St Stephen’s ANGA Has to End the Sexist V-Day Oath!
In a video shot on Valentine’s Day, St Stephen’s College students can be heard taking an oath “to promote misogyny”.
Last year, on the evening of 14 February 2017, gathered in the college mess lawns for yet another evening marked by the true 'Stephanian spirit', a section of men, “in keeping with tradition”, read out the Alnutt North Gentlemen’s Association (ANGA) Oath. Just like the boys from Hindu Hostel who had earlier in the day done a Puja of the Virgin Tree to mark their "age-old college tradition".
The content of the ANGA pledge was rather disturbing. But none of the oh-so-progressive men shouting the words out seemed to mind. If anything, the air was filled with jubilation.
This is what the oath said:
"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
The oath was caught on video and was shared by Pinjra Tod: Break the Hostel Locks, a students body that has been protesting against the regressive hostel rules for women. Watch it here:
Women students of the College protested against this disturbing practice a week after the said oath was taken, strongly highlighting how such blatant misogyny and homophobia under the garb of ‘tradition’ only served the purpose of further perpetuating years of institutionalised misogyny and discrimination.
The historical context in which the ‘ANGA oath’ was first taken was marked by strong resentment against the admission of women students to St Stephen’s in the 1970s.
The college went on to have several regressive 'traditions' such as putting up of "chick charts" on the college notice boards rating women students (which continued up until last year in the form of anonymous confession pages), singing of the 'Blacksmith song' composed by certain 'respectable alumni' with triggering and voyeuristic content perpetuating rape culture (references to which are till date mindlessly invoked by the very progressive men of the college), branding women students "feminist fanatics" for questioning these structures of oppression.
Even after strong protests that took place in the college after last year’s Anga Oath ceremony, the men of Stephen's have decided yet again to take the absurd ceremonial oath keeping in with their ‘tradition’ under the pretext that they would remove the ‘two problematic lines’ in the oath, forgetting that the entire structure of this ceremony comes from a tradition and history which has for centuries oppressed, ridiculed and structurally discriminated against women.
Women of the college for decades have faced sexist, misogynistic and absolutely disgusting ordains from the patriarchal institution that is St Stephens College. And every year, with every clause of the oath, the voices of the Alnutt North Gentlemen’s Association grow louder and more triumphant.
This is a warning to the residents of ANGA hostel, our voices and anger are not going to stay silent for long! There are no chick-charts anymore and there dare not be another Anga Oath!
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