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“No big nose stud or ring,” no celebrations like birthday or New Year,” and “should not bring mobiles, pen drives and SIM cards,” engineering colleges in Chennai are issuing such ridiculous rules that one of them immediately went viral!
This picture had gone viral the last few days with social media voicing out towards the ridiculous rules that engineering students face in engineering colleges in Chennai. While the authorities have released statements saying this document is false , we have students all over attesting to them. This particular document may be false but the fact that such colleges do have extreme rules is not. (I attest to it too!) All these are not just demeaning to women but to engineers in general.
This is not something new, the rules have been in places for many years and every time there is only a stir but no solution. Here are some of the highlights.
Many engineering colleges ban – yes ban – interaction between girls and boys or rightly put, men and women. There are separate corridors for girls and boys. They claim that it will distract them. And they have a committee called the disciplinary committee (disco in short..how fun!) to police these students. Spies, including drivers of college buses, can report such incidents (like a boy talking to a girl in the bus or bus stops) and action will be taken against these students.
There are those who break away, rebel and come out of these institutions as better people. There are students who suffer when they go out into the real world. I have heard stories of men and women lacking communication skills and being awkward at workplaces, all thanks to the culture shock they experienced after coming out of their colleges. The corporate world sure does not have ‘discos’ to monitor them.
Girls face this more than the guys. The women are expected to wear salwars with dupattas (shawls) pinned on both sides (to not show their already covered breasts!). This was something taken very seriously when I was in engineering fours years ago. A person was appointed at the entrance to just check and pull us if we did not “dress” properly. Even kurtas were not allowed. The kameez had to be long enough to atleast touch our knees.
The college official who was interviewed on NDTV said we impose rules about clothes to prepare them to dress decently at their workplaces. Dear Sir, the top engineers at Google and Microsoft (also led my Indian-born leaders and where thousands of Indian engineers work ) care about science and not clothes. So take more effort in recruiting better faculty who are an example for your students in becoming excellent engineers. Wouldn’t that shape an engineer how to and how not to carry themselves at their workplaces?
One other point raised by college officials is that these are ‘top’ colleges who generate excellent engineers and recruited in hundreds by multinational companies. The IITs, BITs, NITs, IISC, which I presume are the highest ranked in India have no such rules and produce better engineers. Companies around the world are working hard to ensure more non-conventional work places to help youngsters to work better and think better. We have workplaces with gaming and art stations and couches to nap and we also have engineers-in-the-making being punished if they walk in late to class or skip a test.
Companies around the world are working hard to ensure more non-conventional work places to help youngsters to work better and think better. We have workplaces with gaming and art stations and couches to nap and we also have engineers-in-the-making being punished if they walk in late to class or skip a test.
There are parents who support this.
Yes, there are parents who want their children to study in such colleges for them to be “safe” and become responsible and so on. Sometimes it is forced upon them. I am lost as to how that makes sense. How are we going to bring about a change when the so-called educated engineers are taught that women who wear leggings should be publicly shamed and men who talk to women will be punished?
I am an alumni of one such college and I went on to do my masters abroad and I became a pretty successful female engineer. My college might be proud of me but I wouldn’t want to tell everybody where I studied when such demeaning things happen in these places. There are thousands of us from these institutes who are living in India or outside who have a powerful voice. Even now, the whole issue came out because of the support of alumni who voiced out and who attested that this is all true when the college officials tried to close it as fake.
This conversation has been had on and off for more than a decade now and still very few institutes have changed their policy.
An alumni launched this discussion on Reddit which went viral:
I request all alumni especially from Chennai to support all efforts you see being made to make our educational institutes better places. Any interaction with your contacts, voicing out if you are called to address the present students , even on social media might help. This conversation has been had on and off for more than a decade now and still very few institutes have changed their policy. The present stir seems more powerful than before and I hope for the best.
Image via Shutterstock.
In my mid-twenties , a safety specialist by profession in US. A free thinker, equalist
I came out of a women’s college where the Management quota seats are on high demand the reason being the parents were in a mindset that a women’s college is safer for their girls. I also remember why any cultural feast was not conducted in our college because of a simple reason that boys would come to the feast. I felt how ridiculous it is!!
True Vasavi! I hope things change .
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