Film maker, actor and activist Nandita Das was present in Kamala Nehru College on 13th Feb, 2014. The actor was invited by the English Department of the College as part of their annual fest LitLuminous. Ms. Das attended the session after the screening of her directorial debut- Firaaq.


An informal session, Ms. Das answered questions from the audience ranging from her profession to her views on Narendra Modi and society in general. For her, Firaaq and eventually her career in directing came about from a deep desire to tell this story.” I became an actor by default.The transition from an actor to director has happened like everything else in my life, by default.” said the film maker.When questioned on the almost negligible effect of the film on the public’s conscience, Ms. Das replied, “No film creates a revolution. it creates slow changes and the only way we can get influenced is by the way we relate to it.”

Mr. Narendra Modi and his politics became a huge part of the discussion. According to Ms. Das, Mr. Modi has stayed in power for so long because he is a “reflection of what we want”. She explains that the globalized world makes people feel small and insignificant. In such a scenario politicians use identity politics to help people relate to them and create an identity for themselves separate from others. This way people are falsely empowered but yet they strive and act on this empowerment.


Patriarchy is one of the biggest concerns in society today and demystifying it, the biggest task. Ms. Das talked about how men and women are both victims of patriarchy. She called the deep linkage of a woman’s identity to that of a man the biggest challenge in the women’s movement today. She asserted that change happens in one generation and all that it needs is one parent deciding to raise her/his child differently to end patriarchy.

On the difficulty in survival of independent cinema, Ms. Das said that the fault lies with the people themselves who undermine their intelligence to watch this kind of cinema and tag it as ‘elitist’. According to her, people want to watch it but low distribution and unawareness makes these films difficult to be obtained.

image courtesy : Suryanshu Hooda

A bright tuesday morning saw me entering the gates of the my college to be greeted by Medusa, Zeus, Ganesha , Shiva, Minotaur and various others. No, I do not go to a college for mythological creatures, I just wish I did. I was actually in Kamala Nehru College and it was ‘Litluminous 2013’- The literary fest organized by the English Department, with the theme as “Mythopoesis- The making of myths.” Roaming about, I garnered that there was a lecture and then a screening of ‘Sita sings the blues’ in the auditorium at 10:15. Dr. Angelie Multani, an Associate Professor at IIT-Delhi delivered an intriguing and going by the maximum responses, an interesting lecture. Says Tina Das, an student of English who when not busy participating in the competitions, volunteered to manage the activities, “It was interesting, mainly because she did not just talk about the myths we have heard about, like the Ramayana but also myths that we see everyday like ‘the ideal woman’ and how we have started accepting it without even realizing.” On Dr. Multani she said “she did not let your attention waiver even for a second.” Next on the cards was the Creative writing competition whose ‘prompts’ left a lot of participants impressed, yours truly included. The participants could base their composition on the Phoenix, Adam and Eve, Kalki, Medusa or Sisyphus, or all of them. The one hour allotted saw a lot of creative juices and reminders of ‘Don’t Google, ask us’ flowing around. The selected entries had to go through another hurdle of reciting their creative product to an audience, after which the judges came up with their results. I caught up with Namra Sultan, the brains behind the competition, who was immensely pleased with the response the event got. She said, “Since the fest is based on mythology we picked up the most interesting characters with different traits and we made the slide show visually interesting so that when you see them, you just feel like writing”. Alongside, the student paper presentation saw submissions on varied topics like Myth and Video Games, Heroes of Mythology, Riti Poetry and also on the Myth of Menstruation. I have it on good authority that the papers were really interesting. The fest also included an interesting mythology-based Quiz in the chaupal. Some of the questions made you rack your brains hard, some answers made you laugh harder. The hosts, Akriti and Akanksha had a blast with the participants who battled it out for the cash prizes.

The Book Cover Designing Event saw very talented and artistic participants. The event was judged by noted Art Historian, Seema Srivastava whose excitement was palpable. She also gave interesting tips to the budding artists. “
One of the most crowded events of the day was the ‘Crosswords’. I lost count after my fifth visit. Tarishi, who was guarding the Crosswords event informed me of the rules; pick a chit from the bowl, read the hint and you have 30 seconds to answer. If it’s correct you get chocolates and if it’s not come back after 15 minutes to try again. “No Google, no eye contact with friends”, she informed us very diligently. Tina claimed disappointedly that the crowd this time was less than expected; she blamed it on students associating mythology with boring. “What we have tried to do is not look at myths just as myths but something more than that. A lot of hard work went in the preparation for the fest and even the teachers played a huge role in every competition.” After a lot of wandering around and playing Hunger games with the cupcakes, I finally decided to retreat to my nest and bade goodbye to the mythical creatures who were in demand again, thanking them for a day well spent.   Niharika Singh ([email protected])]]>

Schedule of events at LitLuminous, the Literary festival of Kamala Nehru College, that will take place tomorrow, the 26th of February 2013. 1. Topical Lecture-cum-Movie Screening The guest speaker, noted academician and Associate Professor at IIT-D, Dr Angelie Multani shall enlighten the audience about the theme of the fest. After the Q&A session, a popular movie will be screened. Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings The Blues” famously captures the theme of this literary fest, adding some color and spice to it. In short, a very interesting event! Venue: Auditorium; Time: 10.15 am 2. Creative Writing Competition Participants will be required to pick a random topic from a bowl, write a fictional or non-fictional story/prose/poem within 1 hour and submit it by 12.00 pm. Shortlisted entries will be up for recitation at 1.00 pm. Both the content and recitation will be scored. Please note that theme-relevant topics will be given to participants.You can use external sources to get a better understanding of the given topic, if needed. Venue: Auditorium Foyer; Time: 11.00 am

3. Recite to me! Shortlisted entries for Creative Writing will be up for recitation, and will be marked on both content and recitation. Venue: Council Room; Time: 1.00 pm 4. Student Paper Presentation Select student papers will be read out, with each reader being allotted 20-25 mins.The presentation should last for 15-17 mins at least. Paper presentations will also be accepted from groups of 2-3 people. The participants should address their understanding of the theme, its relevance and position in society today, with focus on a cultural system of their choosing. Earlier, abstracts of 300 words approx were to be mailed to [email protected] latest by 20th February, 2013. Shortlisted participants then had to send in their complete papers by Friday, 23rd February, 2013. Each participant will be awarded a Certificate and a gift hamper. Venue: Auditorium; Time: 1:30pm 5. Quiz! Teams of 2-3 people can participate. A total of 10 teams can register Venue: Chaupal; Time: 3.00pm Besides these main events, there will also be FILLER EVENTS like Crossword Puzzle (ongoing event of the day), and Book Cover Designing. Their details are as follows- a) Crossword Puzzle Venue: Auditorium Foyer; Time: starts at 11.30 am b) Book Cover Designing – to be judged by noted Art Historian Seema Srivastava. Venue: Room 7; Time: 3.00 pm   Be there!