Basic Rights Infringed

If it was some other day I would have written a story, story of some sad Indian village girl of a different era probably, trying cope with her child marriage, her dismal life, and probably her undying attempts to please her disdain in laws…Now that’s a good plot isn’t it, but today, nay this afternoon I was confronted with a situation which inspired, nay forced me to write this article. An Article which is a total opposite to what I usually write.

Well this is not a life changing article, it’s actually the same old story we have seen or heard of millions of times in movies or on news channels, but never did I think that someday I’d be confronted with a situation as such.

So here it goes, the main intention for this article-

“Justice has always evoked ideas of equality, of proportion of compensation. In short justice is another name of liberty, equality and fraternity”

                                                                                                                -Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

As a girl these above lines had always inspire me to look up to the Constitution of India which ensured Justice, Equality, and Fraternity to all its citizens. These liberating words of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar inspired me further to take up law as a career, I am a proud Law student currently in 4th semester studying in a small township of Assam, India.

But as Law student today I am very ashamed because my teachers of Law failed me. They failed the very principles of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity that shrines our Constitution.

Today I was forced to compromise with my basic rights, my basic ethics, I was forced to apologize for something which is not wrong, today I was forced to apologize to my College Principal for asking for sanitary women’s toilets in the College.

The toilets in my College are in extreme poor condition, the commodes in some of the toilets are broken, some of the doors won’t properly close, the sewage and drainage facility in the toilets are substandard, the wash basin which is provided has no proper plumbing, for the purpose of washing hands and as such we have to depend on an old tube well which plumbs unhygienic water. No dustbins are provided in the lavatory for disposing of our used menstrual pads. Girls in my College when they have to go to the washroom they need to take a friend along with them as the doors aren’t reliable. All the waste from the toilets goes into a pond which is just behind our classroom, and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other fleas.

The administration of my college is very deficient; we don’t even have adequate number of books in my College Library that can sufficiently provide to all its students. As a Law College our College has never participated in any Law seminar in India let alone in any Moot Court. So asking the College administration for the repairs of the girls Lavatory seemed inevitable as they have always denied our every request.

Yesterday when I went to College after our bihu holidays I saw a whole new side of it, the walls of the College building which were once painted green may be but were now of faded whites from years of sun exposure were yesterday freshly painted, the college garden looked clean like it had never before, the classrooms were swept and even the desks and benches of the classroom were clean unlike the days when I have to dust a bench before sitting on it, to prevent the dirt getting on my white uniform.

As I spoke to my friends I got know that all these preparations were for the inspection of B.C I (Bar Council of India). I further saw that all of my friends as well the teachers were busy making false records for all these years, we were even asked to register records of us using the computer lab which we have never used in any of our academic term. In addition to that we were asked to accelerate our work in a workshop to be organized by our College which probably is the first time our college has organized one in the history of its glorious fifty years, only so that we could show its records to the B.C.I.

I won’t lie; I helped in this forgery too, I am not proud of it, but after all it was our college’s name at stake. And other than that I was happy in way to watch my College do some real work even though the motive was mala fide.

We were asked to behave our very best, to seem as presentable as we can. The Inspectors arrived and without losing a minute they started to examine every document, every report, they surveyed our college premises as well. All our teachers were busy escorting  the inspectors  when one of the inspectors came into our class, he seemed friendlier than rest of the inspectors, he questioned us about our college and we answered him as amicably as possible almost trying to persuade him to buy all the pretence. Before leaving he asked us if we wanted some improvement in our College, to which hesitantly I confided about the poor condition of the girl’s lavatory. To which he showed grave concern and thanked me for my answer. Before leaving our College the inspector assured me that my College authorities have promised them that the Girl’s lavatory shall be taken care of.

Now you might think what a clever girl she is, she found a way to get access to clean toilets (which is by the way her basic right), but as naive as I am when my teachers asked me about the conversation I openly told them the truth, and they found out that it was I who sold them out.

May be I didn’t understand yesterday that my request for a cleaner toilet would be considered as a treason or that I fouled my College’s good name in the books of B.C.I. Whatever be it may, today I had to apologize to my College authority, because apparently I brought a bad name to my College. It’s funny what the trivial 10 marks which remain in the discretion of the teachers can make a student do.

And in all of this, the biggest irony is that the topic on which my College is organizing the mockery of a workshop is “WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA”.

***************************

-This is a real incident, The name of the Writer and the College shall remain anonymous. (For the protection of the student.)

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