Inside JGU 2019 - Issue 11 (November)

1. JSIA organises field trips to National Gandhi Museum and India Foundation and Centre for Afghanistan Studies organises play

 

The first-year students of B.A. Global Affairs from the Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA) undertook a trip to the National Gandhi Museum and Library, New Delhi on November 5, 2019. The class was accompanied by faculty in charge (of section B) of the course, ‘Introduction to Political Philosophy’, Dr. Sriparna Pathak, Adjunct Faculty, JSIA.

 

 

The year 2019 marked the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation- Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi’s philosophies are still very much alive in various aspects of the Indian polity and society, and the first-year students of B.A. in Global Affairs from the JSIA experienced various aspects of Gandhi’s life and his struggles against racism in South Africa, during a trip to the National Gandhi Museum and Library, New Delhi on November 5, 2019. The class was accompanied by faculty in charge (of section B) of the course, ‘Introduction to Political Philosophy’, Dr. Sriparna Pathak. Gandhi’s philosophies which forms a part of the curriculum of the course ‘Introduction to Political Philosophy’ came alive as the students heard the recreated heartbeat of Mahtma Gandhi or heard voice recordings of Gandhi and saw the bullet that pierced through the Father of the Nation. The trip helped the students understand the kind of discourses that prevailed during India’s freedom struggle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

 

 

2. Visit to India Foundation

A group of 13 students from the M.A. Diplomacy, Law and Business (DLB) batch of 2019 from JSIA, accompanied by course in charge Dr. Pathak visited India Foundation on November 7, 2019.

 

 

The disconnect between theories of international relations and actual foreign policy making is something that is felt across the globe. In order to understand how foreign policy analysts, contribute to foreign policy making, how they bypass the chasm between theory and praxis and the various forms through which foreign policy actually shapes up, a group of 13 students from the M.A. Diplomacy, Law and Business (DLB) batch of 2019 from JSIA, accompanied by course in charge Dr. Sriparna Pathak visited India Foundation on November 7, 2019. The students met with Senior Fellows from India Foundation and had a fruitful discussion on challenges in the field, personal and professional hurdles in the field of research, analysis and foreign policy making, publications and further avenues for collaborations between JSIA and India Foundation.


The twitter link to India Foundation’s publicity of the event is as follows:

https://twitter.com/indfoundation/status/1192370679959572481?s=12

 

3. CAS hosts play ‘Parwana’ at India International Centre

The ‘Parwana’ play was funded by the India-Afghanistan Foundation, Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi. Centre for Afghanistan Studies of JGU also collaborated with the India International Centre, New Delhi to stage the play. Students from Performing Arts society and JSIA acted, directed and organised the play. Professor Raghav Sharma, Associate Professor, JSIA and Ms. Bilquees Daud, Senior Research Associate, JSIA & CAS interns coordinated and supervised the whole project production. The show ran to a packed audience on 2nd November, 2019, in the C.D. Deshmukh Auditorium, IIC, New Delhi and drew much applause and appreciation by the audience.

 

The Charge of the Affairs and acting Ambassador of Afghanistan, H.E. Mohammad Tahir Qadiry, appreciated the actors and the event organisers for their hard work and a heart-warming performance. He also announced the embassy’s support for staging the production by JGU in other cities of India.

 

‘PARWANA’ A Story of Hope

‘Stories remain in our hearts, even when all else is gone.’

 

They remind us of our glorious past, they make us feel powerful emotions and most importantly, they teach us incredible lessons. What better way do we have, other than stories, to understand the world we live in? Especially those stories, that have an authentic undertone and lay fresh narratives with mighty messages to the world!

 

This thought about the power of stories led the Centre for Afghanistan Studies (CAS) to come up with a unique idea to fulfil one of the purposes of the centre- to portray Afghanistan in a light that hasn’t been quite mainstream and shed light on the cultural practices, history and lives of the people. Instead of doing this through the usual blog-piece or a public seminar, CAS carried out a theatre production to attract, entertain and engage the audience very well.

 

The critically acclaimed film, ‘The Breadwinner’, directed by Nora Twomey felt like the perfect story to adapt amongst all the other folktales and short stories. The movie not only depicts the culture, lifestyle and challenges of Afghanistan and its people, it also conveys a beautiful, much relevant, message to the world. It was exactly what CAS wad looking for.

 

The most prevalent themes within ‘The Breadwinner’ include bravery, loyalty, love, acts of kindness, friendship and hope. Our adaptation of the movie, entitled ‘Parwana’ dwells a little deeper into showcasing these themes. The modified story opens in present day New Delhi, where a grown up, Professor Parwana is preparing to travel to Goa to meet her long-lost friend, Delawar, after thirteen years. In the process she re-lives memories and experiences of her past in Kabul, Afghanistan, which she thought had been relegated to the darkest corners of her mind.

 

 

Her journey to Goa makes her travel back in time to 2001, when she lived her life as a young teenage girl living under the dark shadow of Taliban rule. Following her father’s wrongful arrest that year by the Taliban, Parwana’s family finds itself in a precarious situation with the sole breadwinner being in jail and women being forbidden to work in public. Circumstances force Parwana to dawn the identity of a young boy Aatish who becomes the family’s breadwinner. Parwana befriends Delawar and shares her aspirations to find and rescue her father, thus embarking on a dangerous journey in uncertain times. Together Parwana and Delawar together seek to negotiate daily hardships of life, often finding peace and drawing strength through the stories Parwana invents.

 

 

When an emotional and grown up Parwana reunites with Delawar in Goa, they both share their stories as they sit by the beach in peace, something that they dreamt to about so often, during their hard times in Kabul.They worry about the other girls who are still suffering, like them, and decide to help them by spreading awareness to the entire world, and by letting the suffering women know that there’s a way out. During most discussions about refugees and countries that haven’t been safe for people, we often forget about one important voice in the conversation. The voice of the people who go through this. There’s a stereotype that has been constructed in the mainstream media, about how refugees’/ people living in unsafe countries’ lives are all about sorrow, difficulties, and unfortunate fates.

 

CAS wanted to break that stereotype through this production. While it is true that their lives are definetely harder than ours, yet we often forget that these zones of conflict are lived in by people with robust human expectations. People always find a way to soothe themselves, to draw strength, to find hope. Like how Parwana does. She found comfort, strength and relief through stories and she offered those to the people close to her, like her mother, sister and friend.

 

 

The ‘Parwana ‘play was funded by the India-Afghanistan Foundation, Embassy of The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi. CAS also collaborated with the India International Centre, New Delhi to stage the play. Students from Performing Arts society and School of International Affairs of O.P. Jindal Global university acted, directed and organized the play. Professor Raghav Sharma, Ms. Bilquees Daud & CAS interns coordinated and supervised the whole project production. The show ran to a packed audience up on 2nd November, 2019, in the C.D. Deshmukh Auditorium, IIC, New Delhi and drew much applause and appreciation by the audience.

 

The Charge of the Affairs and acting Ambassador of Afghanistan, H.E. Mohammad Tahir Qadiry, appreciated the actors and the event organisers for their hard work and a heart-warming performance. He also announced the embassy’s support for staging the production by JGU in other cities of India.