By Zohra Abdullah,
The Political Science Department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women held their first academic meet after a long time on March 10th, 2016. The theme for the event was ‘Understanding War in the 21st Century’. The ceremony was opened by Principal Suman Sharma which was followed by Ms. Rina Kashyap introducing the theme. She spoke about the significance of the word ‘understanding’ in the theme, elaborating on Cynthia Enloe’s explanation of why war does not end for women long after it is officially over as well as Foucault’s take on war.
The Panel began Ms. Veena Ravi Kumar moderating. Mr. Salman Haidar was the first speaker who began with India’s post-independence foreign policy and of course, Nehru’s role in the same. He explained how despite non-alignment, Nehru “abhorred” neutrality and believed in the obligation to take a moral stand on international events. Prof. Varun Sahni spoke eloquently about the science of politics. He spoke about epistemology and the taxonomy of war. Ms. Navita Chadha Behera opened with the constructed binaries that come to light during war such as us and them, right and wrong and so on. She went on to deconstruct art and literature in the context of war, using the example of Pakistani artist Rashid Rana. Finally, Brig. Gurmeet Kanwal spoke from a military perspective and expressed concern over the privatization of military forces.
The session ended with questions from the audience that were answered by the panelists with greater insight.