Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Young Sociologist Competition 2015-16


“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
-          Nelson Mandela

Based on the theme of Human Rights, the National Young Sociologist Competition 2015-16 was organized by the Department of Sociology, Christ University, Bangalore. It was held on December 10, 2015 which is celebrated as Human Rights Day all over the world to honour the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. This was a national level competition where undergraduate students of Sociology across India were invited to send an abstract of their research paper. Out of all the abstracts that were sent, 10 were selected for the final paper presentation.  
The event started with a warm welcome speech by Dr. Sudhansubala Sahu, Young Sociologist Competition Coordinator and an introduction of the judges – Dr. Kshitij Urs, Dr. K. G. Uma and Dr. Sobin George. This was followed by an introductory speech by Dr. John Joseph Kennedy-Dean,   Humanities and Social Sciences, that stressed on the importance of the protection of human rights in today’s world.                                                            
Dr. Kshitij highlighted the importance of critical thinking through his speech. As participants in democracy, we shouldn’t take anything the way it is given to us. Asking questions is absolutely necessary. He ended his speech by stating the idiom: birds which are born in cages feel that flying is an illness, meaning the State keeps us in boxes and shapes the way we think. We have to learn to come out of these boxes and think differently.  
  Professor Suparna Kar proposed the vote of thanks and with this the inaugural session came to an end.  
This was followed by paper presentations by the participants. Each participant was given 10 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for discussion. They were expected to identify different human rights as specified by the universal declaration; carry out an original research to understand how human rights are violated in the local context and then identify agencies or organizations who are working towards their protection. Under the broad theme of Human Rights, various sub-themes were included:
·        Right to Life Liberty and Security
·        Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
·        Right to Own Property
·        Right to Work and Right to Equal Pay for Equal Work
·        Right to Education
Several interesting papers were presented – Child Labour in Hazardous Industries, Human Rights Violation among the Tribal Women of Attapadi, (Not) Hiring Hijras: A qualitative study of the right to work being violated, Sustainable Education, Right to Life, Liberty and Security in Live-In Relationships, Right to Work and Equal Pay for Equal Work, etc.
Among these, the first position was secured by Atreya Arun of Christ University. His paper titled Pretrial Detentions in India: An executive and judicial failure in the upholding of human rights looked at the plight of pretrial or undertrial detainees who are held for excessively long time periods. This denies them basic human rights and although there are certain laws that have been enacted, they are not implemented and maintained due to inefficiencies in the judiciary and executive. Using the case of Dantewada district jail in Chhattisgarh, the paper tells us that the situation can be improved by adhering to the basic laws of the Indian Constitution and rethinking the legal process to make it more egalitarian.
 Gopika C. R. of B.C.B. College, Kottayam won the second prize for her paper titled A Sociological Analysis of Awareness of Human Rights Violation among Transgenders in Kerala. The findings of the paper revealed that 96% of the transgender community was aware of their rights. They faced a violation of the Right to Life, alienation from social life and no access to employment opportunities. Public awareness, proper implementation of laws, publication of books and reports about the transgender community at the regional level could bring some improvement in the current situation.
The third position was secured by Varsha Iyer of Jyothi Nivas College, Bangalore for her paper titled (Not) Hiring Hijras: A Qualitative Study of the Right to Work Being Violated. It was a qualitative study that analyzed socio-cultural identity and employment opportunities for the Hijra community.
The prize distribution was done by the judges – Dr. K. G. Uma and Dr. Sobin George and the vote of thanks was offered which brought the even to an end. The audience benefitted from the large wealth of knowledge presented to them, making the event a grand success. 

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