The English Academy entered the academic year of 2019-2020 on a note of euphoria, reaching new heights as a paradigm of literary excellence. Under the inspirational guidance of the Deputy President, Dr. Chandrani Biswas, the Academy extended its horizon by involving the whole Xaverian community. Ably led by the Secretary, Soumyadeep Saha, the Assistant Secretary, Shivangi Sen, and the Core Committee, the English Academy became an inclusive refuge for creatively inclined minds across all departments.
As the team worked with unwavering dedication, it was no surprise that the annual cultural event of the society, held on October 1st, 2019, carved itself a place of honor in the annals of the Academy’s history. The theme of the event had a universal appeal –the tradition of love in English literature. The Fr. Depelchin Auditorium was meticulously decorated by a diligent team of young member-students to welcome participants from several colleges across the city. The program commenced with a motivating address from Rev Dr. Dominic Savio, Principal, St. Xavier’s College Autonomous, Kolkata. It was followed by Deputy President, Dr. Chandrani Biswas’ welcome address, in which she recalled the efforts of the Academy over the preceding months in planning the one-day extravaganza, encouraging every participant to unleash their full creative potential.
The dignitaries who graced the inauguration were Prof. Bertram Silva, Vice Principal, Arts and Science, Prof. Arghya Banerjee, Dean of Arts, Prof. Tapati Dutta, Dean of Science, Prof. Suchandana Bhattacharyya, Head, Department of English, and other esteemed professors of the department. The day was packed with engaging events, both on and off stage. The auditorium remained the hub of activity and joie de vivre as events like Poetry Slam, Literary Quiz, Relay Story-telling, and Character Representation made for a delightful and stimulating entertainment. On the other hand, participants of the inter-college Creative Writing and Black Out Poetry competitions battled it out with the power of their pens in selected classrooms of the college. Online events were also conducted, including Short Filmmaking, Photography, and Doodling. An in-house production, adapted from John Cariani’s widely performed play “Almost, Maine” enlivened the stage in the second half of the day. Directed, performed, and managed by students alone, the play was a tremendous success, meeting with an appreciative response from its enthralled audience.
The lunch break was followed by an eagerly anticipated authorial session- a panel discussion with none other than the illustrious literary icon Mr. Ruskin Bond. Moderated engagingly by the Deputy President, Dr. Chandrani Biswas, the session witnessed a nostalgic celebration of well-loved literary classics as well as rousing discussions on creative inspirations. The day drew to a triumphant close with the host college taking the award for first place while Jadavpur University placed a close second.
The Decade Launch of the departmental magazine Ode to Expressions, which publishes creative works ranging from non-fiction writing to art and photography, was scheduled for March 19, 2020. The theme for the same was an acknowledgment of the greatest events of the past decade in the hopes of assimilating such knowledge to precipitate a better future, blithely stated as “Reckoning the Past, Beckoning the Future”. The magazine designs were finalized after weeks of careful deliberation, entries completed and compiled by the dedicated Editorial Board, and the printed copies poised for the grand launch. And yet, the gloomy pall of an unforeseen circumstance forced the suspension of the event indefinitely.
The world was brought to a standstill by the pandemic that continues to plague us to this day. However, we can only look forward to a far more propitious future. The Academy takes great consolation in the infallible support offered by the respected Deputy President, Dr. Chandrani Biswas as well as the whole Department of English, along with the indefatigable efforts of its members, that led to an unforgettably grand ‘Literaria’.
In light of the present circumstances, the Academy too is evolving and adapting with the times. Plans for the society fitting the “New Normal” are underway as we consider moving our sphere of activities online, in the absence of the possibility of physical gatherings in the immediate future. We hope to carry on our literary endeavors through online webinars where eminent experts and erudite speakers may find a platform to connect with the students. It would bring us great pleasure to organize such an event that lifts the spirits and morale of the Xaverian community and brings us back in touch with the literary pulse. It would also be a wonderful respite from the everyday monotony of sequestered life. The Academy is thus determined to look forward to another productive year ahead with great enthusiasm and optimism.