Shraman Ghosh


My last article on Syria focused on the implications of the involvement of Western powers in this hostile region following the terror strikes in Paris in November 2015. Today, nine months later I realise that I, like most citizens of the ‘lesser-affected’ nations, missed the bigger picture when I wrote the aforementioned article simply because the possibility of a “third world war” emerging out of Syria affected me and not the horrifying cesspool of death and destruction that the crisis has turned into. This misguided notion that the horrors of the Syrian civil war will only affect us when ISIS starts burning our own cities to the ground is the reason why the world has let the situation in Syria escalate to where it has today. It has reached a stage where we no longer care about the millions dying on a regular basis until and unless a European city becomes a target of the Islamic State, a stage where we care more about making a trip to a refugee camp for publicity or the building up of our resume rather than actually helping people, a stage where a picture of a three year old boy lying dead on a beach or of a five year old covered in blood, dust and rubble is required to galvanise our leaders into action or evoke some sympathy out of us.

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Omar Daqneesh and his family may have survived the airstrike in Aleppo (if you call losing your home, sustaining severe injuries and probably being traumatized for the rest of your life surviving) but hundreds of thousands of people continue to be victims of the events occurring in Syria and the rest of us continue to sit by and do nothing. The United Nations have estimated that there are still around 18 million civilians living in Syria down from 25 million at the start of the war. The conditions that these people are forced to live in are unimaginable for those of us sitting in the comfort of our own homes and reading this on a laptop. With limited food production and food aid often being sold in black, thereby increasing its prices immensely, the number of people starving to death has increased drastically across the country. Healthcare facilities are repeatedly attacked and medical personnel killed reducing people’s access to basic health services. The most horrifying statistics however are those regarding the children of the country. With over fifteen thousand dead since the beginning of the war, the children growing up in this warzone are not only subjected to the horrors of war but are unable to access their basic fundamental rights as human beings on this planet, namely, food, water and education.

The sad reality is that the country has lost an entire generation of children as a result of just five years of civil war. Whereas Omar Daqneesh and his family are fighting for their lives within the country, there are thousands like Aylan Kurdi who in spite of somehow making it out of the country are still victims of all the aforementioned problems. The refugee crisis has not improved in any way whatsoever and the rise of conservatism and an anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe has only made the situation worse. Furthermore, with the Islamic State’s repeated attacks on European cities one has to wonder how long it is before every country in the continent shuts its doors to the Syrian refugees and how many more shell shocking pictures of young boys and girls have to disseminate before the international community takes action. It saddens me that I have to conclude this article in the same way I did nine months ago because not much has changed in Syria during this period (other than the death toll which rises each and every day) and it continues to be a problem without an immediate solution.

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Shraman Ghosh
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With Delhi University cutoffs set to take over newspaper headlines across the country, become the punch line of corny jokes and contribute significantly to the Internet meme industry as it does every year, one has to wonder what impact these sky-high cutoffs have on aspirants and students of the university alike. Do students in the eleventh and twelfth get driven with ambition to get that 98% or just simply throw in the towel and resort to private universities or foreign education if they can afford it? On the other hand do students on the other side of the cutoff look back on their time in DU and feel that all the hard work was worth it in the end or that DU has failed to meet their expectations on every note? The answers to both of these questions may be subjective but they do help one to decide whether DU is indeed the ‘number 1 university of the country’ as they used to so proudly declare on their official website, and is implied by their rising cutoffs every year.

With the exception of some, it is pretty well known that most of the colleges still promote an archaic era of education whether it is the outdated material they teach in certain courses or the state of their classrooms and campuses. Most colleges do not provide any exposure to students in terms of encouraging extra curricular activities, foreign exchange programs or research work but instead penalise them in Internal Assessments giving them a flat zero out of five for lack of attendance or not scheduling retests on any grounds whatsoever.

There are always students in DU who are seen in college once in a blue moon who cite these very reasons for hating college life and wishing they were elsewhere but every college society or friend circle has an equal (if not larger) number of individuals whose love for the university and pride to be a part of it increases every year. These optimists embrace the freedom given to them by joining new societies every year in order to explore different fields and develop their skill sets, set realistic expectations of what the education offers and as a result find themselves performing a lot better than others. The fact that they study in classes filled with school toppers and academic over-achievers further motivates these individuals to study harder and do better. Furthermore they constantly remind themselves of the brand value that the university and its colleges carry which is what causes them to believe that the hard work and effort they put in one, two or even three years ago was indeed worth it.

It is one thing to feel pride in being a part of the ‘number 1 University of the country’ but it is quite another matter when it comes to the university preparing its students for the challenges of life after college. It is important for the educationists behind DU to think more pragmatically in terms of how global and relevant an education is being provided to the students and how well-rounded the individual who passes out of DU after three years of college actually is. If that is achieved then more and more students will be motivated to work towards securing that 98% and the students who constantly criticise and complain about the system cannot deny that three years of DU did not have a positive impact on their growth and development as individuals.


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Shraman Ghosh

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Three months ago I wrote an article entitled “Brexit: The Possibility Of Britain Leaving The European Union” (you can read it here), which I ended on a rather equivocal note stating that there need not be a “right” answer to whether or not a Brexit should take place. If I were to tell you that this is indeed how I felt and I was not merely adhering to those tacit norms of journalism that encourage unbiased and factual reporting, I would be lying. Truth be told, I could not even comprehend the possibility of Boris Johnson’s ‘Leave’ campaign emerging victorious in this referendum until the day it actually happened. Nonetheless it is time for the world to embrace the words of Lady Macbeth and realise that “what’s done is done,” and look towards the future.

The British people should stop hoping for a second referendum and hope that their government acts sensibly and responsibly not only in electing Cameron’s successor but also in the triggering of Article 50 and the negotiations that accompany it. What they should not do is blindly follow politicians who deem it fit to tell the EU parliament that virtually none of them have ever done their proper jobs, but that is easier said than done considering the second most ‘googled’ question in Britain following the referendum was, “What is the EU?”

So what happens now? Well, David Cameron decided to leave no survivors when he sank his own ship. In his speech at 10 Downing Street on the 24th of June, Cameron announced his resignation and stated that he would not be the one responsible for the invoking of Article 50. British media house Independent published a fantastic article the very same day addressing the implications of his announcement. The gist of it is that Cameron’s successor has a lot more to worry about than simply taking a place in the history books as the PM who made Britain leave the EU; if he or she wins and doesn’t invoke Article 50 there will be a myriad of consequences which will not be well received by the British public. If he or she does invoke it and is unable to negotiate a fair deal then Scotland will probably carry out its threat of breaking away from the UK, there will most likely be a recession, a possible currency war and the British economy could be up to 7.5 percent smaller by 2030. Those who dismiss this as mere speculation should ask themselves if Boris Johnson’s decision to not run for PM, which came a week after the referendum, is indeed due to some so-called act of betrayal or because of a realisation that Britain currently finds itself between a rock and a hard place.

As far as the EU is concerned, they seemingly have no interest in holding any talks with Britain until the triggering of Article 50- something they believe should be done at the earliest.  The best alternative at the moment is to emulate the ‘Norway Option.’ This will not only be beneficial for the British, European and world economy as a whole but it will also reduce the costs that Britain will incur in the two-year process of exit, prevent British companies from having to leave Europe and keep Scotland from having another referendum. If you think this model is too good to be true, it is. The catch is that Britain will not be allowed to curtail free movement of labour from the EU and will still have to pay into the EU budget, the two things that were given primacy over everything else by the Leave campaigners. If Cameron’s successor decides to uphold these promises, he or she will have to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement instead which could lead to the adverse consequences mentioned above.

In conclusion, the British need to act and they need to act fast. Every day that they put this unavoidable process on hold creates more uncertainty in financial markets and the global economy. The British government has a difficult task ahead of it but has the option of playing its cards right and ensuring that this messy divorce is carried out with minimal damage to itself, Europe and the world as a whole.


Shraman Ghosh

[email protected]

Does the concept of summer “vacation” really exist in college? There are usually two ways people spend their summer – interning or feeling guilty about not interning. For those of us who break our back making it to college twice a week, a 9-5 job in a cubicle is hardly our idea of a vacation.

Although I’m not discrediting the value of an internship, those who’ve already done one internship at some stage should consider taking a trip instead this summer because whereas travelling isn’t really something that you can put in your resume (in most cases), you’d be surprised how much it can help you in the long run. Here are a few ways how:

1. Travelling helps you learn a lot of new things about yourself:

Know yourself. Image credits:
Know yourself. Image credits:

Whenever you visit a new place, there’s a certain level of adaptation that’s required even if it’s for a short period of time. If you’re travelling alone you’d be surprised as to how many realisations you can have about yourself, which is always a good thing in college considering most of us spend the majority of our college lives roaming around as headless chickens who look the other way whenever anyone asks us “beta, what plans?

2. You learn a lot about a place:

Explore new places. Image credits:
Explore new places. Image credits:

Even if you revisit a place you’ve gone a dozen times with your parents in the past, being in college gives you a certain degree of independence. Use it to explore the city more. There’s definitely more to a city than the mainstream tourist locations, the knowledge of which truly makes you a “well-travelled” person.

3. Gives you the mental peace required for the upcoming semester:

Find your peace. Image credits:
Find your peace. Image credits:

Despite how much you study (or don’t), the summer semester in particular has a tendency to be extensively soporific. A nice holiday in the weeks leading up to it can put you in the right frame of mind to tackle it head on.

4. You get to meet new people:

Meet new people. Image credits:
Meet new people. Image credits:

Internships may  be a great forum for networking but travelling helps you meet a lot of people who may be like-minded or have a completely different outlook on life, both of which help shape your thought process.

5. You have fun:

Have fun. Image credits:
Have fun. Image credits:

Whereas following a “YOLO” strategy indefinitely may not be a wise decision, college life is all about experiences (not just the “work” kind), and traveling definitely accounts for that.

So if you’re still confused about whether or not to intern, don’t worry too much about it. Maybe this summer you can try something different!

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Shraman Ghosh

[email protected]


The University of Delhi is a dynamic place to be, and records new highs with various achievements but also new lows with several controversial issues taking place every year. With another academic session coming to its end, we bring to you another edition of The Best and Worst of Delhi University series.

In the bygone year, University of Delhi not only witnessed a number of achievements by its faculty members, but it was also ranked among the best universities in the world. Let us take a look at what the varsity achieved in the year gone by :

1. DU chemistry professor honoured by Indian Science Congress

January 2015: The Indian Science Congress honoured Professor Diwan S. Rawat of Department of Chemistry with the ‘Professor RC Shah Memorial Lecture Award’ for his contributions in the area of Medicinal Chemistry. Professor Rawat’s work is associated mainly with the development of small organic molecules for the treatment of fatal diseases such as Malaria, Bacterial infection, Cancer, and Parkinson.

indian science congress

Read the full article here: DU professor honoured by Indian Science Congress

2. DU professor Rajeev Gupta received CRSI medal

September 2015: Professor Rajeev Gupta of Department of Chemistry, University of Delhi, was honoured with the Bronze Medal (2016) by the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) for his contributions to research in Chemistry. Professor Gupta works on several interdisciplinary fields such as coordination chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, supra-molecular chemistry, designed materials, catalysis, and inorganic medicinal chemistry.

CRSI medalFurther Reading: DU Professor Rajeev Gupta Receives CRSI Medal

3. DU wins all matches at inter-university chess tournament

October 2015: Delhi University students won all 12 matches at the Inter University North Zone Chess Tournament held from the 5th to the 9th of October 2015 at Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, defeating 26 teams from across the region to win the prestigious competition yet again. The team comprised of 4 students from the Shri Ram College of Commerce and 2 from Hindu College.

inter uni chesa tnmt

Further Reading: DU wins all matches at the Inter-University North Zone Chess Tournament

4. DU ranked among the top 20 universities in the world for 12 subjects

March 2016: Delhi University saw a representation in 12 subject-wise QS World University rankings that were released on 22nd March. Development Studies continues to be the leading champion though it slipped from 17th position last year to 18th this year. The subjects include Anthropology, Development Studies, Chemistry, Sociology, Geography, History and Archaeology, Modern Languages, Physics, Economics, Mathematics, Biological Sciences and Computer Science and Information Systems.

 rankingsFurther Reading: DU among the top universities of the world in 12 subjects

5. Chief Economist of World Bank conferred the first “Professor A.L. Nagar Fellow” award

April 2016: Professor Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist of the World Bank, who taught at Delhi School of Economics (DSC) for more than two decades, was conferred the first “Professor A.L. Nagar Fellow” award at the the aforementioned institution on the 1st of April 2016. Professor Basu highlighted the Bank’s objectives towards India and compared it with the other economies of the world in his address. He forecasted high growth rates for the nation in the upcoming years and also elaborated on the challenges that lie ahead for our country.


Stay tuned for more articles within the series!

Shraman Ghosh

[email protected]

You’re probably thinking that this article will go on to harangue you about how we as a race are becoming increasingly biased and hypocritical, “praying for” Brussels and not for Pakistan. Not exactly. The aim of this article is more to provide some insight into why we tend to do this rather than why we should not do this.

So let’s discuss the media. I won’t even bother focusing on the Indian media, which feels that the weekend T20 match cannot be pushed back a page but MUST share the front page with the not-as-important Lahore bombings, but instead talk about the media in general.

In November 2015, when ISIS attacked Paris and Lebanon almost simultaneously, people began to ask why the former gained widespread international coverage whereas the latter was given more of a casual mention. One particular American newspaper even tried to justify this by stating that France is an “unusual” target, a popular tourist destination (FYI America we can’t really visit too many places in the “Middle East” thanks to you guys) and that there were “shocking” tactics used (the attack on the football stadium was particularly shocking but the attack on a football field in Lahore a couple of days ago was seemingly not). This is essentially the West confirming suspicions that to them Arab lives do indeed matter less.
What happened in Brussels was indeed devastating but so were the equally devastating attacks in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara (both of which are also “unusual” and popular tourist destinations for the record) that happened just a few weeks prior and received no more than a day’s coverage in newspapers worldwide. If you still think I’m overreacting ask yourself how much you really know about what statistics have revealed to be the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world. I’m not referring to ISIS, but to Boko Haram, who haven’t received their own spotlight since they kidnapped 276 school girls two years ago (219 still missing at last count), and have claimed thousands of lives since then including 65 in a village attack two months ago because (I’m guessing) they don’t really care about killing white people.

So do we have a tendency to turn a blind eye towards tragedies that don’t involve, the developed nations of the West or, are we merely indifferent to those that affect Arab lives? Maybe a little bit of both but not due to any form of malice in our hearts. If we see hundreds of Facebook posts, read minute to minute analyses of how the incident took place, follow the story of who the attackers were and whether they’ve been caught, listen to survivor’s tales and politician’s reactions about what happened in Paris or Brussels and only receive an update of sorts of what happened in Lebanon, Turkey or Pakistan then its almost natural that our compassion will direct itself towards the former as opposed to the latter. So by all means do pray for Brussels but also try and pray for the less popular non-white cities being affected on a more frequent and much larger scale too, and not let the media influence your thought process in any way whatsoever (ironic, I know).


Shraman Ghosh
[email protected]

Delhi University in its ever lasting desire to change the very dynamics of education in our country have made their most drastic announcement since that of the failed FYUP. DU has declared that it will no longer follow the conventional system of undergraduate admissions because it’s no longer possible for them to raise their cutoffs and releasing cutoffs that are the same as that of the previous year’s is simply not the “DU way”.

“It is time for change, since boards won’t stop giving marks to children, the change must come from our side” said a representative of the DU administration. The new process will follow a pattern that is prevalent in most universities abroad; applicants will be required to fill a common online application, write a statement of purpose and show their CVs and certificates from the ninth to the twelfth. After the initial screening a conditional offer will be made and an interview process will take place thereafter.

When questioned about the criteria for selection of students who receive conditional offers the administration simply said that the more a student has to show on his or her CV, the less likely he or she is to be engaged in academics and hence the higher will be his or her requirement from the conditional offer made. “For those students who do other things they can still expect the offer cutoffs to be in the 96.75 to 99.75 range, the rest don’t have to worry they can expect offers at a stable 95 to 96.5 range” said the head of the admissions committee for the upcoming year. Whether or not DU’s latest (and greatest?) change will be a hit will only be decided this summer, till then we hope everyone taking the boards this month doesn’t think too much into this and studies hard nonetheless!

Disclaimer: Bazinga is only to be appreciated and not trusted!


Shraman Ghosh

[email protected]

Image credits: Paurush Bhardwaj

Let’s face it; the world is a complete mess. Whereas 2015 may have brought some you individual joy and accomplishment it really wasn’t a good year for humanity in general. In addition to natural disasters, the rise of the Islamic State and the Syrian refugee crisis, (and then there’s Donald Trump of course) 2015 ended on a pretty horrid note for the global economy as well. One doesn’t necessarily need to be a student of economics to understand just how many factors across the world are playing a role in worsening economic conditions and financial markets. While many economists are talking of the “next financial crisis” some relatively more optimistic ones claim that the situation “could be worse”.

So what exactly happened? For starters after the 2008-09 financial crisis, economists expected emerging-market countries often called developing countries to start growing and uplift the global economy, which is what was happening until many of these economies started slowing down and suffering set backs. Whereas this isn’t true for all developing countries at the moment (India being an obvious exception), Brazil and Russia falling into recession, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey plagued with high levels of short term debt and China’s worst slowdown in decades as a result of its transition from manufacturing and investment to services and consumption (among other things) are factors that are cause for concern to say the least.

Simultaneously Europe continues to try and tackle the Syrian refugee crisis and fight its economic woes at the same time. Whereas the EU managed to avoid a meltdown over Greece last July, it continues to face the risk of debt crisis, turbulent political conditions, aging populations and slow productivity growth. The only seemingly saving grace for the continent at the moment is that oil prices continue to remain low and currencies weak keeping the economy on a positive (although not exactly strong) growth trajectory. The situation in the US may be better than what is was eight years ago but the US cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the events taking place around the globe. The weakening global economy may not have been as significant to them had the US economy been booming but till date it remains quite average with American citizens and firms still recovering in some ways from the financial crisis. However as the nation gradually emerges from recession and the Federal Reserve Bank plans on raising its rates of interest after nearly ten years emerging markets will take an additional hit as investment will start flowing away from them and towards the US once again.

Thus it is nearly impossible to give a concrete picture of the global economic situation at any one point in time because of its volatile and unpredictable nature. With commodity prices collapsing, political conditions changing, economies slowing and investment fluctuating the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that 2016 does not show any indications of being a quiet year .

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Summer breaks for most of us revolve around the numerous ways in which we can upgrade our portfolios and résumés; doing an internship, taking extra classes, doing some form of community service or preparing for competitive exams, are some such examples. As a result, many of us lose out on the opportunity to travel more and see the world around us.

Recognising this, many educational institutions and organizations now offer summer school programs and internships to students where they have something to show on their portfolio thus ensuring holistic development in the truest sense of the term. Many prestigious universities across the world offer summer school programs where, across a period of three to four weeks (sometimes even more) students from different parts of the world are given the opportunity to study and also explore a city or a country on their own. Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge and The London School Of Economics currently attract the largest numbers every year including a massive share of students from India.

Whereas, the popular opinion here is that, these programs are nothing more than a money-making racket and that kids just go to have a good time, not do anything constructive and blow up a large amount of money in the process, this is not entirely true. While there are many cultural events, parties, guided tours of the city, its museums, day trips in and around the city, there is also a very hectic and concise study routine with four to five hour lectures per day (depending on what course you’re doing and where you’re doing it), tutorials and examinations as well. So if you’ve always wondered what exactly is so great about foreign education, this is a great way to find out just how different the structure and pattern of education abroad really is.

With each program ranging between a couple of months or three, one tends to get a taste of exactly how life works in the West which a tourist never really can. The Columbia and LSE summer schools give you a chance to take in, explore and be a part of two of the grandest cities in the world whereas Cambridge ensures you get a complete experience of University life in the UK studying and staying on one of the most beautiful campuses on the globe. Lastly, being independent in a new place for a period of time really helps one acquire some perspective and give them more clarity about who they are and what they wish to do once college ends.

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Shraman Ghosh
[email protected]