On their return from home for the new academic year, Jamia girls hostel residents were shocked to find a new hostel policy forbidding them from taking any “Late Night Out” from now on.
Late Night Out is a rare privilege Jamia girl hostellers are allowed to avail twice a month if they ever wish to stay out a couple of hours beyond their regular curfew time of 8 pm., thus requiring them to return back to the hostel by 10 pm at the latest, according to a Jamia girls hostel resident. Furthermore, to avail a Late Night Out, girls are required to get signed permission from their local guardian a day in advance, and then produce another signed slip from their local guardian on their return. And all this paperwork for the privilege of staying out only a couple of hours twice a month. [To know more, refer to Hall of Girls Residence, JMI, Manual: Link]Interestingly enough, Jamia authorities require the girls to furnish a declaration signed by their parents, which basically states parents cannot hold Jamia responsible for anything that happens to their ward while she is outside the hostel grounds. And yet, there are such restrictions on the students movement outside the hostel.
One of the girls who brought this to Jamia Journal’s attention — and who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal by Jamia hostel authorities for speaking out against the new policy — is clearly agitated and perturbed by it. She told Jamia Journal:
“The hostel authorities want to control the lives of the girls that live in the hostel it seems. In the first place, the number of late nights allowed was only two per month, now even that “privilege” has been taken away from us. A lot of us find it difficult to find shelter for the night, and now we can’t even think of coming back to the hostel after 8 p.m.
“This new policy makes me feel agitated. It’s like they are telling me that I cannot take responsibility of myself and hence they need to dictate to me and other girls (and only because we are GIRLS) when and where to go. The discrimination makes me feel that I am being thought less of a human being.
“Lets be honest here, the hostel rules are blatantly sexist. They have no such regressive rules for the boys hostel. Neither do the boys have to give attendance at any time nor do they have to take permission to be outside. If security is the concern (which is not their concern as the hostel authorities have declared is not their responsibility once the student is out) then what about the security of boys? There are all kinds of crime in the world, afterall?”
To put this issue in perspective, it bears mentioning here that these university students who are required to get permission from their parents/local guardians for staying out late at night are legally adults with the right to adult franchise, which gives them the power to have a say in who will govern our country, and the power to dictate laws of the land through their elected legislative representatives. These same university students are then treated as children by public officials of a state-funded university. The irony is almost palpable.