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Virtual Book Club: A Covid Outreach Initiative by Iridescent

Iridescent: The English Creative Writing Society of JDMC hosted a Virtual Book Club for the society members. The aim of this exercise was to encourage the members to read and discuss their perspectives with fellow readers. It was a successful endeavour as members not only put their perspectives forward but there was an active engagement amongst them over various perspectives. It was also a well appreciated initiative during the lockdown.

The discussions were held once a week in a WhatsApp group from 11th April 2020 to 12th May 2020. The members discussed a novella, two poems and a short story. The texts were decided in advance and calendars were prepared to help the members take out time from their day and read the texts regularly.


The first text that was discussed was Animal Farm by George Orwell. The discussion took place over the course of two weeks. The members read the novella according to the calendar and two rounds of discussion took place. The first discussion was about the first half of the novella and the second discussion was about the second half of the novella. During the course of discussions, members put forward their understanding of the novella, its context and form.

This was followed by a discussion on two poems over the course of two weeks. The poems were "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop and "Villanelle" by Agha Shahid Ali. Both of the poems are written in French poetry style, Villanelle. The members discussed the ideas behind the poems and how the form was used to bring out the ideas. One of the major takeaways from this discussion was the enthusiasm of the members to incorporate this writing style into their writings.

The last text was a short story "Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol. The members had a good time reading the story as they discussed the nuances of writing and the events that took place in the story.


A conference meeting took place on 21st May 2020 to conclude the virtual meetings. The members discussed their experience over the course of one month. The initiative helped them during this period of physical distancing. A lot of them started to read more books during the course of this activity. The book club was concluded with members giving each other book recommendations.

The book club was a successful endeavour as the group actively took initiative to discuss the texts. Moreover, it inspired them to read and write more during these trying times.

   



Iridescent: The English Creative Writing Society of JDMC's Annual Report 2019-2020 C

Convenors: Dr. Antara Datta, Ms. Tarini Pandey and Ms. Tannu Sharma

Iridescent: The English Creative Writing Society of JDMC conducted Intra-College Freshers' Creative Writing on 11th September 2019. The theme of the competition was 'Underworld'. Kashvi Chandok from B.A. (H) English 1st year secured 1st position followed by Apoorva Tripathi from B.A. (Prog) 1st year who bagged the 2nd position.

The society also organised a Letter Writing Campaign in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation (India) for Mental Health Fiesta 2019. In the spirit of awareness and action, it was a social support movement where students wrote affirmative letters and postcards to strangers about ideas of happiness, mental wellness, hope and resilience from individual experiences of loss, anger, heartbreaks and rejections.

Iridescent also facilitates the production of the Annual college magazine, Janki. It has submissions for various genres, from every department in the college. The Magazine consists of sections on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, satire and the like. It is a Trilingual magazine with Sanskrit and Hindi sections in it. It also includes a section written and compiled by the Maths Department. Iridescent is responsible for curating the English section of the magazine and compiling the whole, along with the student design team, to craft the annual magazine of JDMC.

The society established a Virtual Book Club this academic session as well. The four-week long endeavour was initiated to encourage a habit of reading in the members and to further discussion surrounding literary trends. From 11 April 2020 to 12 May 2020, the members of the society discussed pre-decided texts, both prose and poetry, virtually. The first text that was discussed with the members was Animal Farm by George Orwell. This was followed by two sessions dedicated to discussing poetry- both forms and content- through poems such as "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop and "A Villanelle" by Agha Shahid Ali. The final text that was read and pondered upon by the members of the book club was "The Overcoat", a short story by Nikolai Gogol. The members of the society participated in this initiative enthusiastically. The prescribed readings became the basis through which they were able to understand various forms of writing and multiple genres as well. The discussions also gave them a platform to question and debate various themes prevalent in the text and connect them to the problems present in the society today. Moreover, it helped the members to be part of a group activity in a time when social distancing has forced everyone to occupy isolated spaces.


Report of SeminarC

'Gandhi in His Times and Ours', October4, 2019

As part of the Distinguished Speaker Series commemorating the Diamond Jubliee of the JDMC, and celebrating the 150th year of the Mahatma, Gandhi Study Circle and theHistory Department of Janki Devi Memorial College organized a day long Seminar on the theme 'Gandhi in His Times and Ours', on October4,2019. Renowned historian and scholar, Prof. Sudhir Chandra gave the keynote address, which was followed by the two panel discussions. The first panel was on the theme Remembering Gandhi, Forgetting Gandhi, with Prof. AlokRai and Prof. Shahid Amin as panelists. The second post-lunch panel was on the theme Gandhi's Philosophy in Practice, with Dr. NishikantKolge and Dr. RinkuLamba as panelists.

The seminar was inaugurated with the planting of saplings by Professor Sudhir Chandra, Prof. AlokRai and Prof. Shahid Amin. Thereafter, Dr. Saumya Gupta addressed the gathering on behalf of the Gandhi Study Circle. In her Introductory remarks Dr. Saumya Guptastressed upon how Gandhi Jayanti should be a time for introspection rather than ostentatious celebration. She spoke aboutthe pressing need to remember and engage with Gandhi and his philosophy, especially his insistence on truth in our present world dominated by fake news. Dr. Swati Pal, Principal, Janki Devi Memorial College also addressed the gathering and spoke about the close association of our founder ShriBrijKrishanChandiwalla (Bhaiji) with Gandhiji and his philosophy of selfless service, that forms the bedrock of the foundation of Janki Devi Memorial College. The Teacher-in-Charge of the History DepartmentMs. Natasha Nongbri addressed the gathering on behalf of the History Department and introduced the keynote speaker.

Professor Sudhir Chandra gave an enthralling keynote speech at the occasion. He spoke at length on the deep connection between Gandhiji and Bhaiji, on the importance of mother tongue and the importance of Gandhi in the present times, whetherit be with reference to the crisis of non- violence or the crisis of environment. Prof Chandra noted the myriad divisions and untruths prevalent in independent India that grieved Gandhi during his lifetime and would definitely have saddened him if he had lived longer. The keynote speaker was so well received that the jam-packed hall echoed with a long round of applause in response to the address by Prof. Chandra.

After a break for tea, the session opened with Professor AlokRai, who spoke about the idea of Hindustan and how it became a Hindi-land. He referred to Gandhi with reference to his propagation of Hindustani over Hindi language. The next in line of the distinguished speakers was ProfessorShahid Amin who spoke of Gandhi in the context of his close relations with the peasants. He touched upon hitherto unpublished anecdotes and testimonies of indigo peasants collected by Gandhi during the 1917 Champaran Satyagraha. Thus between them the three speakers touched upon various facet of Gandhi's life, work and philosophy from his emergence as an all India leader in 1917 to his brutal murder in 1948.

Dr. Saumya Gupta chaired the post lunch session and introduced the last two distinguished speakers, Dr. NishikantKolge and Dr. RinkuLamba. Dr. NishikantKolge'stalk delved upon Gandhi as a pragmatic tactician, a politician for whom the practical application of his ideaswas as important as their moral and philosophical considerations. He showed how Gandhi utilized the idea of non-violence not only as a spiritual belief but also as a strategyduring the freedom struggle. Dr. RinkuLambaspoke on a rather interesting and new aspect of Gandhi's understanding of religion and politics through the prism of Kabir and the Bhakti movement. She noted that both Kabir and Gandhi, removed as they are in time and space, believe in persuasion and democratic discussion between opposing views. The program ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. SandhyaGarg, member of the Distinguished Lecture SeriesCommittee and by Dr. ManishaAgnihotri on behalf History Department, JDMC.





IRIDESCENT: THE ENGLISH CREATIVE WRITING SOCIETY OF JDMC

About

Iridescent: The English Creative Writing Society of Janki Devi Memorial College was formed in 2015 on popular demand by students. It aims to cultivate a community of writers of every genre, from every department in the college. The activities of the society are carried out under the aegis of the Convenors- Dr. Antara Datta, Ms. Tarini Pandey and Ms. Tannu Sharma. The society focuses on the art of creative writing and nurtures the potential of the students in the same by conducting various workshops and holding impromptu writing sessions in the weekly meetings.


EVENTS

Since its inception, the society has conducted various workshops and competitions in the college.

Workshops for Prose, Poetry, Fiction, Journalism and Script-Writing see a huge number of interested candidates from within and outside the Creative Writing Society. Workshops by Esteemed literary figures like Akhil Katyal, Anannya Dasgupta and more have helped students understand the nuances behind good writing.

The society in collaboration with The Department of English organised a one-day international conference, titled Poetic Montage: Indian Poetic Traditions and the Emerging Subject/Citizen, on 2nd March 2017. Purushottam Agarwal, Vishwanath Tripathi, Ajmal Kamal, Uday Prakash and Michael Creighton were the speakers at the event. The conference had panel discussions about how poetry has been a major source of history. The event also saw students performing their pieces at the end .

The society conducted Intra-College Freshers' Creative Writing in 2016 and 2018, which had a huge turnout. Apart from that, the society also collaborates with the Department of English in organising The Atul Krishna Binodini Creative Writing Competition every year.

 


For the past two years, Iridescent has also hosted the Writers' Festival in collaboration with The Department of English and Logos: The English Literary Society of JDMC. The event has a unique format where a panel discussion takes place, followed by Individual workshops with the panelists about the genres they specialise in. The one-to-one discussions help aspiring writers to enhance their knowledge about writing.

 

Janki

Iridescent also contributes extensively for the Annual college magazine, Janki. It has submissions for various genres, from every department in the college. The Magazine consists of sections on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, satire and the like. It is a Trilingual magazine with Sanskrit and Hindi sections in it. Lumeire: The Film and Photography Society of JDMC works on a photo essay for the magazine. The Maths Department also has a section where they put forward the discipline in a way that it is understood by all. Iridescent is responsible for curating the English section of the magazine and compiling the whole, along with the design team of Lumeire, to craft the annual magazine of JDMC.



Society Meetings

The members of the society meet regularly and discuss literary works that inspire them. They also hold short writing and reading sessions to showcase their work amongst each other. It allows them to foster a community that is conducive for individuality and growth in writing.