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FB post condemning gender differentiation at Asiatic Library gathers steam

When contacted by The Indian Express, a representative of the Asiatic Society Library administration said it was unlikely that the incident took place at the library.

Written by Abha Goradia | Mumbai |
Updated: January 31, 2019 12:04:20 pm
asiatic society library, mumbai asiatic soaiety, tata institute of social sciences, tiss students, fb post on asiatic society library, fb post viral, fb post garners support, fb post by tiss students, indian express Brittas described her anger at having been made to sit in a small and congested ‘Only ladies’ section, which she said, was nearly one-ninth of the reading hall of the Asiatic Society library in Mumbai. (File photo)

Two students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) who were reportedly asked to use only a ‘Ladies Section’ at the prominent Asiatic Society Library in South Mumbai led to an outcry among their friends and supporters on social media.

Anna Brittas, a student of Urban Policy at the institute, went to the library with her friend Rachel Alexander on January 25. “This was the first time we went to explore the historical place but what we did not know was that we would be transported a little too much back in time, a time when the sight of women studying in the general study area was frowned upon by staff at the library especially the men,” her post on Facebook reads. Read this story in Malayalam

In the long post, Brittas described her anger at having been made to sit in a small and congested ‘Only ladies’ section, which she said, was nearly one-ninth of the reading hall. “We thought we could sit on the other fairly empty side presumed to be general by us. Except, we were told ladies could only sit here in the women’s section. The people working there one by one showed us tiny spaces in the already filled area where we could sit, but on us insisting that we have laptops and the space is too little and we would rather prefer the long tables on the general side we were told that those are for men,” said the post.

When contacted by The Indian Express, a representative of the Asiatic Society Library administration said it was unlikely that the incident took place at the library. Administrative officer at the library Chandrakant Mane said, “This incident has not taken place at the Asiatic Society library, it must be some other library.” He said that the library only entertains members even though the reading hall is open to all.

The post, written on January 25, received some support online. When contacted, Brittas told The Indian Express, “I didn’t expect my post to find such support. It was something that angered me and my friend. Since it was the first time we visited the Asiatic Library, it was pretty shocking to us.”

In the post, she said they were finally told they could sit in the periodicals section, but were again later advised to move to the women’s section.”By this time we were 3 women who had already established our workspaces and did not want to move to a miniature table which was already cramped. During this period we also felt angry at how they could just dump us in one corner while a whole side was free with some scattered menfolk here and there.,” the post reads.

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