yathecchasi tatha kuru” -Bhagwat Gita (Chapter 18, Verse 63)

 A philosophy fest, or any fest for that matter, couldn’t have started off this well ever. The start of a fest is usually either very slow, boring and distracted, or filled with an overwhelming energy that dies out as the day progresses. But the start of Manthan 2013, on the other hand, was as good as can be. The fest began with the department students asking for Grace from the Almighty, who was generous enough to grant it and make the fest a great success!
It was soon followed by one of the best seminars I have ever attended in my life. The one and a half hour session with Dr. Ashutosh D Mathur from the Department Of Sanskrit at St. Stephen’s College and Dr. Kanchana Natrajan from the Department Of Philosophy at Arts Faculty on the topic “Relevance of Gita for Today’s Youth” was worth every minute. I had thought - given the topic - that the session would end up being didactic and will be one of those where they tell you how great a religious text is and how immature you are not to appreciate it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Dr. Ashutosh’s take on the topic was a treat to the ears. He presented a radical view of the Gita so that some of us who are not ready to accept anything that’s in the name of religion could also connect. He parted with the words that I couldn’t help but remember.  Gita says “yathecchasi tatha kuru”. Do everything exactly as you want to. Gita doesn’t tell us what to do. Its essence lies in the fact that you do things that you want to do. And once you’ve decided what that is, once you have made that commitment, stick by it. Don’t run away and hide if it doesn’t work easily. You are your own maker. Not even the Almighty can dictate what happens in your life once you take responsibility of your own actions.

Dr. Kanchana furthered the discussion and linked the Gita with the Vedanta perspective. She talked about the desire-oriented Karma that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t escape. The seminar ended with a great response from the audience. The speakers had eased and refreshed the young minds so well that there were questions, some of them even about personal difficulties that the students felt comfortable to discuss. This amazing session was followed by lunch and since everybody loves food, the opening day of the fest was a hit. To end the day with fun, the last event for the day was Dumb Charades. And again, the event was a delight for not only the participants and teachers but the spectators as well. The three-round-game included guessing the movies, famous personalities and name of the book. The winners of the event were:

1st:  Kaavya Pillai and Charul Prabhakar from IP College for Women. (Cash prize of Rs. 1200)

2nd: Alan and Jasojeet from Zakir Hussain College. (Cash prize of Rs. 1000)

Chocolates were distributed among the people in the audience who guessed every time the participants missed. 

There was even more cash to be won and this might sound very materialistic, but it sure attracted a huge number of participants for the Debate scheduled for the second day! Jokes aside; the 47 teams that participated in the day’s events made it a great success. Some very strong points were made both in favor of and against the topic “Entertainment industry has a deep impact on the moral psyche of the Youth.” The Rolling Trophy for winning team was given to Nalin Kumar and Aparna Sharma from Rajdhani College. Individual prizes were won by:

1st: Sbanand from Law Faculty. (Cash prize of Rs. 2500)

2nd: Esh from IP College (Cash prize of Rs. 1500)

3rd: Kamal from ARSD (Cash prize of Rs. 1000)

Best interjectors: Payal from IP College (Cash prize of Rs. 500)

  and Saurabh Divedi from Zakir Hussain College. (Cash prize of Rs. 500)

The last event for the fest was Philosophy Quiz which again had very good participation. The winners were:

1st prize to the team from Hindu College (Cash prize of Rs. 1200)

2nd prize to the team from IP College (Cash prize of Rs. 1000)

3rd prize to the second team from IP College (Cash prize of Rs. 700)

Certificates were given to all the participants and winners.

All in all, the fest was filled with fun and knowledge and the efforts of the Union members and the teachers paid off very well. Radhika Anand, the president of the Department was very happy with the success of the event and the congratulations she received from both students and teachers alike, since it was the first time that the fest had received such huge participation. Ma’am Udaya Yogi was all praises for the Union members and the students and was modest in accepting the support system she provided for the Fest. Manthan this year has certainly raised the bars for all the coming years!

Photographs : Payal Kohli ; Department of Philosophy, Indraprastha College for Women

Leave a Reply.