On 19 March 2018, Jamia Girls Hostel’s students chronicled a new chapter of student struggle in the campus, and set another example of Student Unity. The University rejoiced with celebration when the administration agreed on the demands of the students of both the hostels and extended curfew timings to 10:30 PM, among other accessibilities.
The Jamia Review interviewed Sadaf Nasar, a third year student of English Honours and a leading figure of the protest, to know more about the inside politics of the hostels and the conditions that led to such a heavy protest.
Here’s what she had to say:
How do you feel after such a victory?
This victory for me is just the starting of something bigger, something better. I am more happy with the fact that Jamia saw such unity and fearlessness among female students. I think they have overcome their fears and realised that nobody is going to help them except they themselves. Previously, they were afraid of coming out and speaking up. But the times are changing now, and I am happy about that.
As you said that girls were afraid to come out before, what led them to speak up and held such a heavy protest now?
Sometimes you come to the point in your life when you’re like- enough is enough. It was not just the result of a day’s protest, we have been struggling so hard for years, and I think we got the result yesterday. All our hardships and preservation was secluded to the point that it came out with such a heavy protest. The other thing is that Jamia has always lacked quality female leaders, but in yesterday’s protest we got to see many good voices too. This was one of the most important outputs of the protest, among the others.
We had been following facebook posts regarding the protest and we saw the hashtag PinjraTod there, would you tell us anything about it?
I am not associated with PinjraTod. And I want to clear one thing that our protest was not just limited to Pinjra Tod, or JSF, or AISA, or any other organization, for that matter. So I can’t say why the hashtag PinjraTod is being used. The protest was basically about the freedom of girls, of students, and voicing the hardships they are put through within the campus. It was a move by all the girls of both the hostels, regardless of the organization to which they belong.
There were people, unfortunately, who were not supportive of this protest and ridiculed this victory. Would you like to say anything to them?
They are always there, always. I am always up for those people who just stand, and ridicule everything that they think is going against their religion or their notion of life. These people call themselves the thekedaars of any religion, be it Islam, Hinduism, Christianity or any other school of thought. They lack this simple wisdom that other people are educated too, religiously and ethically as well. And above all, this is a Central University, a home for diversed people, so every opinion will be entertained. I think we should not give a heed to them and strive for the best. Our actions and their results will reply to them.
Are all the demands you had proposed in the protest fullfulled?
Yes, thankfully, all the demands are fullfulled after this much hardwork. We didn’t compromise for anything this time.
Okay, so this protest became an inspiration for so many student leaders in Jamia. Do you think that Jamia will be holding election for the Student Union soon, acknowledging the fact that students here are getting politically aware?
Yes, I think if the scenario remains the same, then we will be having a Student Union soon. Jamia, being a minority institution, will give so many good minority leaders who can voice their reservations regarding the minority. Other than that, I think every university has a Student Union and it is important for the proper working of the institution. Jamia is lagging in so many things- the food is getting bad day by day, delayed results, the corruption amongst middlemen and so many other things. Just last year, we protested for the issuing of our own results, can you imagine? It’s high time that Jamia needs a Student Union and I am very positive that it will come.
Would you like to say anything to the girls who were not in the protest?
You fight for yourself, that is how the world works. We are living in the 21st century and are the students of Central Universities. What we need to do now is to correct the society, the institutions we live in. It is our foremost job. I will just say that they should come out and speak for themselves, their struggles and everything they go through, revolutionize their thoughts, and show it in their actions. We have just won Jamia; there is AMU, DU, BHU too, among others. As I said, this is just a beginning.
– Shehwaaz Khan
B.A Eng. Hons. , Jamia Millia Islamia