By Ishani Chakrabarti
St. Stephen’s College has its own traditional way of celebrating all the festivals you can ever think of and we appreciate it. Valentine ‘s Day is no exception when they promoted “misogyny” in the name of tradition. But that’s something WE DON’T APPRECIATE.
The college has been making the headlines since the past few weeks but not for the right reasons. A video released by Pinjra Tod: Break The Hostel Locks has not only raised eyebrows but also advocated “philandering”.
Every 14th of February while the college across the wall worships the virgin tree followed by the Damdami Maya Puja (because well, age-old tradition, right?), members of St. Stephen’s College’s Alnutt North Gentlemen’s Association (ANGA) take this oath:
“We the people of ANGA,
Have solemnly resolved
To constitute ANGA
Into a paramount egalitarian fellowship
And to secure to all its members-
Justice: Social, sexual and sentimental
Liberty: To philander exclusively with men
Equality: Of status and opportunity
And to promote among them all misogyny
Assuring the dignity of the individual
And the unity of ANGA
And then later treat themselves to ice-cream. Yes, you got that right. Sources also reveal that third years coerced the first years to take the pledge because it was “fun” and they were merely “critiquing the society”.
So let’s get this straight- St.Stephen’s, one of the most prestigious institutions of our country. When a so called progressive, liberal institution that also claims to fight for equality raise a toast to misogyny, chauvinism and homophobia- it’s slightly disturbing.
The ANGA oath has been passed down generations as a “tradition” and it’s “all in good faith”. Their idea of “fun” has brought upon them sharp opprobrium especially from DU’s women-oriented and feminist groups that fight against the discriminations faced by female students.
Sandwiched between the idea of tradition and pledging misogyny, ANGA faces serious backlash and they gave an absolutely uncalled justification which was an attempt to save their as….., tradition, I mean tradition:
“We as members of the ANGA family and the larger Stephanian family have always upheld its values actively, supporting the ideas of gender equality. The ANGA oath has traditionally been a mockery meant to take a dig at the institutionalized inequality that exists in our society. It was a clear expression of… [This was] never intended to start a war against the other gender.”
Conveniently pushing it under the carpet of mockery and tradition another time, we see. Doesn’t surprise us anymore but what does is the college principal, John Varghese’s response when asked about the tradition and about the event taking place on campus:
“There is no such tradition and I’m not aware of any such event held on campus. If such a thing has happened the students concerned will have to face action. We are looking into the issue”.
With due respect to all, the “ISSUE” in hand is the unrepentant display of misogyny allowed in educational spaces like St.Stephen’s, where the principal is not quite aware of the occurrence of an event we have a video footage on.
It is harrowing how this “tradition” has never been spoken of or brought into the light. We hear the students proudly saying, “To promote among them all misogyny” in chorus, mind you.
It is under the garb of tradition that they not only breed sexism among the students but also cultivate and promote such attitude among the students. The idea of calling it a “tradition” simply or not so simply normalizes the entire issue and pushes it under the carpet.
But no. We will not take this age-old tradition with a pinch of salt and let it pass off as humor. Let me put it in words for you, there is nothing comical about misogyny, homophobia or male chauvinism and we’re not okay with the idea of these oh-so-progressive men celebrating it. Behind all the “Relax, it’s just a joke” we never fail to notice the blatant sexism.
This isn’t the first time, it won’t be the last, and it’s an infinite loop we’re talking about.
The world isn’t a utopia for gender equality but the least we can do is make an effort to NOT to sanction, pass and execute misogyny or should I say the ANGA (l)oath(e) as a part of the curriculum.
You’d also like to read: Memes Make Sexism Easy To Swallow: Let This Aunty Prove It To You