Published: 19th February 2020
Goli Maaro Saalo Ko: What students protesting against Hindu College's 'virgin tree puja' were told
Two days ago, about 50 students were protesting demanding that the administration take action against those who participated in the puja despite it being forbidden
Among the many slogans that have taken over our skies over the last few months, the one that seems to be resounding in some campuses is - Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron salon ko (The traitors of the country, shoot them down). BJP leader Anurag Thakur popularised it at a rally last month and it has now become a popular slogan to use against protesting students. It was used two days ago against a group of students at Hindu College protesting against the 'virgin tree puja' on Valentine's Day, an event they termed "sexist, misogynic and casteist."
Two days ago, about 50 students were protesting demanding that the administration take action against those who participated in the puja despite it being forbidden. In response, a group of 4-5 students started a counter-protest shouting slogans like 'goli maaron saalon ko', 'Afzal aur Burhan se Azadi'. "We have been protesting against this tradition that is sexist, misogynist and casteist since Friday. On Monday, a group of students suddenly started raising these slogans, telling us that we should be shot, that we will meet the same fate as Afzal and Burhan. This was quite distressing but nobody came from the administration to stop them from shouting such threatening slogans," a female student of the college said.
Video sent by the students at the protest at Hindu College
The protesting students were accused of 'having a problem with everything'. But what were the students protesting against? "The 'virgin puja' is a tradition of the college that has been taking place for many years. The boys select the image of an actress/porn star, make her the 'dami mai', hang up her posters on the tree. Then one of them wears the janeu (sacred thread) and conducts a puja, they fill up condoms with water and hang it all around. Then they pray that they get a girlfriend and lose their virginity soon. They also say things like how they want 36-24-36 (measurements in size) women and other derogatory things. This is not just sexist but also casteist," she explained.
Last year, the students protested against the puja and the clash had led to a lot of violence on campus, "Which is why this year, both the boys' and girls' hostels issued statements saying the puja will not take place. They said no posters would be hung this year, yet the custom took place. They even marched over a procession taken out by the protesters. One student climbed over (the protestors) and hung the posters over the tree. The administration did nothing," the student said.
The students have been demanding disciplinary action against the students who conducted the puja and have been on protest since Saturday. The 'goli maaro' incident took place on Monday when the students decided to protest outside the college as the administration was not paying heed to their demands. "The non-Muslim students shouted out 'Allahu Akbar' and then the crowd erupted in laughter. When we criticise them for the janeu, they say things like they would wear the Muslim cap but what was the assurance that they won't have a fatwa against them or that a 'bomb' doesn't go off anywhere. These are the things they harass us with," a student claimed.
The students said they felt alienated on the campus since nobody wants to engage in any discussion. "This space is filled with blatant sexism, Islamophobia and casteism. But this (protest) is to make sure that we won't give up this space which has been historically hegemonised by the patriarchal ideology. We will not negotiate anymore. We won't suffer anymore. Also to make it clear, you can't give us azadi as our idea of azadi is way beyond yours," said a student on Facebook regarding the incident.