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Centre for Women’s Studies

Women’s Studies  was first acknowledged as a discipline in its own right in America in 1969 and the first Women’s Studies Course was taught in the University of Cornell. Since that time it has grown rapidly in India as well as in other parts of the world and is now recognised as one of the most dynamic and pertinent of the new emerging disciplines. Its role in holistic knowledge building and the re-examination of old and established systems of perception and thought has been invaluable. It is interdisciplinary in nature and critiques both society and culture from the perspective of women.

The inauguration of the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Allahabad was held in the North Hall in the Senate Hall Building on the 6th of August, 2010. The guest of honour was Prof. Veena Mazumdar, National Research Professor of Social Sciences at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi and the Vice Chancellor of A.U. Prof. Rajen Harshe was the Chief Guest. The inauguration was attended by members of the Faculty, colleagues from the Colleges, members of the University Administration, students and guests.

   
Prof Mazumdar addressing the audience with Prof. Parmar, Director of the Centre  
  Delivering the inaugural address Prof. Mazumdar raised  pertinent questions like why did the  government policies  focus  only on middle class women, why in a culture where women are   worshipped as goddess, are women considered weak and why has women’s writing been relatively marginalized? She recommended research into the two volumes of women’s writing edited by Tharu and Lalitha. She also emphasised the importance of the recovery and documentation of women’s oral traditions.
Vice Chancellor, Prof R.G.Harshe addressing the audience

In his address Vice Chancellor Harshe revealed that of the many contenders for opening Women’s Studies Centres, the University of Allahabad Centre was ranked first by the UGC Selection Committee. In his address he discussed the issue of feminist identity and how feminism related to class, caste, race and sexual orientation   He questioned the notion of power and felt it was a male constitute.
The Director of the Centre for Women’s Studies, Prof Sumita Parmar, from the Department of English, clarified the concept of Women’s Studies as a Discipline and laid down the future agenda of the Centre. She said that it would undertake research and analysis projects and organize lectures and Gender Sensitization Workshops as well as conferences and seminars on gender related issues. Outreach programmes in collaboration with other institutes and colleges would also be conducted. It would be open to all teachers and students who would like want to be associated with it.

   
  The proceedings were conducted by Dr. Sarvajeet Mukerji, Reader, Department of English and Prof. R.K. Singh, Department of English and Dean Student’s Welfare, proposed the Vole of Thanks.
     
Prof. R.K. Singh proposing the vote of thanks Dr.Sarvajit Mukerji conducting the programme  
Prof Vina Mazumdar is a National Research Professor of Social Sciences at the CWDS (Centre for Women’s Development Studies) New Delhi. Academic, pioneer and visionary, she is perceived as the mother of Women’s Studies in India and is also the senior most women’s Studies scholar in the country. She was the Member Secretary of the historic Committee on the “Status of women in India” commissioned by the government of India which came out in 1975. This landmark report which had to be submitted to the United Nations was called “Towards Equality” and became a founding document both for the women’s movement in the country as well as the Government. It triggered many significant policy decisions. Prof Mazumdar was one of the key researchers and writers of this document. With her abiding interest in higher education combined with her years of experience as an officer in the UGC she has made significant contributions as member of important committees. An academic activist and an Institution builder, she set up the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) in New Delhi. Supported by the ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Sciences Research) it is one of the leading research and outreach institutions for women in the country. She serves as a member Secretary of the Standing Committee on Women’s Studies of the Government of India.