Published: 06th July 2020
Graffiti that says 'Scrap OBE', 'panDUmic' appear on Delhi University walls ahead of exam
The graffiti were made on Sunday early morning. We spoke to the students who were behind this mode of protest
An empty billboard at a bus waiting station near Ramjas College read 'panDUmic'. This was followed by a #ScrapOBE. Similarly, the signboards of almost all of Delhi University's North Campus colleges saw graffiti against the university's online, open-book examinations appear overnight on Sunday. Apart from the signboards and billboards, the college walls and the DU Students' Unions banners too saw similar writing.
Since the time the university had decided to conduct its examinations online, owing to the pandemic and the lockdown, various student and teacher organisations have been raising their voice against it. Various surveys also showed that a majority of the students who have gone home during the lockdown have no access to the technology or study materials to write these examinations. However, the university had decided to go ahead with the examinations.
On Saturday, it had conducted mock tests for its students. However, students had alleged that a lot of them were unable to write these tests since the website had crashed. That was the same day on which a group of students had decided to write their messages loud on the university's walls or 'the canvas of the poor' as they say. On the condition of anonymity, we spoke to one of them. "The decision to write on the walls and the signboards was quite spontaneous," she says. "In the current scenario, we do not have a lot of ways to protest. However, after the mock tests, we wanted to do something, to make our message loud and clear," she says.
A master's student in a DU college, she says that she wasn't able to attend the mock test. "By the time I got up, my class WhatsApp group was flooded with messages about how the website had crashed," she says. Even though the graffiti hasn't triggered any reaction from the administration until now, she says that there have been trolls, accusing them of vandalism. "But this isn't vandalism. This is the only way in which the poor and the voiceless like us to dissent. What the powerful are doing is actually more vandalistic to our lives and mental health," she adds.