Friday, 9 March 2018

Women's Day 2018- Time For Some Celebrations

Aneesha Srivastava


In times past, women were confined to household works such as cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and raising children. They were not allowed to get involved in political, legal, economic or social affairs. Up until mid the 20th century, the society was largely patriarchal as men played the role of the breadwinner in the family while women struggled for gender equality. Over the span of decades, however, women's conditions have considerably improved. So, what brought upon this change?

During periods of war, women were drafted into the labor market to undertake work that was previously restricted only to men. While their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers were off fighting in the wars, women had to earn their own livelihood. However, following the wars, they invariably lost their jobs and had to return to the domestic scene. The changing role of women in society was a result of this work that they did during the war. Women had tasted something akin to independence during this time and they were unwilling to let go of it. Early in 1932, a young woman named Amelia Earhart was the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic. Her inspirational story also encouraged many women to push boundaries.

The rights women enjoy today are the rights women in the past fought for diligently. Compared to the past few decades or so, women have relatively improvised their lifestyle. Now, women hold a reputable position in the society. They are present in civil, defense, judicial, business and corporate sectors and often hold higher positions than their male counterparts. While there is no doubt that modern women have it better in terms of education, employment and political involvement, they are still discriminated against.
 The constant harassment women face in their workplace or houses, whether sexual or emotional, stands as a testament to this. Females were often considered physically and emotionally weak, and this misconception had paved the way for centuries of suffering at the hands of men.

In the United States, which is now touted as the Leader of the Free World, July of 1848 saw Elizabeth Cady Stanton penned down the words “All men and women are created equal” on the “Declaration of sentiments and resolutions” - the sister equivalent of the “Declaration of Independence”- which dealt with woman's rights exclusively. One hundred and seventy years have passed since, and yet, society seems unwilling to accept this simple notion.

The Indian government has aimed for gender equality by passing the Sarda Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, among other, and has set up the Ministry of Women and Child Development. However, the Indian society still binds women to draconian gender norms and degrades her value. They often seem to forget that women are just as important to the development of society as men.

For centuries, men have taken center-stage, basking in the spotlight, while conveniently forgetting the women behind the scenes who worked hard for them to stand on it. A woman is an equal part of society and is not meant to be overshadowed by men. They are a man's companion, not their property. In the makings of a great state or country, a woman's contribution can never be overlooked.

Hence I urge every woman to stand strong. Fight for equal rights. Never feel inferior to anyone. Establish your identity in the society. Before a mother, sister, daughter or wife, you are first and foremost, a woman. A woman without whom the world is incomplete and without whom life cannot be possible.

My Inspiration: A Women's Day Special

Soma Komal

The woman who inspires me is Dr Sunitha Krishnan. I admire her because of the work  she has done to save women and children from trafficking. Dr. Sunitha Krishnan has completed her doctorate degree in psychology. To give a good life to women and children who were once sold as sex slaves she started an organization named "Prajwala,"which is a pioneering anti-trafficking organisation.
Two visionaries, brother Jose Vetticatil, and Dr Krishnan joined forces to initiate an intervention called 'Prevention through Education,"which initially consisted of a small school program run in a transition center. Prajwala, the organization was started in the year 1996 with the main mission of tackling trafficking of girls and women in the country. She faced life threatening situations a number of times, which she and her team braved through with the conviction that their cause is worth all the risks they were taking. The enormity of the situations and the vastness of the task did not stop her and her efforts from making a small change in this community. I got inspired with her courage to face any situation being a woman. She received many awards for her work, globally. Recently, she received the Padma Shri award by our former president Pranab Mukherjee for her film Naa Bangaru Thalli, which was produced by her and directed by her husband, Mr. Rajesh. The film showcased the exploitation of women through sexual slavery and prostitution. One of her show was telecast in the programme, Satyameva Jayate, which visualizes all her work and her mission to make India an anti-trafficking country and to save women and girls. 
I have been impressed by the way she speaks on the stage for any program and the way she explains her plans. She is progressing her organization with nearly 250 workers and 300 girl children who do not have a home. 
She spends lakhs of rupees for the development of the organization every month. Sunitha Krishnan has been a part of the Bharat Yatra rally headed by Kailash Satyarthi, for encouraging girl child education and stopping prostitution. The rally continued for one month, led by the Nobel laureate Mr. Sathyarthi himself, who went on foot to Delhi to pass the bill in the Parliament against women trafficking and girl child education. Her progress in life and serving the society with her reasoning abilities stood her as
inspiration to me. The way she overcame many obstacles to make her mission successful is truly uplifting. As her journey progressed, she expanded to meet the needs of victims and established a wide range of anti-trafficking initiatives, with full faith in people's participation in the process of
change. I hope India is blessed with many more brave and kind women like her.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Republic Day, 2018- A Time for Introspection

"Where one can disagree with another viewpoint without mocking a fellow citizen's dignity and personal space. This is fraternity in action"
                                                President Ram Nath Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation on the eve of our 69th Republic Day contained plenty of references to what is supposed to be India's biggest issue right now- the Padmaavat controversy.
Quite apart from the fact that the protests do, in fact make a mockery of the concept of freedom of speech, they have also been blatantly hindering the so-called nationalistic sentiments and motives of the "aggrieved" parties. After all, it is appalling to attack a school bus  to protect the honour of one's community.

If we attempt to look at this controversy with even a hint of perspective, we'll realize that it ought to be a non-issue. The people of India struggle daily under critical problems like unemployment, hunger, and corruption. Unfortunately, unemployment, hunger, and corruption are three among a pile of seemingly unyielding issues that have always acquired a place for themselves in speeches like these. Every year, we got through the issues we face as a nation, and the steps that we need to take in order to develop out of them. Part of the reason why we haven't fully been able to get over them is because we get so easily distracted by non-issues like the Padmaavat controversy. We take offence fast enough when someone dares to have an opinion different to ours. And if that opinion happens to be, by any awful chance, about our ancestors from the 1530s, who probably didn't even exist, and were a figment of some poet's imagination, then our rage knows no bounds- not even innocent children in a school bus. And of course, such action definitely portrays our communities in better light than all the slander a piece of art hands out.

What are we doing? Why this regression? Why this unreasonable stifling of one's basic human right of freedom of speech, expression and thought?

This Republic Day, we ought to try get to the bottom of this mindset of ours. Every year, we outline our country's problems that have shackled it to the tag of a third world nation. We come up with plausible solutions, and we attempt to do better next year. However, the progress is never satisfactory. And the reason for that is the mindset people have displayed in this current controversy. Such gross ignorance and narrow-mindedness, such basic disregard for our own constitution. The tendency to think first, and think only about our "honour", and show total disregard for rational thinking and acknowledgement of facts is what keeps pulling us down as a nation.

India has, once again, taken giant strides in various spheres this past year. But how can we celebrate this growth if our minds remain stunted?

As always, the solution lies in proper education. We need to work together to create an environment of free thought, knowledge, and intellectualism in our educational institutions. We need to teach our students history that isn't modified to suit any ideology. We need to inculcate in them respect and zeal for the arts, and sensitize them to the need for respecting the differences between each one of us.

To the people protesting Padmaavat, or, for that matter, any work of art for such baseless reasons, I'd like to say that you do not own India, and you certainly don't represent her.

No, India's pride and representation lies in the hearts of the selfless soldier protecting our sovereignty. It lies in her engineers and scientists, who work each day to make life easier for others. It lies in the hearts of her farmers- worn out, neglected, ridden with worry and debt, and yet toiling away to feed a nation. 

It lies with the student and teachers who are building a country based on free thought, expression and knowledge.
Its representation lies in the hearts of little kids who will watch and participate in all the pomp and splendour of this day, with awe and smiles on their faces, and slowly realize their love and respect for their motherland.
Let us work hard to protect those smiles.

Jai Hind.

~Transcript of Juveria Tabassum's Republic Day Speech.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Unearthing Passion: A Poetry Reading Session by Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar

Hands up if you can feel the verse!

The Quills Literary Club celebrated its 2nd anniversary on December 15, 2017. To mark this occasion, the Department of English organised a guest lecture by Ms Prachi Joshi Johar on "Contemporary Poetry" followed by a delightful poetry reading session. 

The program started with a beautiful prayer song by Krutika. After that, Ms. Grace Sudhir, Head, Department of English, Vice-Principal, Chairperson of Q.L.C, welcomed Ms. Johar and talked about the highlights of the club from the past two years. 

Grace Ma'am Welcomes
Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar to the
Second Anniversary Celebrations
of the Quills Literary Club
Juveria and GunaPriya with their presentation

Gunapriya and Juveria Tabassum presented a PPT titled, "Q.L.C.-A Montage of Memories", in which they shared some remarkable moments from the meetings and activities of the club so far, and highlighted how these events had helped us all grow as students and artists. 

Dr. Jhilam Chattaraj introducing Ms. Prachi Joshi Johar
Dr. Jhilam Chattaraj formally introduced Ms. Prachi Joshi. She talked about the various roles that she had taken up- from content creation, to being an author of critical thinking books and board games for children, to a journalist for various publications, and of course, a well published poet.

Soon after, Ms. Prachi began the session by sharing with us her love for poetry and why she chose it as her career. She also talked about her interest in interacting with the youth of today, and mentioned what a significant role age and experience play in defining our viewpoints on life.
About her book, Of Desires, Dilemmas and Divinity, Ms. Prachi was especially engaging, as she discussed issues like self-identity, discovery and introduced us to a few themes that she explored in the book.
Ms. Prachi reads The Wind and the Leaf
The first poem she read was The Wind and the Leaf, a tale about the whirlwind romance between the two characters mentioned in the title, that the students took to be a representation of our own wild encounters with things like outlandish dreams and forbidden love. 
The fact that the poem doesn't follow a set plot, and that we never get to know the fate of the leaf, caught the attention of the students. The theme of celebrating the present without any definitive view of the future was evident in a few more of the poems that Ms. Prachi proceeded to read. In If and Them versus I, we got a glimpse of the chaos that resided in her mind; the chaos that she said arose from her need to find and accept her own quirky personality, and break away from the stifling rules, pretensions and opulence of the world around her.
The session enthused the members of Q.L.C., who very actively shared their opinions on her poems and put forward various interesting interpretations of the verses. The discussions somehow led to them sharing their own experiences, and also the problems they face, not only because of the society, but also due to their own inner turmoils. 

Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy Sir speaks at the anniversary session of QLC

We were glad to have the delightful and inspiring company of our college Correspondent/ Secretary Prof. K. Muthyam Reddy. Sir addressed the students, outlining the importance of reading, appreciating and sharing literature in a student's life. Sir also lauded Q.L.C.'s efforts in providing this platform to the students of the college. 

Then we had a few Q.L.C. members reading their own poetry. 

Anjali reciting Joy or Pain
First, Anjali shared her poem Joy or Pain, which was inspired by her anguish against the practice of exploding fire crackers during festivals. The poem was written and expressed in a tone of nuanced innocence that not only brought forward concerns for the environment but also made us appreciate her sense of imagination. She said that instead of protecting our environment, we should create one which doesn't need protection. 

Mirror, presented by Asfiya
 Asfiya Khanam talked about how a poet is someone who can bend the mountains, bind the souls and can ignite all six senses at once.  Her poem Mirror was inspired by Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book. In the poem, she talks  about the importance of being ourselves, and not trying to fit the definitions of our identities that are often set by others. 

Next up was Juveria's Spills to Remember You By, a poem describing a woman's journey of surviving domestic violence, rising above the wounds, and finding herself again. Her recitation made us want to peep out of our sheltered windows and encouraged us to speak out against domestic violence. 
Deeksha asks us to Try, try and be Brave

Deeksha followed that up with her poem Try, Try and be Brave which motivated us not to lose hope and keep on trying till we achieve our goals. 

Megha(left) interacting with Ms. Prachi

Ms. Prachi then returned with a touch of divinity with her last poem for the day, Fire. As much a commentary on the fleeting nature of human life, the poem also brought to light the changes that people go through in terms of their behaviours and relationships with the passage of age and experiences. It made us sense that we are somehow, in a vaguely ethereal way, still in control of our lives, even though we may sometimes sense the hand of Providence in the way our days play themselves out. The fire that blazes in the furnace gives light to our activities, and watches over us. But in many ways, we are the ones who keep it burning; the ones in control of our destinies.

Mahveen Sana presenting the Vote of Thanks
Mahveen Sana proposed a formal Vote of Thanks to wrap up the session. Ms. Prachi's smooth, eloquent reading certainly kept the room, and our hearts warm. It was a session where we felt and realized varying emotions, and got a chance to speak our minds about the things that we sometimes stop ourselves from feeling- the emotions that only poetry can unearth. 

To borrow from one of Ms. Prachi's phrases, Q.L.C is only two years young. As more days and moments get added to this engrossing journey of ours, we hope to be able to add the light of literature into the lives of more students.

Ms. Prachi with the Department of English!

Report by 
Asfiya Khanam 
Juveria Tabassum

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Unyeilding Truth by Asfiya Khanam

The Unyielding Truth 

I was in the rain..
Standing all night
Thinking about my life
How should I fight?

I thought of making sure
Whether my disease has a cure
Everyday I try to smile and hope to change my fate
But it isn't quite possible; it’s too late

I know it’s not good and that time isn't mine
So I put on a happy face and pretend everything is fine
The unyielding truth is that I am possessed by a disease
So horrible, if you know the name you too would freeze

I keep lying to myself, when all I want to do
Is live once again those days when life was so fun
Now that I'm only for few months, 
I wish to feel all the happiness of the world all at once

But the days keep getting darker and darker
I feel myself filling up with more and more horror
As the darkness swiftly engulfs me,
I pray to feel strong and stronger

My days are numbered
My feelings, quietly murdered
I can't pretend anymore
My frozen body is possessed to the core

And so I stand in the rain
Stand fast all night
Think about my life
And how I should fight

Asfiya Khanam

First Year, BtCFs          

Sunday, 3 December 2017

"Nature as Poet's Muse" by Sameera Banu

The Garden


          Andrew Marvell was a sixteenth century English Metaphysical poet. He Expressed his love for nature in the poem, "The Garden". The poet's  emotions and feelings are rendered through his words on nature. He very skillfully brings forth the beauty of nature, making one fall in love with it.


          Presently, man is destroying nature. But nature has been one of the greatest inspirations to artists all over the world. It inspired many poets like William Wordsworth, John Keats, Robert Frost, Samuel Taylor  Coleridge among others. Many poets have glorified nature in their verses. John Keats personifies Autumn in his poem "Ode to Autumn" just as Andrew Marvell romanticzes Nature in his poem. He has fallen deeply in love with nature so much so that he thinks that to be nature is to be in paradise.

          Marvell wrote the poem "The Garden" during the time when the early foundations of Enlightment began to gain considerable influence among the English intellectual society. The use and celebration of "reason"and assertded "the goals of rational men with knowledge,freedom and happiness".

          Throughout the poem, Marvell uses the image of the garden and the shade. It symbolises a place of quite and innocence which he illustrates as an ideal environment for stimulating thought, progress and lesson.

          The garden begins with the speaker reflecting upon the vanity and inferiority of man's devotion to public in politics, war and civic service. The speaker portrays the garden as a space for "sacred plants" removed from society and its route demands.  He praises the garden for its shade of "lovely green" which he sees as superior to the white and red hues that commonly signifies passionate love.

          The speaker claims that when passion has run its course, love turns people towards a contemplative life surrounded by nature. He praises that abundance of routes and plants in the garden, imagining himself tripping over million and falling upon the grass. Meanwhile, his mind reiterates into a state of inner happiness, allowing him to create and contemplate "other words and other seas".

          The garden continues to illustrate nature as a catalyst for thought and progress in and make use of Biblical imagery. The temptation of the garden causing the speaker in the poem to literally "fallen on grass", but quickly transcation into the next stanza where it tells that he simultaneously escape from "pleasure less" and with draws into happiness of the mind. Marvell is describing with these lines  that instead of man's fall from Eden being a bad thing it was actually wonderful because  from the tree of knowledge man was deprived of the physical pleasure of Eden, but rewarded  with something much greater, the gift of knowledge.

          The garden,it seens is a super-relaxing place for our speaker-so relaxing infact thag the speaker get naked (exist the body)  and run around the point of comparing the soul to the bird. This breif movement where the soul escape the body are practices  for thw much longer separstion between soul and body deadth just as bird need to rest, prieen and prepared their wings for a lonv megration so, that speaker believes that the soul needs tims to prepare before the green repair comes a knocking.

          Marvell creates a sort  of imaginary  world where we have God as the gardener,  and the garden as Sundial, and bees as people. 


          Marvell is comparing human life to the short-lived bloom of flowers in a garden. He emphasizes just how brief our existence on the planet is. 

          Marvell suggest that nature provides a space that allows our minds to dissolve everything material into " A green thought" or in other words, a new idea. It is through these green or new, thoughts that we are able to sour into the trees, where nature provides us with a shady place of rest where we prepare our minds "for longer flights" to new ideas and even greater heights. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

You Break. I Build: A Note to Molesters

Hello Beautiful World!
I am ... well, never mind who I am.  As of now,
Lets just stick to the fact that I am a girl. Like you, I am young, my body is full of joy, my eyes weave dreams. I walk the streets of this city with hope and belief. And yes, there are times I break. I would like to share one such instance in my life, that shattered me  for months but then gave me the strength to emerge stronger. 

One day, I was on my way home from a general store, holding a packet of milk in my hands, walking on the left side of the road, humming some melodious song, enjoying the beautiful weather. Suddenly, I was on the ground, pushed fiercely from behind by someone. I was alive, but my thoughts were dead for some time. I pulled myself back and stood up, and started walking quickly towards my home. I got back home, washed my face, looked into the mirror, and started crying.

What actually happened was when I was walking on the road, a man, aged around 30, followed me on his bike. As he came near me, he raised his arm, hit me on my buttocks so hard that I fell head on the ground. 

Strangely, I felt guilty, ashamed of my body, and careful that no one saw me. Later, I wept as I shared this incident with my older sisters. All they said was, “Dear, this happens to us daily in the bus, work places, colleges... almost everywhere. Don’t worry yourself thinking so much about it. Stay calm and cool.”
They meant that every girl suffered from the problem of eve-teasing. They had taken this to be a part of their life. Something inside me stirred that day, and I realized that I couldn't simply sit back and allow something so degrading and disheartening to be an accepted fact of my life. 

That incident made me look at our society in a new light, and instead of bringing me down, it made me stronger than I was before. I now aim to be the first woman D.G.P. of Telangana, and ensure that eve-teasing doesn't go unchecked in our city anymore.
I now work hard to reach my aim. I built up my body, both mentally and physically. I joined the National Cadet Corps, and received the best cadet trophy, among other awards.

I don’t blame myself for that incident anymore.  We need to kill this menace of eve-teasing in our society. We need to stop looking at it as 'minor' incidents, and let those boys go unpunished. I can still recall with painful ease the hurt and disgust I felt on my own body after that incident. No woman should have to shame her own body just because some pervert on the street dared to degrade it. And the fact that I had to face it when I was just a little girl enrages me even more. Only a change in the mindset of this patriarchal society of ours can curb this problem. Instead of advising girls to 'stay in their limits', and watch their dress and movements, we need to teach our boys respect, and advice them to restrain their actions. 

Today,  I am a girl who is able to raise her voice, and if needed, her hand, towards those men who dare to eve-tease other women and girls. And although it is painful to talk about that incident even today, I'd like to take this opportunity to let myself know that I don't need to hide myself and my story anymore. I am Hima Bindu. My identity is only enriched by the fact that I am a girl, but it is by no means restricted to just that. I have dreams in my head, and passion in my heart, and those are the things that define me. That incident changed me as a person, and I won't allow painful memories to tie me down anymore. I want to serve as an example to all the young girls, and let them know that we don't have to put up with such behavior anymore.

Lets break the silence. Lets bring about a change. 

Cadet Hima Bindu: Passion, Strength, Pride.