In what can be termed as one of the absurd decisions of thestate, all government universities and colleges in the state have been directed to keep their playgrounds reserved for girl students once a week. Reason? the state has observed that boys always occupy the grounds and hence girls don’t play any outdoor games.
Predictably, the decision has been met with a lot of opposition. Maharashtra Olympic Association’s executive committee member Sundar Iyer while rubbishing the decision said, “I don’t find any logic in reserving playgrounds for only girls. It is nothing but gender bias. mixed doubles is very common in many games like tennis, badminton and table tennis. There is no need to create a divide.”
Divya Deshpande (23), a table tennis player who has represented India at international level, said, “As a girl I do feel conscious sometimes when I find a ground packed with boys. But reserving the whole ground only for girls will not make any difference. Rather, it might be construed to mean that while one day is sufficient for girls, six days are only for boys.”
Neha Pandit, an international badminton player from the city, has also criticised the new decision. “We live in the 21st century so it doesn’t make any sense. In cities, girls are at par with boys, so no one really cares who is practising on the ground,” she said.
On the other hand, Nayna Nimkar, principal, Chandrashekhar Agashe College of Physical Education threw a different light on the directive. “According to me, the government’s directive is more applicable to rural areas where girls still don’t feel comfortable in the presence of boys due to various reasons. So rather than introducing this decision across the state, the government should make this decision applicable to rural areas only as the scenario is totally different in the cities.”
Meanwhile, the University of Pune has passed the new rule of reserving playgrounds for girls in all its affiliated colleges within a week of receiving the directives. However, DB Mane, director of University Spots Board, was not available for comment even after several attempts.