By Sharanya Gopinathan
You know how some people enjoy making themselves feel disgusted by watching pimple-popping videos? I think I have the same masochistic relationship with reading stupid hostel rules. Like JNU’s order to women to stop puking in the hostels, or when NIT Calicut decided to selectively punish only female students if they were caught “roaming” on campus with male students.
Now, the Telangana government has said that it “invites applications from women (unmarried) candidates” to its residential social welfare degree colleges. When this came to light, the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society’s content manager was kind enough to clarify to the Times of India that this wasn’t a misunderstanding or an oversight, but what they actually meant. He said that they have asked for unmarried women because married women are a distraction. To be more specific, he says, that there is “every possibility” that their husbands will visit them once a week or a fortnight, and these husbands would distract unmarried women in the hostel.
Right. Another member of the Society claims to have more altruistic motives, and says the move is aimed at reducing child marriages (which is what the Dean of my college also said when I asked her why the college marks pregnant women absent when they don’t make it in time for first period because of morning sickness). As activists point out, this would do less to reduce child marriage and more to create additional roadblocks to married women attaining education at all. There are obviously better ways to reduce child marriage than by making sure married women don’t live in college hostels. In these social welfare residential colleges, 75 percent of the seats are reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Castes.
Photo courtesy Tetyana Pryymak via Flickr by CC 2.0