effect forced many college administrations to revise their roles in keeping with the objective reality, needs and aspirations of young women. Yet, the rules proposed for your hostel do not take any of this history into consideration and if brought into effect, would be the most regressive set of rules in any hostel in the university.

Most women entering college as undergraduates are above 18 and therefore enjoy full citizenship rights under the Constitution. Making the everyday mobility of adult women subject to the discretion of a warden, local guardian or parent is therefore a violation of their basic constitutional rights.  

Lastly, the Delhi Commission for Women less than a year ago took suo motto notice of the discrepancy of rules between women's hostels and men's hostels in Jamia Millia Islamia, noting it as an instance of gender discrimination. We do not need to bring to your notice the very liberal rules in effect in the existing boys hostel of your college or that your male students only pay 47,000 Rs as hostel fees while women residents would be required to pay over 82,000 Rs as their annual fees. It is apparent in this case that enforcing the proposed rules and fee structure in the girls hostel will be a clear instance of gender discrimination on the part of your administration and is unacceptable. Instead of truly facilitating access to the college for women students from all backgrounds, these will act as further impediments for them beyond the many challenges women already face in society.

The setting up of a women's hostel in your college after all these years does indeed offer a ray of hope to many young women who aspire to study in colleges like yours and are yet often unable to do so in the absence of hostel facilities. However, the deeply regressive rules and high fees proposed must necessarily dampen the spirit and moral of any woman applying to the hostel. We therefore petition you with the hope that you will reconsider your hostel rules not forcing yet another generation of young women to undergo the mental trauma and loss of opportunities that such rules impose, not waiting for the inevitable protests to follow and not setting back the clock of women's emancipation by another decade. We hope that Hindu College will in fact lead the change by example, and set new standards for facilitating women's participation in the university.

Your Sincerely,
The Pinjra Tod movement

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