The curfew has been broken

The best news from last week

It was few years back that I had come across this campaign titled “Break the Curfew” by the students in my alma mater, CET. What was most impressive about the approach was that they had tied their demand for extension in hostel timings to scholastic outcomes. This was both brilliant — both in terms of an insight and also as a strategy. They had struck a very compelling narrative and campaign angle. It’s also textbook foot in the door approach.

While in an ideal world, social justice principles would alone dictate that the hostel timings of girls be in line with that of boys, in the real world your ability to have such social justice based practices implemented grows manifold when you also base your arguments in such compelling narratives that appeals to the self interest of all stakeholders. Once such compelling narratives take shape and catches the imagination, it is only a matter of time. I remember having a similar feeling when I first came across this library timing narrative which served as the the basis of the Break the Curfew campaign.

My efforts to find more about the campaign and the people behind it back then had led me to this smart and spunky girl named Aiswarya. Based on my conversations with her, I can convey that the narrative was not just a campaign tactic. The arguments & narratives stemmed from a absolutely basic and deep understanding of how much this hostel timing adversely impacted their professional life outcomes. I vividly recall being impressed with her understanding of the problem, the thoroughness of their research, her ability to articulate arguments well, the maturity of their campaign approach and the tenacity of her pursuits.

And just a few days back I receive this from Arya. The best part also being these words in that letter / Government order:

Since the lab and libraries are open till 9pm and boys are allowed to be out till 930pm, girls of College of Engineering, Trivandrum are also allowed to return to the Hostel by 930pm.

The curfew has been broken. The 630pm one for now.

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