While Jamia Millia Islamia has started the practice of holding democratic elections for mess and cultural committees in the boys hostel once again, the administration, however, has chosen to discriminate against the residents of the girls hostel and unabashedly decided to not hold any elections for the same committees in the girls hostel.
The practice of conducting elections for mess and cultural committees in both the hostels was stopped a few years ago but the practice has been brought back in the boys hostel this year. In the girls hostel, however, there are no such elections and the two committees, mess and cultural, are only in name and completely defunct.Earlier in the girls hostel, the practice was that residents could give their names to the hostel authorities to be considered for the two respective committees, and then it was up to the warden to form the committee from among the self-nominated names according to the warden’s whim and fancy in the most undemocratic manner possible.
Even this farce resident representation in hostel affairs has not happened this year in the girls hostel. Names for the two committees were sought more than three months ago and yet no final committee has been formed, even though more than half of the academic session has already passed.
“I had given my name for the mess committee some months back but till now I haven’t been informed about its formation and have no idea what the administration did with the names that were collected,” told an MA student residing in the girls hostel.
There are so many issues related to the mess that an elected committee is all the more needed.
“The mess fees has been increased for the last two semesters and now is four thousand more than what it was one year back, despite all this, the food quality is degrading and is sometimes not healthy,” complained another resident.
For a public educational institution like Jamia, in the heart of our great democracy, it is shocking to see an administration, supposedly made up of people educated in liberal educational institutions themselves, to hold such contempt for student participation in the affairs of the university; especially of women students.
Can the women in this university not even expect to be treated equally in repression? Is that too much to ask for?
The residents of the girls hostel demand the university to hold democratic elections for mess and cultural committees, just like they are in the boys hostel, and let the residents of the girls hostel at least have a say in the food they eat and the cultural activities they participate in.
[Note: The identity of the author of the article and of the people quoted within the article have been withheld at the author’s request since they are all residents of Jamia girls hostel and fear reprisal from the administration for speaking up for their rights.]