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.
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.
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.
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.
Continue reading “Parliament Monsoon Session”
By Zohra Abdullah
The comfort women issue has been the defining point of Japan-ROK relations since the 1990s. Cooperation on many issues, including regional security, tackling the threat from North Korea trade ties and improving people to people relations between the two countries, has been hindered due to the persistence of the issue. This, along with domestic political pressures from within both the countries has encouraged South Korean President Park Gyun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to come up with a final and irreversible agreement, which was signed on December 28, 2015.
Continue reading “The Comfort Women Agreement and The Fate of Japan- Korea Relations”
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.
Polpourri 2016 was put to a close by ‘Jang Ke Rang’ which was a cultural representation of war and peace. It was a medley of artistic expression and sought to discover the myriad nuances of war and peace. The first performance of the evening was by Rajasee, Shambhavi and Sneha who set the tone for the evening with songs like ‘Ekla Cholo Re’, ‘Jago Zaraa’ and ‘Bekauf Azaad’ which were a tribute to those walking alone in the face of adversity, such as those who hear the sounds of bombs dropping day in and day out.
This was followed by ‘Looking at a Refugee’ a painting and photograph dissection session conducted by Mr. Jonathan Varghese, Associate Professor- Department of English, LSR.
He talked about how photographs, in isolation don’t mean anything as facts alone don’t constitute meaning. A photograph requires an ontological basis for the relevance of a subject. This was followed by Prachi Das who performed Roger Hodgoson’s Logical Song forcing the audience to question the conflictual nature of the world that we try to evade.
Bidisha Mahapatra presented a thought provoking piece- “No guns at my son’s funeral” to highlight how the perils of war lead to emotional and psychological turmoils in the lives of people which in turn lead to the demise of innocence.
The last performance of the evening was by Ananta who enthralled the audience with the divine and melodious renditions of poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Iqbal Bano.
The program ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. Mahesh Panicker (Staff Advisor), Neha Dewan (General Secretary) and Shruti Jargad (President) of the department of Political Science.
– Gauri Kundalia, First Year.
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.
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.
Prof. Achin Vanaik
Date: 18 February 2016
Theme: “Nationalism and Communalism”
As the country was fighting for its idea of ‘nationalism’, the Political Science Department also became a ground for a ‘fight of ideas’, a platform to discuss and deliberate concepts and thoughts. Prof. Achin Vanaik from the University of Delhi, a renowned academician and an extremely engaging speaker was just what the students wanted. In a full venue crowded with students from all Departments of the college, Prof. Vanaik traced ideas of ‘Democratic nationalism’, questions institutions and practices of undemocratic nature and provided conceptual clarity to the students on questions of ‘defining nationalism’. Policy and the Indian nation state were explored deeply. His speaking style, engagement sessions were highly admired by the students, who until after the guest lecture was over continued hearing his interesting ideas on the communalism and nationalism debate.