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MHORs versus WHORs

This article was written by Radhika Goyal, (Batch of 2019). She can be contacted at radhikagoyal@nls.ac.in.

It took me a while to warm up to law school, sometimes, I’m not sure it has happened yet. Before you start calling me anti-social, let me point out out I wasn’t alone. A lot of my friends felt this way … girls, that is. All the boys we know seemed to be enamored by this place in a manner I could not understand. I still can’t, but now I know that there is a very rational explanation for this: girls and boys simply do not experience law school the same way.

This has nothing to do with boys and girls themselves, and everything to do with the way we have been divided into MHORs and WHORs (of course). The MHORs, with their complete seclusion from campus near the brilliant football field, which us WHORs aren’t allowed to enter for some obscure reason, lead a life that most of us at the girls hostel wouldn’t even understand.

I’ll start with the most obvious: the terrace culture. It could be defined as the habit of gathering at safe spaces, i.e. the hostel terraces at night. People gather in small or large numbers to live the not-sober life, go through existential crises and very often take decisions which may have anywhere between medium to large impact on their lives. This is a part of every MHORs life. An average MHORs story would often begin with the line “So last night on the terrace…” These terraces are the perfect environments to have events ranging from mind-numbingly stupid things like “ulta Himalaya/Ganga/Cauvery” to interesting initiatives like Student Bar Debates or the NLS Film Society. They are safe havens which have been granted an implicit exemption from the Gestapo because after all, everybody as someone put it, needs their orgies. Another striking thing about the terrace culture is that only men take part in it. Before you start getting defensive about this, we are not blaming men for this, we are simply pointing out the distinction. The reasons may be plenty but the reality is clear. There is simply no terrace culture in any of the women hostels. In fact, there is practically no intermingling between the batches, which was one of the very purposes of having hostels with people across batches. Yet sadly, us WHORs do not believe in leaving our comfort zones and meeting people who aren’t already our friends. What these empty terraces depict is the lack of any discourse taking place among the women of this college and sharing of ideas and initiatives in all fields across law school.

Last year, when there was a major outcry out against SDGM during SF there was a blatant lack of girls from the conversation. The insensitivity with which girls were banned from the field in the night was something most of us were extremely slighted by. Yet there were hardly any emails sent by women expressing their disappointment with the way we were being treated. The lack of women in the debating circle is also a testament of this lack of culture to collectively meet and discuss, think, and evaluate the world and our lives. Further, the deserted terraces atop WHOR have missed out on the strong bonds that the ones above MHOR have fostered across generations. Maybe it also often results in the formation of fault lines drawn between men and women of a batch, as is present in a certain senior batch. There can possibly be no positive result of that and we must make an active attempt to prevent such a thing from happening.

There are numerous other things which result in MHORs and WHORs leading different lives. One example is the fact that almost no one from the woman’s hostel has a car. Going out for a drive at 2AM and witnessing BU in all its moonlit glory is part of law school for many members of MHOR. Yet for most women on campus, this along with other such experiences, is unthinkable. The kind of autonomy that men in our campus have is significantly higher than that given to women, which inevitably affects the kind of experiences we have in law school. This becomes a problem because women here are deprived of these experiences that allow men to build a sense of autonomy, confidence and self-sufficiency, all of which are essential to become holistic individuals in modern society. I don’t mean to apportion blame to anyone in this article. Of course, no one is preventing us from exploring the aspects of life I have previously mentioned. I am simply commenting on the situation and the reality as it stands.

I recognise that fixing this is hard in some circumstances. After all, law school is a part of a larger society and the systemic problems of our society, naturally spill over here as well. However, the fact that this is the situation even in an institution such as law school, with students as liberal as they are or claim to be, is a failure at some level, on our part.

There are numerous other examples, which result into MHORs and WHORs leading completely different lives, which often amounts to MHORs and WHORs being different people. These differences must be put to an end to develop an environment that is significantly more inclusive and doesn’t result in the systemic backwardness of one class of people. After all, women need their orgies too.

Published in Life In Laa College

Comments

  1. Murphy Murphy

    Not commenting on the article and the argument it makes, I , would just like to draw attention to a blatantly incorrect assertion backed up by flawed logic. Firstly, the statement that there exists fault lines between boys and girls in a senior batch is a sweeping generalisation. The bigger problem is the implicit assumption that boys hanging out on the terrace and forming bonds has rendered them so vapid that it has prevented them from forming meaningful relations or have frayed our relations with girls.

  2. Radhika Radhika

    All I am suggesting is that if men share such a strong bond and that their happiest and most poignant moments in law school are in situations where women are absent, it is very likely that MAYBE such a divide (something that has been acknowledged by juniors, seniors and batchmates) could be formed. This could also happen if over long periods of time, due to the difference in their lifestyles, men and women just stop relating to each other. I agree that this idea has not been substantiated but thats only because this is not the main issue this article deals with. Also not blaming anyone for it nor suggesting that a WHOR terrace culture could change it. Its just an extension of all the problems the division causes.

  3. But_ummm But_ummm

    First, the women’s hostel culture is something that is very very different from the boys hostel culture. For you to compare the two to see which one is more conducive/better is weird. The girl’s hostel culture of having Nilgiri’s nights (aren’t they called that?) and the nature of the mess discussions at the breakfast and dinner table are probably different as well. I, for one, know that the MHOR mess has a very strict no-mingling-in-the-mess-with-juniors-policy.

    Second, the terrace culture is not passed down the generations (I mean batches, of course), as it were. It is carried on from the culture of Himalaya where the terraces are the freest and most accessible place to fresh air. With the construction of Yamuna, this culture will (or should) spill over to the girl’s hostel. If you ask any of the guys in your batch or even senior to you, they’ll tell you that the best year of their life was in Himalaya. The senior boys hostel fails to live up to the hype and fails to provide the same opportunity for conversation and privacy. Of course, I’m sure it also helps people who indulge in nefarious (lol) activities more breathing room as the seniors know where to get stuff.

    Saying so, I agree with you in so far as men and women not interacting quite as much as they should on campus. In my experience of 4 years here, across batches, I’ve only seen a bunch of 15 guys even talk to girls on a daily basis. That definitely means that the memories that guys (or even girls, for that matter) take away from law school is likely to be with persons of their own sex. It is also disgusting that most decisions relating to fests in law school are made in the boys hostels. This trend is hardly changing too. If you look across the different committees, with the exception of CulCommm (which is stupidly perceived to be a girls committee doing ‘girly’ things), the majority of the members are guys. The majority of the conveners and joint conveners are guys and have always been guys. This is a dire problem of this institution that it is not conducive to women being leaders. This may of course be due to the larger society, though.

    The point, after much digression, is that don’t think that the MHOR culture is better. That’s almost as defeatist as EMC accepting the death of LeGala.

    • Hey, have to disagree with you on the MHOR mess policy. There is no implicit policy that one cannot mingle with juniors. While batches do tend to sit with their own, seniors and juniors do sit together. I have done so on many occasions myself.

  4. BUT BUT

    Agree with most of the article, except that part where “not having a car” is cited as an supplementing example to the argument. It sounds a bit “first world problem-ish”, no?
    Is owning a car that much of a priority during ones student life or can everybody even afford to do so?
    Maybe we should see the cars that some boys own, as a luxury and not as a necessity, which is how the said example was based upon.

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