How some DU colleges are prepping for Modi visit


New Delhi: Compulsory attendance, cancelled leave, advice against wearing black clothes — some Delhi University (DU) colleges have laid down guidelines like these for PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the campus Friday for the closing ceremony of its centenary celebrations.

Modi will be virtually laying the foundation stone of three new buildings during his visit. Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan will also be attending the event, likely to be held from 11am to 1pm, as chief guest. The event will be beamed live across all DU colleges, through screens placed in staff rooms, libraries and auditoriums.  

According to a notification issued by Zakir Hussain College, signatures of all present will be sent to the university — adding that it is being done at DU’s behest. 

Meanwhile, in Hindu College, a WhatsApp message has been sent to students by professors promising extra attendance for participation. The message also seeks to discourage students and staff from wearing black clothes. At B.R. Ambedkar College, participation in the event has been made compulsory, according to a notification issued by the institute. 

Certain faculty members have taken to social media to criticise the notifications, with one student telling ThePrint that similar directives were issued to ensure participation at International Yoga Day events on 21 June.

Reached for comment, Hindu College Principal Anju Srivastav said the administration’s message had been misunderstood, and there was no restriction on the colour of clothes. 

“It is not possible to give students extra attendance. However, we would like to see all students and staff turn up for the screening,” she added. “We only wanted to send the message across that it is a regular working day and students have to come to college.”

Calls to B.R.Ambedkar College principal Prof. R.N. Dubey and Zakir Hussain College principal Prof. Masroor Ahmad Beg went unanswered. ThePrint called DU registrar Vikas Gupta for comment but he could not be reached.

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What colleges said

The WhatsApp message shared on Hindu College department groups — which include both students and staff promises 5 days of extra attendance for participation in the event. ThePrint has seen the message.

Speaking to ThePrint, a professor from the college confirmed the message. “A meeting of college principals and university officials was held Thursday wherein these instructions were given verbally,” the professor said. “Principals have also been tasked with creating an attendance sheet to check who has attended and who hasn’t.”

The Zakir Hussain College notification — shared on Facebook by a professor — reads, “As per the directions of the University of Delhi all staff members other than the newly appointed teachers who are physically present at the multipurpose hall, University of Delhi, are mandatorily required to remain present in the college library to view the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations.”

Asking all faculty members to turn up at 9 am for the event, it adds, “List of attendees along with the signature shall be sent to the University of Delhi.”

The BR Ambedkar College notification, also part of the Facebook post, says the “live web telecast will be organised in the college auditorium”. 

“On this occasion, all teachers with their students and non-teaching staff are to mandatorily attend the live web telecast program in the college,” it adds. 

Professors at B.R. Ambedkar College confirmed the receipt of the notification. 

Teachers upset

Several teachers and students have criticised the instructions. 

Sharing the B.R. Ambedkar College notification on Facebook, Professor Naveen Gaur of Dyal Singh College questioned the move and wrote, “Can a college make attendance mandatory? The notice from BR Ambedkar college makes attendance mandatory, note for some students and faculties that this is a holiday period [sic].” 

Another college professor, who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint that they were already struggling to complete the syllabus. “The four-year undergraduate programme is course-heavy and the syllabus is not yet complete. This is the last week for first-year students before the exams begin,” the professor said. “We are taking extra classes on the weekends to finish the syllabus. Making attendance at this event compulsory will impact students poorly.”

A DU student named Abhigyan, who goes by a single name, said trying to bring students to such events by promising grades and attendance is starting to become a regular occurrence. 

“Students in some colleges were given similar notifications promising them extra marks for elective subjects if they attended the yoga day celebrations,” he added. 

“Now, Hindu College is promising extra attendance. Students, in order to avoid punishment or to get extra credit, are turning up for the events.”

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

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