Gender Mela at Miranda House

The three-day of Gender Mela at Delhi University’s Miranda House on Friday saw students discussing issues related to gender, caste and identity, but a question on institution’s own history left students bewildered.

“Miranda House was formed in 1948. And I was googling all the lists – of principals, roll of honours, alumni – from the college since 1952,” Nidhin Donald, from the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), told a bunch of over two dozens of students during a discussion on intersectionality between gender and caste at Miranda House. 

“Barring a couple of Class IV employees, I couldn’t find anyone from the backward caste in the institution’s history.”

He said the “pioneering women’s institute” was highly “regional, sectarian and parochial”, catering only to a set of elites. 

The students however, barely registered their response. Claiming that even “DU wasn’t immune to the concept of caste”, the Dalit rights group cited the example of Bhavna Yadav, a university student who was killed on her way back to her village in Rajasthan for marrying outside her caste. 

The second day also saw discussions around movements like Happy to Bleed, North East Network, Joint Action Committee and the Rohith Vemula campaign.

“We are important voices of dissent that must be recognized as for the first time in the campus. Students have come together cutting across colleges and movements in solidarity with the issues we represent,” Shambhavi Vikram, a young activist from Happy to Bleed, said.

North East Network’s Tara Amrapali said, “These movements are also struggling to be accepted by the older movements and gain the credibility that they deserve.”  A mix of male and female students attended the mela to participate in the discussions, film screenings and interactive games and quizzes. A Nukkad Natak competition and two flash mobs were also part of Friday’s event.

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