English honours


With various faults and inconsistencies in the marking of B.A. (Hons) English papers, University of Delhi (DU) releases a notification regarding the revaluation after students identify  certain flaws in the result.

The release of the B.A (Hons) English result came as a shock to many students due to the severe inconsistencies in the result of students from all the semesters. The inconsistencies have come in the form of a severe dip in the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) of many students. A vast majority of students have revealed that they have gotten 1.5 or 2 Grade Points less then what they get. The suspicion lies on the administration for conducting a hasty evaluation process.

With the outcry rising, DU released a statement saying that those who could not apply for revaluation because of the closure of the University due to the pandemic can submit it now. The University has given time till 26 May 2020. Students have been asked to print revaluation forms fill it and email it. They have also been asked to scan and email their revaluation forms, admit cards, copy of marksheet, and a copy of the fee receipt. While this seems like a good way for English Honours and other students to get their results rectified, there are certain privileges and apathy shown by the Administration in this move.

A Press Release by All India Students Association (AISA) expressing solidarity with the students of B.A (Hons) English points out that the method is inaccessible to a lot of students. It says that “ the admin expects all students to have access to internet, printers,scanners and all their documents (Admit Cards, IDs, etc), completely ignoring the health crisis, lockdown, and financial positions of a vast number of students in DU.” It also points out that the last day gives the student a short time to apply, and the fee of Rs.1000 makes it impossible for a lot of students in their current financial condition due to the lockdown to apply. The statement ends with pointing out how mass failures are the burden of the University not the students and for the conduct of free revaluation for all students.

AISA eng hon statement

Damni Kain, a student activist and a student in DU points out several other negative impacts of the results and the revaluation process suggested. She says “ As a student, I find this very disappointing to see how our hardwork of an entire year is mocked by absolute negligence at the hand of the administration. The effect won’t be limited to just an year’s result but the result of our graduation in totality. Further, those aspiring for Masters in Delhi University through marks-based system have almost lost an opportunity. With no fault of ours, we’re made to face the worst amidst a terrible pandemic. To this, the several restrictions and rules placed on re-evaluation makes it impossible for us to go for it. This is an anti-student move which needs to be condemned and taken back if we wish to maintain the ethos of a university system.”


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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Students of English Honours report several inconsistencies in the recently announced odd – semester results. Administration and archaic evaluation process blamed. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, another complication has arisen in the lives of several Delhi University students. There has been a gross dip in the Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) of several students of BA (H) English. They suspect foul play on the part of the administration as well as a hasty evaluation process that has been tampered with.

DU Beat contacted various students of BA (H) English. Several students reported their grievances regarding discrepancies in the odd-semester university result. As per a final year student, students from various colleges observed a drop in their semester result this year. “The uncanny thing to be noticed is that it has happened in all the colleges around Delhi University. In my college, we have formed a group in which we are analysing if there are any common papers in which the result has dropped and till now, we do see a pattern. Secondly, we don’t know who checked our papers and how they were evaluated and how all of a sudden, the result came out. Some teachers have agreed that the marks dropping down for everyone means something is definitely fishy and as students, it’s our right to know about it. Given the situation, where we don’t know if we have our final exams and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) saying they’ll be using 50% of last semester marks in the worst-case scenario, that’s why we are worried. For any final year student, this is a matter of serious concern because we don’t know what the academic future holds for us and we clearly don’t wish to give up on papers in which we put in so much hard work”, she explained.

A third-year literature student who reached out to DU Beat said that unfair marking has been done. Their teachers have informed them that this is due to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protests and non-availability of professors for evaluation. GPAs have been below average or above average this semester. The students who were supposed to get 7 or 7.5 got 6 or below in some colleges.

In conversation with DU Beat, Abha Dev Habib, treasurer of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) said, “It’s extremely unfortunate students have to go through this. The objective of DUTA Strike was to create a dialogue about the mistreatment and injustices faced by the teachers and workers of the University. The administration treated the evaluation boycott callously, and these are the consequences of the same. Moreover, under the existing Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), if the evaluation of papers yields marks with a low mean, it’s the moderation of the results that need to be done judiciously. It’s clear that along with faults in evaluation, there have been fallacies in moderation as well.”

A professor from the Department of English told DU Beat, “Well, what has gone wrong is the University administration. It forced all associations of the university to take drastic and rather unwanted steps which ultimately resulted in the inordinate delay of the results. For example, owing to the corner into which the University administration forced its entire teaching community, the evaluation of the last semester’s scripts were put off track. That said, it will be rather difficult for me to say if all English Honours students, across the university, have suffered depreciation in their marks because I don’t have the requisite data in any official capacity. But, as I said, if anything has gone wrong, the blame lies with the way Delhi University treats its participants: students, the teaching faculty, and the non-teaching staff. If the students are suffering it is because of the callousness of the university.”

Jiniya Saha, a second-year student of English Honours at Gargi College has suffered grievously due to the mismanagement of the University results. She told DU Beat, “I didn’t get my result. The server is still showing “Sorry! No records found” in the DU Statement of Marks website. I have submitted my assignments and written all my exam papers properly. When I complained about the same, I was told to wait for an unprecedented period of time till the college re-opens. We all know that after half a month of result declaration the web-based transcript crashes and all students are thereby advised to take a print out as a hard copy.” It’s however clear, that she is not the only student who is in a tough spot due to tampering of the evaluation cycle.

Due to the pandemic and ongoing lockdown as well as shutdown of the university, students are urgently taking steps in their capacity by reaching out to teachers about the fallacies and tampering of results. A first-year student said, “I have a list of marks of my class and we think this may be a case of mass checking. We’ve forwarded the marks to our teacher. She will study them and let us know if that’s the case.” She also pondered upon submitting her answer sheets for revaluation but admitted that she was unaware about the procedure and whether it will be altered due to the pandemic or not. A WhatsApp group of aggrieved students from the university has been formed and more than 250 students have joined it till now. The group intends to release a petition on behalf of the student community soon.

While the students are disappointed and dejected at the way things have played out, they sincerely hope the administration will hear their grievances out and take timely and just action so that their plans for future endeavours are not hindered.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Paridhi Puri
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Here’s a look at one of the most popular courses offered at the University of Delhi (DU). 


What is the course about?

With one of the highest cut-offs year after year, English Honours is one of the most popular and sought-after courses across DU colleges.

The curriculum spans over the entirety of the history of the subject, coming to modern times. English Honours doesn’t just cover English Literature, Proper; but has works of literature of various languages translated to English. A few of the core papers are Indian Classical Literature, British Poetry and Drama, British Romantic Literature, Women’s Writing and Postcolonial Literature. The electives, on the other hand, include Literary Theory, Literary Criticism, Partition Literature, Science Fiction and Detective Literature and multiple others.


What are some top colleges for this course?

English Honours is offered in more colleges than most other courses. Some of the most sought-after colleges, which also have had very high cut-offs include Lady Shri Ram College for Women, St Stephen’s College, Miranda House, Jesus and Mary College, Hindu College, Hansraj College, Ramjas College and Kamala Nehru College.


What are some good career options?

English Honours students have a variety of fields open to them ranging from creative writing, blogging and content writing, publishing, journalism, public relations, advertising, social media marketing and academia.

Some others also go on to choose fields like civil services or law.


Are there any notable alumni?

Because skills acquired in studying a course like English are so diverse, the course opens up many professional possibilities. Doubtless, many DU alumni who studied English have gone on to make a name for themselves and contribute to varied fields. Just a fraction of these include:

  • Anita Desai, Writer and academic
  • Ashok Lavasa, Election Commissioner of India and retired IAS officer
  • Barkha Dutt, Journalist
  • Urvashi Butalia, Writer
  • Vinod Dua, Journalist


What do students say about this course?

Haris Khan, an outgoing student of Ramjas College, says, “English honours teaches you not just the language but a worldview. It teaches you the subtle beauty and nuances of those who used the language to paint a picture of their reality, and most importantly of all it teaches you to do the same.”

The 2018 cut-off lists for different colleges can be viewed on http://www.du.ac.in/cut-off.html
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Prateek Pankaj 
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With the semester exams coming closer each day, DU Beat brings to you a guide to writing papers in English Honours.

“… And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

  • John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Literature is a problematic yet beautiful vista of thought. It teaches you to love strongly, and the opposite. It teaches you something that transcends the very meaning of literature- the written word. A perfectly imbalanced translation of human emotions onto pages; the magic and mayhem, literature is food for the soul indeed. Studying English as your core subject at the university level makes a narrative of you. You see yourself becoming a story and a story teller. You are enraptured in the literary melody of words and powerful emotions. But all this must transliterate into good marks for you, because as a professor at my college once said, “Let us face it, with English Honours, your prospects are bleak. So at least get a good score.”

Literature is best understood through perceptions. It is highly subjective and invites your own ideas in the mix. But it will be wrong to claim that it is highly technical. The grammar rules and syntax, even the sound of two words together, the redundant alliterative usage of words, and the consequent inferences of two words written successively; the minutest technicality needs to be perfected to obtain a heightened grasp. Language is as complex as arithmetic probably, in this regard.

While writing academic papers in English Honours, it is a given fact that plagiarism leads to your self-inflicted doom. Literature always retains the artistic credit in the acknowledgement of every single word that is not your own. But it is as Professor Keval Arora’s guide to Assignment Submissions pointedly notes, “Quote sparingly, only in order to strengthen your own argument. Do not treat quotations as a substitute for the work that you are expected to do.” Professor Arora in the same document instructs warningly:



The penalty for widespread copying can be as high as a non?negotiable* ZERO/10.

It is extremely significant then, to ascribe the quotations to authors and/or sources. As Professor Arora notes, “Acknowledge the source (book/essay; author’s name; website) from where the material is taken.”

It is a very obvious point to be mentioned at the onset, but nevertheless its pressing importance cannot be overstated.

“Your writing should always make sense to yourself first, and you should be reading it as a critic,” says Professor Laboni Bhattacharya of Hindu College. It is very important to have a structure for your writing. The introductory lines, the main body, and then the conclusive inferences. More often than not, we find the lacking of adhesion in our writing. The over-emphasis on certain ideas is played well, but then the cohesion seems to wither. It is suggested that every idea should be presented in a different paragraph; broken down into a series of ideas so as to enable a greater understanding of the written material. It always helps to play with the sentence structure and length in this regard. From short phrases to elongated sentences, the idea becomes to create a melody in your writing.

Every piece of writing in English Literature offers some arguments, and some justifications. The author describes certain ideas as per his own volition. Khyati Sanger, a second year English Literature student of Miranda House shares her passionate opinions on the subject, “Always seek for conflicting ideologies in your readings. Read about multiple schools of thought and then make up your own mind. The real aspect of Literature is that it cannot possibly mean the exact truth. As a student studying Literature, we are told to always argue; to question the idea of a thinker and that is one of the various intriguing activities peripheral to Literature.”

An essay might deeply interest you, and sometimes even appear to be the word of ultimate reason. But it is always a perspective that is impressed on you, for you to indulge in an exploration of your own. “When reading a text, I always make it a task to transcend myself into the historical background of the text. History, not just the political but the socio-economic background of the text is extremely important to dissect the layers of meaning the text aims to explore,” says Khyati. Quoting a thinker is not just for the sake of it, it is felt that the quote needs incorporating into the sentence that you form. Through such citings, building up your own justification of the answer is important.

Literature has been through trends and revolutions and so, it becomes a task to identify the writings with their period-specific thinking. It is after such understanding that you enable a brilliant writing of your answers and essays. Writing in English Literature needs to be as interpretative, as interpolative as you can possibly endeavour to manage.

As for writing the answer scripts in a moment of exam induced anxiety, Prachi Mehra, a second year English Literature student at Gargi College states, “Once you get the question paper, take a quick scan. It is always a better option to attempt the 15 markers first and maintain your speed with them. When writing the first paragraph, think of the structure of your answer. A well-structured answer always scores more. Also, while analysing literature, the present tense is preferably used.” To bring everything back to attention while writing an answer with a drowsy mind due to lack of sleep, that becomes a challenging task.

Before you begin with your answer, read the question carefully and give it to your analytical skills to recall the incidents to be quoted, the arguments to be made and the justifications to be rendered in the course of your answer. Making bullet points of the necessary points can prove useful here. Your originality, hard work and interpretative abilities will render good scores to you.

Once you have the quotes, the ideas and the opinions on paper, you have written your piece. And in that moment of completion, there is an immense joy. You cannot always aim at excellence, and the arbitrariness of Literature is one of its characteristic merits. Sanchi Mehta, President of the Department of English of Hindu College captures the joy of writing an exam of literature when she says, “Writing an English Honours exam is an anxious outpour of the revelations, questions and criticism of the texts, authors/poets/playwrights and age that arouse in us while reading. It is an endeavour to sieve and pick the right arguments and defending them copiously to produce an adumbration of the prodigious critical essays one reads in preparation and the marvellous knowledge imparted by teachers in classroom. What one does achieve at the end is a certain level of catharsis and well, comfort that at least the assessment of how good (or bad) it was can be procrastinated till the results are declared.”

The most important idea while writing a paper in English Honours is essentially the ability of the writer to maintain his or her originality with the copious interaction of a whirlpool of interpretations ascribed to a multitude of authors and writers. It is a parallelism that is required. Parallelism and the spirit to pursue it.

So read and write as a habit, as a passion and you are halfway there.

Feature Image Credits: Learning Skills


Kartik Chauhan

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English Honours is a course that doesn’t just teach you literature but pushes you to truly dissect the text, ultimately challenging your perceptions and changing your personality.

English Honours is one of the most sought-after courses and rightly so not just because of the poise and poshness surrounding it, but also because it alters your perspective and outlook towards life. It makes you wiser and modifies you for the better. Here are three ways in which it accomplishes all of that:

  1. It teaches you the plurality of truth

English Honours will make you look at a situation from all perspectives. It will not tell you which perspective is right or wrong because the course is built with the understanding that everything is subjective. Through this one learns to move beyond their opinion and understand the point of view of the person sitting across the table. This further makes one think wholesomely before coming to a decision.

  1. It encourages you to ask ‘Why?’

English Honours will not let you settle with ‘it is what it is’ when discussing ideologies. It will make you question why is an ideology the way it is, why is a certain remark was made, and why was it made by the person it was made by. It entices the student to delve into the things that won’t be said openly. In your lectures you’ll question why is astronomy considered against God in ‘Doctor Faustus’, why does eventually it glorify the perspective of idealism over materialism, was Macbeth really overambitious or just a slave to feudalism, etc. These stories cannot be separated from the dominant, emergent, and residual ideologies of the time they were written in. Therefore, it teaches you as a person to not take anything at face value and to question everything. As this inquisitiveness becomes a part of your personality, you also begin to look for the underlying causes of the behaviour of the people.

  1. It teaches you the importance of history

English Honours teach you that everything in the world today that has ever existed, exists, or will exist is rooted in history and cannot be independent of it’s past. Furthermore, while reading the translated texts, one learns the history of different places. Therefore, etymology doesn’t only help the students understand the different spellings of a word over time, but also talks about why the word acquired it’s meaning in the first place. For example, Rakshash is derived from Rakshak, meaning protectors. The term was actually used for the tribes that wanted to ‘protect’ the forests by scaring away the Brahmins who used it for Hawans. English Honours doesn’t just expand your vocabulary, it also expands your vision and teaches you that meanings move beyond dictionaries.

Feature Image Credits: Louve Smith

Khyati Sanger

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As exams approach, students are often unable to find the right websites to help them prepare. Do not rely on cheap guides or inadequately explained answers on websites and start scrolling through these sites to get information about not just the author but detailed analysis of the theme, the characters, critical essays to support your analysis and also the text that you may need to read for free.


  • LitCharts

Brought to you by the makers of Sparknotes, the sites hosts material for a large number of books. It is divided into sections of themes, basic summary, elaborated summary along with character sketch that you all can refer to along with a theme tracking feature, timelines for characters and symbols.


  • Jstor

Lacking critical material for your answers? Jstor is there to help you out with its digital library that contains books, primary sources along with journals. While subscription is necessary in most cases, it does allow you to add up to 3 books/journals in your shelf if you sign up (which is free).


  • Project Gutenberg

Founded by Micheal S. Hart, Project Gutenberg is the oldest digital library that holds full texts of public domain books that you can view in different formats. Go here to read any of Behn’s play or Donne’s poetry. It is free and legal.


  • Infoplease

Often to understand the text and certain cultural bound situations, you need information on the socio political scenario of the era when the author wrote along with aspects of the author’s life as well to learn about the development of the plot. On infoplease, you can find factual information about any author, any play and any century that you wish to know of.


5) Shakespeare.mit.edu

This electronic source brings to you the complete collection of Shakespeare’s play and poetry that can be accessed for free.

  • YouTube

    YouTube since a few years has been emerging as a great source of information for literature students with channels like Crash Course (where John Green teaches you about Romeo and Juliet , Beloved, The Catcher in the Rye etc), Yale Courses (where along with being taught by Yale professors, you also get a glimpse into the classroom if an ivy league university) and Thug Notes (where modern day slangs meet simple summary and analysis of the text).

Adarsh Yadav
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Being one of the most sought after courses in Delhi University, English Honours crests up the expectations of every literati who seeks admission in this course. The idea of meeting Shakespeare, Jane Austen or George Eliot everyday makes it nothing short of exciting. But how is the journey actually like, well, let’s find out here!

After braving the cut off crisis, entering college on the first day as an English Honours student is bound to elate any literature enthusiast who is looking forward to an expedition of the literary world! The initial days of study in this course certainly blurs the boundaries of literature exploration. Meeting great authors, playwrights and critics through their work takes some time to be familiarized with, yet, makes one feel like delving deeper into the sea of literature. How can we forget the joy of purchasing those new books that never fail to bring a wave of happiness with the smell of their new pages!

Seeing all that happiness, our dear friend – the syllabus, starts pouring us some more love with endless discussions, chapters which seem to never finish and, motley range of timeless drama and poetry. This is when we feel like telling this friend of ours to calm down! With the ever increasing number of texts and background readings, at times it starts getting difficult to manage academic reading and leisure reading at the same time. Adding on to it, friends from different courses keep envying us for reading mere “stories” in the syllabus and having an easy course structure. This is the moment when we feel like enlightening those friends about the difference between reading Blake and Swift for leisure and reading them as part of one’s syllabi. Thus, we join the brigade that breaks baseless myths about the course being a mere cake walk!

Just after the crest phase comes the road to the trough. The teachers expecting students to read their respective texts completely and “critically analyze” everything that comes our way starts getting a little too tricky! This is when we start shifting from mere readers to critical readers of literature. But the road doesn’t seem all that easy in the first semester of the course. With loads of narratives and analysis to remember, one definitely gets overwhelmed with the amount of reading to be done, while being unaware of the questions that can be asked for such study. After putting in much effort, we’re forced to rely on help books to help us sail through the semester. However, the ultimate test of literature love for a first semester student is the semester examination. A study loaded with truckloads of texts, the first semester exams of the course resurface the general emotion for studies in no time.

Nonetheless, English Honours sure makes every seeker a thinker beyond the average one. Despite the initial hiccups, this course is not a mere study, but a leap ahead in the understanding of the world.


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Priyal Mahtta

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