Farewell Party for Prof. Rita Brara's
The Department Celebrated Prof. Rita Brara's farewell party on 28th January, 2016. The event was attended by faculty and staff members as well as students.
Professor Abhijit Dasgupta, the head of the Department of Sociology, spoke eloquently about Prof. Brara who has been his colleague for a very long time.
Dr. Rita Brara gave a very short and sweet speech about time spent by her in the Department.
Dr Amita Baviskar, Dr Shoma Chatterjee and Prof. Roma Chatterji shared with the audience their experieces of having Dr. Brara as a collegue and teacher.
A large number of students shared anecdotes and and experiences of being taught by Dr. Brara and spending time with her outside class.
A tribute to Prof. Rita by Masala Coke (by Aarushi Sharma, M.Phil Student)
I peep out of the tea-stall each bright day,
Wondering if you have a class today
And there I see you come to pick up mathri,
I sit right behind, hoping that you would call for me!
Then a lazy noon, your student comes announcing:
‘Raju! 1 coke for Madam Rita’, and bubbly me starts dancing!
I reach your class looking my best with a straw
I hear you talk with so much awe!
Ofcourse I get jealous when you order that coffee black and bland
I thought I was your favorite and little more grand
After all, I am the one with Masala and spice
So much like your lectures – awesome and precise!
You know what they say when they look at me?
That like you, I am lucid, focused and bouncing with energy!
And hence I feel, you should let your students know, ‘Hey you folks!’
You tried hard…but you just couldn’t beat my Masala Coke!
A Message for Dr Brara By Vasundhara Bhojvaid
I think one way to describe ones state of mind when they have returned to the university space after an extended period of fieldwork is complete and utter disorientation. At a period when I was helplessly leafing through random scribbling’s that were supposed to be my field notes and would somehow inspire me to produce a decent dissertation, Dr. Brara introduced the Anthropology of Climate Change course in the M.Phil program. Since the title of my proposal had the words ‘climate change’ in it, auditing the course made sense. What began as a curiosity to figure out what an Anthropology of Climate Change meant became one of the best things to happen to me in my PhD.
For three straight years through this course steered by Dr. Brara I found myself amongst a group of students that were engaging in similar themes, willing to engage with my own work, listen, advise, comment and support. What was supposed to be a lonely period post fieldwork, sitting in the library for hours buried in your own notes, became a period of lively engagement where I found myself revelling, struggling and being pushed to strengthen ideas, convey arguments and theorize. In a sense I had literally hit the dissertation writing jackpot! And, I only have Dr. Brara to thank for this.
The hallmark of the course was the way that it was conducted. Each year students were introduced to the main theme and then asked to identify their own areas of interest around which papers would be written that would culminate in a workshop at the end of the course. I have seen three batches of students learn, struggle and acquire an understanding of the discipline in a way I could only be envious of in my M.Phil. None of this would have been possible without Dr. Brara. Without compromising the standard of the course and nudging us to push our ideas, the biggest lesson she has taught me is of encouragement and appreciation. I remember being stopped as I was putting forth my comments to a paper in class and being told, ‘First appreciate what the paper does, the efforts made, then critique.’ This coupled by the fact that quality and standard of a paper was always a measurement of growth made in the period of the course work by a student and not along a pre-established benchmark, against which our efforts were measured, pushed me to work in a way that surprised even me. I think what I am trying to say is that Dr. Brara was seminal in providing us such a healthy environment to work in. There are no words that could express my appreciation for this as it has been central in shaping an ability to write and think through.
Lastly, I am most thankful for and I am sure that everyone who knows Dr. Brara will agree is the positivity she radiates – no problem seemed big enough, no hurdle too difficult after it was discussed with her. Things always got done, and sometimes that meant sleepless nights and frantic phone calls, but they got done. To be able to instil in students and friends around you the spirit to overcome or conquer is a quality most of us would be envious of; Dr. Brara embodies it in abundance.
A very large number of friends and admirers of Prof. Brara also took part in celebrating their acquaintance and friendship with her on this occasion
Please visit the Photo Gallery Page Click Here... which captures many other moemnts of this celebration which ended with everyone shaking a leg in the back lawns of the department.
Credits for the Presentation: Department of Sociology,