Solve your PG Issues! Read up further

Solve your PG Issues! Read up further

Fun, frolic, masti, ‘party all night’, independence, freedom. Hostel life… Po-tay-to po-tah-to? Well, depends on your sex.

Everyone is well aware of the fact that boys and girls follow differential rulebooks in hostels and PGs. However, even the most superficial examination of these rules shows how blatantly unfair and illogically restrictive they are to female students.

Yes it is important to impose certain rules and restrictions on students for their benefit and security, but then these rules should, inter alia, conform to certain logical standards, shouldn’t they?! And you don’t have to be a logician to realise these standards, you know, they are actually QUITE commonsensical.

Consider for example, the timing rules for boys and girls. In every single college in this country, girls are supposed to be inside their rooms much before than boys. Sometimes the time difference is a ridiculous two-three hours! While we do understand the security concerns, we cannot overlook that fact that the female student of today is the inspiring achiever of tomorrow. And public spaces belong to her as much as they do to her male counterpart.

Moreover, this rule, or rather the timing discrepancy in it, blatantly echoes the belief that women are the weaker sex and that they need more protection.

In other, upfront words, women are less capable than men when it comes to self defence. I reiterate that even though the security concern is legitimate, it is wrong to propagate the false idea that women are physically (or in any other way) weaker than men.

Another downright illegitimate rule imposed on girls is the clothing standard they are forced to conform to. It is nothing short of disgraceful that even today, when women are the inspiring achievers of the corporate world, when success stories of inspiring women serve inspiration to men and women alike, when successful women start-ups have become the new face of entrepreneurship, such a discriminatory and demeaning restriction is enforced on female students. What right do college authorities, or anyone for that matter, have to dictate a student what to wear and what not to? It’s like blaming the girl for being raped because she was wearing short clothes. It is sheer blasphemy to gender equality and social justice. It is, in the truest essence of the word, wrong. After all, there is a difference between safety and moral policing.

The girl’s hostel is plagued by yet another menace – harassment by hostel wardens. There have been umpteen number of cases in umpteen number of colleges about hostel wardens harassing umpteen number of students. I have always found repetition to be an effective poetic device. Anyway, the typical megalomanic hostel warden starts bossing around harassing and threatening students. On many occasions wardens have been found to be bad mouthing students against whom they bear a grudge. Also, many-a-times wardens complain against students who they believe are ‘over-indulging’ with their male friends. Well here’s a question Bollywood would like to pose to them – Kya ek ladka aur ladki sirf dost nahi ho sakte? Again, it’s sad that the inspiring achiever of tomorrow is falling prey to such ‘pre-historic’ mindsets and stereotypes.

Well you can’t push someone beyond a certain limit, can you?

Female hostellers had had enough of this sexist tomfoolery. They took their amalgamation of anger, frustration and exasperation (all in the superlative degree) to its logical conclusion – the Pinjra Tod movement. In this movement, female students from various institutions including Delhi University, sick and tired of their irrational and male-friendly hostel rulebooks, stood up against their hostel and college authorities.

The upshot was Delhi Commission for Women issuing notices to various colleges demanding stoppage of gender bias, especially in their respective hostels. And this marks not only an inspiring victory for female hostellers, it is instead another milestone reached in gender equality. Kudos to the girls and their inspiring achievement.

But the battle is only half won. Girls living as PGs continue to be harassed, and that too in ways more than one. For example, many times landlords manipulate them into paying extra money, especially for electricity and water. Sometimes they even get them to pay for broken furniture and appliances that they didn’t even damage! Sheer, downright exploitation! There have also been cases wherein PGs have been sexually and/or physically abused by their landlords. And again, there are the ridiculous timing rules.

But, girls remember that you are the inspiring achievers of tomorrow. Find and/or fight your way out of your troubles. If you are upset by certain rules in your hostel, then collectively go and talk to the concerned authorities. If they don’t concede, and you don’t deem their reasons justified for doing so, then contact higher authorities. If your warden threatens you then immediately file a complaint against him to the concerned authority. And in case you have been threatened by the warden, then report this too to the authority and request them for anonymity.

For PG students, ENSURE that you take bills for each payment that you make to your landlord. If you feel that you are being exploited, talk to your college authorities and the police. Also, immediately report to the police if you are being harassed or abused in any way.

Having said all that, do NOT forget that rules ARE for your benefit. Adhere to them- the logical ones, I’ll say.  Always.

On the eve of independence, Pt. Nehru, the first Prime Minister on independent India said in his famous speech “Tryst with Destiny”, and I quote, “Freedom and power bring responsibility.” So remember, if you want freedom, then be responsible enough to deserve it….And also, do read the entire speech. It’s inspiring, to say the very least.


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