Despite DU’s half-priced online form, a sea of humanity descended on campus anyway
Serpentine queues, blazing sun, empty water dispensers, fast-disappearing forms, many protests and large number of men in khaki. That in sum and substance was Day One of admissions at Delhi University on Wednesday. Despite all attempts by the university authorities to keep the crowds at bay by offering online applications at half the price this year, the efforts did not bear fruit and a sea of humanity descended on the North Campus.
“We have printed only half the number of forms we usually print. We might have to go for a reprint in a few days time,” said an apprehensive South Campus Director Umesh Rai, who is supervising things at the North Campus Arts Faculty, the university’s most crowded faculty every admission season.
Elsewhere across the North Campus too the forms sold out in no time. By 11 a.m. the supposedly ‘lesser crowded’ centres in the campus had already sold around 2,000 forms. And the sales only picked up thereafter and remained thick till the counters closed at 1 p.m. Incidentally, this year the closure of the counters has been advanced by about two hours as last year they used to function and entertain students till 3 p.m. or so.
Clearly, the Delhi University wants to promote its online concept. It is also assuring the students of safekeeping their documents and forms. “We have given repeated assurances in whichever way we can that we are not going to lose any online forms. I only wish many of these students would listen to us,” said an exasperated Deputy Dean Students’ Welfare Gurupreet Singh Tuteja.
The students, however, had preferred flocking to the university. “I came here at 8 a.m. and I am still in the line,” said Kalvinder Singh at 10 a.m. He had come to collect admission forms for his son. When asked why he simply didn’t fill the forms online, he shrugged and said: “Such modern things are not for me.”
Ruby Jayant and her trio of friends happily complained that it took them two hours to first buy a form and then submit it. “This despite the girls’ queue being less crowed,” said Ruby. She was candid about why her group did not go for online forms: “Not everyone likes applying online. We belong to this group.”
Other responses from students to this question varied from “we don’t trust the online application” to “sometimes the online applications are not registered properly” or even “Noooo,…. those are not real forms!”
Some had valid reasons to be present physically. “I live nearby, so it makes sense for me to come here and get a feel of things,” said Gunjeet Kaur at the Miranda House centre, where the crowds had almost disappeared by 11 a.m.
“We don’t get the admission brochure online,” said Sanjana, who was busy ticking all the science options. When told that information was available online too, her mother interjected thus: “She doesn’t know how to do all that. So I thought I should bring her here so I can supervise her application.”
But not all centres were equally crowded. Kirori Mal College wore an almost deserted look at 12 noon.
“It took me all of half-an-hour to buy, fill out the form and submit it,” said a gleeful Parinita, a Chemistry (Honours) hopeful.
“It is like people don’t know the forms are being sold here so it is comparatively empty,” said Gaurav, who also took about five minutes to buy his form.
The start of the admission season also brought with it a heavy presence of several students’ organisations who either set up their own help desks or were busy protesting against the “evils” of the four-year course.
While the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad along with arch rivals National Students’ of India handed out pamphlets and admission advice, the All-India Students’ Association and the Students’ Federation of India continued to shout slogans against the DU administration.
The heavy police presence and the presence of a large number of non-students who had just come to “visit” the campus for no real reason only added to the crowding.
“No, I am not applying, neither is she. We just came to see this whole thing. The people and all,” said Shivani, who said she studied in PGDAV and who along with her friends visited many student volunteers asking questions about the admission procedure.