Why doesnt India have coed hostels

This story is from August 5, 2014

Why do 3 out of the 8 best known co-ed colleges in DU not have girls' hostels?

While many in DU say that the lack of girls' hostels is reflective of the administration's orthodox mentality, colleges which are trying to build one now say there are a lot of hurdles to be crossed.
Separate queues for women, coaches in the Metro, seats in the bus there's a lot that men can complain about when it comes to `reserved' or special facilities for women. But given all of that special treatment, here's a surprising fact out of the eight best known co-ed colleges in DU, three do not have working hostels for girls yet. Although St Stephen's and many others started out as boys' colleges, now that they've turned coed with at least 50% of their student body being women, one would think they'd have accommodation for girls. Yet, out of those eight colleges, the five that do have girls' hostels have built those over the past 2-5 years. And from the remaining three Hindu, Hansraj and KMC Hindu has laid a foundation for one, Hansraj says that it's been on their mind for some time, and authorities from KMC were unavailable for comment. We spoke with authorities from these colleges to figure out why , according to them, building hostels for girls has been a slow process.
"I will just say that it's a historical fault in the making of the university. One reason is that these colleges were built at a time when girls were hardly allowed to go to college. So, the number of outstation girls coming to Delhi to study would've been very small. Hindu College, for instance, was shifted from Kinari Bazaar to North Campus in 1953. But today , when the ratio of girls to boys is 50:50, it's our duty to look after them, and create comfortable accommodation for them.
We have had the foundation of a girls' hostel laid in our college, but it's yet to come up. This has been our top priority for the past five years, but it involves getting ap provals from the fire department, urban art department, national monuments department, and you also need clearance from the state environment board. Even now, we have some more hoops to jump through, but I think it'll be done in a month, and we'll be able to start building the hostel. Because this year too, our post-admission data says that the number of girls is almost 50%," says Dr Pradumn Kumar, principal, Hindu College.
"Our girls' hostel was built in 2005, when a pressing need was felt for the same. Agar aap banana chahein toh proposal pass hone mein bahut time toh nahi lagta hai. I can say this because I have been a part of the Hostel Committee for some years. The reason other colleges are slow to respond to this demand could be that a girls' hostel means more tension and responsibility. People think that the se curity for a girls' hostel has to be tighter as compared to a boys' hostel," says Dr Suresh Kumar, botany professor and hostel warden, Ramjas College.
Dr Rajandra Prasad, principal of Ramjas College, says, "The fault could be with the UGC because years back, they had promised a grant of `2 crore for colleges, and that might not have been given. We, however, got money and also used our own funds. But gender equality is the need of the hour. So, if the reason for not building girls' hostels in other colleges is the fear of extra responsibility ,then that shows a lack of commitment on the part of the administration. Students' security hostellers or day scholars is our primary duty ."
Yet, while it's easy to blame matters on regressive ways of thinking, the authorities at SRCC, who recently announced that they would start building a girls' hostel, said there's a lot of red tape involved which slows down the process. "The girls' hostel that we have at the moment used to be a part of the boys' hostel, and a portion of it was cut out for girls. But now, we'll construct a hostel for girls exclusively . Getting the grant from UGC was the easy part, what took us six years to go ahead with the plan was approvals from the regulatory bodies. Aur agar yeh hum galat kaam kar rahe hain, toh phir approval abhi bhi kaise milta? Difference sirf soch ka hai jo college abhi bhi girls' hostel nahin bana rahe hain, woh pata nahi kaunse zamane mein reh rahe hain. Ab toh girls aur boys ka proportion 60:40 ho gaya hai, aur Delhi ladkiyon ke liye jitna unsafe ho gaya hai, uski wajah se jo parents 2,000 km door baithe hain, unhein itna toh sukoon hum de sakte hain that after 7pm, their kid is safely inside the college hostel," says Dr PC Jain, principal, SRCC.
Sunil Isaar, dean of residence (2013-14), St Stephen's, says, "St Stephen's was an all-boys college till 1975, and for some time after 1975, only Delhibased girls were allowed to be a part of the college. The college hostel has six blocks, out of which the number allotted to girls has gradually increased from zero to three.
Now, 60% of the students are girls, so, the number of blocks for them has grown gradually. Some co-ed colleges are slow to build girls' hostels because of the implied responsibility that comes with it.Parents request you to be partic ularly strict with girls. The fact that DRC (Daulat Ram College) banned mobile phones in their girls' hostel is a case in point (In 2011,the students of DRC protested against the ban on laptops and mobile phones inside the college hostel. Later, Indu Bahadur, the former principal, was quoted as saying, "The rule of the hostel prohibited students from using phones and laptops for security issues. But we understand that technology is vital, and students can't be denied its use. Therefore, we have lifted the ban"). While there are all-girls colleges (most of which have hostels), there are no all-boys colleges, and that should be taken into consideration too."
Dr Ashley Tellis, former pro fessor and warden, St Stephen's, says, "Simply put, we live in a patriarchal society , where only men are `important' enough to be educated. Most colleges have chosen to stick with that mentality ."
Rina Ramdev, a professor at Sri Venkateshwara College, says, "Thankfully , we do have a girls' hostel. It was built in 2008. The reason some co-ed colleges still don't have girls' hostels is the regressive mentality , according to which, girls need to be kept under curfews. This is why there is segregation between the girls' hostels and boys' hostels. Having all-boys and all-girls spaces in this day and age is just an extension of that world view.
All-girls colleges don't hesitate to build girls' hostels, but when it comes to mixed colleges, the authorities are too scared to have hostels for girls and boys because that, to them, means more effort in separating the girls and boys. Policing becomes a factor in the decision-making, against which there was a whole movement in DU, a couple of years back, when Stephen's and Ramjas had spoken against the disparity in the `in' time for boys and girls in college hostels."
"Humare college mein abhi tak alag se girls' hostel nahin bana hai, par baat chal rahi hai. Jab main first year mein tha tab bhi sunne mein aaya tha," says Rishiraj Yadav, former hostel secretary , who has now passed out of Hansraj College.
"Hum 2-3 saal se try kar rahe hain, par iss mein UGC se fund milne hote hain jo abhi nahi mile hain. Par authentic information toh college principal ke paas hi hogi," says Vijender Singh, hostel warden, Hansraj College (the principal was unavailable for comment).
"Humein girls' hostel banaye hue do saal ho gaye hain ab. We built it in 2012, because we have lots of students from Punjab and Haryana, so, we wanted the girls to feel safe PGs utne safe nahin hain. Our hostel houses roughly 150 students. But we don't have a boys' hostel yet," says HV Jhamb, associate professor, Khalsa College.
"Yeh sab humse matt poochiye.
Ye authorities ka kaam hai,"says Shyam Kumar, hostel warden, KMC (the principal was unavailable for comment).

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