Dearest AMU administration,
I know you’ve a fine load of work to deal with and also you, in recent past, organised mega events like AMUSU elections, Alumni Meet and the Sir Syed Day –that perhaps would have made you quite tired. Being your daughter (as you believe) I should have not disturbed you with this letter but dearest administration you need to look into our problems too as seriously as your daughters experience it and not just ignore it with your usual this-is-not-an-issue remark.
I am a second year student of sociology at Women’s College residing in Abdullah Hall. I decided to choose Aligarh Muslim University for my higher education because my father wanted me to. Being an all-daddy’s-girl I was really excited about my father’s choice for me. When I saw my name on the list of the accepted candidates that passed the entrance examination to enter the gates of Aligarh Muslim University, I was overwhelmed with happiness. With all the merit talks that were a major component attached to this prestigious name of Aligarh Muslim University, my hopes were surely reaching the sky.
I have had a good educational background. Being brought up in a convent environment under the watchful eyes of the Nuns and Fathers, the term discipline, etiquette and hygiene have been brooded into my mind since the day I first encountered them. So after this sort of intermediate schooling I was very much looking forward to a college that had similar or higher contributions in molding up my personality. I have spent a fair ten years of my life in a boarding school so I was familiar with its working, or so I thought.
Since I first stepped into the premises of Abdullah Hall which was on 8th of August 2015 till the present day I have felt my world change its hue. It is true when the girls say that Abdullah hall is a world in its own. You do tend to form a family that you eat with, when happy you laugh with them and when the tears rolls down your cheek they are the one to wipe it off. These are among the few things that make you fall in love with the place. What girls tend to forget once they leave this campus is that what happens inside Abdullah stays inside Abdullah.
It was my first week on the grounds of Abdullah hall and there was already a pre-warned notation that had been given to us by our seniors which highlighted the fact to keep a watch for monkeys. I didn’t take it much seriously, considering the fact that there is a lot of ‘wild life’ preserved in this hall due to its humongous size and closeness to nature, I thought that even the monkeys would be hanging lose on some branch of some tree.
So on the last day of my first week I was inside my room and there was a knock at the door. It was a very polite knock and I replied with a ‘come in’ to the person waiting outside. But to my surprise a full grown monkey pushed the door aside and walked in on its fours and leaped onto my bed. While entering it had managed to smack my jam bottle of the table whose glass was scattered on the floor and while running out for my life barefoot I stepped on those crushed pieces of glass which made my foot bleed for a while and pain for the rest of the day. When I informed about this happening to my senior she replied with ‘beta ham teen saal se jhel rahe hain, aap naye naye aayen hain aadat ho jaegi’ and along with this piece of advice she handed me an iron rod which would act as my safe guard, if I held it while being attacked.
A month passed and like I was told I became careful but not careful enough. One afternoon while I woke up from my mid-day nap my room-mate went out to wash her face leaving the door unlatched. It was in a moment of seconds when the rest of the action took place. One moment I was sitting crossed leg alone on my bed rubbing my eyes and the next there was a monkey entering my room, leaping onto the edge of my bed , I decided not to wait to find out the result of this encounter and ran for my life to the nearest room. When I got back, my books were on the floor, the fruits kept on the table gone and there was its faeces at the foot end of my bed.
This was the limit of my patience and I went to the higher authority. I told them what my pain was and they said it was because I had food in my room and that was the end of it. A friend of mine and I wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellor with the subject ‘negligence of the university administration towards Abdullah hall’, which we handed the Vice-Chancellor in person and reading the suaughed and dismissed even the thought that any such negligence is being carried out. At the end he did give his word and said ‘young ladies, we will look into the matter’. That was September 2015 and today it is October 2016; one year plus one more month. The girls in Abdullah Hall live under the same conditions !
There is this third incident of a friend of mine, Tuba a student of Linguistics Honors 2nd year, was attacked and bit by the monkey on her arm and waist during the second semester exams. Then there was the case of a girl who got so badly infected by the hair of a monkey, who once might have played with her cloths that were put to dry outside, that she got rashes all over her body and now she had to re-wash her cloths with an anti-allergic solution so that the itching on her skin may cease. A first year student was chased down the staircase by a monkey where she fell and managed to fracture her leg.
The question that stings me is that in every speech ever made, in every addressing session, the person of high post has always addressed us as their ‘daughters’, I wonder had it been your own flesh and blood living under these conditions would it not prick you ? Would you not turn restless wanting to do everything in your power to create a safe environment for the living condition of the one you call your own.
It’s a sure thing that premises of Abdullah Hall provide protection and safety from the outside world, apparently that’s the only sort of protection that a girl needs according to the authorities. Protection from more wild and savage things is not taken into consideration let alone the health and hygiene of the residing students.
After this letter authorities at AMU took the genuine case of Ms. Rahi. The author now is obliged for their concerted efforts towards welfare of students at AMU. To read her letter of thanks, Click Here