Talk by Prof. Dipankar Gupta on “Space and Non-Space: Planning Cities for Citizens”

By Apoorva Rao,
Content Team Volunteer
Dr. Dipankar Gupta presented the Department of Political Science with an avant-garde linkage between geographical town planning and citizenship. He believes that town planning can enhance citizenship if it prioritises the creation of public spaces. To strengthen the linkage, he differentiated between spaces and non-spaces. Spaces consist of the area that a person feels a certain kind of belongingness to while non-spaces consist of those tracts of our post-modern life where we go in and out of to pursue our means. He pointed out how the creation of “spaces” is of utmost importance to town-planners, so much so that they’ve ended up creating cramped enclosed “spaces” that do not invoke the feeling of belongingness. He pointed out that these “ugly” areas are too unaesthetic to provide their purpose. Adding to that, he stated that the formation of accessible public ‘spaces’ will enhance citizenship as it will  provide the citizens with equal opportunity to cultivate their selves through aesthetic means. It’ll provide them with an environment they’ll identify with and which will perhaps, facilitate thoughts. It’ll help in blurring of the lines between the public and the private, between the rich and the poor solely by providing them with accessible public “space”.
Advertisements

Talk with Dr. Siddharth Mallavarapu on “International Relations and The Global South: Carving An Identity”

By Prachi Bhuckal,

Content Team Volunteer

The Political Science Department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women organised a guest lecture on 16th February 2017 and attempted to enhance the global political and social knowledge and sense of its student body. Dr. Siddharth Mallavarapu, Associate Professor & Chairperson the Department of International Relations at South Asian University, rendered an illuminating session on “International Relations and the Global South: Carving an Identity”. Mr. Mallavarapu holds eminent contributions in the area of International Relations, its theories, disciplinary histories and the pedagogies of International Relations in the Global South.

The session, which was timed at 11:45 a.m., began with a brief introduction of what exactly constitutes International Relations and how it stands as an Anglo-based, ethnocentric discipline. An outline of what classifies as the Global South was also discussed. Finding symmetry in analytical narratives is vital when looking at how International Relations structures an identity. “The Global South is a political category and sense of sensibilities”, according to Mr. Mallavarapu, who called for a historical check on the same.

An intellectual talk raises important questions and many such questions were put up for a better understanding of the subject matter, such as “Can we speak/think of something called ‘Global Justice’?”, “What are the notions of inferiority in this scenario/context?”, “How vital is the decolonisation of the mind?” and many more. The area of diversity, which stands vital in the present-day global view, was also talked about. Mr. Mallavarapu subtly explained how Third World approaches to International Law can contribute in decolonizing International Relations, its virtues and shortcomings.

Many other important topics were also highlighted, such as Imperialism, Theory of International Politics, White World Order, Black Work Politics, Inventions of IR and much more. Altogether, the talk proved to be of immense importance and effect. The leaders of the future took a mind-oriented step forward in hopes of deconstructing the challenging notions and issues that concern International Relations. The Department along with its present study body appeared to be content with the opportunity thus provided to them as the session ended around 1:30 p.m.

 

Talk by Mr. Indra Sekhar Singh on ‘Conquest of Nature and Eco Feminism’

By Zohra Abdullah
Sub-Editor and Content Team Head

On 9 January 2017, the Department of Political Science of Lady Shri Ram College for Women organised a talk by activist and environmentalist, Mr. Indra Shekhar Singh. Nature and culture come together to form the synthesis of ecofeminism, a much needed concept and movement in today’s culture of conspicuous consumption.

Talk with Ms. Amrita Banerjee on ‘Civil Services As A Career and Indian Foreign Policy’

By Pranati Haldia,
Content Team Volunteer

On 25th January, a Guest Lecture and Interactive Session was conducted by the Political Science Department, wherein Ms Amrita Banerjee was invited to talk about ‘Civil Services as a Career and Indian Foreign Policy.’ A large section of the student population in our college aspires to clear the Civil Examination, and the talk managed to attract many such aspirants. Ms Banerjee motivated the students and gave instances from her own life to help them understand the challenges one might face in this journey. She also gave tips on how to not feel dejected and give up due to the difficult circumstances that might arise. She talked about the emotional trauma she had undergone during her preparation and how her parents had unrelentingly supported her during that time.

She emphasized on the duties of a civil servant and explained how the Indian Foreign Service functioned effectively as a ‘clean service’ without getting maligned by corruption. Ms Banerjee then gave some valuable advice regarding how one should prepare for the Civil Examination and covered every important aspect that one should keep in mind- from the number of papers that one might appear for to the selection of the optional paper for Mains. She talked about how elated she felt when she got to represent India in different countries. Ms Banerjee’s style of talking managed  to strike a relatable chord with the audience and left a lasting impression upon them.

Panel Discussion on The US Elections- Impact on The States and The Globe

By Zohra Abdullah
Sub-Editor and Content Team Head

The Political Science Department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women organised a Panel Discussion on the US elections on 6 October, 2016, exploring its impact on the rest of the world. The panellists included Dr. Craig Dicker, a diplomat from the United States and Professor Chintamani Mahapatra from Jawaharlal Nehru University. It was moderated by Dr. Rina Kashyap from the Political Science Department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women.

Dr. Dicker elaborated on the changing nature of elections in the United States. Since the Obama campaign, fundraising has shifted from large contributions from a small number of people to small contributions from the large mass of people. This has been possible through the use of the internet. He also shed light on the extreme right, an emerging ideology that is gaining popular acceptance at a disturbing rate.

Prof. Mahapatra spoke about India’s stake in the election. To put it simply, it does not matter. The United States will follow its Foreign Policy as it has done for years. It is for other countries to adjust their own policies accordingly.

Dr. Kashyap steered the discussion effectively and the audience had intriguing questions, particularly about how women of colour might be affected in Trump’s America. The discussion was ended on a positive note and we hope to have more such sessions. 

Talk by Mr. Verma on The Contours of National Security Policy and The Role of Intelligence

By Zohra Abdullah
Sub Editor and Content Team Head
29 September 2016

The Political Science Department of Lady Shri Ram College for Women had the pleasure of the company of Mr. K.C. Verma, former Director of the Research and Analysis Wing at Raw. Despite the secrecy involved in his line of work, Mr. Verma was able to give us a peak into the world of security, one where women have often felt excluded. He spoke about National Security in terms of the ability to pursue policies independent of domestic and external pressures and influences.

He also spoke about the geopolitical realities of India which is topped by new and emerging challenges such as cyber crime which is now being used for organised crime.

Therefore, the talk brought to light the role of intelligence in ensuring national security and securing India’s power relations with its neighbours.

Talk By Gopal Guru on Humiliation

By Srishti Gupta,
Content Team Volunteer

“OH, HUMILIATION IS POISONOUS. IT’S ONE OF THE DEEPEST PAINS OF BEING HUMAN  “                                                 Pierce Brosnan

This quote explains important it is to understand humiliation when it is so intrinsic to human life . Anything which is so intrinsic to human life is definitely associated to politics. Therefore, keeping in mind the same, The Political Science Department organised a guest lecture by eminent professor Gopal Guru on ‘Understanding Humiliation’.
Prof.Guru drew our attention to how complex the concept of humiliation is, which can manifest in numerous forms, contexts and discourses. He also emphasized that we do need to make humiliation an object of academic inquiry. He explained how humiliation rests at the heart of the major problems of modern Indian life: the tension between private and public, national and the local etc. This makes understanding humiliation even more imperative.
He built a pyramid of contestation by describing how various  modern philosophers and authors like Bhiku Parekh and Ashish Nandy’s approach this concept of humiliation. Prof. Guru threw light over how Parekh by describing 11 scenario of humiliation occurring at different levels of social life, whereas Nandy argued that humiliation is a relationship which is realised only when both the humiliator and humiliated understand and accept their relative positions.
Prof. Guru added that this relationship becomes even more complex with the entry of a 3rd party. He even shed some light on Dalit humiliation and how it was justified from the view point of the hegemonic Brahman discourse.
He posed the thought-provoking question to the audience, “how does it become possible for a humiliator to humiliate?” In response to this, he explained that it is the structure which allows them to do so. There has been a hierarchy of humiliation, it never begins in a day and has been constant and ongoing since generations, whether it is visible or not.
Therefore  he asks us to interrogate the structure which allows this and question if  it is possible to change these humiliating structures. Therefore Prof. Guru succeeded in showing us the danger of taking humiliation for granted and inspired us to build up courage to understand and question humiliation.

Parliament Monsoon Session

 

By Yashi Koushle
Content Team Volunteer

The Parliament is the supreme legislative body of India. It is a part of India’s identity. All the laws are made, amended and discussed here. The Department of Political Science of Lady Shri Ram College For Women organised a trip for the students of the department to get a look into the inner workings of the Parliament.

The trips were scheduled in August 2016 for students of the Department. The student body was headed by faculty members and the Heads of Political Science Association.
The entry to the Parliament has rules and regulations. Firstly, the entry is permitted by a pass , which was organised by the Political Science Association. Entry without the pass is denied. Secondly, all the students were asked to carry a valid ID proof. Thirdly, nothing other than the ID proof is allowed. All the bags and cellphones were deposited in the deposit counter. Fourthly, the security check is compulsory. These rules should be kept in mind by anyone wanting to visit the parliament.
There are two Houses of Parliament i.e. Upper House or the Rajya Sabha and Lower House or the Lok Sabha. The session attended by the students was of the Lok Sabha. The session was from 04:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m. The speaker of the session was Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Other renowned personalities present in the session were Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India and Mulayam Singh Yadav, Member of Parliament. The ongoing debate in the parliament was about the Good and Service Tax Bill (GST BILL). GST is a uniform indirect tax levied on goods and services across a country. Many developed nations tax manufacturing, sales and consumption using a single, comprehensive tax. Central Taxes GST would replace Central Excise Duty, Service Tax, Additional Duties of Excise & Customs, Special Additional Duty of Customs, and cess charges and surcharges on supply of goods and services.
The one hour session attended by students was very insightful to all the students. The information gathered by students gave was helpful in both theoretical and practical terms.
Thus, the trip was an educational success. The department looks forwards to more such visits.

Talk with Professor Pushpesh Pant

DATE: 8 September 2015

Theme: “The Politics of Food”

The Department of Political Science brought a new aspect to the study of politics by inclusivity of the concept of ‘food’. As any student of the Department would say, politics is everywhere and nothing falls beyond its ambit. Keeping the same in mind, we hosted Prof. Pant to deliver a guest lecture on the “politics of food”.

According to Professor Pushpesh Pant food is at the very heart of politics as it tries arbitrarily to create a hierarchy of preferences. He started the lecture by talking about the history of ‘the melt in the mouth’ kakori kebab. He highlighted the underlying folklore that surrounds the kebab that makes it such popular a dish however the truth is the fact that kakori was actually made for old pilgrims at the Kakori Dargah who couldn’t bite into hard kebabs. According to Professor Pant, politics of food acts at three levels- production, consumption, and cultural levels. At the level of manufacturers and producers there emerges a nexus between political parties, FSSAI and MNC’s such as Nestle. There is the dominant practice of hiding or manipulating the labelling that is very central to food politics. At the level of the consumer there is often the food of the rich versus that of the poor. It is often assumed that the former is tastier or more expensive than the latter. However in the contemporary context poor man’s food (organic food) is more expensive or exotic than rich man’s food. For example, Thukpa. In the cultural context, politics of food is often the basis for the division of various taste zones. Prof. Pant believes that more than language it is food that brings together various people. He pointed out the important food zones to be Kolkata, Mumbai and Goa, Delhi, Punjab, Kerala, Chennai, Lucknow, Rajasthan and the North-East.

He finally concluded by saying that all that is food is associated with all that is political and hence, there exists the politics of food.

Talk with Dr. Neera Chandhoke

Prof. Neera Chandhoke

Date: 25 February 2016

Theme: “The rise and fall of secularism”

With its series of events, the next in line after discourse of nationalism and communalism, had to be Prof. Neera Chandhoke. In large numbers, the students gathered to hear her views on the ideas of secularism in the contemporary scenario. The discussion entailed a series of contested ideas from various paradigms of political sciences in the context of the Indian polity. There was discovery of concepts and their interplay with ground realities to the extent where students were left with a fish poise to explore their political environment and learn to question and discover concepts in every step.