From the Pen of the President, Women Studies and Development Cell, Jesus and Mary College

on Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our logo, designed by Priyanka Tampi
an artist blessed by the Almighty
A few moments back, I signed for the last time as the President of the Women Studies and Development Cell, Jesus and Mary College. Nostalgia. I was drafting the Annual Report of WSDC, to be published in the the JMC Annual Magazine (and I cannot remember its name). For those who do not know, WSDC has been my alter ego for the past two years in JMC. It has been that aspect of JMC, which I have been most intimately attached to. My friends call me a 
workaholic, and I reckon that is because I enjoy working like nothing else. And, its been WSDC, which has given ample of avenues to work in, to take initiatives in precisely the direction I have desired and which has not constrained me in any manner whatsoever. I have had a mad, at times even a rough time working, but on not less than thirty times in the past year, I have had a smug smile on my somnolent face, reflecting the satisfaction in my heart at having done something constructive during the day.

With a member strength of more than 180, the year ahead did seem an uphill journey, but the cooperation of each one of them (with, of course, few disappointing exceptions) made my tenure as the President a smooth, delightful and memorable experience. We functioned as a single, cohesive, well functioning, and a well intentioned unit, and managed to succeed at endeavours that did not seem viable at the time of their inception. We've had our little failures, but they have only served at making us understand and learn a bit more, and improve as we go ahead. Personally, as the President, I received a lot of love, affection, and respect from my juniors, but the most gratifying was when I received a note from one of my batchmates, Ancy Thomas, congratulating me for my work and calling WSDC my 'baby'- something I have nurtured in the past two years to make it reach to the level it is at present. Of course, I could not have done it alone; many names are responsible for it having journeyed successfully this year.The most important among them, I feel, is the preceding President of WSDC, Rashneet Kaur- the most dynamic leader I have known, and a woman who essayed her role with a poise and perfection which was very nearly inspirational.

A satisfied Core Team after successfully concluding the
Declamation Competition
From left- Riya (my most trusted), Namita(the silent worker),
Sharon (her creativity on the board at the back), myself, Ishani (my magazine head),
Priyanka (whom I cannot work without, simply)
I can go on and on about my society, my WSDC, almost my doppelganger, but I feel its not required. Enclosed below is the report I wrote, and although its painfully concise (enlisting only about six of our twenty endeavours), I guess it reflects enough let readers know that we are a society with purpose. And dedication. And sincerity. I wish I could write more, but for that, I will wait for my own annual report- a ten page document that talks exclusively about WSDC

The Women Studies and Development Cell is one of the six compulsory societies of Jesus and Mary College. Until last year, our society enrolled members only from the second and the third year, but from the academic year 2010-11, we enlarged our membership to include girls from the first year also in our society. With a vision that aims at creating more awareness and sensitivity among the youth on gender related issues, and a desire in our hearts at contributing our bit in improving the adverse and prejudiced conditions for the fairer sex, WSDC does not aim for the stars; in stead, it looks to promote simplistic, and realistic ideas and thoughts, all of which point in the direction of general welfare of womanhood. In each of our member, we look forward to a sincerity and an incorrigible urge towards doing something constructive for the society.  WSDC has always made its presence felt on the campus, our last year being exceptionally successful with a plethora of diverse events being organized by us, viz., talks, seminars, workshops, cultural programmes, debates, etc. We, at WSDC, have a reputation of putting a lot of heart in what we do, and being in a progressive girls' college only aids us in all our endeavors.

Launch of the Annual Report 2009-10 during the Orientation Ceremony,
held on 18th August, 2010
The year began for us with the ritualistic Orientation Ceremony, where all the members are inducted into the society, and the year ahead is planned. At the same event, we also launched our facebook page, to keep our members better apprised of all our activities and to promote discussions on matters of concern. The Orientation Ceremony was followed by many more events, aimed at sensitizing the college students about different issues like Honor Killings, Female Genital Mutilations, Cervical Cancer, Human Trafficking, Healthy Food Habits, Girl Child and about a dozen more topics which directly or indirectly affect our existence as a society. One of the first proud moments for us was when Mr. Shiv Khera, a renowned motivational speaker and author visited our campus to address a full capacity audience in the MPH. He spoke about the Value System in the Indian Society, and the meaningful role played by womenfolk in preserving and upholding our values. WSDC, to emphasize its dedication at fighting the most pernicious of evils prevailing in our society, invited Smt. Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, President, International Congress of Woman and the Chairperson, Committee for Review of National Policy on Women, Government of India, as the keynote speaker for a National Level Symposium on Contemporary Social Evils on 12th November 2010. The Symposium was a resounding success and the topics discussed, viz, Honor Killings, Human Trafficking and Prostitution were further taken up by our member students as the theme for the Annual WSDC project, prepared and printed under the guidance of Dr. Nivedita Giri, with Namita Joseph as the student head. The President of WSDC, Saumya Kulshreshtha, who also serves as the Campus Ambassador of Teach for India, conducted a placement talk for JMC students along with the recruitment officer of TFI.

Our Annual Cultural Festival, Jagriti '11, only into its second year, attracted massive participation from many colleges across Delhi University. Besides holding events like Folk Dance Competition, Painting Exhibition, Creative Writing etc, WSDC also launched its official logo, designed by Priyanka Tampi, head of the WSDC Creativity Team.  The logo, a simple yet attractive illustration, reads 'Being Me'- a tag line inspired from our Annual Magazine- "Being A Woman, Being Me!". Our magazine was very well received and lauded by staff and students alike in its first issue last year. It is now ready as a new and improved magazine for its second print to be released soon. To cater to the very contemporary concerns of keeping fit, WSDC organized a Wellness Check Up Camp where many girls received valuable tips on a healthy lifestyle and diet. We also conducted a talk of the upcoming concept of Stem Cell Research and a Registration Drive for stem cell donors as a follow up of the same. One of the novel steps in the past year was to invite a counselor, Ms. Shifa Haq, on biweekly visits to our college, with whom, girls can share their problems and seek appropriate advice. Besides this, we conducted a declamation competition, a field trip to Ma Dham- a widow ashram, workshops by NGOs including Smile Foundation, and GDs to promote dialogue on several issues.

The banner for Women's Day
 The year for us culminated with a huge celebration of womanhood on 8th March, 2011- the International Women's Day. Many eminent speakers, including Ms. Barkha Singh, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, a dynamic lawyer, Ms. Rama Vaidyanathan, a prolific Bharatnatyam exponent, graced the occasion. The event started by a captivating dance performance by Radhika Kathal, member of WSDC and a disciple of Ms. Geeta Chandran, and, it ended with a soul stirring Odissi performance by Ms. Kavita Dwibedi, Director of Odissi Academy, New Delhi.

Ready to host the Women's Day-
In style!
WSDC has always received a lot of encouragement and motivation from the Principal of Jesus and Mary College, Sister Marina John who takes keen interest in all our activities and guides us for improving at each step we take. WSDC is blessed to have as its Convenors Dr. Alka Marwaha and Dr. Amita Tiwari, who have never said no to any initiative we wanted to undertake. They have been wholly encouraging, and since the very beginning of the year, they had high expectations from us, expectations which we have hopefully been able to fulfill. A big, heartfelt thank you to all the member of WSDC core team- Rosemary Lobo and Nikita Sailesh in particular, for tirelessly working behind the scenes to make every single event a huge success.It would be appropriate also to thank Rashneet Kaur, who served as the WSDC President last year, for doing wonderful work during her tenure and laying a foundation for us to build upon. And, lastly, none of our events in WSDC can be made possible without the support of the non teaching staff, who aid us in all conceivable manners and work very hard to make every event of every department and society possible and successful.

-Saumya Kulshreshtha
Women Studies and Development Cell,
Jesus and Mary College

Core Team of 2009-10
Seated to my left is the graceful and dynamic ex-President, Rashneet Kaur,
 whom I succeeded as the President this year