Published: 23rd September 2018
DU's historic hostel, Gwyer Hall, is trying to kick a blind MPhil scholar out. But he's not going quietly
The student doesn't have any close family to take him in, yet the college authorities are refusing to listen because his original time allotted for the MPhil is up
For the last month, 26-year-old visually-impaired Lovely Kumar Grover has been trying desperately to retain his position as a hostelite at Delhi University's Gwyer Hall. Grover is an MPhil student at the Department of Social Sciences and has been requesting an extension on his stay for months now. He has been running pillar to post but not one person is ready to give him a valid reason as to why he's being denied accommodation at the 80-year-old hostel that has alumni such as Congress leader Karan Singh to boast of.
Grover's mother passed away when he was only a year old. When he turned 11, he lost his eyesight after he developed a tumour in his eye and the doctor said that he either had the option to remove his eyes or he would risk death. Two years later, his father passed away too. For the next few years, Grover lived with his grandparents till they too passed away. For most college goers, a hostel is like a second home, for Grover it has been home, since 2009. Now his home is being taken away from him too.
Grover did his undergraduate course at St Stephens College, went on to do his post graduation in Panjab University and now for the last two years he has been teaching and pursuing his MPhil from DU. He says he has faced no issues anywhere so far, up until now.
My MPhil was initially scheduled to be 18 months long — so I started on August 23, 2016, and it was supposed to be completed by February 23, 2018. Due to some delays, my department extended my time till August 23, 2019," Grover said. Accordingly, he applied for an extension at his hostel but they only gave him an extension till August 31, 2018, "Since then I have been sending application after application, letter after letter, I've tried everything to extend my stay but no one even cares to hear what I have to say. They just want me out
Lovely Grover, student
A passionate supporter of the Indian Blind Cricket Team, Grover says he's written to the University authorities, he's written to DU's Equal Opportunities Cell, to the deans of the departments and University, he has sought help from his own department and all of them have lent their support and written to the hostel on his behalf. Grover even said that only 120 seats of the 160 seats in the hostel are even occupied, so why is it that the College is so adamant about not giving him a hostel?
He suspects its the doing of one of the hostel's student leaders. "I did not support the him during the elections and since then he has tried to cause trouble. None of his action is direct but I suspect he is the reason why the hostel administration is giving me so much trouble," Grover said. Grover says that the administration hasn't denied other students their requests for extensions but is simply refusing to give one to him. They refuse to give him any reasons either but continue to harass him with notices and abusive behaviour.
He kept refusing to accept the notice directing him to vacate the room so the administration decided to send him a speed post, "But I refused to accept that either. So they've resorted to speaking to me rudely and becoming hostile to me. They are trying to provoke me by trying all sorts of things. But I'm not going to budge and neither am I going to become anyone's chamcha," he said.
The administration has allegedly threatened to "double lock" his room so he would get locked out of his room, but Grover is one step ahead, "I've put two locks myself, so they can't do anything." But he doesn't know how long he can carry on this way as this is only a temporary measure.
If they give me a valid reason at least then I will know how to take it from there but if they simply refuse to pay attention to my needs and ignore me, what can I do?
People who are familiar with the hostels attached to Delhi University will know that extensions are fairly easy to obtain and several ex-students and students who have extended their terms beyond their years of study to complete arrears and for further research have been granted place.
Queries to the office of the Provost of Gwyer Hall went unanswered.