Sunday, 30 June 2013

Two Perspectives on the 
National Young Sociologist Workshop by Shreya Murali (II EPS)
On Saturday,the 30th of June 2013, Shreya Murali student of II EPS and winner of the ‘Young Sociologist 2012-2013’ visited I EPS to give a presentation on the ‘Young Sociologist’ competition and discussed her experience as a participant. The Annual ‘Young Sociologist’ Competition conducted by Christ University provides a platform for undergraduate students across the country to interact, participate and exchange their views on important social matters.
  In the presentation Shreya Murali introduced this competition and stressed on the importance having reliable and primary data to support one’s academic research paper. She also gave the students valuable insight into how to structure and format a research paper and collect accountable data.
Shreya Murali also gave an account of her experience with the competition. The topic she had chosen for her research was ‘India the biggest democracy: A Farce’. In her paper she sought to unveil the deep seated social stigma against the transgender community in India and critique the Amendment to section 36 (A) of the Karnataka Police Act which empowered the commissioner to pass orders to maintain a register on names and places of all the transgenders, who are reasonably suspected of kidnapping or emasculating boys. Her research also revealed that only 8% of the people that participated in her survey (on the perception of the rights of the transgender community) were willing to have people from the transgender community in the workforce, the rest were either neutral or appalled by the idea. This research unmasks the dichotomy in the system where an entire section of the population has been deprived of its political rights.
As many students raised their hands to ask the speaker questions it was clear that they were quite inspired by the presentation and were curious to know more about the subject. Shreya Murali’s passion was contagious and encouraged us all to participate in the following ‘Young Sociologist’ competition.
By:   Ishita Karra

The students of I EPS attended a workshop on the National Young Sociologist Competition, an annual inter-collegiate event where budding sociologists avail the opportunity to prepare and present a full-scale academic paper. This national-level competition is held by Christ University in December every year which witnesses participation from across the country. The workshop was conducted by Shreya Murali of II EPS who was the “National Young Sociologist” for 2012. Having conducted a previous workshop on academic writing with I EPS, Shreya quickly went through the basics of a good academic piece and as always, emphasised on the importance of avoiding plagiarism and giving credit where is it due to be given. 

After establishing the codices of academic writing, Shreya moved on to another important factor in academic writing; Authentic and reliable research.  Research was the soul of any academic piece and it was to be done with utmost sincerity and dedication. Research, she said, has to be intense and could possibly last for weeks which means that one should never have a laid-back attitude regarding the same. Towards the end of the workshop, Shreya presented her award-wining academic paper Titled “India is the world’s biggest Democracy – A FARCE” in which she took up the research regarding the lack of emancipation of the third gender. Her presentation gave the students a sound idea of what an academic paper looks like and how research is meant to be carried out. Post the workshop, the students of I EPS seemed to be nervous regarding the fast-approaching deadline for CIA 2 in sociology which involved writing of a well-researched academic paper. Although we don’t know whether Shreya will take part in the “National Young Sociologist 2013”, we would have liked her to break a leg at the competition this year but considering that has just broken her hand, we would, instead, just like to wish her All the Best for her future endeavors in appreciation for the help given and time devoted to the students of I EPS.
Jaikishan Agarwal


Friday, 28 June 2013

Film Club

The Department of Sociology, Christ University, conducted the inaugural ceremony of the Film Club today on June 26 2013, Wednesday at Sky View, Central Block, from 12-1 pm. All those who were interested were invited for the film screening and then a discussion with the filmmaker Prof. Aasita Bali.
            Prof Aashita Bali is from the department of Media Studies and currently the assistant professor. She holds a degree in and has also completed her MCS and MPhil Programe. She has also been part of the organizing committee of various seminars like ‘Media Meet’, ‘Voices from Waters’, international film festival etc. which have been held in Christ University itself.
            Here today was held the screening of her documentary ‘Red Salt’ which was of the duration 8 minutes 17seconds and addressed the women of Gujrat who worked in saltpans. The very idea of this documentary roots to when Prof. Bali was working in ISRO as an assistant. It was working with a NGO who were targeting for make-shift schools for children living in the desert areas. It was then when the idea for the focus upon women came upon. Thus resulting in this documentary which not only shows how the women work despite difficulties but also their way of looking at the very prospect of work. The self-sacrificing attitude of the women wherein they think of certain things as their duty.
            Prof. Bali said that documentary is not a popular form of expression as many of us may do agree. It started with the 2nd world war for the purpose of propaganda. The filmmakers struggle in the process to get themselves through. Unlike a feature film it does not work for entertainment purpose.
            The film ‘Red Salt’ addresses the lives of the women in Gujrat who work in saltpans in extreme harsh weather conditions. Their lives are nomadic and therefore they do not have access to the health and nutrition care. The children too because of this are deprived of education and ends up doing the same. India produces 12-17 million salts every year and 70 per cent of it is contributed by theses Gujrat women. Yet they do not have the basic necessities of life. They are paid as much as only Rs.20/day and Rs 2/kg (approx). Due to the saline water they do not even have proper drinking water because of which they face severe health problems. Once a week the truck carrying drinking water comes for which the people have to walk for 5kms. The film began by depicting the wounds, swelling, sores etc that women had as a result of their work in saltpans. These as mentioned do not even heal and just gets worse. It starts with itching and then burning and ultimately leads to the selling of the organ. During winter the pain increases all the more. In one part of the film it is shown the contrasting attitudes of the women by the songs they sung which were their own form of expression.
            The immediate reaction was one of utter shock and the harsh reality behind the pinch of salt that we all have every day. There is an attempt to question why women are not treated equally as men? Why the government despite being aware does nothing? Many of the top most companies primarily get salt from this region yet it remains what we saw. This is an ugly truth that the women themselves now know and live for. Provisions like rubber shoes or gloves are mostly given to the men and whatever little the women get they give it to their children. Such a self-scarifying attitude needs to be changed but this is only possible with knowledge which they certainly lack.
            This has been a self-funded film made with pure honestly and hard work in order to make us all see and understand the importance of the ‘pinch of salt’. Therefore this film has been very touchy and informative for all of us. I would like to thank Prof Aashita Bali for sharing with us such a wonderful piece of her work the ‘Red Salt’ as it is very aptly put.  

Report by Anusuya Borkotoky
MA Applied Sociology
Christ University
Open Forum
‘On Being a Prostitute’
Prostitution is the business or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute or sex worker. Prostitution is one of the branches of the sex industry. Estimates place the annual revenue generated from the global prostitution industry to be over $100 billion. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as "the world's oldest profession".
On the 15th of June, III PSEco came together as a whole and held their first Open Forum of the year. Of course, this has been a trend we have come to follow since the last two years. The Open forum was held to bring to light the otherwise little known facts of Prostitution, not only in India but also around the globe. This ‘Open Forum’ was moderated by Rony Joe. There were quite a few well-spoken Panelists who spoke on the topic. The panelists were not as much addressing the class, as they were in constant conversation. Sreya Khastgir started things off by narrating the life and times of Munni, a prostitute who dwelled in Sonakashi; said to be the largest red light area in India. Through her narration Sreya vividly exposed the realities of a Prostitute which left the vicinity astounded.
Followed by Shreya was Shruthi Mahadevan who took us to Vedic India and threw light on the history of prostitution, what followed came as a shock to everyone as no one present there could have ever thought of Prostitution having divine legitimacy, Devadasi; a woman or man said to be married to God. The Devadasi as a profession was one of importance and is said to have got Royal endowment. This changed with the Mughal Invasion of the Indian subcontinent and later with the might of the British colonization which made the Noble Devadasi nothing but a street hooker.
Narasimha Rao took a different approach to the concept of Prostitution. “Sex work as a way of life” was the core of his idea and for the first time since the forum opened, the term “Sex worker” was introduced. This drew a different picture as the “sex worker” was a part of the economic section of society and not a meagre outcast. The Sex Industry today is a Multi-Billion Dollar industry and ever growing, making it an economic asset in few countries especially in the South-East Asian countries. Women and Men across the world have developed the basic idea of a “sex worker” into an art and this trend is now being molded into the Indian scenario. Today, selling one’s body has become a choice, the question arising has the Indian Prostitute become the next “Pretty woman”.
This was followed by the Transgender. The life of a transgender is governed by the reality of either a cadger or a sex worker. Pragati Manjunath, the panelist who followed, exposed the harshness a transgender must face. There are only a very few who can stomach it. The stigma against the third sex is one which is very strongly held, yet they are held in the Noblest thoughts; A Transgender is given divine authority is some cultures, blessings by them are given a lot of sentiment as it is considered to be extremely auspicious et sic a curse by one is not taken lightly. Rights of Transgender in the Indian Sub-Continent are not given much heed because of the earlier mentioned stigma.
Glory Mathew threw light on something which had not crossed my mind in the slightest; Progeny of Prostitutes. Glory Proposed Prostitution more often than not leads to illegitimate progeny, mostly due to the malfunction of contraceptives or the use of none. The social reality of a female sex worker makes her want an offspring because she is devoid of social relationship and hence requires a concrete bond even if minimal. The Progeny although do not often get to have a normal social setting, some are scarred by the basic fact that they are illegitimate. Most don’t ever have schooling, or worse, become prostitutes themselves.
Following up on Child Prostitution, Trishala Ballal brought up the topic of Child Trafficking. According to her data, Child Trafficking is the 3rd largest profitable industry in the world, as unworldly as the sounds if one thinks about it, it could very much be so. Over half a million children under the age of 14 are trafficked in a financial year, which may seem a low count when one compares it to the world population but if a decadal count is taken that sums up to more than 5 million. Most countries don’t have a population that big.
I was asked to draw a conclusion on our discussion; in my opinion, I think it boils down to dignity of labour, where one looks at prostitutes as a labour force and does not associate derogatory connotations to the words ‘sex worker’.  If we look at the sex workers of South-East Asia, for example, one can see that they have come to be accepted as dignified artists and have also become economic assets.
In respect to the discussion held, it was quite the eye-opener, leaving a few dumbstruck, and the rest astounded. It provided insight into the base realities of this profession. It helped us form a more informed perspective on this social stigma.

Yudh Vir  Saund

Interactions with students from USAC

A group of USAC students visited the II MA Applied Sociology class on the 17th of June. This group is part of the feminism studies program at our university. The reason behind their visit was to widen and get a broader perspective on the Indian caste system. They raised a variety of questions ranging from the Indian caste system, women’s status in India and their issues to the women’s present day situation, their empowerment, etc. The II MA Applied Sociology class consisted of students from the various different religions and castes present in India, their different functions and practices were discussed. For example, the marriage practices among the Gowda community. The different cultures, rituals etc were also discussed. Each individual’s point of view was brought about, including that of the USAC students. They brought to light their experiences in India and how they came here with a different understanding about our country, which eventually changed after the course of the discussion, as they realised that inspite of the differences prevailing in our country, there is still a strong sense of ties and bonds, which has kept the people of our country intact.

Due to several contextual factors, the discussion had to come to an end and in order to end it on a positive note, a few students emphasised on India, with respect to unity irrespective of diversity. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

I EPS Film Screening and Discussion

The students of I EPS screened a short film on June 25, 2013. “The Little Terrorist” portrayed the social and political divide that was caused by the partition of India and Pakistan which could be analyzed using the Sociological Perspective.
This 15 minute film was released in 2004. “The little Terrorist” tells a story set along the border between India and Pakistan. It tells the tale of a Pakistani boy who crosses into the Indian Territory and how a Hindu school teacher saves him from the BSF personnel who have witnessed the intrusion of a Pakistani into India. The story further unravels the sociological truth about villages that were split after the partition. The film also shows the stereotypical ideologies of an Indian/ Hindu Brahmin; they consider the Pakistani/Muslim child as an untouchable and yet they display a shade of humanity when the school teacher and his niece decide to help him cross the border back to Pakistan.
Some of the significant scenes of the film were the Pakistani boy being mesmerised by a group of gypsies singing a song which welcomes strangers and friends alike to their country and the other scene being the climax where the boy hugs the old school teacher and his niece, with neither being disturbed by the fact they the boy was not “supposed” to be touched by an Indian/Hindu Brahmin and vice versa.
The short film also displays the disturbed social patterns of the people living near the borders. The old man, although being an Indian, belonged to a village that encompassed the nearby area including the present day Pakistani village, but was unfortunately ravaged by the partition. He is reminiscent of his village when the boy describes his cricket game under the big, shady tree, the same tree under which the old teacher had played many summers ago. Not only Rajasthan, but states like Punjab, Kashmir, and Gujarat have faced such disturbances which have led to a change in the patterns of the society.  As many students discussed the film, it was clear that the stereotype of people on either sides of the border are as founded as a rock, and it is unlikely that they will consider on reconsidering their opinions on each other. Our Sociological Imaginations will help us to uncover these underlying assumptions and understand them.

Jaikishan Agarwal, I EPS
I EPS Workshop on References and Citation

The students of I EPS attended a workshop on “Referencing and Citations in the APA Format” during their Sociology hour on the June 25, 2013.

References and Citations Workshop:
The class began with a short video about plagiarism from Info Literacy and why it is considered as “stealing” in the academic world. The video was part of an initiative by Dr Bob Baker, Pima Community College and featured his opinions (and some facts) about the stealing of research and its implications for a student.  The video also highlighted the use of technology such as which help an instructor/professor to detect any form of plagiarism in a particular academic paper. In conclusion, Bob Baker also stated that a student caught plagiarizing is liable to be penalized severely.

The References workshop began with an introduction of the different formats of citations/references such as the APA, MLA, and the Chicago style of referencing.  Social Sciences at Christ University, Bangalore, such as Sociology use the APA or the American Psychological Association Format which involves the citing information after a sentence or paragraph with or without endnotes. The presentation also stressed on the usage of endnotes and references. 

The workshop presentation included a list of guidelines which are meant to be strictly adhered to by the students while writing an academic paper. Some important guidelines include parenthetical referencing of sources in the academic paper, usage of a “hanging indent” when listing references entries, using the initials of an author only, not his/her full name and inserting the full and unedited URL/website address of a source along with the date when the student visited the website to name a few. The students were eager to witness a live demo of but due to the malfunctioning internet connection, this live event was duly postponed.
Jaikishan Agarwal

Monday, 24 June 2013

Report on the welcome program conducted for I M.A Sociology

The Students of II MA Applied Sociology of Christ University, Bangalore hosted a welcome ceremony for the new batch of MA students who have joined the department on Friday, June 21, 2013.
The venue was the Bird’s Park, and the program started at 2.00 pm and lasted two hours. The program was a platform to introduce the new students to their seniors and the faculty. After the opening prayer, an introduction was done by both classes in a way that everyone that was present got to know each other and also got along by asking about each other’s interests and dislikes.
After the introduction was done the atmosphere became friendly as everyone was comfortable and could relate with each other very well. The faculty members present were introduced and the others were also introduced in absentia.
It was observed that most of the new students were still sceptical about the campus culture and what the institution expects from them. However after a motivating speech was done by the seniors the fresher were at ease and became more comfortable. A couple of games were played and this was a team building session which helped the group to build a rapport among themselves.
The essence of the program was to motivate and welcome the new batch to the department so that they can have a sense of belonging to the department. The feedback from the new batch was that they really felt and appreciated the concern and care which their seniors and faculty members automatically had for them even after meeting them for the first time.
Some pastries and soft drinks was served to end the program, few pictures were taken and little gifts were given to the fresher on behalf of the department and the seniors.
 for II M.A Sociology

Christ University

Sunday, 23 June 2013


The Department of Sociology,
Christ University


Invites you for a film screening and discussion with a film maker
Special Guest: Aasita Bali

Date: June 26, 2013
Time: 12 noon
Venue:  Sky View, Central Block

All are welcome!!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


SAMBANDH 2013: Concept Note

2013 was declared the International Year of Water Cooperation by the UN General Assembly in 2011. This theme is intrinsically connected with the Millennium Development Goals, and ensuring ‘water security’ and a sustainable future. This is only possible by establishing and sustaining strong ties between nations, states and communities.

As part of their global campaign, the UN is planning technical workshops, High level panels and public events with the following objectives:

1. Raise awareness on the importance, benefits and challenges of water cooperation

2. Enhance knowledge and build capacity for water cooperation

3. Spark concrete and innovative action towards water cooperation

4. Encourage partnerships and dialogue around water cooperation (Source: UN)

The Department of Sociology, Christ University is also planning to adopt this crucial theme for its annual Festival, SAMBANDH. The department plans to incorporate this theme and its main objectives into various programs which will run the duration of the Odd Semester 2013, culminating in a grand finale during August, 2013.

As water is crucial to survival, it has been an integral component of culture and our imagination. The Department intends to address the themes of water as a diminishing resource which drives home the importance of conservation and the concerns surrounding water pollution. We also intend to look at the cultural significance of water.

Some of the events being planned are as follow:

1. Finale, 23 August 2013
  • Panel Discussion : Panel comprising of students and experts
  • Documentary Screening
  • Film festival with water as its theme
2. Ongoing weekly events

  • Poster Competition
  • Slogan Competition
  • Role Play/Street Theater
  • Quiz
  • Campaign
  • Photography competition 
  • Newsletter competition 
  • Research paper competition
  • Bulletin board, class wise display and competition 

Round Table Conference Production and Dissemination of Knowledge in the Social Sciences: Contemporary concerns, April 10, 2013

Department of Sociology, Christ University, Bangalore
Report of the Round Table Conference on
Production and Dissemination of Knowledge in the Social Sciences: Contemporary concerns
held on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Christ University and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 to undertake joint research projects and provide a platform to enable the sharing of knowledge and expertise. As part of their collaborative engagements, a Round Table Conference on the ‘Production and Dissemination of Knowledge in the Social Sciences’ was held in Christ University campus on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. This Conference was aimed at uncovering and examining some of the areas of concern and challenges being faced by the social sciences today.
The Round Table Conference was planned to bring together academicians engaged in research and teaching in the different social sciences from institutions across Bangalore to discuss and deliberate on the sub themes given below.
  • Contemporary Research Trends in the Social Sciences: Areas and methods
  • Curriculum and Dissemination of Knowledge
  • Emerging Spaces for Social Sciences: Dilemmas and Challenges
The Conference had been planned in order to introduce the main areas for deliberation under the sub themes through discussion papers which touched upon important concerns and provided a launch pad for further deliberations by the respondents who responded from the perspectives of their parent disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, History, Economics, Political Science, English and Media Studies, and Social Work.

The Conference was attended by experts from numerous disciplines from Christ University and NIAS and saw fruitful discussions and deliberations around the main themes surrounding the production and dissemination of knowledge in the social sciences with special reference to the Indian context.

Student Colloquium June 10, 2013


Report on Student Colloquium
June 10, 2013

A newspaper dated June 07, 2013 reads "Over 2,150 rape cases in Karnataka in three years". Not only India, the larger world has been a part of victimizing women in the form of religion, race, class, gender and sexual orientation.
Hello everyone! With this in mind we start our colloquium for the academic year 2013-14 by broadcasting a TED talk titled "Violence against women—it's a men's issue" by Jackson Katz. Jason Katz is the co-founder of Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), which enlists men in the struggle to prevent men’s violence against women. Being a powerful speaker starts his conversation with a whole new perspective into the so called 'gender violence' perceived by most of us as the issues related only with women which some good men help out with. Katz speaks about how dominant group is rarely challenged to even think about its dominance especially in the case of gender, race and sexual orientation. He questions why sexual abuse, rape and domestic abuse remain a problem and the voices of change are being dominantly suppressed.
Jason Katz confronts men to stand up and be a part of the problem, as he rightly says men are affected by abuse. It is righteous to say when abuse occurs on the part of women, men are affected with their very relation of being a brother, father or a friend. Katz underlying the need for men to stand up for righteousness says we need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them.
It was interesting for us to look into this whole new paradigm shift in thinking and acting upon violence, abuse, assault against women. We agreed upon the opinion that powerful men and women through their voices can make a difference in curtailing the dominance of the dominant. The very point we argued was that Katz was right in saying that we do not need sensitivity classes to be provided to men who indulge in violence rather help the individual with leadership quality to condemn such act.
One of our classmates argued how peer pressure can be used as a right tool to control such atrocities, the other said to bring about a change in the mind set of men whose ideologies are strong and treats women as inferior is a daunting task. We argued about how the patriarchal power can be reversed by not oppressing women rather recognizing and condemning violence against them. Violence against women is universal in nature and to bring about a change we need to break away from patriarchal school of thought and be a leader within.

Report by Bopanna
II MA Applied Sociology

Christ University