Strike 10

Prancing back to the hostel premises from the summer vacations with expectations and hopes of renewed assurances, the ladies of NITR were presented with a scenario tinted with dark humour, if you may. The brand new amendments to the rules for entering into their abode in the late hours of the evening had scaled a new level of strictness, and incredulity. 

The show goes something like this. You come back to the hostel after 10pm. You are initially refused entry into the hostel premises, then subjected to a barrage of questions by the guards as to your whereabouts, you are asked to put in a call to the warden or the Chief Warden, write an application specifying your “reasonable explanation” for the late comings and then have your ID card seized for an indefinite amount of time. The rules remained pretty unclear for almost a month. As the incredulous sight of ID cards lying unattended to and scattered all over the table of the security guards caught the eyes of the boarders, they demanded a proper know of the new rules that have come into play and the not-so-pleasant notice came up.

A fine of upto Rs. 1000 for two late entries. Expulsion from the hostel without prior warning for more than 4 late entries. Was it a rude shocker? You bet!

Female students have the allowance of a night out for academic work, club related activities, etc. only if they inform the warden in advance by giving an application in the warden’s office, forwarded and signed by the appropriate authority. But, it is very obvious that producing a legal document for such reasons is never always a plausible task. Besides, seizing of ID cards by the guards definitely causes inconvenience to the boarders. The cards are found lying on the table heedlessly. This increases the probability of ID cards getting lost and thereby causing exasperation among the boarders who are then compelled to pay a fine of Rs. 500.

Residing in a huge campus, in a place they call their second home, the ladies have to have a valid reason, with signed permission from concerned authority to stay out after 10pm in the campus premises itself. Somehow this notion has an eerie undertone of “do not trust the campus security”. If security was really an issue, the fortification of the security on campus does sound more rational instead of keeping the women folk under lock and key.

And then an unwitting sense of spooked feminism quips in here as the grass certainly appears to be greener on the other side, down at the boys’ hostel, where the male students are free to traipse in and out as they please.

The authorities do have an answer to all these queries. But in the form of a yet more drastic measure – installation of Biometric systems at the gates for even more precise monitoring of the movements of the girls coming in and out of the hostel. 

It is probably high time that the authorities realize that oppression is not the solution. Discussion is, speaking up and opening up to suggestions is. Instead of coming up with one brick-walled rule after another, an attempt to hear out the views and sound reasons of the populace would help bridge the intellectual and communication gap between the Commanders and the Commanded. Because this is not the voice of someone demanding the propagation of feminism. This is the voice of someone who wants to loosen the shackles of prejudices, one who wants her rightful freedom and does not want to be questioned or asked for circumstantial evidence and “satisfactory and justified” explanations on every sundry occasion for exercising it.