#Opinion

Hostel Curfew: Are They For Security Or Just To Keep Tab? Women Students Speak

Hostel Curfew Times
Curfew time and females are so tight together. It may be a college hostel or home, but every girl, at some point in her life followed curfew times. Every time you leave the house, your parents first ask when will you be back. A hostel gate pass also comes with a deadline. Women are assumed to be unsafe from men, then why are no curfew times for them? They are to be tame in the first place, why women are tamed? 

Like Cinderella, every outing in a girl’s life is governed by the hands of the clock. For many, these time rules are compulsion, and hostel curfew times are justified citing so-called security reasons. Perhaps, the whole point of freedom and autonomy is missed in this. Also, in a broader sense, it nowhere meets security purposes. Curfews stay useless and irrelevant for many hostellers. 

From time to time, there has been a protest to extend the ‘In-time’ of hostels. Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur, witnessed a similar protest against the curfew. Miranda House, Jamia Milia, Delhi University, and St Stephen College, having curfew timings ranging from 8 pm to 9.30 pm, saw multiple protests in the last couple of years. A movement ‘Pinjra Todh‘ rose from it in 2015. Punjab University students also concluded a 48-day protest against the curfew of 9 pm and the hefty fine for students who return after 10 pm. Women can tell how the administration has treated them, under the pretext of security, freedom was seized.

Hostel Curfew Times Doesn’t Add To Security

Vibhuti Garg, an economics honours graduate from Mehr Chand Mahajan DAV College for Women (MCMDAV) spoke to SheThePeople about strict rules at the hostel and how it was riskier than secure. Garg said, “I had outing times between 3 pm to 6 pm. No one can leave the premises before and after this time. Police security 24X7 around the college. So, curfew time really was too much. It only set security in question because the more strict rules, the more you tend to break them. Girls made fake coaching passes to stay out for an extra hour till 7pm, took a day off, and stayed with friends without informing. This posed more risk than flexible time. Even boys hovered outside the campus. It made no difference.”

The hostel curfew times may seem a non-harming little issue, but it is not. It controls women’s mobility, encourages gender discrimination, and exposes women to a larger risk. Other experiences of women pointed out that even curfew times were a form of discrimination. 

Vrushali Kedar studied Journalism at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), Kedar indicated biases in the curfew timings. Kedar shared, “My curfew timings were 10.30 pm, but boys had no deadlines. They can go and come anytime. We were not allowed to have a guest at hostels, not even our mother. Whereas, at boys, unregistered people lodged for months together. University was always safe, curfew timing really doesn’t matter considering security. It is just a mindset- It’s a girl hostel, so the university’s responsibility to ensure security, it must have been same for boys too.”

Yogesh Jagtap, a former hosteller at SPPU, confirmed they had no hostel curfew times. This does show how discrimination is ingrained in such tiny issues. 

In a woman’s life, nothing can happen without reason. She has to be answerable for everything and anything. Shital Nikam, a former student, who studied MSC statistics at Swami Ramananda Tirth Marathawada University, Nanded, affirmed that we owe an explanation to everything. Nikam stated, “to extend the deadline, we needed to apply for a pass with proper reasons. They were possibly approved only if accompanied by fellow hostellers, or for medical reasons. This is in a way unfair. Why investigate so much? Rules need to be there, but curfew time should be extended because women can take care of themself, this level of security is not needed. Only curfew times are not really going to help in my security.”

The above narrative talks about ingrained bigotry and belittling of women on the whole. These accounts talk about curfew time alone cannot ensure security. Instead, the system should focus on making the city safer. The imposition of restrictions on women is nothing, but moral policing and controlling their agency. The Pinjra Tod tried to challenge these patriarchal policies that women face on their campuses. These accounts also speak of security but not at the stake of equality. 


Suggested Reading:

Chandigarh Hostel MMS Leak: The Problem Is With The Mindset, Not Gender