NIHIL ULTRA: Nothing Beyond

The English Academy

Tirthankar Sengupta (Secretary)


2015 has been a year of loss for the Department of English. Professor Rohinton Kapadia was not merely an integral part of the department, but also a guardian and guru, who professors and students alike could look to for advice and guidance in realizing the projects of The English Academy. He constantly nurtured and enriched the department and grief is too inept an emotion to express our sorrow. But it is through our little endeavors liking hosting 'Literaria' and publishing 'Ode to Expressions' that we intend to explore the vistas of literary possibilities and thus, keep Sir's vision alive.

Literature portrays and colours the lives of people from different walks of life. It was with the objective of celebrating the many shades of literature that The English Academy of St. Xavier's College, Kolkata hosted its annual Inter College Fest, 'Literaria' on the 27th of September, 2014, attended by fifteen colleges of the state. All the events centered on the tagline - "A story behind every shade".

The day long programme commenced traditionally, with the inauguration ceremony graced by Father Rector, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio; Father Principal, Rev. Dr. John Felix Raj; Vice Principals; the Dean of Arts and Science respectively.

The competitive section of the event began with the Quiz, 'Curiouser and Curiouser', the prelims for which involved twenty teams from colleges across the city. This was followed by 'Taboo with a Twist', a fun word game where participants had to guess words without using some given Taboo words. Along with the On Stage events, Off Stage events such as Creative Writing (Prose and Poetry), Comic Strip Making, Poster Making and Parliamentary Debate, kept the students occupied. The next On Stage event was the final round of the Skit competition where the shortlisted final four teams, including the home team, attempted to present their histrionic skills with a pertinent social message.

The post lunch session opened with a Play put up by the students of The English Academy - "The Accident", where a theatre company finds out, thirty minutes before the opening night that they have no props, no costumes and no soundtrack. So now, the actors will have to play the roles of the props, such as a door, a radio and even a crystal ball! The superb performance of all the actors had the audience in splits. After a good round of wit and humour, the next event, the final round of the Parliamentary Debate, raised many thought provoking concerns; the topic before the house being the issue of whether literature is conditioned exclusively by the social and economic conditions of its times. The two teams facing each other brought out the best of their argumentative skills owing to which the house was almost uniformly divided in its response to the topic.

The programme came to a befitting end with the presentation of literary characters on stage - "Books and Beyond". The members of the audience were enlivened by the presentation of a variety of characters ranging from Adam and Eve, Alice and The Mad Hatter, Charlie Chaplin to Bob Dylan and Salvador Dali. Literaria came to a close with the prize distribution ceremony. Through these various events, The English Academy attempted to take literature outside the confines of the classroom and show how literature is relevant and present, consciously and unconsciously, in all the little things that make up our everyday life; making literature time bound and at the same time, timeless.

On the 30th of March 2015, The English Academy launched the fifth volume of its annual magazine, 'Ode to Expressions'. In continuation with the spirit of Literaria 2014, defined by its tagline, 'A story behind every shade'; the editorial board tried to give voice to those varied sentiments which bring colour to our life. The event was graced by Father Rector, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio; Father Principal, Rev. Dr. John Felix Raj; Vice Principals; the Dean of Arts and Science respectively. During the inauguration ceremony, the magazine was formally launched by our respected Father Principal, who whole heartedly appreciated the hard work and effort put into the publication of the magazine by the members of The English Academy.

The English Academy has always tried to encourage literature students to go beyond the realms of books and explore the various avenues for their wholesome development as future academicians. In line with this notion, a part of this event was dedicated to the presenting of papers written by the students of The English Academy and like every year, the students came up with an array of interesting and thought provoking papers concerning topics such as Magic Realism, Modern day representation of Fairytales, Feminism etc. After a short break, a Play was presented by the members of The English Academy - "Behind Closed Doors' ~ The Untold Truth of Wallis Simpson. The play set in the early 20th century, depicted the story of a young American woman, Wallis who was held responsible for King Edward VIII's abdication of his throne. The historical aspect of the play along with the emotional dilemma of the central characters, beautifully portrayed by the young actors of the Academy, grasped the attention of the audience and left them mesmerized. The event came to a successful end with the vote of thanks given by the secretary of the Academy with the promise of continuing this glorious tradition in the years to come.