A Hostel After 135 Yrs: How Nizam College's Women Students Scored a Historic Win

After 2 weeks of 'silent protest' by UG women students, the Telangana govt righted a historic wrong on 15 November.

6 min read
A Hostel After 135 Yrs: How Nizam College's Women Students Scored a Historic Win
Hindi Female

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

Hyderabad's prestigious Nizam College had been making the headlines for the past few weeks over a 'silent protest' organised by its undergraduate (UG) women students, demanding that they be provided hostel facilities on campus.

After nearly 15 days of protest, the Telangana government, on 15 November, allotted a newly constructed hostel building on the campus to exclusively accommodate 300 UG women students. They have been told they could move in by 30 November.

This is the first time in the 135-year-old history of Nizam College that UG women students have been allotted a hostel.

Students meet with Telangana Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy on the final day of the protest.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

"This movement was not just about us. It will positively impact generations of women studying in this college," Snehasri Goud Bongani, a second-year BA Psychology student who was part of the 'silent protest', tells The Quint.


What Triggered the Protest?

Nizam College, which has about 3,000 students, has 90-room hostels each for UG and postgraduate (PG) male students. Additionally, there are hostels for postgraduate women students on the Osmania University (OU) campus, with which Nizam College is affiliated.

The newly constructed hostel building at Nizam College – which was inaugurated by Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Minister KT Rama Rao in March this year – was proposed for the women students on the campus.

The newly constructed hostel building.

(Photo: Meenakshy Sasikumar/The Quint)

"Our seniors staged several protests to get a hostel building allotted for the women students on the campus," Soundharya Bhukya, a second-year BA Political Science student from Telangana's Mancherial district, tells The Quint.

Later, however, it was decided that the building would exclusively be allotted to PG women students housed in OU, considering their difficulty in travelling back and forth to college.

"So, we were left wondering – what about us UG students?" Soundharya says.

The UG women students have had no hostel facilities up until now. They were forced to stay in private hostels nearby, paying Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 per month.

"Many who study here come from other districts and are not based in Hyderabad. Some of us are from rural areas, and we are not financially well off. This win is important because it ensures that poor and marginalised women students are not left out in the future," adds Snehasri, who hails from Karimnagar district.

The road to this victory, however, was not an easy one, say students.

The undergraduate women students, who were at the forefront of the protest, pose in front of the hostel allotted to them.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)


How Did They Do It?

The UG women students first staged a rasta roko on 31 October near the campus, demanding that the hostel be allotted to them. Soon, the police intervened, leading to discussions with the principal of Nizam College, Prof B Bhima.

"We argued with the principal, and he said he needed five days' time to decide," Sneha recounts.

But a couple of days later, on 4 November, the principal reportedly conducted a pooja on the new hostel premises with a group of PG students. "We went to meet the principal again to discuss the matter the next day, but he called the police on us," she adds.

The students alleged that several women protesters were detained by male police officials that day.

The Quint reached out to Prof Bhima, but he declined to comment saying, "The issue has been resolved."

UG women students protest at Nizam College.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

"After this incident, we decided to organise a silent protest from 8 November – we thought that was the way to go. We did it all by ourselves; several unions and political parties supported us, but it was our protest at the end of the day," says Soundharya.

She, however, adds that they resorted to protesting only after months of representations and requests failed to make a difference.

"We went from class to class, student to student to mobilise support. This was a collective issue faced by women. So, nearly 500 people were part of the protest every day – both women and men. Many politicians, like RS Praveen Kumar (Bahujan Samaj Party Telangana chief), also came to support us."
Soundharya Bhukya, a second-year UG student

'Our Education Was at Stake'

The silent protest began at 9 am and went on till 5 pm. "We just sat under chintha chettu (a spot for all the main discussions), sang songs, and shared inspirational stories," says Snehasri. The protesters boycotted classes for nearly 15 days.

She adds that they also tried to start a Twitter trend simultaneously. "We had over 30,000 tweets, hoping to garner support from people. But it wasn't successful because of some technical reasons."

But as the protests dragged on, the students were worried that they would miss out on their education.

"COVID already took a toll on our education – especially women in rural areas. We knew that if there was no response from the administration, we would be the ones losing out on our education. By then, we had already lost a few days of classes by protesting. We requested our teachers to help out, but they said that since we're going against the administration, they won't be able to," Snehasri adds.

UG women students protest at Nizam College.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)


'Why This Gender Bias?'

The students, meanwhile, met with Navin Mittal, Commissioner of Collegiate Education and Technical Education in Telangana. "He told us that the hostel could be divided 50-50 between PG and UG women students. But we didn't agree to that because when the hostel was built, it was implied that it was for UG students," says Snehasri.

"We then met Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy (on 9 November). She said the same thing and issued a GO in this regard two days later. But we stood our ground and kept protesting."
Snehasri Goud Bongani, a second-year UG student

A group of students even alleged that Mittal threatened to file cases against them and "ruin our future" after they said they didn't agree with the 50-50 distribution. "We didn't care, because even if we suffer, future generations shouldn't bear the brunt," she adds.

The Quint has reached out to Mittal for comment; the story will be updated as and when he responds.

Minister Rama Rao also intervened in the matter.

"On the final day of the protest, she (Sabitha Indra Reddy) met with us, and we said: these rules don't apply to men's hostels, then why should it apply to women? Why this gender bias?" says Snehasri.

Protesting students meet officials for negotiations.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

On 15 November, the minister directed the college to issue an order saying that the 76-room hostel would be allotted entirely to the UG women students. As per the latest order, SC/ST students need to pay Rs 7,000 per year, BC students Rs 9,000 per year, and general students Rs 10,000 per year.

"We were very happy. This was not just our victory, even after 30 years, many women would be using this hostel. And that was worth fighting for," Snehasri said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from news and education

Topics:  Telangana   Hyderabad   Undergraduate 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More