Brij Pahwa


Shreyak Mahajan, a final year student of Mechanical and Automation engineering at Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, recently undertook a once in a lifetime expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula as Tetra Pak’s Youth Ambassador. He accompanied Sir Robert Brown, the first person to walk to both the North and the South Pole. DU Beat correspondent Brij Pahwa recently sat down to talk to him about this memorable experience, and what he took away from it.

Brij : Hello, Shreyak! First of all congratulations for your life-changing expedition and for making the country proud.

Shreyak : Thank you! I was overwhelmed by the experience.

Brij : Before we discuss your journey, I would like to ask you how you bagged such an opportunity!

Shreyak : You would have probably heard of the organizations, TERI and Tetra Pak. These two have been working hard to encourage youth leaders and through them, the youth of this country to think about the environmental concerns of our day and age. So they have this youth program known as LEADearthSHIP, wherein they provide fellowships to 24 people all across India. And I got a chance to be one of them!

Brij : How did you get the chance to head towards the Antarctic Peninsula?

Shreyak : Well, the other part of the LEADearthSHIP programme was to select a Youth Ambassador for the year 2014-15 who would then join Sir Robert Swan, for the International Antarctic Expedition. This year, I was selected for the same along with 6 other people from different walks of life.

Brij : And when did this expedition start and what was the goal of the same?

Shreyak : We departed for Antarctica on the 8th of March. The goal behind this expedition was to sensitize students and corporates (who went on the journey) about the environmental concerns and sustainability. This program is known as ‘Leadership on the Edge’ and is managed by Robert Swan’s organisation ‘2041’. The main focus is on enhancing leadership skills, personal development and teamwork. And of course, the emphasis is to motivate us to start local environmental programs when we go back to our own countries.

Brij : Tell us more about your experience in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Shreyak : Everyday was a new and unique experience. And being in such a demanding environment, when you explore the ecosystem and wildlife of the place, go hiking up glaciers, move around in the sea and inland lakes, it is in fact challenging and life-transforming.

Brij: Sounds interesting. And what was your routine in Antarctica like?

Shreyak: We were briefed at the start of each new day. The clothes required, wind conditions, gears required and so on. Sometimes, we went on the Zodiacs (inflatable boats) and moved around the peninsula.

Brij: Any unique experience that you’d like to share?

Shreyak: So, one day we were riding on a Zodiac when a Humpback Whale started encircling our boat and literally snorted on us while doing the same. Well, how many people can say that they have been snorted on by a whale? (laughs) And there was this other unique experience where I saw a Leopard Seal kill a Penguin!

Brij: Any scary moments from the trip? An avalanche, perhaps?

Shreyak: Yes! There were avalanches but not of the level that can be considered dangerous.

Brij: When someone goes on such an adventurous expedition, one also incurs some psychological changes apart from physical. Anything of that sort?

Shreyak: When we were hiking up the glaciers, we became so exhausted that we couldn’t even see what was ahead of us. At that moment, when you can’t see the person in front of you, still you know that your life depends on that person ( everyone is tied by a rope ), you learn something. You learn how people have the capability of affecting you; in this case your life or death.

Brij : That’s quite a thoughtful remark, Shreyak. Now, that we have talked about your expedition and your experience, I’d like to ask you, apart from taking up such global initiatives, what else do you enjoy working on?

Shreyak : Well, before this, I have worked on 2 United Nations programs dedicated to the sector of education namely, UNSCD and UNDDD. Apart from that, I love playing basketball.

Brij : Thank you Shreyak for sharing your life changing experience with us. To wrap up, is there a message you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Shreyak :  Make a commitment towards solving any problem and see it through. If possible empower others by working with them towards your vision allowing them to take it to new heights. I would also recommend that people choose a single relevant project that can impact a local community. Such projects can provide us with global solutions.

Every year, societies from colleges across the campus compete neck to neck and put up spectacular performances during the fest season. This year too, saw certain teams shine a little brighter than the rest. We bring you a series with college societies that put their heart and soul into their respective fields and took home the top prizes at various cultural fests. The best college society in each category was selected by creating a tally of the top 3 positions at competitive events held during 13 cultural fests of this season. Whenever a society won the first prize they were award 3 points, for the second position they received 2 points and for the third position, 1 point was added to their tally. In the folk dance category, S.G.T.B. Khalsa’s Bhangra Inspire emerges victorious with 14 points. Gargi College’s Nazakat follows next with 11 points.

The Winning Society at a glance

Bhangra Inspire, S.G.T.B. Khalsa

Bhangra Inspire, from S.G.T.B. Khalsa, lit the stage on fire during fests like Montage and Tempest with their Bhangra performance. “Our losses from last year helped us strive for more this year. We practiced hard, and although 2 of our team members met with an accident and got injured, we never looked back and emerged as the winners in most of the competitions we took part in”, said the team. Names of performing team members: Gurdeep Singh Babbar (President), Prateek Kathuria, Karan Sardana, Jagjeet Singh, Harsimran Singh, Gurinder Singh, Harpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Chamandeep Singh, Kanwalpreet Singh. Note: The thirteen fests included in our analysis for this series include SRCC’s Crossroads, Gargi College’s Reverie, Sri Venkateswara College’s Nexus, LSR’s Tarang, Hans Raj’s Confluence, I.P. College for Women’s Shruti, Daulat Ram College’s Manjari, Hindu College’s Mecca, Jesus and Mary College’s Montage, Miranda House’s Tempest, Kamala Nehru College’s Ullas, Kirori Mal College’s Renaissance, SGTB Khalsa’s Lashkara. Out of the fests listed, only 7 had conducted a competitive Folk Dance Competition.]]>

Delhi University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dinesh Singh will be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh this summer in a special ceremony. The news was confirmed by Prof. Timothy O’Shea, who is the Vice-Chancellor of University of Edinburgh.

He is being given this doctorate in order to felicitate, ‘his inspirational leadership of University of Delhi’. The two universities share an active partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding which has in the past facilitated many joint research projects as well as students exchange programmes. They have also come together with training programmes for teachers such as D-LITE.

Mixed reaction have come in after the news broke. “Does he really deserve an honorary doctorate after the alleged introduction of FYUP which has been criticised all over?”, said Rhea*, a student pursuing honours degree from DU. Though some have favoured the Professor, “He is an academician first and has taken up several initiatives to promote education”, said Simran* who is currently pursuing Geography Honours from Miranda House.

Prof. Dinesh Singh, who was the center of controversy last year for the introduction of Four Year Undergraduate Programme was also bestowed with Padma Shri by the Government of India earlier this year. He will also be receiving the Honorary Doctorate of Science by National University of Ireland Cork on June 6, 2014.

*Names have been changed on request of anonymity


Seeing no action being taken either by the centre or by the state government against the Four year undergraduate programme  (FYUP), All India Students’ Association (AISA) carried out a protest on the streets of Delhi recently on the 10th of March. As a part of the prolonged FYUP Hatao, Future Bachao yatra – the bike caravan saw members of the student party travelling around 28 colleges of Delhi University and covering about 150 Kilometres.

According to some sources in AISA, the party wants to make it an election issue, reaching out to major political parties and inviting their stand on the issue. “We have tried our level best to make sure that FYUP is rolled back, though policy paralysis and less impetus among political parties for the issue has been a cause of deterrence. We will now take the issue to the parliament”, said Anmol, State Vice-President of AISA.


The student’s party has also been protesting against the possible re-appointment of Prof. Dinesh Singh as the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University.

After repeated agitations and assurances, the much awaited rollback of Delhi University’s FYUP has still not become possible. With the possibility that Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dinesh Singh might serve another term as the VC, the chances of a complete rollback seem even lesser.

Politics was not so murky and abysmal before the 1990s, or apparently it didn’t look so, but with the evolution of media, a wave of transparency has transcended on each decision-making body and also on the decision makers of this country. The 21st century has seen the advent of investigative journalism, and with it, that of blame games and revolutions.

The past decade witnessed the trend of ‘an uprising media’, which has now become the face of India. More appropriately, it is the tool in the hands of citizens, to check the wrong-doings of the so called ‘public workers’. Many scams have been unearthed, many bad policies reviewed and many politicians sent to jails for their ill work , all has been made possible due to the ever-efficient media and its wide outreach.

The polity of India is now as lucid as a diamond. Every new policy is now checked, if not by the policy-makers than by the media, the fourth pillar of democracy. Well, we all know what happened with the Augusta-Westland deal. Every strand of the deal was reviewed and put in front of the people to decide. What if media had not been there? The corrupt in this case would have run away with all the black money. Fortunately it was present, and thus the deal was put off for an internal inquiry.

This is just one example of the power of media when it comes to being a critic of Indian politics. There is another side to the story, wherein media has also helped the politics to incur a never before seen boom. Parties now reach people through the media. A 500 crore image makeover for the scion of one of the major political parties in India is not a lie. Political parties have been on both back foot due to the media revolution and at the front foot when it comes to improving their public image. The ‘Development model of Gujarat’, and ‘Chai pe Charcha’ are two such examples of the same, where through media, interested parties have tried for an image makeover. Not only makeover, media has also helped some budding parties to come at par with national ones as we saw in the AAP phenomenon.

So, it is understandably clear, how media can shape the politics and with it the future of this country. What has to be borne in mind is the limit in which it has to work. The past has shown us how media can change scenarios, what has to be ensured is such a change in the status quo is for the betterment of the people of this country. As ultimately, media is by the people, of the people and for the people.

Illustration credits: Megha Saraogi for DU Beat

Hosted by the students union of Gargi College, the second day of the three-day college fest, Reverie had to culminate with the performance of Coke Studio artists – Adi and Suhail. Crowds had flocked in numbers and the stage was all set for the much awaited performance. Just when the spirits were soaring, Zeus decided to put a cap on all those. Yes, it started to rain at the venue. Though nominal, it ended soon only to start again after sometime. The fluctuating feelings could be seen among the crowd, just when Gargi College’s music society decided to sing some fillers inside the tent where rain was not a problem.

Their performance was accorded with a huge cheer and also gave a ray of hope to the Coke Studio-wallas who then decided to do the same and perform under the tent. In Adil’s own words, “This is the coolest gig we have performed in our life”. As soon as the crowd heard this, they went beserk and repeatedly applauded for the professional singers and instrumentalists. The duo performed several sufi melodies,  including the famous ‘malhar’ and ‘ranjha’.

The Dance Society of Gargi College organised the Western Dance Competition as part of Reverie 2014, on February 6th. With 23 teams participating in the prelims, 8 were selected for the finals.

Lady Irwin College, one the finalists were the first ones to perform at the competition. After 2 hours of dancing and 8 teams performing, the competition was a combination of both Western dance forms and Bollywood drama. Songs ranging from ‘Dafli Wale’, ‘Ghagra’ and ‘Dhatad Dhatad’ entertained the crowd with even Wrecking Ball adding to the fun.

The heart stopping moment came, when Sandesh Kumar, the judge for the event declared the results. JMC’s western dance society ‘Mudra’ was selected as the winners of the competition. Miranda house’s Tanz was the 1st runners-up and the 2nd runners-up was the host college, Gargi. Total prize money of 25,000 was distributed among the winners.

“The event was a House of talent, lots of good dancing, and teams connected well with the audience”, said Sandesh Kumar, a veteran dancer himself.

Catch live updates from Reverie 2014 here | Visit the Reverie 2014 Facebook Album here

Do you want to eat the best Punjabi cuisine in Delhi?  Well, you might have to go to West Delhi for the same. Located in Paschim Vihar, Baljeet’s Amritsari Koolcha is the perfect place to try the famous combination of Chole and Stuffed Kulcha. The dish is served with Onion and garnished with Green Chutney and curd.

Talking about the ambiance, the place is very well decorated with earthen-pots and musical instruments which adhere to punjabi sangeet and folklore, wherein one gets the traditional essence while enjoying the food. While having your food, you can also see how it is being made, which is a delightful and fun sight. The main chef, popularly called as pandit ji can be seen working effectively while putting in and taking out the dough from the tandoor. The administration staff is very efficient and provide quick service, thus not giving the customers any opportunity to lose their cool.

The place attracts crowd from all walks of life, and is so famous in the nearby areas, that there isn’t any food left after 5 30 p.m, and thus the eatery closes around that time.When you talk to the manager, he says, ‘log yahan desi punjabi khana khane aate hein and hamari koshish rehti hai ki unko whi mile jo wo chahte hein’ i.e. ‘People come here to eat the traditional punjabi food, and we try our best to serve them what they want.’

The option of dine-in and home delivery is also available.

Opening hours : 8 30 a.m. to 5 30 p.m.
Cost : 220 approx. for 2 people.

When arriving for the second time in the campus of law faculty on 28th January, Mr. Rajnath Singh, National President of the Bhartiya Janta Party, had much more to offer than what he did in his previous visit. He had arrieved with much more responsibility and had to assure student support in the coming elections. His entrance was accorded with huge chants of brand Modi, and the Namo ‘raga’ was clearly heard in the halls of the faculty. The topic on which he had to speak was, ‘Revisiting the idea of good governance’.

Full of rhetorics and eloquence, as is the case with most BJP spokespersons, his speech revolved around the phrase, ‘crisis of credibility’. Referring again and again to the trust deficit the ruling governments have created in the past 60 years, he said that promises have always been made but never fulfilled. Shifting a gear, he turned to speak on what exactly is good governance and how politics has a crucial role to play in it. Speaking on the same he said, what people need is a sense of security, that there issues of health, education and employment need to be addressed as soon as possible which will eventually lead to the society being stable. And that is the promise of good governance.


Breaking away from the topic after 20 minutes into his speech, he started speaking on the issue of price rise and like any other sangh leader, he set Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former prime minister of India as an example for keeping up the momentum of economy during his rule from 1998 to 2004. Promising to strictly stay away from a political speech, he finally dwelved into the topic, condemning UPA-2 for not addressing the issue of price rise. While directly taking a jibe at incumbent prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, he said, an economist heads the country, and the economy falls.

Coming back to the issue at hand, and while speaking on diplomatic failure, he cited the example of how China keeps barging into the Indian borders and how Pakistan keeps on teasing us with its petty attacks along the LOC, and no response is shown from the indian side. Expressing his displeasure on the same, he said the idea of good governance should be met with the idea of good diplomacy.

As the Modi slogans grew louder and louder in the backdrop, he finally came to the notion of spiritualism, defining it and how it is important for good governance and for health of the country and its people, ending his speech with a somewhat ambigous notion which he related with mathematics, he said, “Circumference of mann (heart), is directly proportional to sukh (happiness). Larger the sukh, more the circumfrence of the heart”, referring to how our hearts are open for anyone in the world as we welcome them like our guests.

Other BJP leaders have also visited the Faculty of Law Campus in the recent past. Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj visited the institution last year in August, while Subramanian Swamy is scheduled to speak to students on 29th January, 2014.

Image Credit: Abhay Makhija for DU Beat

A three member committee has been set up by the St. Stephen’s College governing body against Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) President and the college’s senior Mathematics teacher Nandita Narain for the alleged comments she made against college Principal Valson Thampu.

The committee is headed by ex-Lokayukta of Delhi, justice Manmohan Sarin, Delhi Univeristy Proctor Satwanti Kapoor and Sudhir Joseph. It has been set up to investigate into Nandita Narain’s questionable remarks against the college’s principal.

In the past few days, DUTA had been protesting against issues of sexual harrasment in the college and thats when this matter came into limelight. According to some college resources, during the course of the protest, Narain made some defamatory comments against the principal.

When we contacted Ms. Narain, she categorically denied the allegations. She also said, that a few months back, a magazine interviewed her, but the issue was not very well-written and was misleading and that must have been the cue that irked St. Stephen’s auhorities. She even asked the magazine to issue an apology which they duly did in their next issue.

The committee has been given a two month deadline to report its findings in front of the governing body. Valson Thampu remained unavailable for comment.

Image Credit: Abhinav Arora for DU Beat