"ਹੋਸਟਲ ਦੀਆਂ ਸਮੂੰਹ ਵਸਨੀਕਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਸੂਚਿਤ ਕੀਤਾ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਕਿ ਮੈੱਸ ਵਿੱਚ ਸ਼ਾਰਟ ਡਰੈੱਸ ਪਾ ਕੇ ਨਾ ਜਾਣ।"
Short dress...shorts...there's some confusion about the notice in Punjabi put up in the girls' hostel. The hostel warden is not a qualified translator, and hence could not think of the Punjabi word for a "short dress." But she is a self-appointed cultural and sartorial watchman for Indian Sanskriti and all she meant was "shorts."
"Nikkran jahian paa ke aa jaandiyan ne jee," she explained, and hence the notice.
Girl students in a girls' hostel in Punjabi University now cannot go and have their breakfast or lunch or dinner in the mess of the hostel where there are only other girls if they are wearing shorts, or presumably, even a short dress.
Intriguingly, the decision to not allow other girls to watch some other girls having jam-on-toast while wearing shorts was taken in the interest of "safety of girls."
The decision to not allow girls to watch some other girls having jam-on-toast while wearing shorts was taken in the interest of "safety of girls." Seen in a historical perspective, this decision is far more progressive than killing girls in the womb.
Seen in a historical perspective, this decision is far more progressive than killing girls in the womb, but nevertheless, students seeped in sociology, mathematics, anthropology, geology, life sciences, physics, chemistry and various other branches of knowledge are gathering in pilpul mode, splitting Talmudic hair to parse the different layers of the hidden meanings of such tools to ensure "safety of girls."
Can anyone dispute, in modes Jesuitical or Talmudic, that we must ensure "safety of girls"? At this publication, we dare not.
Wearing shorts may leave a girl vulnerable to the searing heat of matar-paneer curry, were a bowl to slip off the rickety tables on which students partake their supper. "It is not always jam-on-toast," she may argue, and she would be right.
The argument would apply to a short dress also, so where's the confusion? You need to broaden your mind and understand the simple truth that in a post-Nirbhaya world where our women have now woken up to rank patriarchy in daily life, they will not compromise even an inch on the issue of "safety of girls."
Hence the ban on shorts! The warden is right.
"The idea of ensuring safety of girls through such means shows minds that are in a mess," a damsel may snap. She needs to be gently reminded that the no-shorts rule applies only in the mess. So there!
The men on the campus of the Punjabi University should rise in revolt against the authorities who have never cared enough to protect their hairy thighs from being singed with some searing hot curry. (Do they have chicken curry?)
The men on the campus of the Punjabi University should rise in revolt against the authorities who have never cared enough to protect their hairy thighs from being singed with some searing hot curry. (Do they have chicken curry? I'll wear striped pajamas to the mess if it's not boneless. It's always fun to pick bones with varsity dudes.)
A ban on shorts already exists in Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha Library, but that applies to both boys and girls. One needs to appreciate such gender equality.
"Ab achha thorri hee lagega Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha jee ki photo ke saamne se guzarna, nikkar daal ke?" a minder told me.
"Portrait, you mean,” I interjected. "Same hee gall hai,” she snapped back.
I nodded, faintly in affirmative. The only other reasonable reaction could have been to strike the woman in the head with some heavy object, and all I had were my car keys. ("You English-speaking liberal elite with a sense of entitlement to correct my English...Angrez ki aulad…Go to Italy,” I could hear Sambit Patra shouting in my ear.)
The Republic has changed. It is now a TV channel. And university hostel wardens can be Arnab Goswamis and Sadhvi Ritambhra and Smriti Irani and Mohan Bhagwat rolled into one. You can feel more alone than a Mukherjee in Nagpur. And he did not wear shorts even when shorts were the de rigueur sartorial norm. So, stop complaining.
I made a mental note of the ominous warning staring at me in the girls' hostel mess.
"ਆਦੇਸ਼ਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਾਲਣਾ ਨਾ ਕਰਨ ਵਾਲੀ ਵਿਦਿਆਰਥਣ ਦੇ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਅਨੁਸ਼ਾਸਨੀ ਕਾਰਵਾਈ ਕੀਤੀ ਜਾਵੇਗੀ।"
When it comes to women's safety, no compromise should be brooked. And by the way, even a jam-on-toast can get really messy if it drops. Why spoil a good short dress? Keep it for that special evening.
The campus is almost a pajama party with such wardens around.
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