Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Careers in Social Sector

The session organised by the Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association began with a welcome speech for Mr Ravi Sreedharan. He has worked in the corporate sector for 24 years before quitting to join the social and developmental industry in 2011. The speech began with a small story on the unfortunate situation of the Indian education system, mainly related to the government where the majority of the population is getting educated and how one can bring in a systemic change to reform the education sector as a whole.
He emphasised the need to enter the social sector and how the time is never better than during the Covid 19 pandemic. He reiterated the fact that it was neither capitalism nor was it the market that helped everyone. Instead, the civil society, i.e., the social sector, was helping everyone in their hour of need.

Sovereignty, socialism, democracy, justice – India failed as the pandemic hit us, where the fractures in India came to light with the plight of migrant workers during the pandemic. The social sector and civil society are the country's essential pillars, and working with them will lead to a meaningful and impactful life. He highlighted how important it is for youngsters to enter the social and developmental sector for the better growth of India. Such a feat requires a big heart and cognitive and technical skills to solve complex problems. The proper knowledge, attitude, and skills will go a long way in the future.

Being the founder of the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), Mr Ravi explained the importance of developmental studies, sectoral expertise, and opportunities offered through social work. He also highlighted the curriculum at ISDM, which has been meticulously tailored to meet the needs of the emerging social and developmental sector ecosystem.

He talked of the importance of sustained impact – where there is persistent problem solving and not creating more problems to solve just one. One should give critical importance to social issues at scale and, when not shown, can develop into much more severe problems.

The session concluded with the Alumni of CHRIST, Ms Ann, who studied at ISDM sharing their experiences and their transition into the developmental sector. Mr Aseem Purohit, a part of the leadership team at ISDM, who also moved to the social industry after being in the corporate sector for over 32 years, shared his experiences.

International Food Loss and Waste Reduction Day - Online Campaign

 The Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association posted on their Instagram page for the International Food Loss and Waste Reduction Day on 29th September 2021. It would not be beyond any of us to realize that food ownership carries with it a weight of responsibility - an understanding that we are its custodians bound to treat it carefully.

The Sociology and Social Work Student Association keeping this responsibility in mind observed the international food loss and waste reduction day on the 29th of September 2021. The Instagram post reached an audience of 152 viewers and garnered interactions based on users sharing the post on their own handles as well.

We got to know a lot about waste and how households generate around 61% of waste and India shares about 8.7% of annual per capita food wastage.

Food loss can happen due to a lot of reasons such as bad weather, processing problems, lack of cold storage, overproduction and unstable markets.

But Food waste can be controlled at an individual level for the greater good of the community.

How can one contribute towards waste reduction?

  1. Plan your meal – Every day at the start of the day we should plan our day along with the meals to avoid food wastage.
  2. Turn waste into compost pits – All the food waste is biodegradable which means that it can be put into the soil which will act as a good fertilizer.
  3. Love your leftovers – Once you start loving your leftovers you will find ways to reuse them and not just throw them in the bins.
  4. Practice FIFO; First In First Out – During FIFO is a storing and rotating food system in which the food which has been in the storage longest will be out first and then the next food will be used.
  5. Shop Smart – To reduce food wastage we should always shop smartly and thought rationally as to what to buy.
  6. Sharing is caring – When you feel that some food is extra or some resources are extra it is always advisable to share it with someone who lacks it so that there is no loss of food and resources in general

All the things mentioned above work on an individual basis. Our actions should reach a global level so that maximum food is produced, used and not wasted. The introduction to technologies, innovative solutions, and finding new ways to work and manage food will only help us achieve SDG goal 12 which is responsible consumption and production.

The Instagram post can be accessed through the following link:

Friday, 17 September 2021

Inauguration of International Alumni Association - New Zealand Chapter

The Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association organized the inauguration of the International Alumni Association - New Zealand chapter. The host for the event was Ms Shrutilaya S. The program commenced with the lighting of the lamp and invocation song. Ms Ankitaa Mohanty welcomed the dignitaries, faculty members, coordinators, and other participants to the program. Prof Cyril John, the Alumni coordinator, introduced the necessity of the international alumni forum to the participants.
This is a platform that helps the students connect with the alumni. Followed by this, Dr Victor Paul, Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, and Fr Dr Jose C C, Pro-vice Chancellor, addressed the gathering, respectively. Ms Neha Ashar introduced the office bearers of the alumni association of the region. Mr Ajith Wilson (President), Ms Shiny Joseph (Secretary), and Mr Nithin Manuel (Treasurer) are the office bearers of the international alumni association of the New Zealand chapter.
On behalf of Ms Shiny, the report was presented by Mr Justin. Followed by this, Mr Ajith shared the program's vision with the participants. Mr Samuel George and Dr Hemalatha K felicitated the gathering. Dr Victor Paul addressed the alumni about the recent developments and changes in the department. Mr Nithin, Mr Ephrem, Mr Justin, Mr Alen, Ms Madhavi, and Mr Manoj shared their experiences of being in CHRIST (Deemed to be University) and their current job positions. The session ended with a vote of thanks by Ms Neha Ashar of 3MSOC.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Inauguration of Student Association (Department of Sociology and Social Work)

    The Inauguration of the Department of Sociology and Social Work Student Association was held on the 15th of September, 2021. On this day, the elected office bearers of the Student Association were officially enlisted and administered the oath of office. Ms Meenakshi Prashanth and Ms Ashni Maria Jose were the event’s hosts. The event began with the Lighting of the Lamp coupled with a melodious rendition of the Invocation song by Ms Dishita. Ms Sanhitha Nama welcomed the dignitaries gracing the occasion. The chief guest - Dr Sapna S, Head, School of Law, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru, the Chair - Dr Tony Sam George, Dean, School of Social Sciences, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru and Dr Victor Paul, Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work were part of the event.

    Dr Tony Sam George addressed the gathering asserting that “we can no longer lead like how we led before.” He imparted his pearls of wisdom regarding leadership and social contributions in the pandemic and post-pandemic era and congratulated the office-bearers. The chief guest Dr Sapna addressed the gathering and spoke extensively about how the association members need to be aware and mindful of the opportunities they can create, come across, and use effectively to contribute to empowerment and community transformation.

    After the dignitaries addressed the gathering, Ms Meenakshi invited and welcomed the office-bearers. This was followed by Ms Ashni asking Dr Victor Paul to conduct the oath-taking and install the office-bearers to the Student Association. After Dr Paul administered the oath, he addressed the gathering. He congratulated the previous Association members on their hard work and achievements and welcomed the new members.

    Mr Aashik Mathews, Former President of the Association, was invited to felicitate the gathering. He shared his experiences in the Association and presented the annual report for the previous academic year. He also inspired and encouraged the current members to take on challenges and uphold the integrity of the Association. Dr Om Prakash LT, the Sociology cluster coordinator, was then invited to address the gathering. He shared a couple of instances that helped great leaders build leadership qualities to inspire the office-bearers. Ms Keshavi Agarwal, President of the Association, shared the vision for the Student Association. Finally, the event was concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Ms Nikita H, Vice-President (UG).

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Book Talk: In Defence of the Ordinary by Dr Dev Nath Pathak

 In collaboration with Socius, the Applied Sociology Students’ Collective, the Department of Sociology and Social Work Students Association organised a conversation with Dr Dev Nath Pathak, Assistant Professor of Sociology, South Asian University, Delhi, on his book “In Defence of the Ordinary”. The event took place on 8th September 2021.

The event began with Neha Ashar of 3 MSOC delivering the welcome address. This was followed by Prof Victor Paul, Head of the Department, addressing the gathering. Meenakshi from 1 MSOC was then called upon to introduce Dr Dev Nath.

The discussion began with Dr Dev Nath discussing the central premise of his book. Dr Dev describes the book as one which could be read at ease. It is written in a conversational style and has been an excuse to interact with young scholars.

The book aims to make the self of the reader the subject of analysis; it is a rumination on the idea of ‘ordinary’. It tries to understand ways of looking at the ordinary from the ordinary itself. This view offers a point of departure from the structures we see in social reality. The focus here is on non-glamorous, mundane, imperfect aspects of our lives—for example, the drudgery of bringing up a child. The aim is not to romanticise the difficulties of bringing up a child but to understand the various possibilities that accompany it.

It celebrates an old and almost forgotten perspective called Lokayata. Dr Pathak says the book operationalises the Loyaktic tradition. An essential part of this tradition is Vitanda Vaad, a form of debate where a thesis is countered with an anti-thesis. However, the persons involved in this debate aim to understand the other’s perspective.

Human beings are psychoanalytic creatures with colliding emotions and inherently rebellious beings. Despite the hierarchy of emotions we have established, it is the recognition of less-talked-about emotions like hate.

Dr Dev proceeded to talk about addabhaasi (chitchat), and its variants across South Asia. Chitchat is a way by which we make sense of our ordinary lives. Here, we make observations and witty comments about our lives and one another that would have slipped even the attention of anthropologists and other scholars.

In response to a question asking what prompted him to write this book, Dr Dev says that the book is not an objective work and contains the author’s self. He also has commonsense ideas that are essential to social sciences. No science is free from commonsense, and there is a great deal of jugaad in scientific innovations.

He wrote this affected by a system where our professional priorities are misplaced. Everyone is expected to be a ‘famous name’ who performs extraordinarily well in any field they pursue. This book is, thus, a protest against the formula for success and the anxiety-inducing regime we are a part of.

Dr Pathak answered questions related to his book. One of them was concerned with truth becoming the dictum of the scientific empiricist faith. He answered this with various examples derived from multiple areas like mythology, films, and pop culture. The emphasis was on understanding the truth concerning half-truths to make sense of a post-truth world.

Dr Dev then shifted the conversation to classroom teaching. He questioned the practice of looking down upon students’ commonsensical understandings and the imperfect articulations of their observations and experiences. He believes that it is important to engage with these thoughts that provide the locational embodied knowledge of the students.

In response to a question from the audience, Dr Pathak discussed what he believes to be a ‘data war’ in the contemporary post-truth world. Data is presented by people with different perspectives, in a crisp format. He discusses Rushamon as his preferred resolution of this issue. The data war makes us forget that we all have half-truths or different perspectives of reality. We forget that we often selectively engage with data. Ordinariness on the contrary is not a monolithic whole but has dynamic layers to it. He notes that there can exist multiple perspectives and interpretations, as long as no one of them is proclaimed as the Truth.

The ordinary is also the site where various oppressions come into practice. We look to release ourselves from oppressive layers of ordinary to layers that are more liberating.

Dr Pathak aims to pass on to scholars the discomfort that he believes is necessary to improve our understandings, to go beyond the clear distinctions between various disciplines. It is necessary that we nurture this discomfort and sense of playfulness for a young discipline like Sociology to grow. We need to grow out of this fear of certain kinds of data such as photography and other visual media. We have been copying from sociology in the West but have not learnt some lessons such as moving forward from debates concerning objectivity and subjectivity, for example. In this context, he also stresses the importance of enabling students to connect classical sociology with contemporary sociology.

In response to a question on the ordinariness of silence, Dr Pathak talked about streams of consciousness that cannot be translated into speech. Silence has speech value but cannot always be articulated, just like dreams cannot be fully retrieved. Speech and silence can be vulnerable and distorted, but they are also incredibly powerful.

The session was concluded with a vote of thanks by Keshavi Agarwal of 3 MSOC.