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ANHAD: Invoking Thoughts. A discussion on Stanford Prison Experiment

Anhad is a voluntary discussion forum started by the Second-Year students of NMIMS KPM School of Law, under the guidance of Mr. Ravi Saxena (Assistant Professor, Political Science). Anhad serves as a platform for the discussion and deliberation on contemporary issues. This discussion forum creates a conducive and comfortable environment, allowing students to put forth their opinions freely.

A remarkable aspect about Anhad is that it is a completely voluntary forum and students attend these sessions based on their interest levels. Everyone also gets a say on the topics to be discussed for the next session. It is aimed at developing presentation skills, analytical and argumentative skills as well as general awareness.

Anhad is organised by the students of the second year, under the mentorship of Dr. Ravi Saxena. The initiative has been lauded by the Dean, Dr. Paritosh Basu himself, who attended the recent session and participated in the same.

The very first session of Anhad was held on 13th October, 2017 on the issue of the “Rohingya Crisis”. The discussion focused on the very nature of the crisis, war crimes by the Myanmar military forces and the role of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Primarily, it involved deliberation on India’s role in the crisis, the possibility of India permitting the refugees to reside within its territories and its past history in doing the same. Points were raised regarding the potential hazards of housing refugees in India, and the tussle with China for supremacy over ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations, Myanmar being one of them. If India openly welcomes Rohingyas’, it might push Myanmar closer to China) countries and India not being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.

The prevailing issues in countries (such as Australia) which have already housed fleeing Rohingya population such as radicalization by Islamic groups (such as ISIS) and other violent disturbing incidents, such as the Bodh Gaya attack in the state of Bihar. The general consensus that was arrived at was that India should not deport or close its doors to Rohingyas from its neighbouring territory, unless, there are cases of threat to security. The Chinese (anti-Rohingya) stance was condemned. It was largely considered that as a champion of peace and democracy, Aung Sang Suu Kyi must play a more decisive and democratic role in this matter.

On 4th December 2017, the students of NMIMS KPM School of Law got together once again to dissect, discuss and debate one of the burning issues in International Relations, “The Growing Chinese Supremacy in Asia and the world”, in the second session of Anhad.

The discussion commenced with the opening talk on China’s potential as a superpower. This was followed by a wide-ranging discussion on China’s international strategies and its increasing dominance in international organizations as well as in the world economy. The various projects undertaken by China including the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) plan and the implications of this project on global trade, were discussed considering the technical details of the projects.

The increasing involvement and interest of China in the developing industry of clean energy production was critically reviewed by the participants. The political orientations of China with regard to its relationship with countries in the Asian sub-continent were discussed with the help of humorous videos which made the discussion more vibrant. A few thoughts on U.S-China ties were an inevitable part of the discussion.

The participants brought the discussion to a close with a general session of questions which were collectively answered with inputs from different participants. This edition helped the participants develop a broader perspective on China’s emerging position and better understand the long-term repercussions of China’s controversial moves.

The Third session was held on 11th January 2018, on the topic “Growth of Journalism in India and Abroad”. The discussion began with the Dean himself sharing his views on the topic. He stressed on the lack of media coverage in rural areas, the need for inclusive journalism and how it will aid in the development of ‘Bharat’ (using it as a term for the rural sector of India). He highlighted the points of difference between Indian and American journalistic methods and principles.

The Dean also commended the initiative of the students in organising and promoting a platform like Anhad and recognized it as an integral part of Kirit P Mehta School of Law.

The discussion resumed with the spotlight on the negative aspects of journalism. Sensationalism of news, media trials of cases like the Aarushi Talwar murder and Sheena Bora murder, and the importance given to the increasing viewership by media houses were some aspects covered. Points were also raised as to the need for viewers themselves to evolve beyond such news, be responsible viewers by scrutinizing the content shown and help direct the nature and quality of news.

It was agreed that corporate influence and ownership of media groups, as well political affiliations and relationships were crucial factors that promoted sensationalism of news. This, it was considered promotes aggressive and biased reporting.

The issue of curtailing journalistic freedom was also a key point of discussion.

Points were also raised as to the difference in the quality of content in international news houses such as BBC and Fox News and the local channels broadcasting in vernacular languages. A comparison of the difference in the nature of the viewership that these channels catered to was also made during the discussion. The third session witnessed the largest turnout in Anhad’s brief history. The topic at hand and concept of Anhad itself garnered a lot of interest and received large, positive feedback.

In the latest, Seventh Session, Anhad, a Kirit P. Mehta School of Law student’s initiative of Discussion, Dialogue and Possibilities through invoking thoughts, took place on April 27, 2018 at 01:00 PM at Juhu Jagruti Hall, Mithibai Building. Mr. Samar Mehdi, a young researcher on Bhopal Gas Tragedy and a singing sensation showed first his documentary titled- Bhopal Shed-Unsaid, 2013. The show of the documentary was followed by Open discussion where Prof. Uma Narain, Dean (In-charge), JD School of Liberal Arts raised observations about the role of artists in representing the ills of the Bhoapl Gas Tragedy. Many students raised issues and shown concern about the role of government in dealing with the issue. Discussion was followed by Samar Mehdi’s of-his-own-kind singing. He claimed that his singing also is inspired by the pain and agony he could observe amongst the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Students’ like the ‘power-packed’ songs that had both- substance and music.

Mr. Anunay, Member of Anhad team, along with Professor Ravi Saxena, mentor, Anhad, thanked Samar Mehdi for joining Kirit P. Mehta School of Law and making us more informed about the issue and creating a ‘sensibility’ towards the pains of those who suffered the tragedy. Juhu Jagruti Hall was packed with students, faculty members, and others who joined from outside as invited guests.

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