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When Rules Transcend Decency

GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA

Rules and regulations, in a college, are meant to discipline students.   The youngsters are expected to obey the laws of the institute. Having said that, when rules transcend decency and tend to become gender-specific, student possesses every right to protest. What happened in a girls college in Bhuj town of Gujarat is not only shameful but also downright condemnable. Sixty eight girls, all hostellers, were asked to strip upto their underdresses by the college principal to check whether or not they were menstruating. The hostel authorities were  maintaining a ‘register’ in which every single girl was expected to enter her name after her menstrual period began. Some girls refused to write their names but when sanitary pads were found in the college garden area, an incensed principal ordered an ‘inquest’. The college, run by a religious sect, was keen to ‘ensure’ that the menstruating girls ‘followed’ primitive rules like abstaining from socialising, cooking, washing utensils, touching friends and sharing benches with fellow students. The ‘educated’ principal was too enthusiastic to prolong the stigma that has come to be associated with menstruation or periods, conveniently ignoring the fact that colleges are meant to infuse in the students a sense of scientific temper. The authorities turned a blind eye to the fact that menstruation is not pathological but a perfect physiological process every human being born as a female undergoes from a point in time. The whole exercise of deplorable frisking must have traumatised the girls. This thoughtlessness on the part of the college authorities in India is not the first of its kind; it may not be the last either. Therefore, fixation of responsibilities is a must.

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