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LIFE AT DELHI UNIVERSITY

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1. Resume Madness Everyone gets in the race of updating their resume/CV from day one. The resume madness gets to you so much that each little thing makes you think “Will this benefit my resume?” 2. On the run of doing an internship We’re always eyeing placement cell mails and internship websites to see if there are any internships there for us. In fact, most of us forget the joy of sitting back and relaxing during the summer and winter breaks, instead we tire ourselves by doing internships. It is one of the most talked about topic in college as well. 3. When is the next BMS entrance? People are always asking this question from us even though we have no idea when it happens and how it happens, considering the fact that DU guidelines on BMS/BBS admissions change almost every year! 4. Which specialization to take? This question troubles us from semester 1, although we select our specialization – Marketing, HR or Finance in the Fifth semester. We keep asking our seniors about it, who themselves don’t have an idea 5. Placement? MBA? This question is always on our mind from semester 1 as well, although most of us stay confused till the end. The opinion of the majority however lies towards the placement, and MBA or any other postgraduate degree is either considered an alternative or something we’d want to pursue in the future.   Kartikeya Bhatotia [email protected]]]>

1. Politics begin to interest you more and you start keeping track. Unless you were a hardcore political lover from the beginning, admit it, this is a new found interest for you.  You start following news articles and watch channels to keep updated on the latest issues and finally understand what all the ministers are there for. Having likeminded or people with the same interests as yours (talking about classmates and department people here) you get a chance to discuss all the information you have digested, form your own opinions about them and grow your knowledge about the state of politics in the nation and around the world. On the other hand, if you had consciously chosen political science and have already been doing all the above since you could understand news, then you have probably developed a wider understanding of the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of the polity.

2. You learn to think critically of every issue that you come across.

One of the benefits of studying the subject is that you learn to develop a critical mindset. You do not willingly accept everything that you hear and learn to question every policy or programme put forward by an authority whether it be the college political party’s or the governments’. Repeated practice of putting up debates or counter debates in class lectures helps polish this line of thinking.

3. People assume you know the Constitution of the country like the back of your hand.

Yes, we are students of political science and no, we do not know the constitution by heart. It is not necessary that we know each and every law there is out there.  It has been in my experience that people have asked me numerous times what certain laws and rights are. Although I have been more than happy to give them a satisfactory answer (and at times blank looks) all knowledge about rights and regulations are not always on the tip of our tongue.

4. “Political Science? Oh so you are joining the civil services!”

This happens more than a lot. Maybe not just for Pol. Science students but it’s a definitely for us. Sometimes there is not even an ‘if’, just a “Have you started preparing?”. Although once in class almost everybody raised their hands when the teacher asked for civil service aspirants, it does not hold true for all. It is no secret that many of us have taken major in this subject because it was the best option for us given our percentage. Pol. Science is not just a stepping stone to conquering the UPSC exams. I have seen many students who are more interested in other activities like photography or doing social service. It is just one of the many assumptions that we have to deal with.

5. You slowly develop your own political philosophy and your set of beliefs about the world.

Reading about Marx, Kant, the works of Mill and other thinkers of the political world and their ideologies, beliefs and theories puts before us a plethora of conceptions to go through. At times we find ourselves agreeing with some and at sometimes not so much. Over time, as we articulate our thoughts and views we find them parallel to the views of some other thinker. And as such, slowly we develop our own ideologies, political or otherwise. Political Science as a subject can be really challenging and given the vast nature of the subject, sometimes it may seem like an impossible feat. Even for the subject lovers who might at times be daunted by the vastness of the course, the circling conceptions and debates which do not have definite answers. But at the end of the day, it helps us see the world in a different light and with a new found understanding which is worth it. Featured image credits: www.itimes.com Arindam Goswami [email protected]]]>

I’ve always had a knack of reading, rummaging through the pages to find beauty, truth and happiness. I have smelt the pages before perusing the text, wept for hours after reading unhappy endings, loved recycled, yellow pages more than anything in the world. Belonging to a family of voracious readers, I was always given more books to read than toys to play with. It became an inherent passion, to fall in love with words without distinguishing among poetry, vignettes, novellas, novels and so on. I’ve adored books so much to the point that before I knew it, I subconsciously chose English Literature as my major, fluttered to another city and in the blink of an eye, completed two years already.

I’ve been procrastinating for a while now and after I was asked to write this article I was filled with umpteen thoughts that made me realize how blessed this journey has been. Opting for English Honours was a blessing in disguise and I’ve been basking in the glory of this odyssey ever since its inception. This course has molded me into a completely different person, from a lover of literature to a connoisseur of arts. It has metamorphosed my thoughts, perception, interests and priorities. But all these have been positive attributes and for those about to begin a journey similar to mine, I vouch for its goodness. Below are some points that we all will relate completely to.

  1. The stereotypes were false-General opinions about this course have always existed and the most common ones have been these adages, ‘It’s all about reading books’, ‘Dude, you just gotta read a novel and give the exam’. While these may seem true, this is not actually the case. The course is not about reading one novel per semester but covering a plethora of literary genres with ample amount of books under each of those. We don’t just read one book per semester; we read around ten to fifteen. Our exams are about writing pages after pages to the point that it hurts and a percentage above 60% is considered to be the best grade one could get. Hence, unlike other courses, we don’t strive for securing a good percentage every semester; we toil for acquiring knowledge in different eras of literary history.
  2. A Tumbluresque life –  I know I just made up that word but my artistic license will make up for it. We live for quotes that will take our breath away and make us crave for more. I have an unhealthy obsession for quotes that have made me addicted to Goodreads and Tumblr. I spend hours in my room just reading excerpts from books and suppressing the urge to post everything on Facebook or captioning it for an Instagram post. And all that has lead me to Tumblr. It’s an amazing platform where we can let out our thoughts without the fear of having a compulsive disorder. Our life revolves around Goodreads, Tumblr, berlin-artparasites and similar platforms which feed us literature in tidbits. We also don’t watch movies before actually reading a book and while watching a movie, we always annoy the person sitting next to us by pointing out the differences.
  3. Eras, not Genres. Kinds, not writers. –  As an English major, I have formally given the habit of reading books according to particular genres. We read books according to eras be it Victorian or Romantic or Elizabethan and so on. We also don’t focus much on different writers, than we do on the kind of book. We don’t just limit ourselves to reading novels but graphic novels (read books that have pictures), epics (read poems that are too long to handle), dramas (read always fun to enact). And before I even knew it, my favourite books became Animal Farm and Lolita and Lord of The Rings quietly took a step backward in the book shelf.  We also don’t read books from one perspective but see them through various lenses often noticing the subaltern voices and analyzing through their eyes. That’s just who we are, we notice the suppressed and strive to empower them.
  4. The festivals have changed – As a kid, I was always excited about the arrival of festivals be it Diwali, Christmas, Holi, etc. You name it and I was enthusiastic about it. As a college student, I have been most excited about book fairs. My favourite festivals of the year are Delhi Book fair, Jaipur Literature Festival and National Book fair. Not just that, all my savings are spent on collecting books from the Sunday book Market at Daryaganj running around in scorching heat trying to get every book in my wishlist in 40-50 rupees. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for me to read them but the fact that they’re in my room comforts me. The love is irrevocable and obsession is hard to let go.
  5. Beauty is truth and truth is beauty – This beautiful quote by Keats completely explains our quest for knowledge and truth. As an English major, I’ve seen my peers and I getting closer to nature with every passing day. This course has made me notice the beauty of sadness, destruction, death and even beautiful things like nature, landscapes and things likewise.

We’ve felt a constant urge to explore cities, know more about people’s lives and explore untraveled paths where our poetries could become true and the stories we’ve read would make more sense. That’s the joy of being an English student. And that’s the sense of completeness you’ll receive too.

SudishaMisra [email protected]

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1. Everyone thinks you’re really smart and are going to get a job right out of college ( …while in reality, neither of the two might be true) Sure, Economics does enjoy a best-of-both worlds status with its combination of Humanities and technical subjects like Mathematics and Statistics, but the kind of things people from other courses believe about the subject would put your own misconceptions about it to shame. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told “Oh man, you Eco people are so smart.” Try getting into a discussion about the difficulty of finding jobs or internships and you usually get a vague “But Economics has a lot of scope for jobs.” It doesn’t matter if you’re barely scraping by in your classes or don’t even want to pursue a career in Economics (or a branch of Economics considered ’employable’), being an economics student will doom you to silent participation in discussions related to jobs and relative smartness with students from other courses, no matter how irrational their beliefs about the course may be.

2. Coming to terms with the not-always-so-great scores

Having scored ridiculously well in class 12 and the consequent adulation on having done that and getting into Economics at DU can condition anyone into believing that they belong to the smarter lot on this planet (not to say that they actually don’t because how do you define smartness anyway?) It can be pretty hard to come to terms with the fact that you will not always score as well as what you were used to. This can, of course, be due to a number of factors which include developing more interests and hobbies and having more of a life in college than you did in class 12. Just as you start telling yourself the whole “Oh, but no one scores that well in college,” some of your classmates might start popping up scores over 95%, which will leave you feeling a little anxious and listless. The thing that no one tells you is that it’s okay. It’s okay to have your scores drop a little (or more). The kind of teaching and evaluation you were used to in school is different from that of a university and it affects not only the way your papers are marked but also your motivation to study (remember when not studying had consequences in terms of your favourite teacher giving you concerned looks and maybe even a lecture-cum-pep talk?) College is about finding time for things other than academics as well. If you develop a passion for photography or debating or social issues like feminism and dedicate time to them, you’re really not worse off for it, no matter what your scores or elders may tell you.

3 Dealing with a tougher and more technical subject:

Economics includes subjects with just theory and others which are purely technical. Unlike other subjects, just a general idea of a concept or derivations to get a formula aren’t enough. For a level of understanding adequate enough to be able to score really well and to build future concepts on requires quite a bit of effort and the ability to go through the same concept with little tweaks (case in point, who can forget the the effects of various policy measure in the IS-LM which affected the money and goods market equilibria?) This makes Economics an even tougher subject to study after missing classes due to a festival or other society obligations.There have been cases of students who were forced to drop out of their chosen societies and clubs because they were unable to cope academically. However, there have also been people who have done well both academically and for their societies. It’s a matter of finding a routine which may not be perfect but works for you. Communicating with teachers about some extra help during tutorials or free periods works well. Having friends who are more regular and also free with sharing notes and knowledge never hurts either.  

4. Attending Seminars and Career Counselling Sessions urging you towards MBA

You look forward to seminars and career counselling cessions as a way of broadening your horizons about the available options after graduation. Some of these are excellent and do achieve what they were meant to do, but others come across as having a (not so) hidden agenda to herd as many students as possible to business schools. Hearing about the many merits of MBA over other non-specified options gets tiresome after a point of time and you start to wonder why you even bother to attend any sessions at all. The one-sided view of doing MBA also leaves you with a lack of knowledge about other things you can pursue. Forget about inter-disciplinary courses or things like Journalism, after a point you’d probably be refreshed to hear about pursuing Masters and getting into academia.  

5. Testing your love for Economics

Let’s be honest, not everyone took up economics because they were genuinely interested in the subject. Being able to clear the cut-off for the course and it being one of the most prestigious ones available were probably reasons enough for many to opt for it. If you were one of those who took it up based on interest, you’ll probably find your love for it being tested from time to time. The reason could be anything from not enough time dedicated to understanding concepts or inadequate teaching or the rigorous but at-times boring textbooks which also leave you with little time to explore other interesting sources to study from. If you took up Economics for the heck of it, there might be moments of you cursing yourself for not opting for an easier subject. The only way out is to keep going and give the subject, and yourself, a chance every time you feel like it’s gone over your head. At the end of three years, a lot of people who came with a torch for Economics might end up leaving with other passions they’ll want to pursue and people who didn’t care very much about the subject might end up developing a strong taste for it. The subject will test you in ways examinations won’t- it’s always easier to score than it is to get a crystal-clear understanding of concepts- but your new-found understanding of the functioning of this world will be worth it.   Shubham Kaushik [email protected]]]>

“Who cares about sexual orientation at the University of Delhi (DU)?” Clearly, not as many people as there ought to be, as the students of the LGBTQ community narrate their own perspectives.

Seconds to go before class and I am extremely bothered by the news notifications screaming from the lock screen, becoming harder and harder to ignore by the minute. So bothered, in fact, that I stop staring at them and slam my phone screen-side down on the bench. It makes a tremendous noise but (thankfully) no cracks on the tempered glass. Questioning glances pour in from all directions. Someone is just about to articulate his question when the door creaks open. The professor walks in, embodying an air of seriousness, as classes begin on a disturbingly ordinary note. Life resumes, but the headline on my phone still says, “Trump bans transgenders from U.S. military.” Little do most students realise, or care to acknowledge, that the international imbroglio strikes much closer home.

Trump’s U-turn: bans transgenders from U.S. Military
Trump’s U-turn: bans transgenders from U.S. Military

Earlier this year, Kamla Nehru College’s (KNC) English department organised LitLuminous, its annual literary fest, around the theme “LGBTQ: Literatures Going Beyond The Quotidian”. It turned out to be something of a novelty, what with the outpouring of appreciation and participation from students across the university. An excellent panel of speakers, including Rajorshi Das, Vikramaditya Sahai, Amalina Dave and Divya Dureja, sought to enlighten those present. DU’s LGBTQ student community must have rejoiced. Many students actually left the building realising how important and reassuring it is to have acceptance, no matter what their sexual orientation. I certainly gained a lot of insight from the discussions held in that dimly lit theatre. And if someone wanted to, I believe they could have smashed right out of the proverbial ‘closet’ that afternoon, so to speak. Most of the students and laymen that I have come across, also think of the University of Delhi as a safe haven for diverse communities.

“But for a second, also look at how this event turned out to be ‘one of a kind’. I mean, why? If the university was openly receptive, wouldn’t there be more effort? Moreover, the subject is still considered taboo. Hence, you get that kind of overwhelming response. With KNC’s event, there was curiosity. People wanted to ‘know’ about the LGBTQ persons… But at the same time, they considered the event to be ‘bold’. We need to normalise the notion that LGBTQ people exist in DU and all across the country,” a semi-irate closet lesbian, who would like to remain anonymous, texts me her response. Clearly, my complacency will be short-lived. Maybe people do not understand or accept the ground reality yet, not daring to go beyond the notion that members of the LGBTQ community have quirky sartorial choices and an outspoken attitude regarding sexual orientations.

Shubham Kaushik, a recent graduate from Miranda House and yet to open up about her orientation to her parents, agreed to shed some light on the issue. While she can see the baby steps heading in the right direction, she laments that this is, at the end of the day, “a country which criminalizes homosexuality.” She points out that there may not be active discrimination in DU, but neither is there an open acceptance. “Disapproval hurts,” she says, recalling that several of her acquaintances have faced harsh criticism as students in DU. In a heartfelt audio note (recorded very kindly, despite a horrid cold threatening to sabotage her voice), she concludes with suggesting that while a ‘pride parade’ may not be the solution, DU’s colleges could certainly do with a set of concrete guidelines on the administrative level,  addressing the grievances of students bunched together dismissively in the ‘Other’ category. And it all makes sense. If there can be a ‘Women’s Development Cell’ (WDC) for every college, why not a special cell for the LGBTQ community? It makes me wonder if we, as a collective, are afraid to acknowledge that they are a minority too, in terms of equality.

Riya Sharma’s story, a transgender student from SOL, was widely covered
Riya Sharma’s story, a transgender student from SOL, was widely covered

The Hindustan Times reported that not a single student enrolled in the university under the ‘Other’ category recently provided for in the admission forms, in 2015-16. Clearly, this ‘Other’-ing and singling out of individuals cannot be the solution. This was also the national daily which reported that DU’s student elections do not tend to focus on this segment of the population at all as if the LGBTQ students did not exist. There are no sensitization drives in the campus. When last year a transgender student, Riya Sharma, narrated her tale of campus discrimination, it began to be widely covered by various news portals. “Even the teachers laughed,” she had said, and it quickly became the headline. I could not help but notice that she said this as a student of the School of Open Learning (SOL), where classes are, in any case, held just once a week. What would give a Riya Sharma the confidence to attend any regular DU college, coming to class for five, sometimes even six days in a week?

I suggested that the LGBTQ students could come out to help themselves, organising fests and events in a fashion similar to other minorities in DU, like say, the North-East fests. Vineeta Rana, an LGBTQ member, and a third-year student herself, concurred. She voted in favour of a Queer Pride Parade in DU, not unlike the one organised by IIT Delhi in the North Campus last October, only much larger in scale and more widely publicised. “The Delhi Pride Parade is held in November/December, and I have exams then, so it is difficult to attend,” she says, while opposing the fact that LGBTQ students are discriminated against in DU. On the other hand, I could not be so sure.

IIT Delhi organised a LGBT Pride Parade in North Campus in 2016.
IIT Delhi organised an LGBT Pride Parade in North Campus in 2016.

After having spoken to a number of students, some agreeing to the fact that DU is their safe haven (unlike the outside world) and others not, one thing emerges clearly. Whether or not they would like to openly scream out the truth about their sexuality from the rooftops, all of them are aware of their identity as a minority, owing to the covert discrimination in the eyes of the onlookers. ‘It’s all in the mind,’ as the proverb goes. And the only way to change minds is via active sensitization, something a mere notification on my phone screen cannot achieve.

 

Deepannita Misra

[email protected]

 

Image credits:

  1. The Daily Mail
  2. NBC News
  3. Indian Express

Seconds to go before class and I am extremely bothered by the news notifications screaming from the lock screen, becoming harder and harder to ignore by the minute. So bothered, in fact, that I stop staring at them and slam my phone screen-side down on the bench. It makes a tremendous noise but (thankfully) no cracks on the tempered glass. Questioning glances pour in from all directions. Someone is just about to articulate his question when the door creaks open. The professor walks in, embodying an air of seriousness, as classes begin on a disturbingly ordinary note. Life resumes, but the headline on my phone still says, “Trump bans transgenders from U.S. military”. Little do most students realise, or dare to acknowledge, that the international imbroglio strikes much closer home.

1.Riya Sharma’s story, a transgender student from SOL, was widely covered
1. Riya Sharma’s story, a transgender student from SOL, was widely covered

Earlier this year, Kamla Nehru College’s (KNC) English department organised LitLuminous, its annual literary fest, around the theme “LGBTQ: Literatures Going Beyond The Quotidian”. It turned out to be something of a novelty, what with the outpouring of appreciation and participation from students across the university. An excellent panel of speakers, including Rajorshi Das, Vikramaditya Sahai, Amalina Dave and Divya Dureja, sought to enlighten those present. DU’s LGBTQ student community must have rejoiced. Many students actually left the building realising how important and reassuring it is to have acceptance, no matter what their sexual orientation. I certainly gained a lot of insight from the discussion held in that dimly lit theatre. And if someone wanted to, I believe they could have smashed right out of the proverbial ‘closet’ that afternoon, so to speak. Most of the students and laymen that I have come across, also think of the University of Delhi as a safe haven for diverse communities.

Trump’s U-turn: bans transgenders from U.S. Military
Trump’s U-turn: bans transgenders from U.S. Military

“But for a second, also look at how this event turned out to be ‘one of a kind’. I mean, why? If the university was openly receptive, wouldn’t there be more effort? Moreover, the subject is still considered taboo. Hence, you get that kind of overwhelming response. With KNC’s event, there was curiosity. People wanted to ‘know’ about the LGBTQ persons… But at the same time, they considered the event to be ‘bold’. We need to normalise the notion that LGBTQ people exist in DU and all across the country,” a semi-irate closet lesbian, who would like to remain anonymous, texts me her response. Clearly, my complacency will be short-lived. Maybe people do not understand or accept the ground reality yet, not daring to go beyond the notion that members of the LGBTQ community have quirky sartorial choices and an outspoken attitude regarding sexual orientations.

Shubham Kaushik, a recent graduate from Miranda House and yet to open up about her orientation to her parents, agreed to shed some light on the issue. While she can see the baby steps heading in the right direction, she laments that this is, at the end of the day, “a country which criminalizes homosexuality.” She points out that there may not be active discrimination in DU, but neither is there an open acceptance. “Disapproval hurts,” she says, recalling that several of her acquaintances have faced harsh criticism as students in DU. In a heartfelt audio note (recorded very kindly, despite a horrid cold threatening to sabotage her voice), she concludes with suggesting that while a ‘pride parade’ may not be the solution, DU’s colleges could certainly do with a set of concrete guidelines on the administrative level,  addressing the grievances of students bunched together dismissively in the ‘Other’ category. And it all makes sense. If there can be a ‘Women’s Development Cell’ (WDC) for every college, why not a special cell for the LGBTQ community? It makes me wonder if we, as a collective, are afraid to acknowledge that they are a minority too, in terms of equality.

 

The Hindustan Times reported that not a single student enrolled in the university under the ‘Other’ category recently provided for in the admission forms, in 2015-16. Clearly, this ‘Other’-ing and singling out of individuals cannot be the solution. This was also the national daily which reported that DU’s student elections do not tend to focus on this segment of the population at all, as if the LGBTQ students did not exist. There are no sensitization drives in the campus. When last year a transgender student, Riya Sharma, narrated her tale of campus discrimination, it began to be widely covered by various news portals. “Even the teachers laughed,” she had said, and it quickly became the headline. I could not help but notice that she said this as a student of the School of Open Learning (SOL), where classes are, in any case, held just once a week. What would give a Riya Sharma the confidence to attend any regular DU college, coming to class for five, sometimes even six days in a week?

I suggested that the LGBTQ students could come out to help themselves, organising fests and events in a fashion similar to other minorities in DU, like say, the North-East fests. Vineeta Rana, an LGBTQ member and a third-year student herself, concurred. She voted in favour of a Queer Pride Parade in DU, not unlike the one organised by IIT Delhi in the North Campus last October, only much larger in scale and more widely publicised. “The Delhi Pride Parade is held in November/December, and I have exams then, so it is difficult to attend,” she says, while opposing the fact that LGBTQ students are discriminated against in DU. On the other hand, I could not be so sure.

After having spoken to a number of students, some agreeing to the fact that DU is their safe haven (unlike the outside world) and others not, one thing emerges clearly. Whether or not they would like to openly scream out the truth about their sexuality from the rooftops, all of them are aware of their identity as a minority, owing to the covert discrimination in the eyes of the onlookers. ‘It’s all in the mind,’ as the proverb goes. And the only way to change minds is via active sensitization, something a mere notification on my phone screen cannot achieve.

Image credits: Indian Express

Deepannita Misra

[email protected]

Professor G.N. Saibaba, former English professor at Ram Lal Anand College, Delhi University, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by sessions court in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra on 7th March, 2017. The court has found him of “hatching criminal conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India and collecting people with the intention of waging war against the Government of India”.

Professor G.N. Saibaba’s activism.

Before his arrest in 2014, wheelchair-bound and 90% disabled Professor Saibaba use to be an outspoken critic of the human rights abuses by the Salwa Judum and Operation Greenhunt, launched by the government against Maoists. He also played an active role in mobilizing public intellectuals under a group named Forum Against War on People. Owing to his open activism several academics, teachers and students have described his arrest as a deliberate attempt to stifle dissent.

Abduction or arrest?

On the afternoon of May 9, 2014, he was heading back home from the university when a group of policemen in plainclothes arrested him. The next morning after his arrest from Delhi, Professor Saibaba was immediately flown to Nagpur, where the District Magistrate heard his case and sent him to prison. His family was not informed about his arrest and this prompted his wife to file a missing person’s report. The question of this abrupt, almost haphazard arrest raised questions that- why did the Maharashtra police abduct Professor Saibaba in this way when they could have arrested him formally?

The charges against him.

He has been charged under the notorious and dangerously vague Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for advocating unlawful activities, conspiring to commit a terrorist act and inviting support for a terrorist organization. Simply put, Prof. Saibaba was arrested for his alleged Maoist links and being a ‘Naxal ideologue’.

Another offence listed against him is that he is the joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), an organization that is banned in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. However, it is not banned in Delhi. So how does his association with Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) matter?

 

The validity of evidence.

The charges against him rest on of letters, pamphlets, books and videos seized during raids that were conducted in his house. During the raids, his laptop, hardisks and pendrives were taken from which the evidence was gathered. Talking to The Hindu in a 2015 interview Prof. G.N Saibaba claimed that “Police claims to have recovered a letter that I had written to some top Maoist leader. To this day, the police never showed me that letter.”

Even if Prof. G.N Saibaba is found to be a member of a banned organization, it won’t be sufficient enough to prosecute him as according to the previous judgments by the Supreme Court ( the Kedar Nath Vs State of Bihar 1962) “mere membership of a banned organization would not make a person criminally liable unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence”. 

Not an isolated case.

The case against Prof. Saibaba should not be seen in isolation, since the use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act id not unprecedented. Earlier cartoonist Arun Ferreira, public health specialist Binayak Sen  and many members of Kabir Kala Manch were imprisoned on similar charges. The apparent similarity in all these cases is that they all have been accused of being Naxalites since they talked about issues of lesser known state oppression. Arun Ferreira was eventually released as innocent after spending five years in prison, and Binayak Sen is out on bail since 2011 while the case against him is still pending since 2007. The acquittal rate in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act is 72%, despite this the law is used very frequently.

What can we do?

With corporate driven media, there is hardly any news from remote conflict ridden territories. Those few individuals and organizations that attempt to highlight these problems are harassed in with help of laws such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In this situation it is up to us to either live in complicity or listen carefully to what the state machinery does not want us to hear. To not ignore, but to acknowledge what the dissenters are trying to say is the least and often most what one can do.

Image Credits- Shalendra Panday/Tehelka

 

Niharika Dabral

[email protected]

 

My college days are about to end, and I feel really old looking back at the hectic three years that I’ve spent as an FYUP student. I still remember the time when my boards were about to end. I come from a small town and it’s easy to opt for Science in class 11th there thinking you will be able to handle it just like everyone else. But it never really happens according to the plan, which is why I decided on following my passion and pursuing English Honours right after boards ended.

This wouldn’t come as a surprise to many, but my only choice was Delhi University. Unaware of the entire overhaul of the system, I had complete faith thinking nothing would be better than being a DU student as an undergrad. I couldn’t have been more wrong. If I say that the last three years were difficult for me because of an entire new system, it would be an understatement. The last three years were exhausting, sapped me off my entire energy every single day, and made me question ‘did I ever deserve this?’

Maybe there are other FYUP students who do not agree with me. But, let’s start with measuring the flaws that the entire system had which affected us majorly. Our entire first year was wasted in pursuing Foundation Courses, something that we should have never been done at college level at all. A lot of colleges conducted FC classes after 12 which affected our college timetable the most. In CVS, my first lecture started at 9 in the morning and college ended for me at 4:30 in the evening, making it almost difficult to manage anything. Nearly all students attended college till evening thinking that attendance mattered, and after one year a notice was issued that attendance isn’t an issue for us at all.

Let’s talk about the course structure. B. Tech courses were started without being given a single thought. Shaurya Sahai, a 3rd year B.Tech student of Hans Raj College said, ‘In such a competitive world, we put trust in DU and now it has landed us in such a messed up situation.  We have no proper infrastructure, no proper course structure; labs are in a condition which cannot, at any cost, enable an engineering student to perform practicals properly. We have to take care of our studies and how should we cover up for the things that we haven’t been taught and then there are issues like AICTE approval which divert our attention because we are fighting for it. University is chilling and has no concern for the 2500 students.’

Other courses like Economics Honours, English Honours, B.Com Honours, were improperly structured, with a lot of important papers getting deleted from the syllabus. When FYUP was rolled back, our third year became exceedingly difficult with an abundance of subjects and no proper teachers to provide the right kind of cohesion needed. This is true especially for English Honours where each paper is being taught by 3-4 teachers, mostly ad-hoc, perpetually failing to strike a balance between all the books and teaching us in the right order. The restructuring also deleted an important DC-1 paper that taught us about research methodology, thus defeating the purpose of enrolling in an Honours course.

We never really had a ‘back’ system, and mostly were not failed. Thanks to this norm, we lost any kind of motivation whatsoever to study our subjects sincerely. After asking a lot of students from different colleges, I was convinced that it was not just the University, but professors as well who wanted to get rid of us because we are just a batch of students meant for experiments alone.

Thank you Delhi University for considering us as guinea pigs that you needed for your experiments. And for giving us this life where we don’t know what we did in the past three years because of the improper structure, never really learnt the importance of marks, assignments, attendance, and are not even close to being proper graduates (according to the course we pursued) who can be recruited.

Sudisha Misra

[email protected] 

DU Beat got an opportunity to talk to DU alumnus Prateek Ghosal, who is pursuing MSc. Finance and Economics from the reputed London School of Economics. An Economics graduate from Kirori Mal College, he talks about his experience and the rewards of studying abroad.

Q-1. What apprehensions did you face when you decided to move away from home and to a different country? In your opinion, what should an Indian student keep in mind before deciding to undertake a course abroad?

Personally, I did not have a lot of apprehensions about studying in the UK. I more or less knew what to expect and it hasn’t been much different.
What I would advise students deciding to undertake a course abroad is that they have to be very particular about their interests and take up a course and an institute that is in sync with their ambitions. Everyone has to make a big investment – the tuition fees can be abnormally high but I believe the return on the investment both in terms of monetary value/career prospects and in terms of personal development (maturity, independence) is certainly high. The courses can be particularly challenging as you’re competing against the best students from around the world but the learning curve is extremely steep. At the end of it, it is up to you how you utilize your time abroad because there is a world of opportunities to exploit but you have to be focused and brave enough to take them up!

Q-2. How is the education system in UK different from that in India (DU specifically)?

This is a highly debatable question – there are quite a few things that are different in the education systems. Something that I particularly found impressive about LSE’s system was that the exam questions always make you think. There is never a strict pattern you can learn and apply in your questions. In DU, I sort of knew what to expect and I could apply a set methodology. Examinations here always make you think and use your concepts in different ways to ensure that you’ve thoroughly understood the material – there are hardly any direct questions. In the end, you are forced to thoroughly learn the material and understand the core concepts. Students usually score less marks, but you get a merit with 60% so it’s all relative. Another thing that I think DU really misses is ‘practicality’ and ‘industry applications’. Most of my subjects have industry speakers coming in and explaining how they use the methods being taught to us in the real world. I’ve had bankers and economists explain how they use different models and then academicians explaining their research content and debating ideologies. It is always good to know how marketable the tools we learn are – whether in the corporate world or the world of academia.

Q-3. How would you say your degree at LSE compares to similar degrees in other institutes in terms of syllabus/ subject content and future prospects?

It was hard to decide initially. I had the opportunity to do my Masters in Economics at Delhi School of Economics which is especially renowned in the country but I was a bit more inclined towards finance specifically and there weren’t a lot of options in India. I think the opportunity of studying in the heart of London – one of the major financial hubs of the world and at LSE – a globally renowned institution was something that I could not let go of. My specific course is quite unique in the sense that it is jointly run by two of LSE’s strongest departments – Economics and Finance, giving me the best of the two worlds. The course content is in sync with my interests in being very quantitative and analytical. I have always loved challenges, but I think my entire class agrees that this particular course has been the hardest thing we’ve ever done. With regard to alternative universities, there aren’t a lot of institutions that offer an MSc Finance and Economics program and LSE’s particular program is especially reputed even for students wishing to do a PHD in Finance/Economics – a big share of the class go on to complete their PHD’s from top Ivy League colleges. Job prospects in the UK can be hard for international students because of UK’s strict work visa regulations but some do manage to get jobs. Otherwise, statistics show that the highest number of Investment Bankers in Europe are from the LSE so there are clearly  opportunities to exploit.

Q-4. One often hears about how international and diverse LSE is. Is it true? If settling in and feeling at home is the easy part at LSE, what is the hardest?

Yes, it is indeed true that LSE is very diverse and multi-cultural. In fact, I find London the same – a typical bus journey from my accommodation to LSE involves listening to people speak in at least 4-5 different languages everyday! Personally for me, the hardest part has been getting used to the rigorous work culture – not only in terms of academic work but also applying for jobs and at the same time maintaining your livelihood (DU was so much more ‘chill’). On top of that, coming back home after a hard day’s work and not having some delicious home-cooked food to cheer you up is something that I really missed initially. But with time, I think you get used to the work ethic and develop your own independent lifestyle, which is very enriching in it self.

Q-5. What is a typical day at campus like?

Personally for me, the LSE experience revolves around the ‘Work hard, Play hard’ culture which is exactly what I’ve always wanted. A typical day involves alternating between classes and the library, but once you’re done with the work (once in a while), there is a world of recreational activities that you can enjoy. LSE probably has a specific society to satiate everyone’s specific interests. From ‘wine-tasting’ to ‘Bollywood nights’ – you can explore infinite different things to do. I’ve personally joined the music society and enjoy a weekly jam session with a band that I’ve formed here. Regarding sports, there are different teams for every specific sport which are further divided into categories to match your playing level, so that you can always enjoy a game irrespective of your skill-set. Apart from that, there are a number of pubs and restaurants around campus making it quite lively. At the end of the day, you’re in the heart of London so everything is literally a bus/tube ride away.

Q-6. Being a college student living in one of the most popular destinations in the world, how do you manage your finances apart from college tuition? What do you find yourself spending the most on?

To be very frank, London is an expensive city and coming from India, the exchange rate really hits us hard. Having said that, there are numerous ways to economize your expenses. London is extremely ‘student-friendly’ and almost every place, from barbers to restaurants, offer student-discounts making it relatively nominal. I also follow a weekly budget to ensure that I don’t go over a given threshold. Moreover, if you know the right places to shop, you’ll limit your expenses without compromising on your lifestyle.

Q-7. What has been your most profound memory at LSE so far?

Well, that’s difficult to answer. I think what I’ve really enjoyed is attending speaker sessions at LSE. This included industrialists and practitioners, from Nobel Laureates such as Amartya Sen & Robert Shiller to world-renowned hedge-fund managers and bankers. These sessions have opened up my mind to so many different things in life and changed my perspectives on others – something that I’ll always remember. On the fun side, my most profound memory has to be our department trip to Brighton where my team won the treasure hunt challenge spanning 20+ groups. After 6-7 hours of intensive challenges and events across the city of Brighton, we were delighted to know that we had been crowned winners!

Read more about our series on DU Alumni at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  

For many of the students out there who didn’t get through the college of their choice during their admissions in Delhi University, they still have a chance to be there under the migration norms of University of Delhi. According to this rule, students from one college are allowed to change their college in their second academic year. For inter college migration, the rules are-

  1. A student can migrate from one college of Delhi University to another in his/her third semester of B.A, B.Com., B.Sc., B.A.(H), B.Com(H) and B.Sc(H) courses considering the availability of seats and consent of principals of both the colleges.
  2. The eligibility criterion for the candidates requires them to have passed in both 1st and 2nd semester exams of the degree course under semester mode.
  3. The process to apply for migration includes contacting the office of the principal of the concerned college where he/she wants to migrate to obtain the no objection certificate first.
  4. The last date to apply for migration is 31st August, although the tentative dates for actual migration are issued by the University of Delhi.
  5. The documents required for migration are, (a) A No Objection Certificate from the principal/head of the College where he/she wants to migrate as well as where he/she is currently studying, (b) A leaving certificate from the principal/head of the concerned college and (c) The mark sheets of the examination already passed.

There are certain terms and conditions that are followed in the process of migration, which are-

  1. Candidates are not allowed from regular college to School of Open Learning (SOL) or Non-Collegiate Women’s Education Board (NCWEB) as migration is allowed in semester mode and the SOL and NCWEB are in annual mode.
  2. Migration is not allowed from one college to another in a different course.
  3. Migration is not allowed at Post Graduation level.
  4. Applications for migration from one college to another shall be entertained by the principal of the college from which the migration is sought

P.C Jain, principal of Sri Ram College of Commerce said, “For a student to migrate from one college to another, he/she will need to have a written permit that the principals of both the colleges agree on the matter.” Anjali Johri a second year student of B. Tech in Computer Science in Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College states, “They are not allowing migration in our college. It is an opportunity for students to go some other college of his/her choice which we are not able to get.”