When contemporary issues form research topics at PU

From the burning issue of farmers' suicides, the recurrent problem of wives left behind by NRI grooms, historical studies on former Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon to the psychological study on personal challenges faced by gay and bisexual males — research scholars of Panjab University are digging out various aspects of contemporary issues as part of their PhD research.

"It was only in the past that students would take up topics on which one could find several PhD theses in the library. The faculties have now become very particular about the topics being chosen by the students," says Prof Rajesh Gill.

"Therefore, no more broad studies on women empowerment at Department of Sociology, or Panchayati Raj at Department of Political Science," says Associate Professor Pampa Mukhherjee.

Known for studies on the political trends, the PhD scholars at the Department of Political Science are focusing on the in-depth micro-level studies of issues affecting the region. While one student is working on human rights violations of children working at dhabas, the other is working on the urban-rural migration with Ludhiana as a case study. The creation of new states, Telangana and Gorkhaland movements, and the role of BSP in Punjab are other subjects of research.

There are three basic factors on the basis of which a research scholar chooses his subject, as per Prof Rajivlochan. "First is the student's personal interest in a specific topic, second is the interest of the supervisor, and third is that research subject might form a part of the larger project which the supervisor is doing," he says.

The two students working on 'Evolution of Radha Soami Satsang' and 'Various Muslim Shrines in Punjab' are both quite religious, which is one reason why they came up with that particular subject, adds Prof Rajivlochan.

Moreover, the students are being encouraged to take up those areas of research which they witness in their region, says Professor Gill, adding that research coming from their own region is what holds more relevance.

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