St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), 30 Mother Teresa Sarani Kolkata 700016 West Bengal, India

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The English Academy

Tirthankar Sengupta (Secretary)

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.


The English Academy celebrated Literaria, its annual cultural festival, on October 28, 2017. Countless hours of deliberation, planning, and execution through meetings and sessions on behalf of the Academy members culminated in the grand success of the event which has, over the years, become inextricably interlinked with English department.


A total of 12 colleges from all over Kolkata participated in Literaria 2017 while the online events also featured outstation institutions including the likes of Christ University, Bangalore; Symbiosis College, Pune; Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; among others. Mahabir Jewellers and Koshe Kosha were the leading sponsors for the day long extravaganza, which was based on the concept of horror, aptly summed up in the tagline- “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” The Fr. Depelchin Auditorium, the venue for the onstage events of Literaria, was appropriately decked out to evoke a sense of palpable spookiness in keeping with the theme.


The proceedings got underway with the welcome address by Dr. Chandrani Biswas, Deputy President of the English Academy, and the secretarial speech by Anushua Banerjee, before the inauguration ceremony officially kicked off Literaria 2017. A musical medley followed shortly after providing a wonderfully aesthetic prelude to the main events. As always, Literaria comprised a catalogue of intriguing contests that focused not only on the creativity of the participants, but also on their ability to display other essential facets like logical thinking, communicative prowess, and collective coordination. “Frisson” or JAM gave competitors the scope to dazzle the audience with their speaking skills whereas “Poe-sy” saw aspiring poets recite captivating pieces in a bid to outshine one another. Students were well and truly “dressed to kill” as part of “Cosplay” where they came up with interesting approximations of renowned literary characters. The infamous Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter was a popular choice among the performers, some of whom depicted other unforgettable characters like the protagonists of Twilight, and Heath Ledger’s signature avatar, the Joker. “The Usual Suspects” put to test the puzzle solving skills of budding “detectives” as they racked their brains to identify stellar names like Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple from a list of perplexing clues besides engaging in other similarly challenging riddles. Team work was the order of the day for “Taboo” where teammates had to exercise their communication capabilities to the core, as well as the literary quiz or “Brain Brew”, which was masterfully divided into a series of diverse rounds dealing with multiple aspects of literature and popular culture. A fitting finale to Literaria came in the form of a riveting play called “Post-Mortem”, an in-house production that portrayed the evils and disillusionment associated with modern society by resorting to clever satire and ironic humour.


In tandem with the onstage competitions, several offstage events were also on offer at the Rohinton Kapadia Hall for students to hone their artistic skills. “Inkarnate” or Creative Writing provided talented writers the chance to wield their wizardry with words in one of three categories- poetry, fiction, or micro fiction; “Fade Out”, also known as Black-out Poetry, portrayed how less is more by asking participants to compose their verses from a limited assortment of words; precision and innovation were the keys in book cover designing, which rounded off the set of offstage interactions. The online events for Literaria also involved a plethora of fun challenges such as meme-making, comic strip making, short film making, photography, and doodling. Former students and professors, both internal and external, helped out with the judgement and evaluation of all the competitive events.


As far as the results were concerned, it was the hosts who came out on top by virtue of securing top honours in multiple events to emerge as the overall winners. Jadavpur University and Loreto College also performed commendably claiming numerous laurels in the process. Following the prize distribution ceremony, an emotional and heartfelt vote of thanks from Sambit Ganguly, Assistant Secretary of the English Academy, concluded the festival and brought the curtain down on yet another fascinating instalment of Literaria.


On March 26, 2018, the English Academy launched the eighth edition of its annual magazine Ode to Expressions at the Rohinton Kapadia Hall under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Chandrani Biswas and Prof. Partho Mukherji. The student editorial team that helped put the magazine together comprised Sayona Bose, Sayantani Mukhopadhyay, Arundhati Das, Sambit Ganguly, Vishwajeet Gain, and Priyam Marik. The event was graced by Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, S.J., Principal, St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Prof. Bertram Da Silva, Vice Principal (Arts and Science), Dr. Tapati Dutta, Dean of Science, Dr. Argha Banerjee, Dean of Arts, as well as the other professors of the Department of English. The occasion commenced with the inaugural address by Father Principal in which he underlined the importance of cultivating and enriching one’s language besides focusing on the imperative role of a magazine as an instrument of literary and artistic expression.


The day also featured a series of paper presentations ranging across a wide spectrum of topics. While Soumyadeep Saha shed light on the American Dream in the context of literature, Trinetra Paul traced the recent developments in Japanese poetry, and Sinchan Chatterjee made a comparative analysis between Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Following the presentations was a set of elocutionary performances involving some powerful pieces by Arundhati Das, Sayantani Mukhopadhyay, and Upasya Bhowal, among others. The day was capped off by a short but gripping play which dealt with some pertinent questions surrounding the role and position of females in a patriarchal society.


In an age where humans are becoming increasingly robotic in their pursuit of ephemeral possessions, occasions like Literaria and Ode to Expressions serve as a much needed respite from the monotonously mechanising tendencies of contemporary life. These flagship programmes of the English Academy, which serve as an annual celebration of the sublimated essence of the English department, could never have come to fruition without the unceasing motivation and tireless industry of Dr. Chandrani Biswas (Deputy President of The English Academy), the other departmental professors as well as the student members of the Academy. From providing young enterprising minds the perfect platform to showcase their artistry to serving as a timely reminder of the invaluable assets of literature, the past year saw an enriching confluence of talent and opportunity as the English Academy took another pivotal and memorable step in its quest for attaining still greater heights.

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