The recent streak of protests in the varsity, provided a centre for nationwide movement against CAA and proposed NRC, but apart from the augmentation the protests will be marked for its leadership that was manifested in the women of the University. The Girls of JMI, did not only actively participate in the protests but at many instances led the crowd to shake the authorities and break stereotypes that were built around them.
“Jannat ek aur hai jo mard ke pehlu me nahi,
Uski aazaad rabish par hi machalna hai tujhe,
Uth meri jaan mere saath hi chalna hai tujhe.”
Even in the 21st Century, it is not very surprising to come across inveterate stereotypes established around women, and that of Jamia Millia Islamia are no different to it. The common perception about them is one of stubborn conventions: supposedly powerless and oppressed, all of them veiled, demure and largely apolitical silent figures, which not only reduces these women to a stereotyped singularity, but also plasters a handy cultural icon over much more complicated historical and political dynamics. However, the realization can only be drawn when a walk around the campus gives you sights of a palette of women with some tying their laces for sports practice, to some adjusting their robes for Moot courts; those who are carrying Arundhati Roy & Alice Walkers, to those who are arguing about the leadership of Margaret Thatcher & Theresa May. It’s not shocking at all to witness such strong inculcation of leadership skills and values at a place where keynote positions from Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Dean of Students Welfare, Heads of Department(s) , Club Conveners & Secretaries to Class Representatives and various other responsibilities are held by women with perfection.
In the wake of the recent protest, we found female students of Jamia taking lead against the authoritarian excesses, while they ventured forward to save the country from the very guardians in the world’s largest democracy. Girls who have become the face of the Jamia protests after a video of three girls standing strong to the baton weilding police personnel went viral on the internet, received wide attention from people all across the world.
It was only after the residents of the J&K Girls Hostel & Begum Hazrat Mahal Girls Hostel voiced their opinions about the Citizenship Amendment Act & National Register for Citizens, the protest gathered a significant support from the entire university. Each day more people joined the protests and an exponential amount of girls from various departments, faculties and centres associated themselves as the movement went further.
I was to leave for her home after the winter break, but now after witnessing so much wrong against and in the country, I won’t go home.
says a student from Department of Economics, Jamia Millia Islamia
She will stay back and fight for them and their common tenets. Not only this, but women from all age groups, including the grandmothers and sisters of Jamia students took an active part in the ongoing protest. A few women, in their 60s, almost limped to the site of protest, while some accompanied their family members and friends.
A sight that I am proud to have beholden was, female students from diverse medical fields who were residing in the hostel, relentlessly providing first aids, and medical care to the wounded students who took shelter in the hostel; saving them from the mishaps that were ongoing in the university.
The teachers surely proved to be the motivating force for the students be it from the Jamia Teachers Association (JTA) or female professors in specific who didn’t even hesitate to lie down on roads for the sake of the nation, this itself is a testimony of their courage and strength and can perhaps never be forgotten. Such was the splendor of women surging out to fight against the injustice.
“Tere maathe pe ye aanchal bahut hi khuub hai lekin,
Tu is aanchal se ek parcham bana leti to acha hota.”
This time we saw the women of Jamia tearing down the misconceptions hoisted around them bit-by-bit, as they resisted and fought the despotic act with equal strength and avidity. The gusto with which female students of the university are trying to spread the cause, both through words and actions, proves that staying silent is the last thing on the table. A student who was a part of the protest since day one said, “I, as a woman, felt stronger than I ever was. I went on the road, with several other girls like me, we were fighting there, we were standing tall against all odds, that made me proud of us all.“
This one unfortunate incident definitely established the fact that women are in no way weak or oppressed, they are a symbol of power and the fuel for the progress of a society. They have yet again proven themselves by this glorious show of sheer bravery.
NUZHAT KHAN, B. A.(HONS.) ENGLISH, JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA