CSI and Treasure Hunt
Crime Scene Investigation, or CSI as it is commonly referred to happens to be the flagship event of the Lit Club, as well as that of Karavaan, the Annual Fest of IISERP. Ask the Karavaan honchos, the people on the ground, and they'll tell you the same thing: CSI is that one event that sees maximum participation among all the club-organised events that are held. The premise is simple enough; it's a talkative murder mystery, a la carte Agatha Christie, with a bunch of suspects-cum-witnesses on the scene. The official description, as per the Karavaan site is as follows:
" A sordid crime's gone under and a poor soul stands dispatched to the underworld under suspicious circumstances. Meanwhile the bumbling local force have drawn a blank in their investigation. So it's upto you to don your trench coat, slip on your cap and play saviour. Featuring the armchair detective in its finest iteration, interrogate a whole menagerie of witnesses and suspects, unearth evidence, and review and counter-review dozens of facts as you sleuth your way towards unravelling the web of deceit that encompasses the truth. The game's afoot!"
What that description doesn't tell you, is how much fun it is to organise and build CSI. It's one-month of creative madness and organised chaos. Narrative and character arcs arise from the background static and are taken down ruthlessly, many times over until the entire murderous plot stands honed to bloody perfection. Midnight reveries, late-night stakeouts, crazy-last-minute brainstorms, surprise treats, everything's up for the reckoning and all are fair game.
The poetry reading sessions at IISER Pune are a true celebration of the diversity of poetic talent on campus. These sessions, held in the fashion of Dead Poets Society, usually start at nine in the night and go on till four in the morning. There is freedom to present original work or work you admire. Poets sit in a circle, often in the shade of a tree or out in the open. The Lit-Club strives to generate the cult-like ambience that is the signature of contemplative poetry in general.
Throughout the night, ideas flow as each person presents one lucid piece after another. Quite like the movements of a sonata, the poems add to each others content, enforcing or invalidating feelings previously voiced. There is stimulating conversation about style, about content and about history.
Whether you enjoy Tagore in his native Bengali or Urdu shayari, you will find likeminded company. Whether you appreciate Tennyson or Button Poetry, you will be welcomed. Whether you enjoy discussing literary style or simply have fun talking about the nature of Life, the Universe and Everything, the Lit-Club poetry reading sessions are for you.
The Hemingway Memorial Debate
The Hemingway Memorial Debate was conceptualised as a result of a desire for introducing debate culture to IISER Pune. As an institute with diverse talent, IISER-P has a galaxy of eloquent speakers which include both professors and students. The Lit Club, with this annual debate, aims to harness this talent for stirring up some conversation on the important issues of our times - both scientific and social.
Ernest Hemingway was an American author and Nobel Prize winner in Literature whose work is widely considered to be the epitome of brevity and clarity: the primary qualities required of a good argument. The Lit Club takes significant inspiration from his 'straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement'.
Introducing to IISER Pune, the motion:
This House believes that the disproportionate allocation of resources to elite institutes of higher education is justified..
The 3rd Hemingway Memorial debate was held on the 3rd of February, 2020 in the CV Raman auditorium. The debate was held in two rounds with each speaker speaking for 5 minutes in the first round and 3 minutes in the second rebuttal round. While the proposition spoke about brain drain, limited resources and the sucess of disproportionate allocation of funds in First World countries, the opposition questioned the whether the practice might be discriminatory and brought into notice the large number of privileged individuals in institutions of repute and the dismal drop out rate in high school. The ambiguity of the word "disproportionate" was brought up. The audience was encouraged to vote for or against the motion once before the debate and again after the first round. The debate ended with remarks from the moderator, Dr. Pushkar Sohoni, questions from the audience and a vote of thanks from Lit club coordinator, Kunjal Parnami.
The edited video capturing the 2018 debate can be found here, courtesy Durgesh Ajgaonkar, Aditya Khanna and Vivek Kannadi of the Science Media Centre, IISER Pune.
In 2019, the Lit Club conducted IISER-Pune’s first-ever inter-college Parliamentary Debate on the 5th and 6th of October. The event consisted of 12 teams of 3 speakers each, who participated in 3 preliminary rounds, followed by semifinal and final rounds. The debate, which followed the Asian Parliamentary format, attracted participants from colleges across Mumbai and Pune including Symbiosis Law School (SLS), Symbiosis School of Economics (SSE), Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC), College of Engineering Pune (CoEP), Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU) and IISER-Pune.
The final round drew numerous spectators in LHC 103, as the finalists debated for and against the motion “This House believes that human augmentation is good for humanity.” The team ‘The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost’ from SSE, comprising of Rajas Kolhatkar, Mridul Khanna and Pranav Annur, emerged winners while the team from CoEP, comprising of Omkar Joshi, Inderneel Bhojwani and Swarali Govilkar, emerged runners up.
Eleven judges also competed for the Best Adjudicator Prize, won by Amrutha Alapati from SLS. Additionally, six invited (non-competitive) adjudicators also judged the event. Core adjudicators Gaurav Rajeev and Rohit Bhatachaarya set the motions for each round. The topics for the debate were challenging and often polarising, with participants coming up with meaningful, thought-provoking and sometimes even controversial arguments both for and against the motion.
We also host other events such as the occasional book-discussion session, talks held by various faculty on literary topics as well as a few talks co-hosted with the HSS Department of IISER Pune. A prime example of the latter was a performance by the noted author, William Dalrymple and Vidya Shah, held in the CV Raman Auditorium, which we had the fortune of hosting in conjugation with SPICMACAY and the HSS Dept. During the fall semester of 2020, a series of talks on caste-based discrimination in India, aptly titled "Caste Away", were organized in the online mode.