Kab Tootenge Pinjrey? - When will Prisons Break?

#Pinjratod is an autonomous collective effort to ensure secure, affordable and not gender-discriminatory accommodation for women students across Delhi.

“I have been staying at Apna Ghar-one of the pg’s at Kamla Nagar since a year now. With the second year taking shape, coaching and tuition's have become a regular affair. However, the owners of the house have not compromised with the set rigid deadlines of 7:30 and hence causing a lot of trouble everyday and hassling up with my mind. I can’t seem to find suiting pg’s around owing to the fact that pg’s have sold out accommodation to a new set of people flocking into the university. The owner o fthe house calls up my mother very often to inform about the troubles that they take to keep the gates open till an extended 8:30 and not everyday feels like a great experience to have amidst all the other anxieties of student life’- 2nd year student, KMC.

Sexist issues which primarily make their presence in the Pinjra Todd movement have drafted many a hundred issues like these in the complaint letters filed to the Delhi Commission of Women. But what are the advances in the same? Not a lot in terms of improvisation of living conditions for women have been achieved when it comes to ruling out of curfews and narrow ways of looking at women’s independence in the university. Hostels and PGs have now become the worst nightmare of their lives of so many young outgoing liberal independence seeking women. In their demands, lie prime queries-why women are considered as a different section that gets lesser rights, and delves into questioning what the idea of curfew line is.What is the idea of safety that has hit bells in the minds of people tying up women in chains and why at all women who seek independence dismiss this behavior has found major explanations in the idea of why essentially chains need to be broken.

Dawning on a more historical note, in the university hostels, women didn’t have access to university libraries after certain time, whereas, men had. We have come a long way out of this though. But on a serious note, some major issues still persist.Women are not supposed to go out after a specific time as mentioned in the rules. Even when there is an earthquake, women who live on second or third floor, are locked up. They can’t come down for their protection. Colleges like Hindu have also inflicted higher fee for women as part of the new rules of the institute. This vulnerability of new students allows the PG owners to make arbitrary rules and ask for high rents, they also get away with harassment, moral policing and poor services as compared to the high rents, especially when  it comes to women. These PGs are backed by RWA and by also by police. As a passing note, it is also to be noted that with the prime curfew issue being under the primacy of sensation, no adequate facility in terms of Wi-Fi, food, and water have been provided to a huge number of PGs who are only putting hands in harrowing huge amounts of money from the students. ‘I feel at loss in my student life considering the amount of money I am paying for two meals a day with nothing more in terms of infrastructure and incentive. Curfew is a major issue and it happens so many times that I end up missing important things’, saysa resident of Bansal Pg,Hudson Lane. ‘Pinjreytoddne ayey they ladkiya Dilli Vishwavidyalaya me’, remarks one of the landlords who found masochistic pleasure in commenting on one of the pinjratodd march that took place a while back. For women to be mukt,pinjrey toddne honge. This however has to do with dismissing of standards set by a traditional society that has taken patriarchy a tad bit too seriously and do not get the essence of true liberty for all. True liberation has called in for a fight that is not going to stop till changes come about in the ‘righteousness’ or everybody’s lives. Pinjra Todd has been demanding university administrations to come up with a mechanism to standardize private accommodations run primarily for students in terms of cost of facilities, rules, quality of service and complaint mechanism for instances of harassment etc.

‘I have had a series of encounters with my landlord who constantly nags me of ‘ill behavior’ in seeking curfew extensions and very often threatens me to leave the pg. While he has many a times taunted me about the issue of why women staying out at night is not in accordance with the ‘vehement nature of happenings around’. He has also noted about my active participation in the pinjra todd movement about which he has sent a letter to my parents instigating them to monitor me and ask me to stop the same’.

‘Leave issues are a problem. Women of our college are not allowed to roam about in the lawns too after 10. The boys’ hostels however permit the same. I don’t understand the problem in going out of the room after 10 when we would be taking a walk in our hostel where there are guards at places to monitor things. Sometimes it gets on my nerves and I feel at a serious crisis’- 3rd year student- St. Stephens College.

With the movement shaping up more now than before, hopes in the minds of a huge cluster of women still spark up and we hope time shall also give back what it had grasped way back. Grappling with a major issue as this one, we could only question again  and again as to in what modern liberated sense we are independent or how much the rightly set ethics of ‘equality’ in our constitution mean to people in the real sense of the term. Umeed hai,pinjrey tootenge,zaroor tootenge.

Qwingkl Kalita