Scene outside Vishwavidyala metro station, the main stop on way to Delhi University
Street plays about anti-corruption, mobile blood donation camps and management institutes with four-figure annual fees – this is not a commercial break during prime time television but the scene outside the Vishwavidyala Metro Station, the main stop to Delhi University on Day Five of admissions at 11 a.m. on Friday.
While the young men and women dressed in red kurtas and jeans who just kept singing about the bad state of the country did not seem to want anything more than to “warn” everyone about the future, the counter selling “education material” was more dangerous.
“Does this come under Delhi University?” asked a sharply-dressed woman who was accompanied by her slow-moving son.
“Well, not exactly, but we are almost the same,” was the quick reply from the shifty-eyed salesman dressed in a blue uniform, who added, “ We are as good as DU, we have under-graduate and post-graduate courses and state of the art infrastructure, just see our pamphlets.” Luckily for the son, the woman moved away quickly.
Parked permanently outside the station since day two of admissions is a huge bus which, going by the graffiti-like lettering in red splashed all over it, is a blood donation camp. Both sides of the vehicle have “NGO” pasted prominently on it.
“We have no authority over what happens at Metro Stations, we can only control whatever happens within the colleges and immediately outside, this is not exactly a closed campus and there are certain areas that are public places, beyond our reach,” said Delhi University Proctor Usha Rao, who, to her credit has been very vigilant, having regular meetings with the local police and making surprise visits to university centres and colleges selling forms.However, there can be seen parked outside some colleges, heavy vehicles that belong to some drink or food company. Inside, sales people distribute iced-teas and soft drinks to passers-by. “We are tired waiting for our children who are inside writing their exams and if these people give us free drinks, then we are going to accept it,” said a woman who was sitting on the pavement outside Hindu College.
While distributing cold drinks on a hot summer day to exhausted people is harmless enough, the sale of “education,” to vulnerable students who think themselves incapable of getting into the university with its sky-high cut-offs is downright dangerous.
“One man accompanied by two girls came to our help-desk, pushed off the girls from there and set up shop on Wednesday. They were from some management institute and were distributing prospectus and giving presentations about their institute to the students. We immediately had them thrown out. The next day they had set up shop outside our gates. We then threatened to hand them over to the police if this continued and they finally moved off, but not before we confiscated whatever material they had been collecting,” said an administrator in one of the colleges selling ECA and sports forms on the North Campus. She added that they had collected information like names, addresses and telephone numbers and confessed that they intended to “contact” these students and “encourage” them to join their institute if they did not get into Delhi University.