In retrospect of what will be our nostalgia / Footprints of Sophia

By Anita Thomas

The college days will be soon over, and what we will be left with me is its education and nostalgia. This article is written in an attempt to know my college better, through its history. The research was done with the help of the records in the library.

The history of Sophia College is almost seven decades old, though the history of the Sophia College ‘building’ goes far beyond. The building owned by the erstwhile East India Company was granted, sold and resold to many prominent personalities. The East India Company granted the building, then a bungalow, and approximately 10 acres of its surrounding land to the Parsi family of Ashburner in the early 19th century, who named the bungalow as Somerset House. In 1882 Honourable Badruddin Tyabji acquired the property which was then sold to Mr. Hormusji Nosherwanjee Vakeel in 1917 who made some additions to the house. In 1923 the Maharaja of Indore acquired possession of the house and sold it to the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. It was from him that the Society of Sacred Heart, a society originated in France, working for the education and empowerment of women, bought the property in 1940.

Thus began a new history, the history of Sophia College, from 1940 with a Home and Social Culture Course for women, run by the functionaries of the society of the Sacred Heart. In 1941 with the introduction of the Arts programme, Sophia became the only college affiliated to the University of Bombay that catered exclusively to women’s education.

Though, the number of students in the college increased very slowly, with 29 in 1941 to 287 students by 1951.  In the second decade with the many additions to the building, initiation of the science faculty and the NCC (National Cadet Corps), etc. the numbers increased to 966 by the end of 1960, it had more than trebled. The second decade saw an altogether different Sophia College, with the introduction of the teaching of various new languages, subjects, departments, construction of the then ‘Multi-purpose hall’ but now called the  Bhabha hall and yes, the Canteen.

The period from 1961-1971 i.e the 3rd decade was one of the most eventful decade in the history of Sophia College. In this decade the college saw great expansion and the commencement of a number of new activities. In 1962 college received the permanent affiliation for the BA subjects, 1966 saw the construction of the science building and in 1968 to much of the student’s excitement unsupervised exams were introduced for the first time. The end of this decade also witnessed the housing of the Sadhana School, a school for the developmentally challenged children in the Sophia Campus and run by the College Trust. Also the Polytechnic, known as Sophia Shree Basant Kumar Somani Memorial Polytechnic was opened.

The fourth decade was marked by a number of new educational ventures. In 1976 Sophia had its first batch of SYJC students for both Science and the Arts. Between 1977 and 1980 a number of new departments were set up namely, Political Science, Life Science, Bio-Chemistry, and Education. Courses in Office Management and Banking were also introduced. The most significant student activities were the inter-collegiate youth- festivals. The first Kaleidoscope was held on December 16th 1977.

 The college has additions and improvements made to it every year and today it comprises of the main building (arts), the science building, the Anderson Annex and the Polytechnic. Thus, all in all Sophia College for Women throughout it’s long history has grown and developed like a tree with not only it’s  branches spreading wide and high but also it’s roots going deeper and stronger, standing firm and true to its motto- ‘Urudhva Mulla’.

 (NB: A written record of the events from 1977- present, was not available in the library)

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They died a slow, unnatural death

By Anita Thomas

Where the streams flow,

Where the lamps glow

Where the lands gloat,

When the flowers bloat.

 

 Where the top of the mound,

Amuse with the hollow sound

Where at the end of the day,

They all sit to eat and pray.

 

Where the lips are rough,

As the food is not enough

Where the bellies are rounded,

As the skills are bounded.

 

They, came from there

With hopes high, but hands bare

They, came from there

Leaving their fields and those who care.

 

Employment is all they came for

Hand to mouth was what they asked for

Name they thought wouldn’t matter

Life now, they thought wouldn’t shatter.

Urban was their destination,

Hard work was their determination

New skills were to be learnt,

Much more income was to be earned.

 

While the elders worked to build

Tall towers and corporate guild

The little ones sat crying aside,

Waiting for their mothers to come beside.

 

 They worked whole day,

No time to eat together or pray.

Soon the elders learnt to be busy,

Soon their children learnt not to be fussy.

 

They travelled from one to the other end,

Constructing buildings was never to end.

Living in shanties had become a habit,

Wherever they could find a job, they had to grab it.

 

They couldn’t go back to starve and die,

It was just better to share a small pie.

They lived each day at a time,

Every minute counted in earning a dime.

 

 

The elders grew older,

The children grew older.

Inhaling dust and losing breath,

They died a slow, unnatural death.

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Photo-essay

By Prachiti Dhopatkar

Theme: The sun is the golden orb and the sea is its glittering image

Every time what we see about Mumbai or India is the dark life (slums, traffic,crowd etc) but in this photo-essay I have tried to show the beauty of Mumbai which is in its ‘sea’. The Juhu Beach, Marine Drive, Marve Beach etc. I have also tried to capture the salt pans of Mira Road it is place that should be captured. Most of these pictures are from mobile.

Marve Beach

Juhu Beach

Juhu Beach

Juhu Beach

Marve Beach

Mira Road Salt Pans

Marve Beach 2

Marine Drive

Marve in the Evening

Bandstand

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FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT

by Aastha Katyal

As Indians who have strong family values and bonds -we know there is nothing worse than a family torn apart.
When a man or a woman is jailed, given a strict term such as life imprisonment or a death sentence, we seldom think of the families they leave behind, if any. In case of notorious criminals and rapists, we hardly have any pity. “They got what they deserved. They asked for it.” Maybe, they did. But what about those who are imprisoned for nothing? What about those who are given strict sentences by the court for absolutely no fault of theirs, the judgement being based on ridiculous “evidence” and false, fabricated details?
Yes, I am talking explicitly about Dr. Binayak Sen, no one else. His case has grabbed so much of media attention over the past two months, ever since the Chattisgarh court sentenced him to life imprisonment on charges of sedition, his crime being a Maoist sympathiser.
What he had actually been doing, in fact, was his duty as a doctor. He had been treating Maoist leader Narayan Sanyal’s hand, in jail, under the supervision of the jailor and with his permission. It was during this time that he has been said to act as a courier between Sanyal and Piyush Guha, a businessman, and as a carrier of letters of correspondence between the two.
Dr. Sen, who is the General Secretary of PUCL [People’s Union for Civil Liberties], has been active as a human rights activist, working in the backward regions of Chattisgarh, for the tribals’ benefits. A documentary made by the acclaimed filmmaker Anand Patwardhan shows how he was among the few doctors, who worked in the back of beyond for the tribals and other locals of the state, in a hospital, that obviously did not pay him in gold, and yet he continued to strive for the welfare of his patients, often foregoing meals, carrying his young daughter with him to work, simultaneously looking after her.
A talk by Mrs. Ilina Sen, his wife, brought tears to my eyes and enraged me at the ridiculousness of his trial and the miscarriage of justice by the judiciary and the police – our supposed caretakers.
A few facts everyone must know with regard to his case, the trial and the judgement, something which the media refuses to pick up, discuss and debate:
a) The Judge was changed thrice. Not once, but thrice. And the Judge who ultimately gave the verdict was on probation.
b) The police in two of their documents submitted to the court mention two different places of arrest for Piyush Guha, something which instead of being looked into by the Judge, is brushed aside as a typing error!
c) The police did not come themselves to arrest Dr. Sen but when he got to know the police was going to be coming for him, he went himself to the police station to enquire into the matter and was thus arrested. Whoever has heard of a Maoist going himself to surrender to the authorities?
d) The police broke into their house and picked up minor, ridiculous details and tagged them to be anti-national or anti-governement. For instance, Ilina Sen, Dr. Sen’s wife had received a forwarded mail in her inbox mentioning as an acronym ISI which actually stood for something completely different and referred to a harmless institute, but was taken to be Pakistan’s intelligence service, and thus Mrs. Ilina Sen was said to have links with the ISI!
e) The Sens had, in their home computer, files and junk like any other family would have. They also had mails in their inbox from friends – Hindus, Christians and Muslims alike. But every mail from any Muslim person was blown out of proportion and thus they were termed to be in correspondence with “terrorists” if you please!
f) An article in Open magazine, Volume 2, Issue 43 dated 31 January, 2011 by Priyanka Borpujari talks of how Aparajita, Dr. Sen’s younger daughter’s algebra notebook was seized by the Chattisgarh police, as they suspected it might contain Maoist code.

All these incidents not only highlight the sad state of affairs as far as the justice system in our country is concerned but also the ridiculousness of the police while gathering evidence, the clear manipulation of the court, the lax attitude with which this trial was approached, and the gross fabrication of evidence by the “lawmakers”.
All this constitute not even half of the atrocities committed by those in authority upon Dr. Sen and his family in the process of his trial.
While the media has its own reasons of not covering these aspects of the matter – be it editorial policy or vested interests (we all know what they might be!) – these points are not known to the millions of people out there who are being fed the government propaganda as far as the case and its details are concerned.
Dr. Sen too is a family man, and while I would never appeal to the public to consider such things for any other criminal, an important point to be noted is that Dr. Sen is NOT a criminal but a doctor, and a human rights activist who raised his voice against state atrocities upon common, vulnerable people through movements like Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt and thus is paying the price of his efforts. The mere fact that he has been given a sentence as harsh as life imprisonment for an offence which usually guarantees not more than 3 years of imprisonment is widely being speculated as an effort on the part of the government to shut him up.
I have seen personally the tears in the eyes of Mrs. Ilina Sen and her younger daughter Aparajita Sen, as the former spoke to us about these horrific acts of the government, the police and the judiciary and believe me, they are NOT fake. I have sensed the helplessness of a woman who has been fighting a battle for the truth, for her husband’s innocence against vile authorities for months and years now, and do not want her to give up. But a person can do only so much all on their own.
While she has the support of her friends, family, co-workers, and many renowned personalities like Mr. Anand Patwardhan himself, what she and the entire family needs is our support. We, the common people, need to wake up and fight for Dr. Sen. We need to fight for the right, fight against the corrupt system that exists today, fight against the atrocities committed by the state and the police on common people. And this is a fight we cannot afford to lose, for today it is them, tomorrow it could be us!

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It’s 21st century-so what female oppression still exists.

By Ruchi malviya

Last summer I met a girl named ‘Disco’ in Chanderi, a village in the interiors on Madhya Pradesh where my grandmother reside. She stayed with her father and a brother. Not a single person in the entire village use to talk to her. People use to kick her even if she came close to their houses. Looking at all this I asked my grandmother to explain me the reason for this ghastly reaction of villagers towards her. It was shocking to know that at the age of 6 she was raped by a group of men from the same village. This incident turned her mentally retarded. This was not the end. From that time she was raped very often by her own brother and father and it still continues.

Today India is talked in terms of globalization, industrialization, nuclear development, economic progress and most importantly democracy then why do we forget thousands of women who are burned daily because they did not reproduce a son and girls who are sold or exported for money. Though India has progressed but still we are rooted deep in our age-old culture and its belief. Women were oppressed then, women are oppressed now. On what basis do we define our country to be democratic, giving all its citizen right to equality?

Today whenever a girl is molested or raped the first question that the entire society asks is what was she wearing? A girl is expected to abide all norms laid by the society but nobody will question a man. It is women who should dress decently, should not go out of house late in night, be a good home maker, good child bearer etc etc. But what about men? Off course they are men they can do whatever they wish too.

Remember the dialogue from the movie ‘No one killed Jessica’ “Mujhe mera munnu wapas chahiya” (I want my son munnu back-aid by the mother of the accused). It speaks a lot about our society, the position of male and the power that exists in this orthodox society.

How much ever we call ourselves democratic but patriarchy still exists. And this is further reinforced by television soaps and cinema.

Every girl must have had an experience where she must have being furious but at the same time helpless on the situation when a guy must have molested her on road or any public place. But we cannot afford to be quiet today. There has to be an end to it. We will have to fight our own battle. We cannot be victims’ day in and out. If we wait for other to speak up and system to change overnight god forbid u could be another girl raped by your own loved once.

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THE LANGUAGE OF EDUCATION

by Aastha Katyal

I was asked once to write my views on whether education should be in the mother tongue of a person or English. So these are the thoughts that I penned down.
Education can be defined either in the conventional way – decided by people assumed to be in a position of higher authority over us – or one can draw their own interpretations of what is education all about. I understand education as anything and everything that a person might pick up, learn from and get inspired by, in the course of a lifetime. Education never stops, it transgresses the barriers of age.
So does it really matter if this education is in English, or French or even Sindhi, or Marathi? Yes, for the sake of effective communication one needs to learn the language of the person one may be dealing with. We as media aspirants are constantly told to learn Marathi for effective communication with people, in case we work in Mumbai or any other Maharashtrian city. But education/ knowledge per say can be taken in, in any language, as long as it adds value to our lives and the lives of others around us.
While some may argue that English is the best language to learn in, given the age of globalisation and English being a universal language, spoken in most countries, the flip side of this argument would be that a person may end up gaining more knowledge and wisdom through education in their own mother tongue, which might make it easier for them to grasp information and hence imbibe it.
Hence ultimately, according to me, it is what you gather and how effectively you use the knowledge to enrich your own lives and the world around you that is important. Instead of stressing on the language of learning one should focus on the elements of knowledge.

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FUTURE REVEALED

By Melissa Fernandes,

Jyoti Jhangiani

The secrets held by future have long fascinated people around the world, and since the beginning of time mankind has longed to unlock those mysteries. While some believe that the future is already written and others believe that it is always in motion, dependent on our actions. Out of curiosity we attempt to see what lies before us- good or bad. For this, we seek help and go to fortune tellers and satisfy our needs.  Fortune-telling, an art of predicting ones future through supernatural means, more often for commercial gains is what people opt for. It is similar to the religious practice known as divination.

I spoke to Jyoti Jhangiani, a professional tarot card reader in Chembur and explored her profession. She says, “I took up this profession when I discovered my interest and fascination in the study of tarot card reading and since than I’ve been in this profession. It has been three years. In my view, talent is not inherited but learnt.” Millions of people look up to them in hope of a bright and better future as they trust their predictions. For many of us, the thought of someone predicting our future sounds fiction as it goes against our way of thinking and beyond belief but many of these professionals have proved us wrong. They have predicted and it didn’t go wrong.

But what exactly makes these people who were once ordinary take up such professions? Is it inherited or does it develop with time? “My interest in this profession began right from childhood when I was exposed to astrology which was spellbinding but later learnt about tarot card reading and felt that it was this profession that I would even want to venture in and I’m happy I’ve made the right choice. I maintained my interest and worked to enhance it.”

True, these professionals have an interesting story to acquaint us with. They have also achieved their dreams through hard work and set a fine example for us teaching us the way to success which is impossible without facing difficulties. But are they really open in sharing their experiences? When asked about their most memorable experiences in their profession, Jyoti reluctantly said, “No. I cannot reveal any personal information about my clients as it’s against my professional ethics. Although, I have one thing to say that it becomes difficult for me to tell my clients the truth especially when it reveals an unpleasant event in their future. But I believe in saying the truth to people without any sugar coated words and I manage to deal with people of different temperaments.”

The choice for this profession is risky, but passion overcomes all risks. It could also hamper their personal lives as the faculty to predict ones future may be disturbing. When asked about the effect of their profession on their personal life as they have the faculty to predict ones future, Jyoti says, “I know how to maintain a perfect balance between my personal and professional life and I keep the two totally and absolutely separate. My profession has not yet affected my personal life. Tarot card reading is a challenging job but I know how to handle the responsibility of the job and also know how to live up to the expectation of the people by keeping their faith intact in a dignified manner. I have faith in God and my clients trust my reading completely which is important for me to know. I have repeated clients that help me build my morale. I also give my clients one advice which is to keep a positive outlook towards everything and let miracles happen”, adds Jyoti.

Jyoti encounters clients from all backgrounds and she uses different methods to tackle with their problems. She has also been in this profession for several years. “My motivation to continue in this profession comes from the opportunity to meet different people, gain knowledge and experience out of their lives. By helping people from different walks of life is what satisfies me personally and professionally,” adds Jyoti. This profession is undoubtedly interesting and fascinating and many practice it making a living out of it.

 

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