Vaktavya ’17, the annual inter-college debating event of Shri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, organised on 21st September 2017 was a successful endeavour full of fervour and elation. The remarkable event brought together the students of various colleges offering professional courses like BMS, BBE, BFIA, and BBA and provided them a platform to debate on the topic “Cashless, Paperless, and Digital India: A distant dream than a reality.”

The opening of the event was marked by a soulful performance by the Divinity Society of the college, followed by welcoming the Chief Guest Prof. V.K. Kaul, the esteemed judges Mr. Bidyut Dutta, Mr. Mohit Rai Goyal, Mr. Siddhant Jain, and Ms. Rekha Dhillon and the Principal Dr. J.B. Singh. After a strenuous debate session amongst all the competent teams, SGTB Khalsa College emerged as the winner of the event.

Caucus, the group discussion forum of Hindu College organised Vaktavya 2016 on the 15th and 16th of March. The two day fest commenced with an interactive session with Dr. Suborno Chatterjee on the topic ‘Giving refuge: The Syrian refugee crisis in Europe’ followed by a book discussion on Khaled Hosseini’s renowned novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns.” The discussion, which was moderated by Nemisha Kawatra and Muhammad Daniyal, the President and General Secretary of Caucus respectively, took an interesting trajectory with the plight of women in areas of conflict, artistic freedom and the change from resistance to terrorism being discussed among other things. The first prize at the end of the discussion was awarded to Nimisha Savapandit and the second prize to Mehtab Kamboj. The second day started off with a group discussion on the topic ‘Is objectification of women indispensable in the comic verse?’ moderated by Adya, the Vice President of the society. Asis Mansingh was declared the best speaker at the end of the event. This was followed by the final event of the two-day extravaganza, a screening of a short movie, Little Terrorist. The movie followed the story of a 10 year old Pakistani boy named Jamal who accidentally crosses the border between India and Pakistan and finds an unlikely ally in a Hindu Brahmin named Bhola. As Indian soldiers search the village for the so-called terrorist who crossed the border, Bhola’s family insist that they cannot harbor a Pakistani under their roof as a result of which Jamal’s only hope is the humanity that is shared between people separated by this artificial barrier. The movie was followed by the final group discussion of the event where Shreya Parmar emerged as the winner. Provided by Caucus, The Discussion Forum of Hindu College ]]>

Caucus, the group discussion forum at Hindu College organized Vaktavya – the 6th annual group discussion festival on 25-26th March. The festival was scheduled to have bilingual group discussions and baithaks.

 “Banning the burqua: Can women’s rights trump religion”

For Day 1, “Banning the burqua: Can women’s rights trump religion” was the discussed topic for conventional group discussion (GD). Discussion was moderated by Caucus members. Arushi Walecha was the Chairperson for the discussion and Pratishtha Mahajan sat as the Rapporteur. Each participant during the discussion was allowed to present his or her views and each opinion was recorded with the moderators. Mohammed Ziyad Ansari, a participant in the course of discussion remarked, “Islamic religious books not only talk about hijab (burqua) for women but for men as well. The purpose of hijab is not only covering one’s self, but also to show respect, lower the case and guard modesty.”

After 60 minutes of bilingual discussion, moderation and recording of views, the group came out with a common solution which mentioned that whether burqua or not, depends on the individuals choice. Ziyad also added that, “It should be the woman who should choose. We should keep in mind that Quran doesn’t impose burqua on anyone, it presents a choice.” The group also felt that, in the west there are many predetermined notions about these women who wear burquas. So someone who hasn’t experienced it or someone who doesn’t have full knowledge of the same has no right to condemn this system. Raja was adjudged the winner for this round of discussion.

“Is secularism irrelevant in the current Indian political context?”

Baithak at Vaktavya conducted a discussed on, “Is secularism irrelevant in the current Indian political context?” Baithak is an open discussion where no one moderates the discussion. Instead, a peer evaluation system is followed where the whole group evaluates other speakers and a best speaker is declared. This was also a bilingual discussion on what secularism is defined and understood as. The group also discussed about whether secularism as an issue is relevant in political discourse.

Baithak that was conducted for over one hour came out with the conclusion that despite the current political emphasis on development and economics, secularism still remains an agenda. Sandeep Singh, a baithak participant mentions, “Secularism stands on a proposition that religion and government state should be separated. But this agenda of secularism influences our perception of the political parties and candidates participating in the elections.” Sandeep was also declared the winner of this baithak session by his co-participants.

“Should schools teach – virginity is not a virtue”

On the second day, baithak‘s discussion revolved around the topic – “Should schools teach – virginity is not a virtue.” After 70 minute exercise of presenting their views, the group unanimously decided that virginity should be based on individuals perception and not as a universal virtue. Aishwarya Puri, the winner of this baithak round mentions, “Virginity should not be taught in schools, because when virginity is associated with a term like virtue, it becomes subjective.” A few members of the group also  presented their opinions on why this subject of virginity should be a part of school teachings.

 “Realism v/s Escapism : Does cinema need a purpose”

The last discussion at the festival had Nimisha Kawatra and Nishtia Khattar moderating the discussion as Chairperson and Rapporteur respectively. The topic, “Realism v/s Escapism : Does cinema need a purpose” had mixed views coming in from the participants. According to the members of the group, cinema works both ways. On one hand, it is a chute to propel one into another world for two hours and on the other, it can ground someone more firmly into the reality and enable him or her to see past the illusions of the society. Sandeep, who also bagged the first prize at baithak of secularism, was declared the winner for this discussion as well.

Vaktavya came to an end with screening of a short film called The Naturalist by Connor Hurley for all the Caucus members.