This article was submitted to Ergo by an anonymous author from the National Law University, Odisha.
A part of me with better judgement dictates that I don’t get this piece published. But, taking a cue from the hostel authorities in my college I’ll let my whims and fancies drive me.
Any sensible adult may at this point question why I have a problem with room checking in the girls’ hostel; after all we are under the guardianship of these authorities! Well, to be really clear, we here are not a bunch of rebels who want to radically change conventional college rules and regulations, but the law student in us demands an end to arbitrary actions.
As one of us say- “Get accused of smoking even if it’s just a Mortein coil and you’re an established smoker.”
Labelling any sort of smoke as cigarette smoke, be it a mosquito coil, fast card or even agarbatti smoke is beyond our ideas of right and wrong. Guards sneaking around the campus to put their smartphones to use and click pictures of persons of opposite gender talking to each other are beyond our ideas of morality and immorality. Trying to talk to authorities and being met with allegations of unlawful assembly is beyond our ideas of the Indian Penal Code. A room check in the girls’ hostel, but never in the boys’ hostel is beyond our ideas of gender equality.
Do I sound seditious now? Well, then maybe the relevant authorities may take some lessons from the IPC “know-all” and realise that the charge of sedition really does need a newer interpretation.
We are all “nobodies here, living off our parents’ money” and that gives these established educationists the right to bash our dignity, disturb our mental tranquillity and treat us like scum. You know something is definitely wrong with a university when the university itself calls you unemployable. The question of competency is on whom, us or you, as a university? You know something is wrong with the system when there are innumerable anti-ragging laws, despite which a first year comes crying to you because she was woken up in the middle of the night by the wardens and accused of smoking, all because she possessed a lighter.
Policing the dress code of women students on the pretext of women safety is put on a high pedestal. But oh, forcibly shifting the girls to the boys’ hostel, sealing them off from natural air and light in dingy corridors, jailed within plywood is so in sync with our rights of natural justice. Extracting forced testimonies, or guaranteeing that our “parents will cry” is definitely not coercion. IPC much? Being summoned to the Chief Wardens office to “voice our grievances” and then every question being met with a robust “no”. Healthy discussion much?
Hardened criminals in our country aren’t checked without following the criminal procedure code, but here we are, law students being harassed and followed around by sniffer dogs in our “homes”. Our rooms are being barged into, our wardrobes being stripped without permission, our juniors being told to stay away from us to “preserve their goodness”, our parents (who live in different states, mostly) being called to inform how their child is supporting the use of intoxicants. We are living under the glare of constant suspicion, looks of disgust being thrown on our way, defamed, our individual dignity being made a joke of.
So much for the sake of digging out the “evil” at the end of a cigarette.
So this place is supposedly my home? Well, I’m being harassed at home.
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