December 20, 2014

. . . . And Then I Was Harassed In College

Hello. My name is Somdyuti. I'm 19 years old. I was harassed in college because I stood up against the wrong. And this is my story.

But before I tell you about it, you should know that the girl in photo isn't me. It's just a photo I snatched off Pinterest because well, it seemed to suit well with my story. Whatever.

If I hadn't already mentioned to you, our college has quite a reputation for bad politics. As of now, all major political parties of India have their respective student wings spread throughout the country. One such place is my city, Kolkata, which maybe called the epicenter for all political turmoils.

As such, the Students' Union of our college is currently dominated by the Trinomool Chhatra Parishad, also known as TMCP (the student wing of All India Trinomool Congress). So like I said, our college is completely influenced by politics which- let me tell you- is downright dirty and corrupted.

These TMCP students claim to protest against all wrongs and whatever it is that they do. A part of their "protest" thingy is to drag the politically uninvolved students to join their rallies, or michil as we call them. So there's always some kind of chaos (read: brawls and bloodbath) at our college. Always.

Needless to say, everyone is scared of them. Even the teachers. So am I. So are my parents. We have a saying: "the only way to stay off their radar is to stay invisible to them."

As usual there was some sort of michil scheduled on that day.

As for me, our department was to host an Inter-Year Spell Bee event that very day. The First Year, Second Year and Third Year teams had to battle against each other. The event would have probably been successful had it not clashed with the michil.

As if it wasn't bad enough, the TMCP Union members kept calling the participants forcing them to pull out of the team and join their rallies instead.

Long story short: The TMCP Union students kept interrupting our event, demanding to let go of the participants. We tried to settle; they left; they came back again; we refused and one thing led to another.

The next thing I know, the General Secretary, our Class Representative and one other member of the Students' Union barged into the room demanding and shouting my name.

Why? Because I told them NO. "No, the participants won't leave till the event is over."

And that's how the whole thing began. They started threatening me over and over again; what all they could do to me; how they can throw me out of college; and finish me. Why? Only because I dared to stop them.

They said and I quote: "If you want to stay in this college, you have to everything that we (union members) say. You need to take our permission for everything that you do. And if you can't do that, you can leave the college and go elsewhere."

"... you follow what I say or I'm going to finish you!"

To be honest, the entire incident is still a bit of a haze to me. I remember being attacked (verbally, ofcourse) repeatedly. I remember my friend and seniors pulling me away. I remember breaking down in front of my friends later, because I was more scared than violated.

I remember being consoled, my friends and seniors telling me how strong I had been, how I did the right thing my speaking up and how they completely support me.

It has been a week since the incident, and frankly, I still do not know how I really feel about it. Or rather how I'm supposed to feel about it. Should I be scared? Concerned? Threatened? Humiliated? I don't know. Should I forget the whole incident and avoid them henceforth? Or should I confront them again demanding why they did what they did to me? I don't know.

What I do know is that I don't want relive that day again. Not even a single second of it.

I remember the Monday I had to go back to college. My parents were scared to death. I'd be lying if I say that I wasn't either. I was too. Who knew what they could have done to me? What they can still do to me. I remember running all the way from the college gate to my class, never stopping or looking back. I just kept praying I wouldn't have to face one of them again.

As I write this post, there's a part of me that hopes I'm not doing something foolish by speaking up. Again. I'm not supposed to badmouth any political parties on social media. If I do, I'll be put behind bars.

I don't think I am criticizing any political parties by writing this post. I have no intention of doing so either. But if something does happen - something like I'm put behind bars - at least I'll know I didn't hold back.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine to become a victim of this. But I did.  

Every minute, I feel like I'm going to get a call from one of them telling me that I've been thrown out of college. Every time I close my eyes, I see them threatening my life. Every time I walk the corridors of my college, I fear one of them is going to pounce on me and beat the daylights out of me, just because...

Maybe I'm over-thinking it, maybe I'm not.

But my question is-
  • If an educational institution isn't safe anymore, how would we be sure of the rest?
  • What should we be more scared of? Politics or the crime itself?
  • What ARE we really supposed to do?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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