English

The academic year began with forty eight students selecting to major in English Literature, doing everything to fulfil their academic requirements whilst multitasking with responsibilities as festival heads and internships and contributing to the glee and gusto in the department on the whole. All for the love of the subject.

Poised on the brink of the 150th Year of our College, we look back and acknowledge the leadership of those we knew and learned from, as well as those legends we only hear about. Among the former is Dr. Eunice de Souza, or as her students called her, simply, Eunice.

Eunice, a world renowned poet, critic and academician, taught here for over thirty years, retiring as Head of the Department in 2000. She shaped its traditions and lived up to the formidable challenge of being a catalyst for change. The change began with inducing students to question settled habits of thinking and behaviour and went on to provoke the journey through the mind in search of making the world a better place. She passed away early this academic year, leaving behind hundreds of persons, students, readers and colleagues, wondering as in Hamlet, ‘where shall we look upon her like again’. Her legacy to the nation, our College and this Department is inestimable.

On the first day of Ithaka, the English department festival, Ms.Rashmi Lee George, organised a solemn meeting in memory of Eunice, who nurtured the festival in its inception. She culled out slides and a touching video on the life of the poet and invited her colleagues and literary associates to pay tribute to her. The principal, Dr AgneloMenezes, spoke of her warmly, highlighting her unique and innovative ways of bringing out the potential of the students. 

Ms.Rashmi also organised a workshop by Paul Goodwin on staging Shakespeare in collaboration with the British Council and Tata Lit Live. A literary treasure hunt, creative writing workshop and poetry baithak were among other Ithaka events held under her guidance. 

Dr Prasita Mukherjee assisted with the Ithaka journal which revolved around the theme, Transcending Borders. 

Performances at Ithaka included ‘Mr Robinson’, written and directed by Neil Nagwekar and RuchaTakle (TYBA), a murder mystery, ‘Night Must Fall’, adapted from Emlyn Williams’ play by SimranVijan (SYBA), ‘A Playwright’s Nightmare ‘, adapted from the Russian tragedy by Bulgakov by Ipshita Rhea Peters and Rishika Jain (TYBA) and ‘Leave it to Him’, a short sketch with a spiritual theme scripted by Rahul Dravid, (BMM). The Festival Heads were Isha Jain and Juhi Valia

The Department endeavours to take Literature beyond the classroom. The Honours (or ‘Quest for Excellence’) Program, Discipline-centric Social Involvement Program(SIP) and Ithaka, the annual festival of literature, are efforts to take our students in that direction. For the Honours Program, the Department organized a three part series of workshops on Early Cinema (‘The Pioneers’, ‘Here Come the Comedians’ and ‘Narrative and Aesthetics’) by ProfessorJethuMundul, ex-faculty, FTII. This was followed by Dr.Vidya Kamat’s workshop, ‘An Introduction to World Mythology’. The Department is grateful to Dr.Shefali Balsari-Shah (Former Head) for assisting with the program.  A Film Week was also organized in collaboration with, and is thankful to the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology and the Brazilian Consulate.

As part of the SIP organised by the Department, volunteers had to procure secondary resources on various topics pertaining to English Literature, Media Studies and Effective English Skills. 

Another SIP activity useful to the students addressed the long standing need for a workshop on CV writing, interview and Group Discussion Skills.

LIC Gateway Litfest was held at NCPA from 22 February to 24 February, 2018, addressing the topic of Women Power in Indian Literature.  Rhea Bhatia, SYBA received the third prize in the essay competition at the festival. 

The annual department seminar was held in college on 20 January, 2018. 

Among our guest speakers, we had this year, the opportunity to interact with Professor Abdul Razak Gurnah from the University of Kent on the subject of post-colonial literature. Later in the year, Vikram Sridhar enthralled us with his story telling workshop. We thank ‘Arcs of a Circle Artists Residency Programme’ for bringing him to the department. 

Congratulations to Dr Rashmi Lee George for achieving a Doctorate in English Literature from SNDT University. She worked in the field of Native American Literature from an ecocritical perspective under the guidance of Dr Mala Pandurang. Her thesis was called ‘An ecocritical study of changing concerns in indigenous fiction of North America from 1990 onwards.’ 

Thanks to all the staff and students for a year filled with activities and pursuits. 

 

Dr. Pearl Pastakia

Head, Department of English

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