Thursday, 29 April 2021

Christities Against Substance Abuse (CASA)

Alcohol and drug abuse has emerged as a serious concern in India with more children, adolescents, and young adults susceptible to substances and developing long term consequences. Christites Against Substance Abuse (CASA) is an initiative by the Student Association of the academic year 2020-2021 to contribute to the measures taken by the university to create and maintain a campus environment that is free of all forms of substance abuse. CASA is committed to its mission of building an active community of volunteers, peer educators, faculty, experts, and counsellors dedicated to raising awareness about issues involving substance abuse.

As young leaders of tomorrow, CASA realizes the immense responsibilities on our shoulders to call for a collective action to support the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The activities of the cell are dedicated to the realization of Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages, with a specific focus on Target 3.5, strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

Objectives of CASA

  • To build an active peer community that strives to raise awareness on issues involving substance abuse by planning and organizing prevention activities at various levels
  • To encourage and support the various initiatives or projects of the department and the students aimed at substance abuse prevention, and to create opportunities for research and service-learning
  • To create a safe and inclusive environment that can facilitate discussions on substance abuse prevention, addiction, treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery

CASA and Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan

CASA will work at the forefront of the University’s mission to develop the institution as a hub for nurturing clubs and other platforms to achieve the targets under the aegis of Nasha-Mukt Bharat Abhiyan. CASA will take the lead in initiating and coordinating awareness generation programmes at various levels within the university, and support the initiation and formation of youth clubs within the urban slum communities and schools adopted by the University.

Specific Objectives with Regard to Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan

  • Educate and train the CASA volunteers on various issues involving substance abuse by organizing workshops and interactions with experts
  • Organize awareness generation programmes within the University through peer education, campaigns, workshops, service learning, certificate courses, competitions, etc.
  • Take the lead in the initiation and formation of youth clubs in the project areas and support the various capacity building exercises and training programmes organised by the University by mobilising the energy and potential of the youth towards the development of their community

Action Plan

The Association had initiated the formation of CASA Core Committee 2020-2021 by the second week of March. The aim for the rest of the current academic year was to build a strong foundation for the full functioning of CASA from the next academic year.

Christites Against Substance Abuse Inauguration Ceremony

On the 30th of April, the Department of Sociology and Social Work conducted the Inaugural Ceremony of the CASA- Christites Against Substance Abuse. Pooja A and Ananya from the Department of Sociology moderated the ceremony, which began with a peaceful prayer song.

Following this, Dr Reena Merian Cherin, Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator from the Department of Sociology and Social Work delivered the welcome address and welcomed the faculty members, student body and students from different campuses. Dr Victor Paul, Head of Department, Sociology and Social Work and the Principal Investigator of Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyan in association with Christ, then talked about the crucial role of CASA and the larger campaign in making a difference. His address helped in highlighting the importance of Nasha Mukti Bharat Abhiyan as an agent of change. He stated key statistics underlining the need for intervention. In India, almost 16 crore people consume alcohol and about 3.1 crore individuals use cannabis products. In light of these alarming numbers, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the nodal Ministry for Drug Demand Reduction, launched ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan’, a campaign in 272 districts that have been identified as most vulnerable in terms of substance use. The Abhiyaan's focus is on educating and empowering the youth of the nation to fight against the problem of substance abuse through preventive education and awareness generation, capacity building, treatment and rehabilitation, focused intervention in vulnerable areas, skill development, and livelihood support of ex-drug addicts. It also aims to conduct surveys, studies, evaluation and research. The period for this programme is one year. Dr Victor Paul then highlighted the importance of university-based prevention since colleges offer an environment for prevention through the support of teachers and peers. A university-based prevention program also sets a platform to teach students valuable life skills like assertiveness which can help students make informed decisions.

Being the only university from the city to have joined with the government for this program, Christ (Deemed to be University) has a key role to play. Dr Victor Paul then highlighted the core objectives of the programme, which are to generate awareness, prevent substance abuse, promote community outreach, strengthen counselling facilities, and initiate capacity building programmes. The expected outcomes range from raising awareness, community participation, training to equip key service providers and creating drug-free environments. He further detailed strategies for sustainability, and the components included reaching the goals. The detailed action plan and proposed activities were then shared, where the target of ten villages, three campuses and two urban areas were proposed. 

Aashik and Archana, the President and Vice-President respectively of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, then detailed the plans for the student body of CASA and its objectives. They drew attention to statistics to highlight the importance of this initiative and spoke about the three major objectives: building an active peer community, encouraging and supporting development initiatives, and creating a safe and inclusive environment. The plan for student activities was also proposed, and it included student roundtables, awareness campaigns, peer intervention programmes, community outreach programmes, certificate programmes and service learning.

Dr Tony Sam, Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Head of the Department of Psychology, was highly appreciative of the initiative and congratulated the members. He expressed how it is high time for such an intervention in society and encouraged the members to continue the initiative as a lifelong project. The potential of this project to make a great change was also highlighted.

The floor was then open for a question and answer session, following which Dr Amaresha C, Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator from the Department of Sociology and Social Work, delivered the vote of thanks.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Sambandh 2021

Sambandh is the annual undergraduate fest organised by the Department of Sociology and Social Work Association. The word ‘Sambandh’ translates to ‘Relationships’ and is a celebration of the ties that keep us bound together. This year, Sambandh 2021 took place online on 24th and 26th April 2021 and aimed to explore and celebrate the future of relationships not just between humans but also those we have with our environment, in the context of a pandemic and post-pandemic world. 

Sambandh 2021: Debate Competition

24th April 2021

As part of Sambandh 2021, a Debate Competition was organized on Saturday, 24th April 2021 on the topic ‘this house believes that censorship restricts freedom of speech and expression.’A total of four teams competed for the Best Debating Team Award. The judging panel included Nikhita Jindal, a Research Scholar at the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and Shankar Varma, a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

Neha Shetty and Renibi Mukhia were declared the title winners, followed by Harshil Sanga and Pooja A in the 2nd position. The house witnessed an insightful and powerful debate on one of the most discussed topics in contemporary India. The teams gave an insightful deliberation exploring various aspects of censorship, freedom of speech and expression, and the importance of dissent in a democracy.

The winning team debated in favour of the motion that censorship is a threat to dissent and the fundamental right of a citizen to free speech. They argued that the censorship operating in various domains of society has grievously hampered public debate which is an important part of modern liberal democracies. They also explored how such actions have affected cinema and other creative domains and that such restrictions are often illegal and arbitrary. The rebuttal and question-answer session following the debate also presented some crucial questions regarding the state of freedom of speech and expression in contemporary India. The competition gave a platform to students to voice their opinions and sharpen their debating and communication skills.

Sustainability Champion 2021

26th April 2021

Sustainability Champion was organized as part of the SAMBANDH 2021 on Monday, 26th April 2021 at Google Meet. The event encouraged students to develop creative solutions around critical topics relating to sustainability. Youth action and innovation are playing a crucial role in shaping the post-pandemic world. A total of 4 teams registered for the competition. The contestants were given 24 hours to come up with an innovative and creative plan that could help the city of Bengaluru overcome the current crisis situation. The final round saw a total of 10 participants in 2 teams working on developing a social entrepreneurship plan that could help the government deal with the current COVID-19 crisis. The judging panel included Priyanka Kaushik, a Research Scholar, and Christina Francis, a Research Scholar at the Department of Sociology and Social Work Association, CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

Divyajyoti, Harshil, Pranay, Pooja, and Upasana are the title winners of Sustainability Champion 2021. They developed a plan to provide a one-stop solution for all COVID-19 care and updates by digitising every step involved. The vast amount of information related to COVID-19 and the constant worry about the authenticity of information is without a doubt a major concern. Through their project, MediQuick, the team aims to provide a digital forum that will not only act as an information and help centre but will also be a tool to aid COVID-19 medical care and increase transparency in the treatment process.

Neha Shetty, Geethika Nair, Sneha Ravishankar, and Diya Elizabeth Dennis were awarded the second position. The plan formulated by this team was titled, ‘Project Phoenix,’ unique hospital management set up which comprises Efficient Hospital Management System (All PHC’S and Govt hospitals) for a social cause.

The competition provided a platform for budding entrepreneurs to present their ideas and receive guidance from an expert panel. Sustainability Champion 2021 discussed various aspects of public health, one of the most important crises faced by present-day society. At a time when the city and all its institutions are struggling in the fight against the second wave of the Novel Coronavirus, the competition gave an opportunity to students to think and reflect on what they can contribute to help their city in tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

Young Sociologist 2021

26th April 2021

The flagship event of SAMBANDH 2021, Young Sociologist, was organized on 26th April 2021. Students were encouraged to unearth the biggest questions we should be asking as we move toward a post-pandemic society. The competition required the participants to make a presentation using their Sociological Imagination to understand and critically analyze one of the biggest challenges faced by us in reconstructing a sustainable post-pandemic society. A total of 14 participants registered for the competition. The final round had 7 Young Sociologists discussing a wide range of topics that are instrumental in shaping the discourse on development in the post-pandemic world. The judging panel consisted of Dr Anu George, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ms Manisha Saha, Research Scholar, Ms Gloria Babu, Research Scholar, and Ms Ringngheti Khenglawt, Research Scholar at the Department of Sociology and Social Work CHRIST (Deemed to be University).

Paroma Raha of 6 EPS is the title winner of Young Sociologist 2021. Paroma discussed the ‘Role of Social Media in Women’s Movement in India: Lessons from the Pandemic.’ The presentation critically analyzed various aspects of social media activism to understand how it added momentum to the women's movement in India. With its power to encourage solidarity and collect shared experiences, social media has become a new frontier for women’s rights activists to organize and ally to join the fight for equality and justice. Paroma examined a broad range of topics including but not limited to hashtag activism, beating the algorithm, domestic violence helplines, and sisterhood and community building through social media.

Mehul Aggarwal of 6 PSEng and Pooja A of 4 PSEco won the second and third position respectively. Mehul discussed ‘Panopticon Society in the Post Pandemic World,’ critically analyzing how privacy and surveillance could be one of the major crises in the post-pandemic society.

Pooja looked into the various crucial questions concerning sustainability and climate action by discussing the topic ‘Green Recovery.’

Sociology plays a central role in our understanding of the extent of the pandemic, its social, cultural, political, and economic consequences, and the challenges in building a sustainable post-pandemic world. The Sociology and Social Work Association dedicated its activities for the academic year to discuss, deliberate, and act on the Sustainable Development Goals - Agenda 2030. Young Sociologist 2021 saw powerful voices of young scholars critically analyzing our path towards this sustainable future.

Valedictory Ceremony

27th April 2021

The Sociology and Social Work Association of 2020-2021 had their Valediction Ceremony on 27th April 2021. The event commenced at 4:30 pm; the emcees of the event were Rishi Mukherjee and Pradhyumna Poojari of 2 MSW HRDM. After a brief introduction by the emcees, the event was graced with an invocation song by Charis Divya of 2 MSW HRDM.

Divya Tripathi, Senior Editor, 4 MSW HRDM, gave a summary of the events and initiatives of the Association throughout the academic year. Followed by which Presidential address was delivered by Dr Victor Paul, Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work. The Cluster Coordinators Dr Ameresha and Dr Suparna Kar further addressed the DSSWA members with a message for the team for their future endeavours.

Further, the President of the Association Mr Aashik Mathew and University Council Member of the department Mr Midhun Nair shared their experiences with the association and in their respective leadership roles. The participants were guided to witness the YouTube premiere of the cultural segment of the event by the emcees.

The cultural events were followed by Dr Victor Paul distributing the certificates to all the association members for their contributions throughout the academic year.

Dr Reena Merin Cherian and Dr Sudhansubala Sahu delivered the felicitation address. The event was concluded with a vote of thanks by Tina Maria Dsouza of 2 MA Applied Sociology.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Gender Inclusivity Workshop

The Department of Sociology and Social Work Association of CHRIST (Deemed to be University) on 13th April 2021 from 4:00 pm to 6.00 pm, initiated and organized the first workshop of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity Unit, under the Gender and Sexuality Cell on the Topic “Gender Inclusivity”.

The workshop was conducted by Dr Ivan John who is a professor at Sophia College (Autonomous), Mumbai. He is an active part of the LGBT+ movement in Mumbai, and he was awarded a PhD in Sociology from Mumbai University on the topic “Gay Movement with reference to Mumbai’. Currently, he is working towards a doctorate in Education ~ with a focus on Gender Inclusivity in Education. He identifies as queer and is an activist, especially in academic spaces.

Dr Ivan John had an extremely interactive session with students who are a part of the Gender and Sexuality Cell, his insights were extremely enriching and informative and it provided a clear picture of what the concept of Gender Inclusivity, sexuality and diversity means. The session was moderated by Ahana Mukherjee 2MSoc.

After the introduction, Dr Ivan chose to begin with a question & answer session, which was followed by a clear discussion of what exactly the concepts of inclusivity, sexuality and diversity entail. The session began with an introduction to the concepts of gender and sex which was clearly elaborated by him, followed by getting a deeper understanding of the spectrum of LGBT+ people. He spoke about binaries, and how the myth of gender binaries needs to be resolved as people need to learn how to embrace diversity and fluidity. He explained the concept of "coming out". He addressed these concepts in a compassionate and inclusive manner so that everyone could understand these complex concepts. The workshop included an interactive session. Students asked several questions based on gender inclusivity which gave better clarity and understanding of these concepts. Hence, this session was extremely helpful and informative in nature and was appreciated by everyone who participated.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Annual Sociology Lecture Series - Lecture 6: Sociology and Ways of Seeing the World: When the Art of Learning becomes a Celebration

Socius (Applied Sociology Students Collective) and the Department of Sociology and Social Work Association of CHRIST (Deemed to be University) organized an Online Annual Lectures series starting from the 18th of March to 9th April. Some of the top sociologists, academicians, and researchers in the country joined the event. Dr Avijith Pathak addressed the topic ‘Sociology and the Ways of Seeing the World: When the Art of Learning Becomes a Celebration’ on the 9th of April from 4 P.M to 5:30 P.M.

Mr Pathak began the session with how students should understand the word “celebration” in relation to academics. Sometimes it doesn’t excite the students as education is viewed as an ultimate compulsion and learning is more celebrated. According to Mr Pathak, through our own educational experiences, we can see how the entire education system has faults. Later he addressed questions on how there arises an understanding education system such as what it means to pursue humanities or sociology in a world of commerce, economics and other superior subjects. Unlike techno-science, subjects like the social sciences, humanities and related subjects produce emancipation over domination. Mr Pathak spoke extensively on how sociology is seen as a subject of science but by not being technical, we are able to understand subjectivity which brings empathy, unlike techno-science subjects.

Mr Pathak concluded the session by talking about how we can keep the windows of consciousness open. The session was ended with interactive questions and answers.

Roundtable 5 - Resistance Against Substance Abuse: The Need for Youth Action

 The Roundtable Series held by the Department of Sociology and Social Work Association conducted its fifth session on the 8th of April 2021, Thursday,  from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. The event began with an introductory note by Keshavi, following which a new Initiative by the Sociology and Social Work Association- CASA (Christites against Substance Abuse) was announced. This initiative is undertaken with the vision to contribute towards creating and maintaining a campus environment that is free from substance abuse. CASA is committed to its mission of building an active community of volunteers, peer educators, faculties experts, and counsellors dedicated to raising awareness about issues involving substance. Keshavi further invited faculty members Amaresha C Sir and Reenamerin Cherian Ma'am to share their views on Substance Abuse.

Pooja, the event moderator, took over the event and introduced the panellists for the day. They were Laksheta from MSW HR, Gokul Nair from 2PSEco, Harshil Sanghal from 4PSEco, and Bhanu Bhasin from MA Sociology. Laksheta brought up multiple arguments and questions regarding awareness and the amount of awareness. She further says that information should strictly be controlled according to ethical considerations.

Afterwards, Gokul Nair from 2PSEco was invited to talk about his views on substance abuse. He started with the technical uses of drugs that comply with recreational uses and meditational uses and how it has specific dosages in which it is helpful to us. His main argument revolved around how peer pressure turns someone into a hole of substance. He looked at both sides of peer pressure and how it can be good and bad.

The next panellist was Harshal from 4PSEco, who talked about the psychological aspect of substance abuse. In his pitch, he says that you feel a certain way, which you would not have felt otherwise when you ingest some drug into your body. He further categorizes drugs into four different categories and expands the conversation into what those drugs do. At last, Bhanu from MA Sociology shared his thoughts on the policy aspects of substance abuse. He stated that India needs strict imposition of the existing laws which are kept there to avoid giving young people access to substances like tobacco. In the end, panellists were invited to give their concluding remarks on the topic. Dr Victor Paul was called upon the screen to give his remarks on the whole event. The event went into a question and answer session where the audience (students) asked respective questions to the panellists. The guidance and support of the faculties worked along with the foundation to make the event a success.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Annual Sociology Lecture Series - Lecture 5: Adi Sankara's Soundariya Lahiri and Solomon's Song of Songs : The Questions of History, Myth, and Legend

 The fifth lecture of the Annual Sociology Lecture series was organized on 6th April 2021 by Socius and DSSWA. The lecture was delivered by Dr Susan Visvanathan on the topic ‘Adi Sankara’s Soundariya Lahiri and Solomon’s Song of Songs: The Questions of History, Myth and Legend’.

Pooja welcomed the gathering and introduced our esteemed speaker.

Dr Susan gave a functional analysis of the stories of Sankaracharya and Solomon’s Song of Songs. She discussed the methodological challenges in studying myth and mythology, the relevance of myths and legends in understanding Indian history and society, and the rising popularity of mythology-inspired works in the past decade. The discussion on patriarchy and the representation of women in mythology was another interesting aspect of the lecture.

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session where Dr Susan also elaborated on the methodological challenges in studying myth and mythology. She gave examples of scholars like Mircea Eliade, who has made immense contributions to the field of religious studies.

The session concluded with a vote of thanks by Archana.

Friday, 2 April 2021

SDG Quiz

 The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals. It serves as a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. Sustainable Development Goals or the SDGs as they are referred to is something everyone would have read or would have known. Based on this idea, the Sociology and Social Work Association conducted SDG Quiz Competition as an inaugural intra-department competition on the 3rd of April at 1:00 p.m. This quiz aims to provide a platform where you can test and challenge your level of awareness. Formulated as a 2 rounds quiz with finals, the quiz had interesting participation among the students. It was an individual quiz and students were asked to compete solo. The event had to be conducted via virtual meeting through the WebEx platform.

The event was hosted by Neha Shetty and co-hosted by Gurneesh and Salma. The first Prelims round commenced at 1:01 p.m and was concluded at 1:11 p.m as the round involved filling the google forms with the questions. Totally the google sheet had 13 questions and had to be completed with the given time of 10 minutes. After the first round, the scores were noted. The second round was the Eliminator round, where the participants were sent a link to a special platform called ‘Quizizz’ and the participants had to compete through the website link by answering the given questions where they would be provided with the code to access the quiz through the link. The website at the end of the quiz revealed the participant with the highest score. At 1:21 p.m the round two came to an end. The final round was a PPT presentation where the questions were displayed to the participants and they had to privately send the answers to the host. There were two sub-rounds presented in the last round. The last round also had the rule of ‘Pounce and Bounce’ with add on of +10 and -10. The final round was completed at 2:00 p.m. The tallying of scores commenced at 2:02 p.m with the marks from all the 3 rounds being taken into account. The winner of the competition was N Sindhu from 4 PSEco who scored 98 marks and the first and second runners-up were Pooja A and Vikram Bhansali, both from 4PSEco with a score of 95 and 72 respectively. The event was concluded by Neha, Gurneesh and Salma at 2:05 p.m.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Annual Sociology Lecture Series - Lecture 4: Revisiting the Woman Question from a Gender Economics Perspective

 The Sociology and Social Work Association and Socius, Applied Sociology Students Collective organised the Annual Sociology Lecture Series. The fourth lecture of this series was on the topic ‘Revisiting the Woman Question from a Gender Economics Perspective’ and was delivered by Dr Vibhuti Patel, a renowned academician, researcher and social thinker who has extensively contributed to the field of gender economics.

The introductory note was delivered by Neha Ashar of I MA Applied Sociology.

Dr Vibhuti Patel’s lecture gave a comprehensive overview of gender economics in the Indian context. The main focus of the lecture was on the impact and issues faced by women in the economy.

Dr Patel discussed the gender perspective and its three approaches - Women in Development, Women and Development, Gender and Development, and how they have panned out in India. She also briefly discussed the importance of having an intersectional approach in dealing with the ‘woman’ question in gender economics. She also offered a critique of the conventional development indicators, which she stated has “bypassed women and enhanced the gender gap”.

She discussed the socioeconomic and political bases of the disadvantageous position of women in the current economic systems. Insightful examples like - how the nutrition of women is affected by the practice of women eating after the rest of the household made the situation more apparent to the audience. She also discussed the importance of political participation of women and how there are economic bases to customary and family laws. Thus the position of women in the economy is affected by factors that are not apparent as completely economic.

The woman question was also discussed with regard to economic theory. Dr Patel discussed gender bias in theories of value, distribution, and population. An example is the Nobel Laureate Gary Backer’s model of ‘competing interests’ which has been criticised by women’s studies scholars as sexist and as merely promoting the status quo.

The next topic discussed was measures that have made women more visible in statistics and data systems. Dr Patel briefly discussed the Gender Development Index and the Gender Empowerment Measure.

Dr Patel also presented HDI-related figures related to women.

The final part of her lecture was dedicated to discussing current issues and experiences of women during the COVID-19 pandemic, ways to achieve gender mainstreaming and the role it can play in attaining SDG goals.

The lecture was followed by a question and answer session. The vote of thanks was proposed by Tina Dsouza from I MA Applied Sociology.