Political Science

The Department of Political Science turned sixty-five this year. To make it special the department conducted numerous activities, engaging students from our college and other colleges as well. The Xavier’s Political Science Association (XPSA) took it as a challenge to make this year memorable. After much discussion and deliberation, it was decided that the theme for the year will be ‘Environment’. The XPSA committee unanimously agreed that one of the biggest problems for human species was the mindless use and abuse of natural resources which resulted in severe environmental damage and now the challenge is to protect all that can be protected for future generations. So, with the aim to focus on environmental issues, to create awareness among the students and to find some viable solutions we started the activities of the department.

The first activity organised by the XPSA in July was the Annual Parimal

K. Shroff National Essay Writing Competition. Open to undergraduate students from all streams, across the country. The theme selected was Environmental Changes: Man as a Constant. It is a matter of pride for the department that we received entries from colleges from across India and the winners were from three different colleges in three different cities.

Mr. Vishal Tibrewala from ‘My Green Society’ visited the College on 19th August 2019 for a two-hour session on Waste Management. He highlighted the benefits of waste segregation and explained how local government officials had started taking a more proactive role in the same. He stressed on the importance of grassroots level involvement and made a passionate appeal to the students to take up this cause. Mr. Tibrewala suggested setting up a herbal garden and connected us with an expert on the same.

The Annual Ghoolam Vahanvati Lecture Series was conducted on 14th September 2019, on the overarching theme ‘Human and Nature - Is Gandhi Relevant Today?’ Prof. Aparna Phadke from Mumbai University and environment activist Mr. Nishant Bangera were invited to talk about Mahatma Gandhi’s focus on the environment, and its significance in today’s times.

From 30th October - 7th November 2019, some students from TYBA visited Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand with me for data collection and as a field visit for their dissertations. The experience of visiting the remote mountain villages was a life-changing experience for the students. Their study and findings are very significant.

26th November 2019 was the 70th Constitution Day, wherein the department organised a campaign to raise awareness about the Preamble to the Constitution. Dr. Hrishikesh Samant (Vice-Principal, Science) read out the Preamble and Dr. Pratiba Naitthani (Head of Department of Political Science) explained its relevance to the students gathered in the Multi-Media Room. The TYBA students made placards on each of the nine principles enshrined in the Constitution of India and displayed them in the lobby near the college gate, MMR and the Foyer.

In the month of December, the XPSA organised two important, relevant and special events. The first event was organised on the 11th of December 2019, in collaboration with the Hindi Department, Story-Reading Session by Dr. Asha Naitthani-Dayama from her new book – ‘Sach Toh Yahi Hai’ containing stories about the victims of Article 35-A from different sections of society in Jammu Kashmir. Dr. Asha read a story from her book, explained to the audience the severity of the issue, and engaged in a question-answer session with them. Needless to say, the students were moved by the eloquence and emotion of her words.

The second event, held on 13th December 2019, was a talk  by  Dr. Venkat Iyer from The Round Table: Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, Ireland, on the all-pervading issue of Brexit. Titled ‘Brexit: What Next?’ to complement the open-ended nature of the issue, the talk commenced a few hours after the results of the UK Snap Election, thus adding an element of dynamism and suspense to the event. Dr. Iyer gave a comprehensive run-down and the pros and cons of Brexit and provided the students with a perspective on the manner in which the issue was perceived by the Europeans.

The last three months were most eventful for the XPSA, with two of its annual flagships being conducted with great gusto. The Annual Inter- Collegiate Youth Parliament, a two- day affair open to Undergraduate Students across the city and the country, was held on the 9th and the 10th January 2020 which witnessed fiery participation and detailed discussions. The agenda for this year’s Youth Parliament was Switching to 50% Renewable Energy by 2050 and Implementing Carbon Tax; this somewhat unexplored arc did not deter the participants from preparing thoroughly for the event and putting forth concrete suggestions that could well go on to become policies in the future.

On 29th January 2020, a RUSA- Sponsored National Conference was organised by the XPSA on The Politics of Environment in Asia: People, Policies and Development, with the keynote speech by Amb. Ashok Sajjanhar. The sessions included experts like Prof. Narottam Gaan, (HOD- Political Science & Human Rights, Amarantak Central University, Capt. Alok Bansal (Director- India Foundation), Cmde. Srikant Kesnur, Prof. Dhruv Sen Singh (Dept of Geology,  Lucknow  University), Mr.

C. R. Neelakandan (Activist, Kerala), Dr. Anish Andheria (Wildlife Photographer and Conservationist), Shri  Dhan  Singh  Rana  (Ex Gram Pradhan, Sarpanch and Activist, Uttarakhand), Smt. Shakuntala Devi (Community Representative from Indo Tibetan Border Region, Uttarakhand) and Dr. Pratiba Naitthani. The conference gave the students a

360 degree understanding of the significance of the environment and different facets of the environment.

On the same day, i.e. the 29th of January 2020, the department also set up a small Herbal Garden with each guest, who came for the National Conference. They all planted a sapling. This activity was part of the Swachchh Bharat campaign.

Current students of the department along with ex-students and current industry professionals

The department for the first time, organised an event, ‘Evolve’, a platform where the former student achievers, who have gone on to scale new heights and carved a niche for themselves in their respective fields, were invited for an informal interaction with the current students of Political Science. The ex-students who participated in Evolve were Ms. Pranjal Patil (the first Visually Challenged IAS), Ms. Namrata Gandhi (IAS), Ms. Petal Gehlot (IFS), Mr. Punit J Pathak (Dancer, Choreographer, & Actor), Ms. Fatema Pittalwala (Art Curator), Major Aditya Katdare, Ms. Naressa Coutinho (Consulate of Argentina), Mr. Prabuddha Dayama, (Actor & Director), Mr. Manan Shah (Music Composer), Mr. Manas Shashidharan Jacob (Director), Ms. Aishwariya Dongre (IPS), Ms. Yashaswini Dayama (Singer and Actress), Ms. Aishwarya Kalpathi (Founder of start-up for youth) and Mr. Akshay Gudinho (Advocate). This event was extremely successful and inspired students and gave them an opportunity to get direct guidance from achievers from such varied fields.

The Department Magazine ‘Samvad’ was released during Evolve. The theme of Samvad this year was ‘People and the Planet: Saving the Symbiosis’ containing research papers and articles contributed by students from different streams. All the research papers were written on the theme of ‘Environment’. It was heart-warming to see the overwhelming response of our students to write for the magazine on such a serious and important topic.

On 14th Feb 2020 a Round Table Discussion in association with Symbiosis, Pune was organised by the XPSA on ‘The Emerging Global Landscape : Opportunities and Challenges for India’, presentations were made by Amb. (Retd.) Talmiz Ahmad and Prof. Shivali Lawale, the Director of Institute of International Studies, Symbiosis, Pune. With this, the XPSA accomplished the task of making this academic year memorable through organizing special events and activities.

From 14th to 16th February 2020, the TYBA students with the faculty went to Khandala to present papers on their Dissertations. This was the last activity of the department.

I would like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to our Principal Dr. Rajendra Shinde for his constant support my colleague Ms. Shazia Shaikh, for her unconditional support and constant inputs which have greatly helped in the organisation and execution of the activities of the department.

My heartfelt thanks to Abhishek Krishnamurthy, the Chairperson of XPSA. My special thanks to Joshua Crasto, Jovin D’Costa, Vrushali Kamble, Aldrich Fernandes, C’mran Arora, Nachita Patil, Khushaali Chouhan of TYBA, Aastik Agarwal, Schwn Sabu and Nabilah Noorani of SYBA, Ishwari Sonawane and Gary Godinho of FYBA, and all the Volunteers who have worked so diligently for different activities of the Department.

I hope that the department will keep growing and will keep organizing meaningful activities and contribute constructively in shaping up the future of its students.

Dr. Pratiba Naitthani 
Head, Department of Political Science

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