Published: 11th September 2019
Meet Damni Kain, the DUSU presidential candidate who wants every woman student to have a vote
An MA Political Science student in Hindu College, Damni says that AISA's fight is against hooliganism, plagiarism and violence
Probably the most common stereotype about student political activists in India is that they do not attend classes and that they fail to do well academically. But this is one stereotype that will never be true of Damni Kain, AISA's DUSU Presidential candidate. This MA Political Science student from Hindu College not only topped the university while pursuing her bachelor's degree but also secured the third rank in the country in the DU entrance in her master's entrance exam.
A day before DU went to the polls, ask her what motivated her to be a political activist and this 21-year-old doesn't waste a second in answering. "It's all because of the subject that I'm studying — Political Science. It made me understand the importance of participating and not isolating myself from society. Every human is a political animal," she says. While academics motivated her political participation, it is her politics that motivates her to do well academically. "The left politics is always focused on education and inclined towards reading and debating. These organisations want their members to be aware of what is happening around," says this Damni.
Damni joined AISA only four months ago, when she joined Hindu College. Prior to this, she was a student of Jesus and Mary College. "JMC wasn't a part of the DUSU and political outfits had no unit there. However, I would go for joint protests where all progressive parties come together. So, I knew what AISA is and what the organisation stands for," she says. Of the 22 women's colleges affiliated to the University of Delhi University, students of only three colleges are allowed to cast their votes during the DUSU polls. JMC is one of them. Damini is not in accord with this and wants a change. "When we have a universal adult franchise, why can't DU students vote?" she asks.
On Monday, the students of Miranda House, a women's college where students can cast their vote had asked the ABVP candidates to not campaign in their college. They unanimously chanted 'ABVP Go Back' and the candidates had to return without campaigning. Damni feels that more such incidents will happen if every woman in DU is allowed to cast their vote. "What happened on Monday was part of a massive students' movement. These common students just couldn't tolerate the ABVP and the things that they've been doing. This kind of hooligan politics can't be tolerated. It is hopeful and motivational at the same time," she says.
"The common students of Delhi University are fed up by the anti-student politics. They want to restore academics," she says, accusing the outgoing ABVP-led DUSU of practising hooliganism in the university. "Despite being in power, if they're curbing academic freedom and giving way to hooliganism, that is wrong. Students are going to reject it now," she says. "The right-wingers made fun of a student's right to vote through the Ankiv Baisoya incident. But we're now united to fight hooliganism, violence and plagiarism," she adds.
So, what does AISA have in its bag for the students of Delhi University? Damni says, "Ours is a universe where students from various backgrounds come to study. Many of them even find it difficult to afford bus and bus tickets every day. So, we're pushing for more public buses, student concessions and metro passes for students. Public education should also mean that the public has access to go to college daily," she signs off.