Selfie-inspection on DU campus?

The Asian Age.

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When attending a class can be a matter of choice in college, how can someone be stopped combing their hair?

City students feel the Miranda House ban on clicking selfies on campus borders on the absurd, and impinges on their freedom.

In this swipe left, swipe right tech-driven era, a ban on selfies comes across as shocking news. Point in case — Miranda House recently issued a notice to students stating that “clicking selfies, combing hair or modelling in the gallery” can lead to suspension. The notice issued to part-time students of the School of Open Learning (SOL) further stated: “Many students have been seen clicking selfies, combing their hair and modelling... The college administration does not permit this. If any student is found wasting their time, then she will be suspended for the day and sent out of the campus.” Many students in the city feel the ban does not just border on the absurd, but also impinges on their freedom.

“Moral policing is our country’s favourite pastime. No offense to any of the college authorities, but that’s what it is in this case,” says Ananya Varma of Motilal Nehru college. She adds, “We live in a democracy and a ban doesn’t go down well anywhere, be it in a college or any other institution. I believe an educational institution is an ideal playground for liberalism and free thoughts. So a ban just isn’t apt.”

Another annoyed student, Saniya Khan of SRCC says, “I find this ruling pretty absurd, especially coming from an all-girls college. Colleges provide holistic education that includes both curricular and non-curricular education. Every college has a fashion society and students do modelling not for money but for passion. Moreover, as college students, we are grown-ups and there has got to be a sense of freedom in college. If such strict rules of decorum were followed, that too in a corridor, what would be the difference between school and college? When attending a class can be a matter of choice in college, how can someone be stopped combing their hair? It’s a petty issue.”

Siddhant Goel, a second-year student, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College agrees, “I find this suggestion extremely uncalled for. Are we living in a dictatorship? This is yet another sign of how intolerant our times have become — girls can’t wear jeans in some colleges, for instance. And this selfie ban is taking the silliness to another level. We are 18 years and above, and can decide what is good or bad for us.”

Whereas, Gopi Devdutt Tripathy, associate professor, sociology, Maitreyi College, shares that it should be taken as a disciplinary step rather than a ban. “This notice has been a point of discussion in several colleges including mine and what we found after several rounds of discussion is the argument that selfies are a distraction, pretty much like texting in the classroom, and selfies can be an issue as they also pose security threats in the sense that most children become so absorbed when clicking a picture that they don’t even notice cars coming their way… like they are too self-absorbed to be alert. So basically this is one of those things that boil down to a sense of responsibility and knowing when to do things and when to refrain, where to focus at what time… so as a clause for discipline, it makes sense, but only to some extent.”

On the other hand, professor P.K. Khurana, principal, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College commenting on the college administration’s ban on “modelling in the gallery” explains, “If a student wants to pursue modelling as a career, then there is no harm in practicing it in the campus. Students have the right to determine what they want to do in their life. Also, clicking selfies will not affect studies or the classroom culture but they do cause distraction among students.”

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