Published: 26th December 2018
Here's why Christina took part in SFI's Women's Wall in NSS Hindu College
Around 350 women students of NSS Hindu College, Changanacherry formed a wall outside the college on December 20 and they have planned another for the New Year
When Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala, announced a women's wall on January 1, 2019, to uphold renaissance values and gender equality in the society, it was obviously met with mixed reactions from various circles. Especially after the Sabarimala issue created a huge ruckus in the state, this initiative was opposed by a lot of religious groups and right-wing organisations, including the Nair Service Society (NSS). But to their dismay, the women students of the NSS Hindu College, Changanacherry, a college owned by the NSS, recently formed a student wall outside the college, in solidarity with the government. As many as 350 women students, from different religious and cultural backgrounds, took part in the event organised by the Students' Federation of India (SFI).
"Kerala's is a society that grew through protests, processions and movements. When the government came up with such an initiative we thought we must express solidarity to it as responsible young citizens," says Christina Francis, the college's Students' Union's Vice Chairperson. She adds that a lot of women came forward to support the event disregarding the heat. They were in 'Katta support' (full support), as Christina puts it.
So, how was it for the students of an NSS-owned college to take part in this initiative? Fairly difficult, they say. "The management was against us. Their chief, G Sukumaran Nair had previously said that the wall will create a wedge in the society. But all 350 of us went ahead anyway. Students with different religious beliefs took part," says Christina, who is a third-year student of BSc in Botany in the college. She adds that she took part in the initiative as a Keralite and was never discriminated inside the college on the basis of religion.
There was strong opposition from the RSS affiliated ABVP. "They even went to an extent of sprinkling cow dung water on the students to 'purify' the college, a practice that is common in upper caste Hindu households and temples," says Christina. "They wanted a platform to express their views on Sabarimala issue again. But the underlying reason for the ABVP theatrics is just jealousy. They ruled the college union four years back. But since 2014, SFI holds a majority here," she adds.
Even though the event was a success, these students have a lot planned for the future. "We want to make sure that at least 150 of us take part in the Women's Wall on January 1. Even though a lot of students would have gone home for holidays, we will try and get as many participants as possible," Christina signs off.