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  • Society | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum SOCIETY "Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both" -C. Wright Mills Maria Charles Nov 28, 2021 The Power of Harmless Flattery Flattery is a word with a bad reputation, often considered in a negative context. But is it always that bad? Allen Mathew Sep 25, 2021 Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: What is it and how you probably have it. It’s pretty darn dark outside, and raining; I’m in my room, with the fan running and the tube light switched on... Jane Eliza Cyriac Sep 15, 2021 The Impact of COVID-19: Refugees. According to reports from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every 2 seconds. Drona Sharma Sep 7, 2021 We are Grateful Dear Corona Warriors, greetings on behalf of your anxious yet grateful human family. Renee Jose Nov 8, 2020 We Need To Talk! The increasing dialogues on mental wellness, in lieu of the rising numbers of suicide cases among the youth, has urged many of us to... Jasjeev Singh Sahni Sep 30, 2020 From Desks to Desktops: The Virus’s Undoing of Education The biography of education in India foretells a constant state of flux in the medium of teaching. From the slate-chalk, the blackboard-chalk Aishwarya Mukhopadhyay Sep 25, 2017 Surviving in a Post-Truth World: Shoma Chaudhury on the needs of the times Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Vrinda Sharma Aug 13, 2017 Freedom of Expression and Netiquette Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Shreemayi Samujjwala Jul 30, 2017 Unfetter those words now, shall we? Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... The Stephanian Forum Sep 23, 2016 Comedy is a blood-sport I live to see times when a comedy show that means no harm to any individual, religion, god or the society as a whole, is crucified. To... Pragya Jat Oct 15, 2015 On Secularism and a Happy Co-Existence. Secularism, a term as intrinsic to my understanding of India as electoral competition. But, apparently for some in the current political... The Stephanian Forum Sep 19, 2015 Of gendered spaces and absolute equality. An interview of The SUS President for the year, Aina Singh. The interview team comprises Rishi Bryan (IInd English), Urvi Khaitan (IInd... Vikram Grewal Aug 17, 2015 FIFA 16: Snowballing Feminism into Football. Ignoring the ‘fratricidal’ FIFA wars over Sepp Blatter, the officials at EA Sports gave the masses something unprecedented earlier this... Soumyajit Kar Jul 28, 2015 How much of feminism do we understand? “She feels good when they split all expenses, but also when he buys her flowers. Inside the modern feminist lies an archaic desire.”... Prerna Geeta Manian Jan 10, 2015 Following a Religion- A Façade? “You are a black stain on Hinduism if you love a Muslim man.” “I won’t let you marry a Muslim.” “Muslims are terrorists.” While studying... Soumyajit Kar Dec 16, 2014 Gender and the Epics “Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” — Joseph Conrad Hinduism is probably the...

  • The trials and triumphs of virtual colle | The Stephanian Forum

    The trials and triumphs of virtual college: A Stephanian Experience Team Stephania (2020-21) Tasha Ahmed, Kevin Joy Varghese, Jame Thomas Mathew, Rhea Rose Kappan It was not about turning a handle and pushing the door. A mere 'join with audio' was hair raising enough. "Ah, you're finally here, can you hear me?" was the war cry. College interviews are never not an ordeal. Having this year's interviews online meant that the preparation ritual also involved appeasing the internet gods. First-years sharing their experience conceded that it was rather singular. Those having the misfortune of a power cut sizzled and shivered simultaneously mirroring the oscillating nature of the interviews. While there was hardly anyone without cold feet, some are of the opinion that the online format facilitated calmness. "I minimised my window so it was just me wooing my dark academia background to get me into college" declared one. The professors turned out to be quite patient and empathetic and regularly checked on the interviewee. Which of course didn't stop them from the infamous grilling sessions– "What similarities do you see in your position in the pandemic and a nineteenth-century women writer?" was a bouncer an English hopeful received. "Half my interview consisted of me arguing why sports has no prospects, while the interviewer fiercely differed, and in the end, I got in through basketball," chuckled another. One shared that “ due to poor connectivity, I couldn't hear anything that the principal said. I just smiled and nodded along which seemed to work". Were there any significant advantages though? The attempt of one candidate to seek sneaky help from a sibling backfired since even two minds couldn't find answers to the trying questions. On the other hand, others sat on the edge with harrowing thoughts of eavesdropping parents. For everyone, it was a memorable experience. But would you like to have such an interview again? “Only if it is for Stephen’s.” winks A. The wait for the interview results was nerve-wracking, but it was a proud moment when one finally became a ‘Stephanian’. Be it classes or assemblies, the excitement among the first years was palpable. “Online classes were fun in the beginning, I remember everyone being so enthusiastic and asking questions constantly. I even used to dress up just so that I could turn my video on,” says one. The weirdest part of the whole online experience was talking to people one has never met. Bonding with classmates online was tough and awkward at first, but in the end almost everyone found reliable friends. “Zoom calls, online games and the endless Whatsapp groups are our daily routine. I even remember waking up to 300 messages one day,” says another. “But nonetheless, now that everything was conducted online it was a bittersweet moment.” How would you describe your online classes in one word? “Chaotic”, says one. “I chose the word chaotic because my experience has been everything but mundane. There is so much going on at the same time which is very exciting as well as confusing.” “It is disappointing that I am not able to experience the beauty of college life in its truest essence. I would have loved to be on campus, mingle with my friends, and enjoy it fully,” says a student. When the number of questions in class was reduced and the videos were turned off, it was clear that the students' enthusiasm had waned. College classes became exhausting after a point and the excess screen time did not help. “Earlier I would be on my phone throughout, but now I make sure I keep it aside for an hour or two because I am so tired of just staring at a screen.” Another student says that it was hard for them to concentrate, “ I zoned out occasionally and when I could finally come back to my senses half of the class was already over. It's just that I had set my expectations so high that this online scenario almost feels disappointing ” Well, who would you blame for these insanely high expectations? “ To be very honest, I for one would blame “Student of the Year," she chuckles. The weeks went by, and the college experience was limited to a 14-inch screen when one January afternoon, Residence opened up. Tired of being confined at home for almost a year and a burning curiosity to explore the hallowed corridors of St. Stephen’s brought the uninitiated first years from all over the country to college. It was a dream come true. The months spent attending classes online felt like a trailer, and now finally, it was time for the movie. “A lot of my seniors texted me when I arrived asking how college was and whether I had been to the Jarvis Pond, Parnshala, or knew who Chandni and JPji were. Their questions would not stop! The incessant badgering convinced me that college was much more than what I could see through my isolation room’s window,” says a Mukh-West resident. The next couple of weeks were spent unravelling all the mystery that was St. Stephen's College. As time went by, away from the safety and comfort of home, first year residents now found solace and company among their batchmates who were curious enough to grab the opportunity of living on-campus. Innumerous days were spent sprawled across the lawns, chatting away and cracking jokes while eating the infamous mince-anda-maggi from Science Dhaba. While most of the freshers agreed that college had been great so far, the seniors had a different perspective. “You have not experienced college in its totality. You have just seen the campus when in fact you have missed out on so much: the company of your classmates, the mere cacophony, running after your professors, trying to calculate how much attendance you have to bunk the next class and go to Hudson Lane, engaging in intellectual discourse with strangers you meet in the hallway. Trust me, there is so much more,” says a third-year. As more batches of junior members arrived, the mess hall started filling up, yet the menu remained a love triangle between dal and aloo with us being the third wheel. Life in college was slowly becoming what it would have been like a year ago. For a while, it all seemed perfect. As COVID strikes again, the fear of spending yet another year at home was creeping in. Stephen's still remains a mystery to a majority of the first years, but the hope of walking through the red-bricked corridors one day is what keeps them going.

  • Stephania | The Stephanian Forum

    The Stephanian Forum STEPHANIA To the outside world, Stephen's still remains a mystery. The red brick walls refuse to divulge its secrets and people have their own opinions of this institution. But what does it truly mean to be a Stephanian? What is the true spirit of Stephania? Team Stephania (2020-21) Apr 25, 2021 The trials and triumphs of virtual college: A Stephanian Experience As COVID strikes again, the fear of spending yet another year at home was creeping in. Stephen's still remains a mystery to a majority of th The Stephanian Forum Feb 13, 2020 Bon Appetit It was just another day when First Years were rushing to make it to the Morning Assembly on time, birds were chirping and 8;30 a.m.... The Stephanian Forum Sep 22, 2019 Political Participation in College This study was conducted by our First Year contributors, namely Abhinandan Kaul (I BAP), Debanjan Das (I History), Shagun Tyagi (I... The Stephanian Forum Sep 11, 2019 Of the times of Losing Faith and the need of Breaking the Silence A candid conversation with the SUS President (2019-20), Raman Mohora The interview was conducted on September 3, 2019, by Siddharth... Suchintan Das Aug 20, 2019 The Abuse of History and Making of the Anti-Nation By Suchintan Das, 2nd History The University of Delhi, which is no stranger to controversies, has recently found itself at the centre of... The Stephanian Forum Oct 5, 2017 In conversation with the President Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... Nitish Vasav Sep 15, 2017 Ad Dei Collegium Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views,... The Stephanian Forum May 19, 2016 Burning humanity: an appeal. The temperature in Delhi, as I write this, is quite unusual. A molten effervescenve is in the air. Seems like humanity is burning,... Ishita Blest Dec 15, 2015 Onam 2015: a celebration of diversity One can be found whining about the alienation on the part of certain groups in St. Stephens college, and about how cliquey communities... The Stephanian Forum Sep 19, 2015 Of gendered spaces and absolute equality. An interview of The SUS President for the year, Aina Singh. The interview team comprises Rishi Bryan (IInd English), Urvi Khaitan (IInd... Rishi Bryan Sep 15, 2015 Being a Stephanian and not being one. When one writes about St. Stephen’s college these days, one has to do so with extreme caution lest one treads deep into controversial... Urvi Khaitan Dec 16, 2014 Truths and half truths – A session with Natwar Singh Truth is a dangerous thing, and revealing it to the world, even more so. As a first year in my first month of College, the last thing I... Pallavi Rachel George Dec 16, 2014 Unapologetically Political With Natwar Singh “If I were to change three things in the way the Congress ran the government, I would say a) there should be no corruption b) there...

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Blog Posts (70)

  • One Week, Two Elections, Three Lessons

    My first month in college residence introduced me to the phenomena of college elections. If there is something in the college close to the SUS (Students Union Society) elections, it is perhaps the JCR (Junior Combination Room) elections. In a single week, I had witnessed JCR as well as Block Representative elections. In this swift period, I got to see politics unfolding first hand and got to hear opinions from candidates, campaigners and observers about events and outcomes. It may sound like an oxymoron, but despite being a student of Political Science, I stay at a distance from real politics. Nevertheless, I never miss a chance – as a voter – to exercise my right and responsibility, and – as a student – to analyze the events, their results and the reasons and factors at play. Here I share three conclusions I have arrived at from my experiences in the past week. 1. Showing up is important Each residential block has two block reps – one each from the second and third year. My block ran into these elections days before the JCR. Dr Mahesh Gopalan, our block tutor, came and instructed each one of us to put down names of two candidates – one from each year – on a ballot. Each of us was told to go to our rooms and do so in secrecy. Long story short – one of the candidates I voted for won, and one of them lost. The one who won managed to do so by a margin of just two votes. Back in my room once the whole business was over, the realization struck me: the candidate won by two votes, and I had voted in his favor. It meant that if I had voted for the other candidate, the final count of ballots would have ended up being equal for the two candidates. That would have resulted in a clearly different situation. This deciding vote need not be my vote – it could have been anyone’s. But just one vote on a different side, and the outcome would be different – like the final hair turning the scale! Two days later, I would find myself sitting in the mess during breakfast and listening to discussions about JCR among other mess-mates. Someone quipped, “There are so many of us! How much does my vote count?” I was quick to jump in, “Everything in this world!” Especially when there is no sweeping majority, our vote is really a deciding factor. Even otherwise. 2. When things get political, nothing remains isolated Discussions are not the only things that happen in the mess. I came to hear of some hushed argument that erupted in the mess a couple of days before the JCR elections. It led to certain differences between two groups. The argument in itself had nothing to do with the elections. The matter snowballed however, and seeped into elections. It ended up being a determinant issue, and the results that came were reflective of these differences. This has many parallels with the larger elections. An accident, a military misfire, a crime, a foreign visit, an unexpected calamity – whenever these and other such incidents happen during an election period, even though they could have otherwise been isolated events, end up being decisive for the elections. This is rooted in human weakness: we tend to remember and prioritize things on the basis of their recency, and end up ignoring both the larger picture and the past experiences. When things get political, there are no isolated events. 3. Zoon politikon: No exceptions? From February till a month ago, I was pretty much impressed by the coexistence of various groups in the college. I saw an almost absence of ‘political’ ambitions at the cost of someone else, and a mutual respect among members of all communities and geographies towards each other. JCR and Block Rep elections, sadly, did not conform to this incomplete ideal that I had cradled for two semesters. Elections brought out all forms of the politicisation of identities along with conscious discussions about who we are and where ought we to belong. As Prof Ayde reiterates Aristotle in his classes, man is zoon politikon. Unlike what I had wrongfully imagined, it is as true here at the melting pot that St. Stephen’s is, as anywhere else.

  • Towards a Greener Menstruation

    In a scenario, where safe menstruation for every female is imperative, the amount of steadily growing menstrual waste is an equally acute environmental issue, and it is this double issue that we’ll have to deal with while looking into ‘issue of menstrual waste in India’ and to ensure a ‘Greener Menstruation’. Menstruation, the normal biological process that is experienced by menstruators in their menstruating years (12-45 years approx.) is no longer a taboo, at least in the educated circles. But is it the case everywhere ? The clear cut answer is a big ‘NO’. The sad reality is that in a country where Goddesses are worshipped which includes the menstruating Goddesses such as in the Kamakhya temple , there still exists a social stigma, taboo and a notion of ‘impurity’ to what is termed as ‘periods’. Arunachalam Murugantham, better known as ‘Pad-Man’ after Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s blockbuster film, brought about a revolutionary invention that made the use of sanitary napkins in rural India possible. With low-cost options of sanitary napkins being developed to promote hygiene and women’s safety in rural areas. It seems there is one part of the problem that has still not been addressed either by the eloquent Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan, that is; the part that comes after the use of these sanitary napkins: menstrual waste disposal. It is this dichotomy of inaccessibility of safe menstruation products and the unsustainability of the menstrual products that the nation has to deal with to strive towards ensuring a greener menstruation. While a large part of the menstruators are struggling to deal with their menstruation, due to the inaccessibility of the menstrual hygiene products, the other chunks of the menstruators have access to quality menstrual hygiene products that help them deal with it better. While the availability of the menstrual hygiene products like sanitary pad, tampon, menstrual cup etc, that improvise substantially over time is of great advantage to the menstruators, the amount of damage that these products and its increased consumption produces is often neglected or not given adequate attention by anyone. Infact, India produces approximately 9000 tonnes of Sanitary waste every year, almost equivalent to weighing the Statue of Unity Four times. However, this particular waste disposal issue still largely remains a ‘silent problem’ in India. Have you ever given a thought to what happens to your menstrual waste after you dispose of it? When a used menstrual hygiene product is thrown away in the bin one out of two things is going to happen it either ends up sitting in landfilled sites taking up space and contaminating the soil (Since it is the non-biodegradable waste, this stays up in landfills for up to 500 years. The end result – overflowing landfills causing endless harm to the environment) or just going to end up incinerated releasing toxic chemicals like dioxin and furan into the air that it also damages the plants, animals and the humans and it is to be noted that these are the two methods recommended in the guidelines issued by the Government of India for the promotion of menstrual hygiene. The inadequacy of proper disposal mechanisms further worsens this. According to Menstrual Health Alliance of India (MHAI), the number of menstruating women in India who use disposable sanitary napkins stands at a staggering 121 million. Disposable sanitary napkins are made of 90% plastic and keeping in mind the adhesives, packing, etc., each pad is equivalent to around 4 plastic bags. If we estimate the number of pads used per cycle to a modest 8, it equates to roughly 12 billion pads disposed per year. According to a report, each of these pads can roughly take 400 to 500 years to decompose due to their largely plastic ingredients. Despite the massive waste generated in the country, India does not have separate laws governing the disposal of sanitary waste. Only two cities – Bengaluru and Pune – have laws on segregation of sanitary waste wherein the sanitary waste must be separately handed over along with the dry and wet waste of the household. Next on the line, disposable tampons can be up to 90% plastic and amount to the equivalent of four plastic shopping bags in one single-use product that means people who menstruate are using 20 or more tampons over the course of every period, amounting to the equivalent of 80 plastic bags per cycle. When tampons and applicators are flushed down the toilet, they can end up in the ocean when sewer systems fail and harm ecosystems. Tampons can take up to 20 years to break down in marine environments and can cause health complications or death when ingested by animals. Canada and Mexico City have included tampons in their single-use plastics bans for this reason. When the chemicals used in tampons, such as dioxin chlorine and rayon, end up in landfills, they also end up getting soaked up by the earth and are released as pollution into groundwater and the air. However, Menstrual Cups unlike tampons and menstrual pads, which absorb the fluid, collect it and thus can be reused. If compared with using 12 pads per period, use of a menstrual cup would comprise only 0.4% of the plastic waste generated. Thus,on comparing the considerable amount of pollution, and the years taken for decomposition, the reusable menstrual cups seem to be a more feasible option than the plastic made sanitary pads and tampons. On the other hand, more sustainable is the cloth pad, which however can’t be generalised as a convenient option for all. It is here that the need of adopting and improvising on the various methods implemented to ensure safer and greener menstruation comes into picture. It might be the small steps and initiatives that were started among the very few people in their locality which may sprang into being the onus of structural change all across India. For example, the Papna Mau village has got a low cost common incinerator to decompose the used sanitary pad, then there are projects such as Baala, Eco femme,and Goonj- My Pad initiative that uses various eco-friendly materials to manufacture menstrual pads and hygiene products, while the example of Kerala’s little village of Kumbalangi stands on the pedestal by raising awareness as well as providing all the menstruators of the locality with menstrual cups that would help to reduce the menstrual waste to a large extent. However, the First and foremost thing to be done is to raise social awareness to do away with the taboos associated with menstruation that even prevents the use of menstrual cups in several parts of the country. And proper guidelines and mechanisms have to be ensured for the safer disposal of the sanitary products. No doubt, that while ensuring safer and comfortable menstrual products to the menstruators is necessary it is also equally the need of the hour to provide them with more eco-friendly alternatives, that could help India tackle its issue of mounting Menstrual waste and thereby ensuring and moving into a safer and greener menstruation.

  • The Juncture of Nature-Nurture

    Unveiling our connection with the divine, the curtain of nature-nurture. How we are connected with not just each other but the cosmos. Structures of the universe reflected within our very being. Witnessing the beauty not just from within but actively being influenced by the world outside of us. A universe so beautiful and precisely defined with infinite variables living and breathing within it. Maybe the beauty lies in knowing the unknown, discovering the unknown. But have we even looked properly? The personality of each and every individual we meet has been influenced by a web of factors. Personality is nothing but the true nature that characterizes the moral right and wrong of the individual in question. This web is broadly defined into two - nature and nurture and thus we argue that the creation of the universe and the personality of, each and every growing individual within the universe stands at the juncture of nature-nurture at every stage of life. Every stage in the developmental cycle of humans with its respective developmental goals is influenced by these factors and mold us into the individuals of today. Nature is the geometrically defined gene code that we all inherit that influences our physical appearances, and nurture is the very existence of our environment in this universe in space and time including our early childhood experiences, how we were raised, our social relationships, and our surrounding culture. The gene code is defined as a limiting factor within which the environment influences change. This change can be quantified on either side – positive or negative. Both are interdependent and independent with the aim of defining us and forming our traits. The interplay of nature-nurture sets variability and diversity into motion. The interplay of nature-nurture sets variability and diversity into motion. Not just in humans, even nature has its set of specified ‘gene’ codes often adapted in the form of sacred symbols which explain the creation of the universe. Sacred Geometry studies these existing hidden symbols to decode the creation and continuation of our species which otherwise get ignored by the common eye. For example, the flower of life explains the 6-day genesis and the Metatron’s cube encompasses the platonic solids which define the basic elements of the earth. Our DNA which follows the golden ratio, the infinite fractals that are seen on leaves, seashells, and pinecones are not only inherited in their truest forms but also open doors for change as the world around us changes.

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