New Delhi: At Aligarh Muslim University’s Women’s College, change towards empowering the women here is taking place one election at a time.
Riding motorbikes in celebration of the election victory — an unthinkable stunt for AMU women — the victorious candidates on Monday promised to take out their fellow students on an “outing”.
Naba Naseem, a political science student who has been elected as the Women's College students’ union president, won the election with her promise of “seven days’ outing for students”.
Speaking to News18, Naba Naseem said, “The moment these women see other women riding motorbikes, it gives them a sense of empowerment. The candidates, who rode the bike, broke many a stereotype and I will take this assertion of empowerment a step forward by starting a campaign to allow a seven-days outing.”
Her manifesto talked about a “Campaign for 7 days outing” and sought support and solidarity from her fellow students who reside in hostels inside the AMU women's college campus.
The manifesto read: “Now, this is my last point because it is something we all will have to fight for, together. I have plans to start a campaign through signs and petition for a very ‘fundamental right’. We are all 18 years and above and are responsible enough. I’m not asking for permission to stay out late, all I am asking for is an outing that is between working hours (9 to 5). The administration says that most of the girls are from families that won’t allow them to go out. But, then why should the others suffer?”
As of now, undergraduate girls can only go out of the campus on Sundays and that too before 5.00pm. With one day and a few hours at hand, they find themselves hard pressed for time and no leisure. There are only two shopping complexes that the girls usually end up at, Amir Nisha and Center Point.
Zainab Naqvi, an MA student said that many were taken by surprise when a video of the girls on bikes surfaced on social media.
She said, “It was a very important move. There was buzz on the main campus as well regarding the Women’s College girls riding motorbikes to celebrate the election win. For many years, we have only seen boys doing such stunts during the elections, but this act was both an assertion and empowerment. We are now waiting for a backlash from the conservative elements.”
Naqvi, in support of the outing promise, said, “This demand is usually dismissed as unnecessary by the AMU students’ union, the wardens and proctors behave like our in-laws and are always shaming the girls for wanting freedom. But things need to change now.”
A faculty member in Women’s College, Shadab Bano said, “These girls are riding bikes within their campus walls. Instead, they should demand a joint union of AMUSU and Women’s College, which was discontinued some time back and take this movement to the main campus too.”
Bano will lend support to the demand of girls for “Seven day outing campaign.”