Hyderabad's iconic Osmania University may be getting ready to celebrate its 100th year this month, but it is still faced with an archaic problem.
Several residents living in various men's hostels on campus are still forced to defecate in the open. This is besides taking a bath in the open.
The story was first brought to light by Zumbish for TNIE, the link to which can be found here.
So, what’s happening in OU?
Commuters passing by the campus near Tarnaka every morning can witness a row of half-naked men splashing water onto themselves.
The practice is especially common in the E1 and E2 hostels, but students claim that they have no other choice.
"We wake up and the first thing we see is that there is no water in the toilets. Then how do they expect us to use them?" one student asks.
Manoj, a student of the Law College, says that the hostel inmates are left only with one choice.
"We all take bottles, and mugs and we head to the trees. We take water from the drinking water tank outside, for our needs. It's not like we want to do it, but we have no other choice," he says.
Students also say that even on day when water supply resumes, it is restricted to the morning and the evening, which leaves hen to find their own supply during the afternoon, and in the night.
"Some of us head to the Law College to use the bathroom there, but we have to wrap up our business before 8am, as students start coming by then. Also, if the watchman gets late even on one day, then we have to head to the trees again," he adds.
The students also say that the toilets are dirty, not cleaned properly. Many also don't seem to have bolts and latches.
"Even if we call the authorities as soon as we wake up and tell them that there is no water, they will call the water tanker. We can't afford to wait till the truck comes, as it will only come in the afternoon or evening. We have to attend class," says Naresh, another resident of the E2 hostel.
According to the University's own records, there are over 4,500 students distributed among 14 hostels on the campus.
Despite this, the university authorities remain defiant, as they claim that students defecating in the open was an 'exaggeration'.
When contacted by The New Indian Express, the university registrar, Gopal Reddy, said, "We are aware that the old hostels are not in a good condition. Hence with the government aid we will definitely build new hostels. In the coming days, we will submit our proposal for expenditure for centenary year.
Students being compelled to defecate in the open is an exaggeration.”
The food is no better either, with students alleging that its barely edible.
A recent video posted on YouTube last month, highlights the issue.
This video also comes just a few months after several female students blocked the main road inside the campus protesting against the unhygienic food and water provided to them in the hostel.
They carried utensils and ingredients from the hostel mess as a symbol of their protest against the administration, after they were allegedly served food with insects.
Many students also harbor sentiments against the ruling TRS party in the state.
The university had literally turned into a battle zone during the Telangana struggle for a separate state, and the students here were TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao's most vocal supporters.
"We also fought for Telangana. I was arrested and bundled into a police van for the cause. We thought that things would get better once KCR and the TRS came into power. We thought they would improve facilities. I guess all political parties are the same," one student remarks.
The university was established in 1918, inaugurated and named after the last Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan. It is the seventh oldest varsity in India and the first major one to be established in the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad.
According to the university's own website, "the initiative came from a civil servant, Sir Akbar Hydari, who was then the Home Secretary to the State Government. Sir Hydari, in a memorandum to the Education Minister in Early 1917, emphasized the need to establish a University of Hyderabad with 'Urdu' as the medium of instruction 'as it is the language of the widest currency in India, official language of the State, and it is a language which is understood by a vast majority of the population of the State.'
On April 26, 1917, the Nizam issued a 'firman' or order, to officially establish the university.
Exactly 100 years later, on April 26, 2017, the university will complete 100 years.
While the OU makes tall promises about government funds that it will receive for its centenary celebrations, the students don’t expect anything much will change for them.
Already, the university has a deficit of Rs 92.19 crore this year, as it has funds worth Rs 675 crore compared to its expenditure of Rs 717 crore.
In March, the university had written to the state government, asking for Rs 400 crore in funds. However, it was only granted Rs 269.16 crore.
Most of these funds are expected to be used up in paying the salaries of the university's staff.
"If there is a deficit, the axe falls on developmental activities. We can't obviously stop the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff," the VC had earlier said.
Meanwhile, it was reported last month that the Osmania University would host the Indian Science Congress in January next year.
While the administration hopes that this would mean more funds from the Centre, the students remain dejected.